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Author Topic: Opinions wanted  (Read 11090 times) Average Rating: 0
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spartacus
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« on: June 07, 2004, 03:20:38 PM »

I was just curious as we are facing this issue in my family:

What do people here think of Orthodox Christians joining the US Army? I am not talking about some job skill like a medic or a clerk -- but infantry -- where the soldier's job is to close with and destroy the enemy.

What do you think of an Orthodox Christian who would choose to re-enlist for such duty after a number of years as a civilian, and the person now has a wife and young children?


The motivation in both cases is a sense of duty to the country. In the case of the re-enlistment that sense of duty extends to the soldiers who are now in the Army, and a desire to help that group with their current missions by benefit of that veteran's years of experience and maturity. FYI, the veteran's skills include that of being a sniper and a Non-Commissioned Officer. The desire is not so much to kill humans but more to safeguard the lives of US Soldiers. Killing the enemy is just an aspect that might become necessary at some point -- not unlike a police officer possibly one day needing to kill someone in the line of duty -- but the mission of the soldiers and the police are different in scope.

WHat are your opinons and why?
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spartacus
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2004, 04:20:42 PM »

Don't be shy to reply. This should not be seen as political.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 04:59:30 PM »

Wow, no one has replied yet... well I guess here goes me...

I was in Army ROTC for a duration of time, and had even selected Infantry as my first branch choice, followed by Artillery. I was full aware of the job description, which frankly involved killing! It's a tough job, it is one that gets little recognition, little pay, but lots of hardships and expense, mentally and physically. The training was grueling, but rewarding, and I found that the military lifestyle was somewhat enjoyable to me.

I am not claiming to be someone with a massive amount of experience, as I am young and may appear quite naive about some things to some people.  However, I will state that the guys I have met who have done time as Infantry(or any combatant job), whether it be Airborne, Ranger, even Green Beret, have been some of the finest gentlemen I have ever met in my life.  They love their country, have good, solid CHRISTIAN values, and are willing to lay down their life for their friends. Not to mention they are in top physical shape, are usually pretty mentally sharp to boot, and they have experienced the Christian lifestyle first hand on the battlefield.  How you contend? Well, anytime you are around folks who are DYING you have a tendency to reflect on your own mortality. It isn't a pretty picture, and I'm sure it is tolling. Some of these guys crack, some of them work harder...we all handle it in different ways.

From an Orthodox Christian standpoint? I see no problem whatsoever for a man to join the armed forces, to serve, either combatant or non-combatant roles.  We have had lines of Orthodox saints who fought, Alexander Nevsky comes to mind? There is nothing shameful or unOrthodox about serving.  If it leads you to commit unChristian things, then yes there is a conflict, but in of itself, how can it be wrong?

For a man who has a wife and a family? Well that is the reason I left ROTC. I want a wife and a family one day. I don't want to be deployed around the world being distanced from them.  I cannot fathom the loss I would feel if I was apart from those I love. I think it is the duty of a man, especially one with wife and children, to be with them, to work for them, and to serve them.  I think it involves many sacrifices, including that of being in the armed forces, in order to be a good husband and father, and I think in this case, it would be prudent to stay a civilian.

People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

Bobby
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 05:11:01 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if you actually kill someone in combat (I guess knowingly that is), you are banned from Communion (or should be) for three years.
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2004, 05:16:14 PM »

People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

I read it.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2004, 05:23:08 PM »

I read it too.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2004, 05:24:14 PM »

Quote
People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

I read it, too. Smiley Smiley Smiley I love you so much, baby.
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2004, 06:00:25 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if you actually kill someone in combat (I guess knowingly that is), you are banned from Communion (or should be) for three years.

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2004, 06:17:10 PM »

There is a thread on this topic at the Cafe:

http://www.euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2340

It is more about becoming a priest and/or a monk after you serve in the Military, but it addresses the issue of War, and the penalty for killing in combat.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2004, 07:03:30 PM »

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.

Yeah, I knew it was something like that.  The point is, if you kill, however necessary or involuntary.  No Communion for You!
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2004, 07:14:13 PM »

I read it, too. Smiley Smiley Smiley I love you so much, baby.

Awww, bobby wobby has a girlfriend.   Wink
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2004, 07:48:22 PM »

I feel a banning coming up... heh
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2004, 08:46:11 PM »

You wanted an opinion, here's mine, with the proviso that I'm not EO. But I am married and have children.

The man now has a wife and children; he is 'one flesh' with another human being and has caused others to be born who look to him as Daddy. He has responsibilities to them first and then to others.  He has served in the military and done duty for his country. But now he is not 'his own man' as it were, but belongs to his family. You write that his motivation is a sense of duty and a desire to help the other soldiers. What of his duty  and helping to the young lives he has helped bring to being?  For him to re-up (when it is not required) and possibly die leaving a widow and fatherless children is, imo, wrong. Other men may have his skills, no other man is the children's father.

Ebor
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2004, 08:47:38 PM »

I read your posts, Bobby.  And the one above is a good one.

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2004, 08:52:51 PM »

You wanted an opinion, here's mine, with the proviso that I'm not EO. But I am married and have children.

The man now has a wife and children; he is 'one flesh' with another human being and has caused others to be born who look to him as Daddy. He has responsibilities to them first and then to others.  He has served in the military and done duty for his country. But now he is not 'his own man' as it were, but belongs to his family. You write that his motivation is a sense of duty and a desire to help the other soldiers. What of his duty  and helping to the young lives he has helped bring to being?  For him to re-up (when it is not required) and possibly die leaving a widow and fatherless children is, imo, wrong. Other men may have his skills, no other man is the children's father.

Ebor

Ebor....very well put...I agree with you 100%.
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2004, 10:11:51 PM »

Indeed, Ebor, very well said.
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2004, 10:16:15 PM »

A lot of the problems with this issue may have to do with the culture today.  Times past, military service was more or less required, you did it to help protect your family and country and way of life, and often in a couple of years it was over.  

Today we have a "mercenary" force, for lack of a better word.  Paid volunteers who do the military's job.  A lot of people "re-up," not having much else, and the military community provides a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.

You also can't forget the protestant "warrior soldier" ethos prevalent in American protestantism.  It's common for many Americans to see few careers as more "honorable" than being in the military.  Military posts in America are enclaves of evangelical protestantism.  

It's wrong to judge fellow Orthodox Christians who choose to re-enlist or stay in the military.  Perhaps they're good at their job, and while you train to fight, combat is always a last resort.  Military communities are usually extremely family-oriented, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2004, 10:16:35 PM »

I agree with Ebor that a husband and father's primary duty is to his family.  

I have to confess that I view the phrase "duty to country" with a bit of cynicism.  Does a man (and I think we're safe limiting this to men only) have a duty to his country to protect it from outside invaders?  What if that's at the cost of his and his family's life?  Of course this is the easier question.  The US Army today is involved in actions that many (including myself) do not view as defense of country.  Therefore I personally do not view joining the army as fulfilling a duty to defend the US from foreign invaders.  

And coming off of memorial day and all the remembrances of the D-Day invasion, it strikes me that patriotism is somewhat of a secular religion in the US.  Therefore is "duty to country" practicing another religion?  We certainly don't have an Orthodox country.  I personally believe this is a protestant country founded on enlightenment principles (also based on protestant theology).   This country has been good to us non-Protestants.  But is democracy really our way?  I'm very much in favor of separation of church and state given that we're in the minority but it strikes me that separation of church and state isn't 'catholic.'  

With that said, however, if I were a man I would certainly register with selective service and join the army if I was drafted just like my grandfather and my great-grandfather and all my ancestors all the way back to the revolutionary war.
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2004, 11:34:45 PM »

Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville used to have an excellent pamphlet called "the Christian Faith and War"  As with the Discussion on the Cafe, there seems to be some significant differences between the Romanaoi ("Byzantine") and Russian traditions in this area (Romanoi more concerned about killing in war). I think the witholding of communion was not so much as punishment (Even then recognized as involuntary  or systematic sin), but consitent with other canons at the time, which recomended long periods for other situations that are not maintained today.

Personally, I admire the young people serving in the armed forces. I also admire dedicated parents. The most important other person in this decision is your wife. If I was you, I would make the decision in scrupulous concert with her.  
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2004, 12:50:16 AM »

I agree with Jennifer somewhat. The US is usually not engaged in defending our Country. Look at Vietnam, Korea, the first Iraq war, and the war today. In every one of the wars I listed, the USA was not attacked. Yes we were (and are)protecting our interests, but America was not being invaded.

I also have a deep respect for those who serve in the military, but I sincerely believe there is such a thing as a just war, and many times we can become to wrapped up in patriotism and the love of our troops that we forget God loves all, and he isn't always on our side.

War is a horrible thing, but *somtimes* it is neccesary, and in those cases we do need brave men and women who are willing to die for our nation. But we must be careful, in my opinion, and realize America is not infallible, and we can screw up, we can get involved in stuff we shouldn't, we can be wrong, and God isn't always on our side just because we are America.
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2004, 01:29:31 AM »

Actually, we were attacked on 9/11, and though I definitely don't want to get into a political discussion here, one can make the case that the current war on terror (and by extension the war in Iraq since the Saddam Hussein regime was a known backer of terrorists) is defensive and preventing future terrorist attacks (which it miraculously has thus far).  I really don't think it's just a big coincidence.

2nd, the Orthodox Church has NO "just war" theology.  You may believe in it, but it's never been part of Orthodoxy.  It would be tantamount to saying that killing is OK.  War is a last resort, but as Saint Gregory the Theologian wrote, a war is better than a false peace.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2004, 01:36:44 AM »

Quote
Actually, we were attacked on 9/11, and though I definitely don't want to get into a political discussion here, one can make the case that the current war on terror (and by extension the war in Iraq since the Saddam Hussein regime was a known backer of terrorists) is defensive and preventing future terrorist attacks (which it miraculously has thus far).  I really don't think it's just a big coincidence.

Sadam Hussein did not directly attack us.
Iraq did not attack us. Not one Iraqi flew those planes into the World Trade Center. They were Saudis, our good friends. Links between the terrorists and Sadam are weak, but my point is that Iraq did not attack us. We did not attack Iraq in defense of our nation. We were the aggressors.

Quote
2nd, the Orthodox Church has NO "just war" theology.  You may believe in it, but it's never been part of Orthodoxy.  


I know this, but I am Catholic, and I do firmly believe in a just war theology.
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2004, 01:58:40 AM »

Heh, heh....

Well, without actually waiting for an official proclamation from the moderators stating a lifting of the ban, it has begun again, right on cue:

THE ENDLESS WAR DEBATE!!![/u]  Roll Eyes

Happy June 8th, everybody!
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2004, 03:16:51 AM »


If you are interested in the military go for it Bobby.

We orthodox have many saints and martyrs who were in the military right up until the present day -

http://english.pravda.ru/society/2003/01/08/41724.html

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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2004, 03:50:30 AM »

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.

Well there is a famous photograph of an Orthodox chaplain conducting a Pascha service in Viet Nam where he is giving Holy Communion to the troops.

In previous wars, the US and most other countries relied on conscriptions. Times are different though and now the US relies on all-volunteers. I would not though classisfy this as a "mercenary" Army as the term mercenary implies a force that will fight for anyone for the right price -- and that is not the case with the US Army.

As for obligations --

God is always first -- Did Christ forbid his Apostles from carrying swords, and what was Christ's reaction in Luke to St. Peter when St. Peter lopped off an ear of one of Christ's persecutors whne they took him away?

Country should come before family.

Family is right after country.

One must always strive to do what is right and given the circumstances of today's professional Army, anyone looking to re-enlist should do so only with the knowledge, consent and support of their spouse -- that's only common sense.

When one joins the MIlitary they swear an oath to defend the United States and its Constitution against all enemies, foreign and DOmestic, and also to obey orders of the officers appointed over them...when it comes right down to it the ultimate Officer is the American people as represented by their elected officials. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan were both voted for in Congress in defacto declarations of war.

And who is the enemy the US fights against? -- fanatical radical muslims and tyrants. Both have murdered, opressed, torutured, terrorized, raped and subjegated millions of people. If Saddam is not like a modern version of Hitler, I do not know what is. Was it wrong to defeat Hitler? How could it be wrong to defeat Hussein and liberate 30 million? Was it wrong to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11? IS it wrong to to continue to pursue Al Quaeda in the rugged moutains along the border of Pakistan of where experienced Light Infantry soldiers and snipers will be very badly needed?

Anyone keeping abreast of terrorist activities realizes that the US has been at war with terrorists for more than ten years. The level, number and severity of their attacks against US targets kept uincreasing until the US finally decided to take their decalartion of War against us seriously after 9/11.

In my opinion the US has a duty to its citizens and the world to hunt down terrorists wherever they are. Today that is Iraq and Afghanistan. Tomorrow or next week it could be Syria, Yemen, The Sudan...

Of all the active wars in the world today, Radiacal islamists are involved in all save two. These Radicals can never be bargained or negotiated with. They have no honor. They have no regard for any human life. They do not even have regard for the clerics f their own faith. Can anyone, anywhere in the world be truly free until their numbers have been greatly diminished?
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2004, 03:57:03 AM »

Could someone tell me why a soldier who kills an enemy combatant in defense of self or comrade in combat and/or in defense of country in combat is not permitted to take Communion (that means participating in the Eucharist, right?) for some period of time?
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2004, 04:02:19 AM »

You also can't forget the protestant "warrior soldier" ethos prevalent in American protestantism.  It's common for many Americans to see few careers as more "honorable" than being in the military.  Military posts in America are enclaves of evangelical protestantism.  
 

Protestants -- yes...but there are also very many Roman Catholics, Jews, Mulims, Bhuddists, all faiths.....

Most services in the military are either non-denominational generic Protestantism, or Roman Catholic. There are though Orthodox Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Chaplains. Painting the  Armed Forces of the United Staes as an "enclave of evangelical protestantism" is a comment I think that is made entirely out of ignorance.
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« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2004, 04:10:58 AM »

Could someone tell me why a soldier who kills an enemy combatant in defense of self or comrade in combat and/or in defense of country in combat is not permitted to take Communion (that means participating in the Eucharist, right?) for some period of time?  

Such rules apply only for priesthood as far as I know....A priest who has spilt blood in any manner can no longer be a priest.....I read that link and it conerned a young man wanting to become a monk at a particular monestary after his time in Marine Corps was up. Besides in today's modern warfare...only the sniper usually knows when he has indeed killed someone personally. And whether one is a sniper,  artilleryman, clerk or truck driver -- they all play a part in the killing. Some are just closer when the metal hits the meat.
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« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2004, 07:28:42 AM »

"And coming off of memorial day and all the remembrances of the D-Day invasion, it strikes me that patriotism is somewhat of a secular religion in the US."

Yes, yes it is certainly that.  There is a wierd, quasi-liturgical element to certain aspects of patriotism, and in the United States this is linked up with rather vague notions of a so-called "non-denominational 'Christianity'" (and of course there is no such thing in reality), so it can be somewhat disturbing, or at least somewhat jarring, to those who are "catholic".  

"But is democracy really our way?"

No, it isn't, but under the current fallen circumstances it may be the best way.  I suppose that the "catholic" ideal in this case is pretty similar and it looks more like monarchy, because that would be the closest thing to what we anticipate Heaven to be.  Under the current reality in the world, however, this may not be a workable ideal.

"I'm very much in favor of separation of church and state given that we're in the minority but it strikes me that separation of church and state isn't 'catholic.'"  

No, it isn't, either.  Again the ideal would be a state infused with Catholic/Orthodox ideas and ideals, but not a state divorced from those principles as a "purely secular state".  That would be the ideal, but for the same reasons that monarchy isn't really a good idea under the current realities, this also would not be a good idea.  And I agree that under the current circumstances in the United States, a "catholic" should be a strong supporter of the separation of church and state because in our context "church" means the religion called Protestantism.

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« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2004, 07:46:50 AM »

"Such rules apply only for priesthood as far as I know"

I think that there is confusion on this within Orthodoxy.  In the Byzantine Empire, we know that soldiers who killed  in war were subject to the temporary disciplinary excommunication mentioned above.  Current Orthodox thinking on this topic appears to be muddled, but it is clear that there is no "just war" doctrine in Orthodoxy.

Does the Catholic "just war" doctrine apply to the situation in Iraq?  The Vatican seems to think "no".
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2004, 10:42:04 AM »

God is always first -- Did Christ forbid his Apostles from carrying swords, and what was Christ's reaction in Luke to St. Peter when St. Peter lopped off an ear of one of Christ's persecutors whne they took him away?

He told him to put it away, because if you live by the sword, you die by it.

Quote
Country should come before family.

I could not disagree more, but such is our mutual right in this great country.
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« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2004, 12:27:09 PM »

There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor
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« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2004, 12:51:53 PM »

There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.
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« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2004, 01:06:52 PM »

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There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor

 
Quote
If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

1st, well said, Ebor. Smiley

2nd, if a family member commits a crime that is also a crime against God (which ideally would be all things identified as "criminal" in society, but this isn't always the case), then yes, reporting them would be correct, in my opinion, particularly if the justice taken on the criminal is for his or her own good and will help improve the situation. But if you wanted, I could describe many hypothetical situations - most very extreme, I grant you - in which turning in the family member committing the "crime" is far more problematic, because the "criminal's" intentions are good and Christian...Les Miserables comes to mind (Valjean steals bread from a post office for his starving sister and her child, and he is put in the worst type of jail for an incredible amount of time because, since he stole from a post office, it was deemed a "federal offence"...this is France, yes, but the morality of the situation still applies). Now I'm NOT saying we should let people who commit crimes get away with them just because we know them and love them or because they are family...but your logic would require that Christian compassion and in some cases Christian morality take second place to "duty to country."

My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.

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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2004, 01:20:19 PM »

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My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.

Aye, aye, Cap'n!

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« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2004, 03:36:29 PM »




My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.



My family's third.

I must say I am surprised by the lack of of pacificism presented here. I expected more idealistic posts...you know the kind of idealism devoid of reality.
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« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2004, 03:40:27 PM »

We can debate the current war forever, and get no where, but it isn't a just war.

Attacking a nation that hasn't attacked you is not just, and frankly not Christian. How can one justify attacking and taking over another nation, when that nation hasn't even attacked ours?

You can go on and on about what Sadam did to his people or the fact that he could have attacked us. But we were the aggressors, we were not attacked, and were simply protecting our interests. Yes we were attacked on 9-11, but it has not been proven that Sadam had anything to do with that. And yes invading Iraq and ousting Sadam did eliminate the possibilty of Sadam attacking us, but this still does not justify a war.

A just war, in my opinion, is when you are attacked and you must fight back for the protection of your nation. I am sure many of you will disagree with me, but hey thats the way things go. And please don't make me out to be some anti-American anti-troops kinda guy.

I love America and our troops, and this is why I am so concerned when we get involved or start wars that really have little justification, if any.

Anywho now that I have said that, I would also like to say that God must always come first in everything we do. To many Americans put their nation before God, or even worse, turn God into some kind of Uncle Sam who is always on America's side.
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« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2004, 04:11:00 PM »

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

Extreme cases make for bad general rules and don't clarify a situation.  A family member committing a crime has broken the rules of society; a child needing and wanting her/his father breaks no rule of heaven or earth.  

Being called up is an "I Must" as is being in the military and then having to go where one is sent.  Volunteering after prior service is not the same, but an "I want to" for any number of reasons, some of which may good, others bad.  A father is not his own man anymore but is supposed to submit his own desires to the good of his wife and family.

I've known people who had a parent die before they were adults.  It leaves a scar and pain soul deep.  For some the example shown might be "My Dad didn't want to be with me, so he left and he's dead and he's never coming back.  Why didn't he love me so he would stay?"

Why should those of us on the forum be 'devoid of reality', out of idle curiosity?  Those of us who are in our 40's, 50's and older have probably had plenty of "reality" in our time, same for the younger set, imho.

You asked for our opinions.

Ebor
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« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2004, 04:16:48 PM »

You can go on and on about what Sadam did to his people or the fact that he could have attacked us. But we were the aggressors, we were not attacked, and were simply protecting our interests. Yes we were attacked on 9-11, but it has not been proven that Sadam had anything to do with that. And yes invading Iraq and ousting Sadam did eliminate the possibilty of Sadam attacking us, but this still does not justify a war.

AMEN, Ben!  I could not have said it better myself
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« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2004, 04:31:06 PM »

AMEN, Ben!  I could not have said it better myself

Thank you, gald to see some here have good Christian comon sense.
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« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2004, 04:32:47 PM »

God comes first, He will make it clear to us where in the tangled web of responsibilities, duties and obligations our attention should turn.

I am a Father, Husband, Citizen, Subject, Employee, Church Trustee, Church Treasurer, Subdeacon, Webmaster, Brother, Son, Web Developer with clients, Friend, School Governor etc etc.

Often I am not always sure where I should commit myself because ALL of these things are responsibilities that require my attention at some time or another - but as God wills and makes clear through prayer and fasting even, not by an artifical hierarchy.

My family comes very high up on my list but SOMETIMES I have to annoy and frustrate my non-Orthodox wife by being committed elsewhere in Church service. SOMETIMES I disappoint my bishop by being committed to my wife and family - but he understands the pressure I am under and doesn't want me to have a nervous breakdown so he goes easy on demands for my time for a while.

I could imagine serving in defence of my country and family AND not serving in defence of my family but being led into some other activity. That's for God to determine and make clear.

So for me God is first and last (and I don't mean that in some pious way but practically otherwise I'd go mad trying to juggle everything) - He will put all the other things in the right order in each different circumstance.

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« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2004, 06:43:49 PM »

God comes first, He will make it clear to us where in the tangled web of responsibilities, duties and obligations our attention should turn.

I am a Father, Husband, Citizen, Subject, Employee, Church Trustee, Church Treasurer, Subdeacon, Webmaster, Brother, Son, Web Developer with clients, Friend, School Governor etc etc.

Often I am not always sure where I should commit myself because ALL of these things are responsibilities that require my attention at some time or another - but as God wills and makes clear through prayer and fasting even, not by an artifical hierarchy.

My family comes very high up on my list but SOMETIMES I have to annoy and frustrate my non-Orthodox wife by being committed elsewhere in Church service. SOMETIMES I disappoint my bishop by being committed to my wife and family - but he understands the pressure I am under and doesn't want me to have a nervous breakdown so he goes easy on demands for my time for a while.

I could imagine serving in defence of my country and family AND not serving in defence of my family but being led into some other activity. That's for God to determine and make clear.

So for me God is first and last (and I don't mean that in some pious way but practically otherwise I'd go mad trying to juggle everything) - He will put all the other things in the right order in each different circumstance.

Peter

Amen Peter! I totally agree with and understand everything you said.
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« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2004, 07:55:37 PM »

Quote
Extreme cases make for bad general rules and don't clarify a situation.

Good call Ebor, and good post in general.

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

No, but this is not an example of leaving an innocent family member without a provider, as would be going off to die in a war.

Quote
If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

Married men with children are some of the last to go if a draft is actually called...they purposefully call the young, single, childless men and women first; heads of family are intentionally called second.  However, if this were to actually occur, I woudn't blame the father a bit for running...I speak Spanish and could get along just fine for as long as I needed to in Mexico....

Quote
No country should come over family.

I think you meant to write, "No; country should come over family," because as you wrote it I agree: No[/b] country should ever[/b] come over family.  

Quote
By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

An example of what?  That it's all right to leave a family without a provider because of some war we didn't need to fight?  In this current situation -- of which I'm obviously speaking -- it would definitely NOT set a good example...however, were we directly attacked by a sovereign nation or set of sovereign nations which we could directly engage and who continued to directly and demonstrably threaten us as Americans, THEN I would set the example, as the threat was clear and present.  Otherwise?  No.  Not for a pre-emptive bullying like this.
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« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2004, 08:21:37 PM »

Pedro very well put. I find myself agreeing with the majority of your posts. You put things much better than I ever could!
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« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2004, 10:05:43 PM »

Spartacus

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What do people here think of Orthodox Christians joining the US Army? I am not talking about some job skill like a medic or a clerk -- but infantry -- where the soldier's job is to close with and destroy the enemy.

From what I was told, armies and wars under the best of circumstances are an admission of failure - they are the least of many evils, never a good.  There are no "good" wars.  Though this may be incorrect, what I was told is that a soldier who kills a man in combat still needs to confess this.  It may also be indicative of the Church's view of such things that if a clergyman shed's another man's blood, even if it is purely for self defense reasons, he must cease functioning as a Priest.

On the other hand, the Church has Saints who were lauded in large part for their military defense of Orthodox nations (St.Alexandre Nevski comes to mind.)  I think the best thing to say, is that there is a tension in Orthodoxy on this subject - while not the ideal, on a practical level military service for a nation is something that is often needed.

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« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2004, 10:14:02 PM »

I would not worry about being a soldier and killing in self-defense.

Just look at "Saint" Constantine  - on the way back from Nicaea he had his Son from his first marriage put to death for supposedly conspiring against him. And later when he discovers that the charges were false and were the workings of his second wife and his stepson - HE HAD THEM PUT TO DEATH!

God works in mysterious ways? Wait a minute - I thought God was "The same yesterday, today, and forever" and didn't HE say "Thou shalt not Kill (or at least not MURDER)?

So, I guess it depends on how much the Church needs you?



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« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2004, 10:16:28 PM »

Nice Avatar, Augustine.  I think that is the same one as in the Fr. Seraphim Rose book.

Country over family?  Try telling that to the Millions of immigrants who have LEFT or FLED their country due to persecution, trying to make a better life for their family, etc.
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« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2004, 10:40:34 PM »

TomΣ

Quote
Just look at "Saint" Constantine  - on the way back from Nicaea he had his Son from his first marriage put to death for supposedly conspiring against him. And later when he discovers that the charges were false and were the workings of his second wife and his stepson - HE HAD THEM PUT TO DEATH!

My understanding is that St.Constantine's life is much like that of St.David, ancestor of God.  Both men had highs, and lows.  Both were the rulers of Godly nations.  etc., etc.

However, besides the great things he did, it's important to remember that St.Constantine's life as a Christian was really quite brief - he was Baptized only in the time prior to his death, spending the last few days of his life in his Baptismal robe, regretting that he had put this off so long.

Do you not believe that Baptism is a new birth?  That his sins were wiped clean, however crimson they may have been?  That he was unlike King David who was man whose heart was after God, despite his great moral failings?

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« Reply #48 on: June 08, 2004, 10:43:48 PM »

That he was unlike King David who was man whose heart was after God, despite his great moral failings?

That could certainly be true. My point was that for the Church to judge a soldier who is fighting for his nation state, yet make a Saint out of Constantine -- well, to me there is a little hypocrisy happening there.

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« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2004, 10:49:13 PM »

Tom,

Quote
That could certainly be true. My point was that for the Church to judge a soldier who is fighting for his nation state, yet make a Saint out of Constantine -- well, to me there is a little hypocrisy happening there.

I don't think the Church is making such judgements - just that She doesn't have a history of being overly enthusiastic about warfare of any sort (there is no equivelent to the "Crusades" in Orthodoxy, nor could there be.)

However, I think it's safe to say that St.Constantine was glorified by the Church in spite of his more unsavory (though politically quite common) deeds, not because of them.

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« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2004, 10:49:38 PM »

Tom, St. Constantine was baptized just before his death, as Augustine point out, every single sin he ever committed was wipped away. When he died he was in the state of grace and certainly was not condemened by our Lord. As Augustine said, baptism is a new birth that washes away all sins. There is a huge difference between one living a sinful life, then repenting and being baptized, and on who is already baptized and committing serious sin.
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« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2004, 10:54:17 PM »

Tom, St. Constantine was baptized just before his death, as Augustine point out, every single sin he ever committed was wipped away.

And that was specifically WHY he chose to be baptized JUST before his death. Which, according to what I have read, is what most people did back then.

So what are you telling me? That I should have lived as much as a sinful life as possible and then get baptized right before my death and that would be okay? That God HAS to forgive me even though he KNOWS that I did what I did in order to TRICK Him into giving me salvation?

How can that be right - he KNEW how he was supposed to live his life, yet he chose to live it not by the teachings of the Lord?

So we have a God that can be "played"?
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« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2004, 11:05:09 PM »

From what I have read St. Constantine regretted waiting. But him putting it off was not the Christian thing to do, I am not saying that him waiting was ok, but the Church teaches that before he died he repented and was baptized, and is a Saint.
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« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2004, 11:15:48 PM »

Tom,

Quote
So what are you telling me? That I should have lived as much as a sinful life as possible and then get baptized right before my death and that would be okay? That God HAS to forgive me even though he KNOWS that I did what I did in order to TRICK Him into giving me salvation?

You're assuming that St.Constantine was being conniving about this, or at least that this is how he went to his grave...snickering at the fast one he pulled on God.  Of course, this is contrary to what we manifestly do know about him.

For the great evils that St.Constantine committed in the years leading up to his Baptism and repose, he did far greater good - he ended the persecution of the Church, placed Her in a favoured position, etc.  Frankly, he's a figure of "eschatological" significance - his gradual move from pagan ignorance, to friend of the Church, to son of the Church is not only a heartening story on a personal level, but also had significance for the entire Church.  He was a man of destiny, hence why God chose to glorify one who humanly speaking may seem (at least according to some) so unworthy.

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« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2004, 11:26:11 PM »

Once again Augustine very well put.
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« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2004, 02:06:37 AM »

And that was specifically WHY he chose to be baptized JUST before his death. Which, according to what I have read, is what most people did back then.  So what are you telling me? That I should have lived as much as a sinful life as possible and then get baptized right before my death and that would be okay?

The idea behind people's not being baptized until the time of their impending deaths was not, as you said, "to live as much of a sinful life as possible...and [that] that would be okay."  The idea behind this was the (erroneous) concept that, if we sin after we are baptized, we are beyond hope, as the baptism can't be repeated and we have crucified the Lord again.

Constantine knew from whence he came, and did not want to even give himself time enough to "backslide," as it were, into his old life.

This had nothing to do with "fooling God"; seems to me it had everything to do with being honest with himself.  Even now that the Church has come to a fuller understanding of what confession is, we would do well to learn from his example of repentance.
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« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2004, 07:27:45 AM »

Personally, I think the Catholic idea of "just war" is common sense.

I also think it is wrong to punish soldiers returning from combat by excluding them from Holy Communion or requiring them to confess to the sin of murder.

Service in the military is honorable.

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« Reply #57 on: June 09, 2004, 08:32:29 AM »

We can debate the current war forever, and get no where, but it isn't a just war.

Attacking a nation that hasn't attacked you is not just, and frankly not Christian. How can one justify attacking and taking over another nation, when that nation hasn't even attacked ours?
By this definition the US fighting the Nazis was not a "Just War" either...you spout "Just War" a lot...but are you familiar with what the Roman Catholc Church sets as criteria for a "Just War"...If you were you would understand why good people can have differing points of view. Self-defense is only one small part of that criteria...I don't have the literature here so I will take this mostly from memory to give you a general outline:

1.) A winnable war of self defense
2.) When more evil will be done by not going to war (i.e. innocents killed, tortured, etc.)
3.) All peaceful means have been exhausted and further peaceful attempts will most likely also be fruitless.
4.) A winnable war to repel an invader.
5.) A war where civilian populations and non-combatants are nottargetted.
6.) War must be viewed as an evil but to be just it must be a lesser evil than the consequence of not going to war.

The RCC teaches that all not all of these criteria must be met, it asks Catholics to consider these issues and then search their own conscience. Pope John Paul II declared the US war in Afghanistan as a "Just War". No such declaration has been made about Iraq, and the Pontiff has repeatedly called for Peace...but he has not condemned the US actions actions...again it is a matter for personal conscience.

Some are willing to sacrifice so that others can be liberated from brutal oppression -- we call these people heroes. They are willing to possibly lay down their very lives, and certainly disrupt their personal lives for the benefit of people they do not know.

"Envy the nation with heroes...Pity the country who needs them."
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« Reply #58 on: June 09, 2004, 04:34:40 PM »

Spartacus.......

WWII, was a just war because we were attacked by Japan, and notice we didn't get involved until Pearl Harbor. As for the Nazi's, they were attacking our allies, they were the ally of those who attacked us, and provided support for those who attacked us, there is not doubt about that, where there is serious doubt that Sadam had any connection whatsoever to the 9-11 attacks. And let us not forget that the Nazi's were trying to take over the world. England and France tried appeasement again and again and it wasn't working. Sadam was not attacking anybody, Sadam wasn't trying to take over the world, we attacked Sadam and took over his nation because there was a chance he had weapons of mass destruction, and there was a chance that if he had these weapons he might use them against us.

As for H.H. Pope John Paul II on the current Iraq War, where have you been?!

From Iraqi War I to Iraqi War II, he has echoed the voice of Paul VI, crying out before the United Nations in 1965: War No More, War Never Again!

John Paul II stated before the 2003 war that this war would be a defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified.

In fact H.H. Pope John Paul II sent his personal representative, Cardinal Pio Laghi, a friend of the Bush family, to remonstrate with the U.S. President before the war began.

After the United States began its attacks against Iraq, FOX News actually reported the immediate comments of the Holy Father, made in an address at the Vatican to members of an Italian religious television channel, Telespace: "When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society," John Paul said. "Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of man."

There are numerous occasions in which the Holy Father had come out against this war and calling for peace. Has he condemned it? And excommunicated anybody who supports it? No. But he has come out against it again and again, as many Catholic Cardinals and Bishops have, esp the Catholic bishops in Iraq who have to live through the war.
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« Reply #59 on: June 09, 2004, 05:51:13 PM »

Just more reasons why I am glad to no longer be a Roman Catholic......What really first started turning me off to Catholicism was when I was stationed at Ft. Benning and we had these "Ministry for social justice" types down there protesting saying we were training Central American Offcier Cadets to torture and all this other BS......I spent time training some of these guys at the School for the Americas and nothing could be further from the truth. It was and is all a bunch of bogus propaganda propegated by the same element within the Church who spawned "Liberation Ministries"....The Pope excommunicated the worst offending Jesuits in NIcaragua...but their sympathisers are still very active in the RCC in the US.

How many thousands more would have needed to be tortured and killed before the Vatican (afterall can we really be sure he is still calling the shots?) and the Pope would declare our invasion of Iraq "just"? After Uday and Qusay had a few years in charge maybe?

And your point about attacking Germany only after we were hit at Pearl Harbor only strengthens my argument for hitting Saddam after 9/11. No Saddam did not want to conquer the whole world...he only wanted to control the world's oil supply and tried doing this by first invading Iran and then Kuwait, using chemical weapons and subjegated millions with torture.
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« Reply #60 on: June 09, 2004, 06:06:01 PM »

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How many thousands more would have needed to be tortured and killed before the Vatican (afterall can we really be sure he is still calling the shots?) and the Pope would declare our invasion of Iraq "just"? After Uday and Qusay had a few years in charge maybe?

Let me remind you when Sadam was killing his own people we were his ally against Iran. I find it odd that we are so concerned about the Iraqi people, when not too long ago they meant nothing to us as we were suppling Sadam with weapons.

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And your point about attacking Germany only after we were hit at Pearl Harbor only strengthens my argument for hitting Saddam after 9/11.

How so? There has been no proof showing any connection between Sadam and 9-11, nor is there proof that Sadam is an ally of Al-Qaida. And let us not forget Sadam never once attacked America.

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No Saddam did not want to conquer the whole world...he only wanted to control the world's oil supply and tried doing this by first invading Iran and then Kuwait, using chemical weapons and subjegated millions with torture.

When he invaded Iran, we were suppling him with weapons and economic aid! It sure didn't bug us then that he was toruring millions of his own people and Iranians.


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« Reply #61 on: June 10, 2004, 08:16:56 AM »

Linus,

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Personally, I think the Catholic idea of "just war" is common sense.

St.Augustine's "just war theory", while eminantly Christian, places (unbeknownst to many) a very high bar to be met, in terms of justifying military action.  Honestly, I'm at a loss to see how any of the "big wars" (including the supposedly "good ones") thoroughly qualify as "just wars".

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I also think it is wrong to punish soldiers returning from combat by excluding them from Holy Communion or requiring them to confess to the sin of murder.

While I'm not quite sure it's strictly "punishment" and not also "therapy", however one wants to characterize it, the Church's tradition if applied strictly, mandates such "punishing" measures.

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Service in the military is honorable.

Too sweeping a statement, imho.  The practice of the virtues, and struggling for evangelical perfection, are honourable.  If one's military service (or whatever one's occupation is) allows for the excercise of such, then it to is honourable.

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« Reply #62 on: June 10, 2004, 08:24:00 AM »

Spartacus,

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By this definition the US fighting the Nazis was not a "Just War" either...you spout "Just War" a lot...

While bringing up the "Nazis" often serves as a boogeyman able to end all conversations, I do not shrink from them being brought up.  You're right, this wasn't a "just war".

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but are you familiar with what the Roman Catholc Church sets as criteria for a "Just War"...If you were you would understand why good people can have differing points of view. Self-defense is only one small part of that criteria...I don't have the literature here so I will take this mostly from memory to give you a general outline:

The Augustinian "just war theory" (thus it has relevence to the Orthodox Church as well, in so far as she chooses to heed St.Augustine's opinion on this matter) sets a very high bar for justifying military actions by Christian nations/peoples.

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The RCC teaches that all not all of these criteria must be met, it asks Catholics to consider these issues and then search their own conscience. Pope John Paul II declared the US war in Afghanistan as a "Just War". No such declaration has been made about Iraq, and the Pontiff has repeatedly called for Peace...but he has not condemned the US actions actions...again it is a matter for personal conscience.

Really?  John Paul II has been one of the harshest critics of the Iraq invasion.

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Some are willing to sacrifice so that others can be liberated from brutal oppression -- we call these people heroes.

While this sounds nice and falls into line with delusions of "manifest destiny" and American messianism, the truth is that what has happened in Iraq may cause a situation worse than what existed beforehand.  Without a continued military presence, the puppets put into power by the Americans will not last - there are many in Iraq who want to see it become "Iran part II", and the situation there is at least as explosive as it was in Iran in the days before the Shah (another American puppet) was thrown out of power and Iran became an Islamist theocracy.

If I remember correct, prudence is a Christian virtue - and zeal without knowledge is to be condemned.

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« Reply #63 on: June 10, 2004, 08:49:16 AM »

Ben,

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WWII, was a just war because we were attacked by Japan, and notice we didn't get involved until Pearl Harbor. As for the Nazi's, they were attacking our allies, they were the ally of those who attacked us, and provided support for those who attacked us, there is not doubt about that, where there is serious doubt that Sadam had any connection whatsoever to the 9-11 attacks.

Though I suspect I'll regret replying as I am about to, here are my honest thoughts on the examples you brought up...

- Pearl Harbour was America's "Reichstag Fire".  The Japanese attacked precisely because the U.S. had been interupting their oil supply line, and there is mounting evidence of prior awareness on the part of U.S. officials as to the planned retribution of the Japanese.  After this, it was not a hard sell in the least to get public support for a full on invasion of Japan, and by extension this helped justify engagement with Japan's allies (the Axis).

- While it is true that the Germans were at war with the Brits and had conquered the French (as well as trying to claim all Germanic territories, both those lost after the first world war, and others besides these), what is less known is that they had little interest in engaging the Brits - if anything they hard earlier desired them to be allies.  This becomes even easier to understand, when you consider that the house of "Windsor" itself is actually of very recent German extraction.  The current monarch for example (Queen Elizabeth II, coronated in '52)  is only the fourth monarch in this line, the "Windsor" name being adopted in the earlier part of the 20th century for obvious reasons (the hostile climate between Britain and Germany would hardly have tolerated obviously German rulers in the U.K.)  The original name of this line was Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha.

Further evidence of this tie to Germany, is the relatively recent controversy involving the late Queen Mother, when it became known that she was opposed to warring with Germany.  While in another context such misgivings over war would not seem so controversial, given that the Nazis have replaced satan and the demons in the popular/secular cosmology, it was a very controversial revelation.

As for the fruits of that war, consider that it resulted in the increase of Soviet power, including the subjegation of about 10 Christian nations, and allowed for the expansion of communism around the world (most conspicuously it's export to China which is still a menace.)  However noxious Hitler's brand of latently pagan nationalism was, it's hard for us to not agree with Churchill's oft repeated post-war regret that we "killed the wrong pig" (speaking of the Soviets.)

- As for 9-11/Iraq, you are right but I would state it even more emphatically; there is no credible evidence of an Iraq-9-11 connection.  However, those who say that Iraq sponsored terrorism would be correct if they qualified this by saying that Iraq was known to have sponsored guerilla groups like Hizbollah and Hamas; groups whose operations are limited to Israel, and not the United States.  This (and the power of the Israel lobby in the United States, and organized Zionists in general), as well as other vested interests explain the situation in Iraq, not the tragedy of New York some 2 + years ago.

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« Reply #64 on: June 10, 2004, 03:39:59 PM »

I am certainly grateful that most of the opinions expressed are the minority opinion in the US.

I do not want my children to live in a country that shirks its responsibility. God had blessed the United States with much. And that includes a wilingness to sacrifice its sons so that people in other nations might breathe free and have the opportunity to worship God without fear. The U.S. might not always get it right....but we try.... and more than any other nation in the world today are willing to sacrifice for people in other nations.

One can argue we were to back Saddam in his war against Iran...we were however engaged in a larger struggle against a greater evil -- The USSR. When that struggle ceased we opposed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, and rather than finish the job properly -- we relented to international pressure and allowed him to remain in power.

Our efforts and sacrifices in Iraq today are "pennance" to correct for those past mistakes....and anyone who thinks Iraq's new government is going to be US puppet, just is not reading the news....or has their head and thinking still stuck in the Cold War days.

I seem to be the only veteran on this board....what a blessed and peaceful time we live in that that is so....The US must be doing something right.
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« Reply #65 on: June 10, 2004, 03:53:46 PM »


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One can argue we were to back Saddam in his war against Iran...we were however engaged in a larger struggle against a greater evil -- The USSR. When that struggle ceased we opposed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, and rather than finish the job properly -- we relented to international pressure and allowed him to remain in power.

Exactly my point. When Sadam wasn't threating our oil interests, and could be used in some way to help us against the USSR, we didn't care he was torturing and murdering his own people. But as soon as Sadam becomes a threat, we act as if we are in this war to save the Iraqi people, whom meant nothing to us 20 years ago.

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Our efforts and sacrifices in Iraq today are "pennance" to correct for those past mistakes....

Really? I haven't heard this from the Bush administration.
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« Reply #66 on: June 10, 2004, 08:04:22 PM »

'I do not want my children to live in a country that shirks its responsibility."

But the underlying assumption to this is that it is our responsibility to fight wars of our own choosing, when and against whom we want to, and the rest of the world can jump in a lake for all we care.  That is a frightening way of viewing responsibility.

I believe that the United States, due to the unique situation it finds itself in today as a more or less unipolar hegemon, has the responsibility to use that power wisely.  Yes, we have the responsibility to lead, but the question on the table is how is that leadership to be exercised.  It is the opinion of many, both inside and outside the United States, that our responsibility to lead is something that, if we wish our goals to be met, must be done in the context of a broader global community and not virtually unilaterally.  To the extent that we act unilaterally (and acting in a way that major allies like France and Germany do not approve is tantamount to that), all we do in the end is diminish our own power and influence internationally, and thereby make those laudable goals that much harder to attain ... in short it is akin to cutting off our nose to spite our face.  Yes, we have some responsibility to lead, but we also have a responsibility to lead wisely lest we squander the unique position we have been given at this point in history.  In my opinion, the current administration has done much to undermine American power and influence around the world by its choices relating to Iraq.
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« Reply #67 on: June 11, 2004, 07:20:24 AM »

Spartacus,

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I do not want my children to live in a country that shirks its responsibility. God had blessed the United States with much.

Do you think He has blessed America with ownership of the nations of the world, that they implicitly have an obligation to their American masters or else?  Your whole line of reasoning implies that America has a right to police the world.

However, let us forgive this assumption for a moment, and even say it is legitimate - that America has not only the right, but obligation to impliment it's own version of the "Roman peace" (perhaps Pax Americana) around the globe.  Is that what is happening?  Only the most naive would agree.

Why have not the Americans landed in Rwanda and stayed?  Why are they not becoming aggressive with the Chinese?  Why has the U.S. had the distinction of being such good friends to so many anti-democratic, dictatorial regimes (Saddam included!  It was the Saddam who gassed his own people who was America's friend, after all!)?  It is so sad that so many good, idealistic Americans (though shameless naive as well) actually buy the idea being sold to them, that this is about "truth, justice and the American way".  How can it be so, when your country's whole engagement in this affair came about by lies and innuendo?

Weapons of Mass Destruction - where?!
Connection between Al-Queda and Iraqi Regime - where?!

The latter is particularly lamentable, since it betrays a grotesque ignorance on the part of most American civilians of the realities of the Middle East.  Saddam was a secularist, a Baathist.  Iraq was not an Islamic regime of any sort.  In fact of all of the Arab countries (including America's "allies", like Egypt and most notoriously Saudi Arabia) it was the only one to allow any real measure of religious freedom to it's resident Christians.  You cannot even bring a Bible into Saudi Arabia, Spartacus!  In Egypt, the persecution and murder of Copts is a regular (and unpunished) occurence, even implicitly encouraged by officials.  Yet these are "allies".

The likes of Al-Queda on the other hand, are hard core Islamists - the kind of "un-Islamic" regime that reigned in Iraq is precisely the kind of thing they despise existing in the heart of "Islamic territory".

I think the reality is, American officials were betting on the ignorance (and sadly, bigotry) of simple Americans - betting on the hope that they'd lump all of the "sand niggers" together, and that is precisely what happened.

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And that includes a wilingness to sacrifice its sons so that people in other nations might breathe free and have the opportunity to worship God without fear.

You honestly believe that is what this has been about?

Consider that now, in Iraq, Islam is constitutionally recognized as the "official religion" - Christianity has no standing whatsoever.  Now Christians are beginning to emigrate in droves from Iraq, and understandably so.  Iraq is well on it's way to becoming "Iran Part II", at least in the south of the country.

Even from a relativistic, "all religions are ok" point of view this is not religious freedom.  And it certainly is not allowing for the worship of the true God without fear, the All-Holy Trinity.

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The U.S. might not always get it right....but we try.... and more than any other nation in the world today are willing to sacrifice for people in other nations.

No, your government is willing to sacrifice your life for it's interests, but it is sold to you and your peers as a holy crusade.  It's despicable.  But I guess it's easy for draft dodging, arm-chair warriors to engage in such jingoistic statecraft.

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One can argue we were to back Saddam in his war against Iran...we were however engaged in a larger struggle against a greater evil -- The USSR. When that struggle ceased we opposed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, and rather than finish the job properly -- we relented to international pressure and allowed him to remain in power.

The first Gulf War was engaged in to protect Ameircan interests, not human rights or democratic freedom.  Kuwait is not a "free nation" in the sense you speak of.  Once the status quo was restored, the Americans left.  Bush Sr., for all of his faults, realized (and if you read his thoughts on the current war carefully, still realizes) that going further than this would create a worse situation than what currently existed.

As for your remark about a "larger war" with the USSR, etc. etc...what happened to all of that mom and apple pie baloney?   Pragmaticism allows the saviour of the world (sic) to make alliances with the devil?

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Our efforts and sacrifices in Iraq today are "pennance" to correct for those past mistakes....and anyone who thinks Iraq's new government is going to be US puppet, just is not reading the news....or has their head and thinking still stuck in the Cold War days.

I agree with you here - it will not remain a puppet for long, since it will either be forced to accomodate radical Islam, or will be desposed of and replaced outright with an Islamist regime.  A wonderful improvement, and worth all of the body bags coming back home!  Round aboutly, American sons were fighting a jihad against Arab Secularism.

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« Reply #68 on: June 11, 2004, 09:49:38 AM »

Spartacus,Do you think He has blessed America with ownership of the nations of the world, that they implicitly have an obligation to their American masters or else?  Your whole line of reasoning implies that America has a right to police the world.
Only someone who has never served as one of the "policemen" would consider this a "right". It is a duty...a sacrifice for those serving.

We all have a duty to help our fellow man. The United States with its wealth and power has a collective duty to help the world where it can.

1.)That is why we give more in foreign aid than all other nations combined.

2.)That is why we stood up to and defeated the Soviet Union.

3.)That is why the US military is consatntly called on by the UN and peoples all over the world to try to bring peace and stability to regions where war, oppression and abuses reign.

The US regualrly deploys to countries most Americans can not even find on a map. To think that US military power should be exercised only under the guidance of the UN given the history of the UN and the fact that it is usually the US providing most of the militarty power to the major UN deployments -- is ludicrous given the fact that most UN members countries are run by dictatorial regimes. The US has a right to act independantly to defend itself, liberate the opressed and correct wrongs where we find them and deem it practicable for us to act.

American masters?...quite the opposite.... American servants...servants of God and servants of the people of the world.
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« Reply #69 on: June 11, 2004, 09:59:09 AM »

In my opinion, the current administration has done much to undermine American power and influence around the world by its choices relating to Iraq.
I quite disagree.
The US has shown the world that the current administartion means what it says and says what it means and is not afraid to act -- even if the whole world disagrees.....and look they are now start8ng to come around...The UN security Council, embarassed at the succes the US has achieved with only Britain as a major ally after the UN refused to back up its 14 resolutions with any action, is now endorsing the newly installed provisional government in Iraq.....Look ahead ten years and imagine how, if we remain committed, Iraq will be so improved over where it was and where it is even today.

The same negative things were said about Reagan in the 80s....now Gorbachev, his opponent, hails Reagan's approach. Today we have Putin condemning the Democrats as "two faced" given their support for US actions in the Balkans.
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« Reply #70 on: June 11, 2004, 11:59:31 AM »

and look they are now start8ng to come around...The UN security Council, embarassed at the succes the US has achieved with only Britain as a major ally after the UN refused to back up its 14 resolutions with any action, is now endorsing the newly installed provisional government in Iraq

Actually what is happening is that the American administration is desparately looking for an exit strategy relating to the debacle in Iraq, and  clearly the UN was the only feasible way, and so it started to engage the UN again.  And because the administration *needed* the UN this time to help it disengage from Iraq, it was showing flexibility to the other Security Council members, and that is why we have a new resolution ... the Americans showed flexibility because they desparately wanted a certain result, thanks to the foolhardiness of this needless war of choice.  

Noone can predict the future with any degree of certitude, but if we expect Iraq to become like Germany and Japan we are engaging in a deliberate excercise of self-delusion.  Best case, a fractured, oligarchal state that kowtows to Islamic fundamentalists.  Worst case, another Yugoslavia in the Middle East, complete with another mini Iran in the south, A kurdish statelet in the North that only serves to antagonize our Turkish allies and a shrunken, yet angry and well-armed, mass of Sunni Arabs in the middle who arent going to put up with it.  And, of course, a substantial growth in the level of terrorist influence throughout Iraq.  So much for the war on terror.

But alas maybe we are just marking time in any case, waiting for the next disaster to happen in Saudi Arabia, our ill-chosen ally.  The Saudi monarchy will collapse at some point, and unless we change our policies toward Saudi and try to get the country to change into something we would like it to look like, we are really looking at Iran Part II.    Bah!  Our policies have nada to do with freedom.  Look at Saudi, it is an oppressive regime, a true monarchy, rife with nepotism and completely oppresssive to women ... and what do we give them?  Privileged access to our Secretary of Defense and the President, and as many weapons as they would like to buy.  So much for freedom.

We need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to our Middle Eastern policy, and the current situation is not helping to advance our objectives in this region.
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« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2004, 03:06:50 PM »

We need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to our Middle Eastern policy, and the current situation is not helping to advance our objectives in this region.

Iraq is perfectly situated for basing miliatry assets possibly required to confront Syria, Iran and or even Saudi Arabia if that Kingdom goes down...which is quite beneficial given how people in that region are only cooperative when one has a side by one's side when negotiating.

George Bush always wanted the UN with us in Iraq...it was the UN lead by nations like France, Germany and Russia, whose companies had very lucrative but illegal contracts with Saddam, that were satisfied just to pass resolutions and never back them up. I would not be at all surprised to learn some years from now, the most recent UN vote came about along with a US promise not to divluge Iraqi documents that would have been very embarassing to certain governments in France, Germany and Russia. Oh and by the way -- Russians, French and Germans are not well liked amongst most Iraqis. The Iraqi people know all too well how those nations propped Saddam up and helped keep him afloat. American presence on the other hand is in fact welcomed by the majority. Yes they have complaints....but most of the anti-American rhetoric -- when one talks to Iraqis personally -- is born out of shame. Shame they needed the US to oust Saddam. Shame they did not do it themsleves. Shame their Arab "brothers" allowed them to suffer under his rule.

In that part of the wolrd the only thing respected is military might and the willingness to use it. Muslims have long thought they could count on Christians to sell them our own mothers for the right price....they have long thought we could be terrorized into submission. Let's pray we hold the course and don't go the way of the Spaniards who were cowared by terrorism.
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« Reply #72 on: June 11, 2004, 04:01:54 PM »

I didnt read all the posts so i am going to reply only to the original question. I am joining the army in august and will be guaranteed an armor slot 19kilo this is a combat arms slot obviously and i discussed the issue with my priest. Essentially what he said is that what you need to avoid as a soldier is a desire to kill the enemy but do it only with reluctance and as a necessity. We didnt address the issue of what will happen if i were to kill someone in combat but he did say i had to confess to murder if i did.
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« Reply #73 on: June 11, 2004, 04:14:29 PM »

I didnt read all the posts so i am going to reply only to the original question. I am joining the army in august and will be guaranteed an armor slot 19kilo this is a combat arms slot obviously and i discussed the issue with my priest. Essentially what he said is that what you need to avoid as a soldier is a desire to kill the enemy but do it only with reluctance and as a necessity. We didnt address the issue of what will happen if i were to kill someone in combat but he did say i had to confess to murder if i did.

Might I advise that one enter into service not with a desire to kill but with a desire to serve. And if killing should be necessary you view it as just that -- necessary -- whether it be in cold blood or hot. There are always one or two goof balls in every unit though who get off on the killing aspect...and that is what is to be avoided...Those goof balls often turn out to be cowards when the metal hits the meat though.

While training, get into it with everything you have -- body and soul, allow yourslef to be formed first into a doldier and then as part of a unit. You will become a better man and a better Christian as a result.

May God Bless you and keep you and bring you home safely.

And don't be standing in the loader's hatch when you go over rough terrain.
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« Reply #74 on: June 13, 2004, 02:29:08 AM »

Quote from: spartacus
While training, get into it with everything you have -- body and soul, allow yourslef to be formed first into a doldier and then as part of a unit. [b
You will become a better man and a better Christian as a result.[/b]
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Military training is just that--it creates military personnel ready to carry out military missions. The military is all about the Mission.
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« Reply #75 on: June 13, 2004, 02:32:08 AM »

I agree with Fotina.
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« Reply #76 on: June 14, 2004, 06:53:39 PM »

Military training is just that--it creates military personnel ready to carry out military missions. The military is all about the Mission.


Yes, but one learns much about oneslef and his fellow man...at least one used to before the days of the mamby pamby co-ed basic training...But Armor is still all-male and I suspect at its core it has remained true.
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« Reply #77 on: June 14, 2004, 06:57:48 PM »

You know, I have men in my family who are in the army, marines, and the navy, some of them are actually in Iraq. Many of the them are good Christians, but they all have the same feelings about war and about the chance of them having to kill someone; "kill, or be killed", "better them than me".

I have also heard this same mentality from other soliders and veterans in person and on television.

How is such a mentality compatible with Christianity?
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« Reply #78 on: June 15, 2004, 12:38:08 PM »


How is such a mentality compatible with Christianity?

Would Christianity have survived to this day without this menatlity?

Did Christ not teach to give Caesar what is Caesar's? Yes he was referring to money but one can reasonably interpret this to mean service as well.

Christ ministered to the Roman Centurians. He did not admonish them or tell them to stop serving Caesar. In fact he even pointed out one Roman officer as having more faith than all those in Israel. In the Jewish tradition, killing an enemy in combat is nowhere near equal to comitting murder. Christ tells us to love our enemies...so what happens when we shower them with food and medical services and other aid...and they attack innocents? What happens when we continue to give them aid even after the first attack, the second, the third, the fourth....when does one run out of cheeks to turn and feel the compulsion to act in defense of his country and family? When is being a conscious objector (co) really mean being a coward? Many highly decorated and brave medics and corpsmen have been COs.

Yes one can be a consciencous objector and that can be respectable...but a nation of such people would not long last.

 
If powerful Armies are to exist, I much prefer they be populated by Christian men rather than Muslims or Aetheists. Don't you?
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« Reply #79 on: June 15, 2004, 01:04:00 PM »

Would Christianity have survived to this day without this menatlity?

Did Christ not teach to give Caesar what is Caesar's? Yes he was referring to money but one can reasonably interpret this to mean service as well.

Christ ministered to the Roman Centurians. He did not admonish them or tell them to stop serving Caesar. In fact he even pointed out one Roman officer as having more faith than all those in Israel. In the Jewish tradition, killing an enemy in combat is nowhere near equal to comitting murder. Christ tells us to love our enemies...so what happens when we shower them with food and medical services and other aid...and they attack innocents? What happens when we continue to give them aid even after the first attack, the second, the third, the fourth....when does one run out of cheeks to turn and feel the compulsion to act in defense of his country and family? When is being a conscious objector (co) really mean being a coward? Many highly decorated and brave medics and corpsmen have been COs.

Yes one can be a consciencous objector and that can be respectable...but a nation of such people would not long last.

 
If powerful Armies are to exist, I much prefer they be populated by Christian men rather than Muslims or Aetheists. Don't you?

One of my great-uncles was a conscientious (sp?) objector during WWII.  He was a medic in Italy.  He saw things that you and I can't even imagine.  

I suppose since you are in the military (I'm assuming) that you feel the very strong need to turn the conflict in Iraq into a 'good vs. evil' conflict.  I can understand psychologically why that's important to you.  I'm sure that if I were in your position I probably would feel the same need.  However, the facts aren't quite as neat and tidy as you make them appear.  

In law we have the idea of 'unclean hands,' meaning that if you are not totally innocent you can't get an equitable remedy against your opponent.  The US does not have 'clean hands' so has no right to get on a high horse and talk about the death of innocents.  We know that Saddam murdered his own people while he was an ally of the US.  Our intelligence services knew what he was up to and didn't care.  Where was the outrage about the death of innocents then?  

Moreover the US has caused the death of innocents itself so has no moral right to be superior.  What about the Dresden bombing or Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  IMHO the latter two are morally defensible while the former is not.

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« Reply #80 on: June 15, 2004, 01:29:00 PM »

"The US does not have 'clean hands' so has no right to get on a high horse and talk about the death of innocents."

Yes, very true.  Iran was our pariah-du-jour at the time, to be sure, but our support for Saddam's regime, in fact our facilitation of its power consolidation, seriously undermines our ability to claim the high moral ground here.

We also have no right to be preaching about democracy and human rights in the Middle East when our strongest Arab ally is the most notiriously anti-democratic and repressive regime in the region ... namely Saudi Arabia.  How can we talk about the importance of democracy in Iraq while everyone knows that we are cosy with a true mideval monarchy who has more oppressive and restrictive religiously-inspired laws than Iran does?  Our whole Middle Eastern policy is built on a foundation of sand (pun intended) and needs to be reconsidered from the ground up.
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« Reply #81 on: June 15, 2004, 02:38:26 PM »

Would Christianity have survived to this day without this menatlity?

Did Christ not teach to give Caesar what is Caesar's? Yes he was referring to money but one can reasonably interpret this to mean service as well.

Christ ministered to the Roman Centurians. He did not admonish them or tell them to stop serving Caesar. In fact he even pointed out one Roman officer as having more faith than all those in Israel. In the Jewish tradition, killing an enemy in combat is nowhere near equal to comitting murder. Christ tells us to love our enemies...so what happens when we shower them with food and medical services and other aid...and they attack innocents? What happens when we continue to give them aid even after the first attack, the second, the third, the fourth....when does one run out of cheeks to turn and feel the compulsion to act in defense of his country and family? When is being a conscious objector (co) really mean being a coward? Many highly decorated and brave medics and corpsmen have been COs.

Yes one can be a consciencous objector and that can be respectable...but a nation of such people would not long last.

 
If powerful Armies are to exist, I much prefer they be populated by Christian men rather than Muslims or Aetheists. Don't you?

I understand that such a mentality has helped many nations and peoples survive, but that wasn't my question.

Regardless of how this mentality has been so much apart of human beings and our history of survival, is such a mentality Christian? If one examines the teachings of Jesus the answer is simply no.

The whole point of being a Christian is overcoming our passions and temptations and giving our lives to Christ and striving to be more and more like Him everyday, and I don't see how one can do that in an environment that teaches you to hate your enemy, to want to kill you enemy, and to leave as the winner.

When it comes down to it war is simply about you winning, about you killing, about you surviving by means of destroying lives and even whole civilizations, and that is hardly compatible with the message of Christ.

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« Reply #82 on: June 15, 2004, 02:57:18 PM »

Ben,

All one needs to do is count the number of saints venerated, in both east and west, that were soldiers of war.

I need not list them, as a google search will undoubtly come up with a load of them.

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« Reply #83 on: June 15, 2004, 03:05:25 PM »

Yes very true, but aren't most of those Saints ones that died fighting for Christ? For the Church? Whether they were or not, it still remains that the battlefield is not a place to advance in Christian morals and virtues, in my opinion.
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« Reply #84 on: June 15, 2004, 05:31:31 PM »

"The US does not have 'clean hands' so has no right to get on a high horse and talk about the death of innocents."

Yes, very true.  Iran was our pariah-du-jour at the time, to be sure, but our support for Saddam's regime, in fact our facilitation of its power consolidation, seriously undermines our ability to claim the high moral ground here.

We also have no right to be preaching about democracy and human rights in the Middle East when our strongest Arab ally is the most notiriously anti-democratic and repressive regime in the region ... namely Saudi Arabia.  How can we talk about the importance of democracy in Iraq while everyone knows that we are cosy with a true mideval monarchy who has more oppressive and restrictive religiously-inspired laws than Iran does?  Our whole Middle Eastern policy is built on a foundation of sand (pun intended) and needs to be reconsidered from the ground up.

I totally agree.
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« Reply #85 on: June 16, 2004, 09:30:42 AM »

What about the Dresden bombing or Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  IMHO the latter two are morally defensible while the former is not.

Dresden was an entirely British affair...planned and carried out entirely by the British.

Taken on the whole, in the last 100 years the US has done much more good than evil with its military force. The world is a better place because we wield military might. It degenerates when we shrink from using it when it is appropriate....or run due to a lack of resolve.
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« Reply #86 on: June 16, 2004, 09:33:15 AM »

Yes very true, but aren't most of those Saints ones that died fighting for Christ? For the Church? .

OK so you are willing to kill for Christ or your Church -- but not your fellow man who lives in bondage and opression, or to protect innocents from terror and murder -- sounds real Christian to me.
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« Reply #87 on: June 16, 2004, 10:00:40 AM »

Dresden was an entirely British affair...planned and carried out entirely by the British.

Sorry but that's not true.  The US Air Force participated in the bombing.  See the attached link (btw, one that calls opinions like mine "anti-american").  http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/dresden.htm

Quote
Taken on the whole, in the last 100 years the US has done much more good than evil with its military force. The world is a better place because we wield military might. It degenerates when we shrink from using it when it is appropriate....or run due to a lack of resolve.

How can you make such a sweeping statement when you don't even know the history?
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« Reply #88 on: June 16, 2004, 10:06:20 AM »

OK so you are willing to kill for Christ or your Church -- but not your fellow man who lives in bondage and opression, or to protect innocents from terror and murder -- sounds real Christian to me.

"Lives in bomdage and oppression?"  What does this mean exactly?  That they don't have democracy?  Does the Church teach that democracy is the only valid form of government?  No.  The pre-revolution Russian peasants were living in "bondage and oppression" (no democracy, no freedom of religion, etc.) but their tsar was Orthodox and probably a saint.  Was it "real Christian" to support the overthrow of the tsar?  What about the French revolution?  

"Protect innocents from terror and murder..."  This could be an argument for overthrowing the US government.  Our government has support "terror and murder."  We supported Saddam.  He murdered innocents while he was an ally of ours.  He probably carried out his terror with weapons supplied by the US or by US funds.  The US itself has killed innocents and has sat by and allowed other dictators to kill innocents.  

It seems to me that if protecting innocents is the primary concern the US ought to be overthrown.
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« Reply #89 on: June 16, 2004, 10:44:20 AM »

Quote
OK so you are willing to kill for Christ or your Church -- but not your fellow man who lives in bondage and opression, or to protect innocents from terror and murder -- sounds real Christian to me.


Ah, the foundation of Liberation Theology.  Are you sure you're not a Jesuit?
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« Reply #90 on: June 16, 2004, 10:51:06 AM »


Taken on the whole, in the last 100 years the US has done much more good than evil with its military force. The world is a better place because we wield military might. It degenerates when we shrink from using it when it is appropriate....or run due to a lack of resolve.

I think it is really mixed.  Our most significant military engagement after WWII -- our ill-conceived foray into Southeast Asia -- achieved nothing but lost lives.  Our engagement in Korea was arguably more successful but in the end simply led to a 50 year heavily-armed, tense stalemate.  Other engagements have been either tiny and somewhat silly (see, Grenada), or larger and more debacle-like (see, Somalia, engagements in Haiti) or simply dumb (see Kosovo, Bosnia).  The most significant achievement of American foreign policy in the post WWII era, the triumph over the Soviet Union in Europe, was achieved without a hot war, something which argues in favor of using a strong military as a way to project force without actually firing the guns.  The successful prosecution of the first Gulf War could be deemed a success of sorts, but created the situation that led to another war.

Wars are best avoided.  Can they always be avoided?  No.  But they are best avoided.  Bad things happen in wars, atrocities are almost always committed, whether in Dresden, My Lai or Abu Ghraib.  We should be very, very reluctant to use wars as a means of conducting foreign policy, that is an antiquated way of looking at the military, and a crass and inhumane one as well.  When all else fails, then war is a grudging last resort, a necessary evil to combat the gravest of threats.  What we see with this little adventure of ours, by contrast, is that the current administration was bent on attacking Iraq regardless of the real threat ... the decision did not hang on that threat assessment, rather the threat assessment was used to justify a decision for war that had essentially already been made.  And by the time the diplomatic process was begun in earnest, the war train was already leaving the station.  That is the backwards way to conduct sound foreign policy, and an abuse of our power.  In the medium term it will only serve to diminish American power, and make the world a less stable, more dangerous place.

Brendan

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« Reply #91 on: June 16, 2004, 11:43:58 AM »

I think it is really mixed.  Our most significant military engagement after WWII -- our ill-conceived foray into Southeast Asia -- achieved nothing but lost lives.  Our engagement in Korea was arguably more successful but in the end simply led to a 50 year heavily-armed, tense stalemate.

I won't get into Viet Nam...being born at Ft. Benning during the height of that war and spending my early years among the soldiers and families who were giving their all -- Let me just say that our failure --our national failure led to the Killing Fields in Cambodia where 6 million died -- such is the price for engaging in war and not having the resolve to do what is needed militarily rather than what is politically expedient.

As for Korea.....All of Korea would be a slave state now if we had not interceded....today we drive Korean cars.

The US Marshal plan and occupations of Europe and Japan prevented a third world war. Our stand in the 80s stopped communism in Central America and rolled it right back to Cuba's shores. Our military build up and readiness for war led directly to the fall of the Soviet Union and freedoms for the Church in Eastern Europe....these are all things that would never have been accomplished if the peacniks and appeasers would have prevailed.

Peace through strength is a proven strategy.
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« Reply #92 on: June 16, 2004, 12:05:41 PM »

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Peace through strength is a proven strategy.

There is a marked difference between Peace Through Strength, which is we President Reagan focused on, and Peace Through War, which is what President Bush is doing.
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« Reply #93 on: June 16, 2004, 03:32:01 PM »

OK so you are willing to kill for Christ or your Church -- but not your fellow man who lives in bondage and opression, or to protect innocents from terror and murder -- sounds real Christian to me.

Did you read the rest of my post?

I said if they did or not, the fact remains that the battlefeild is not a place to advance in Christian morals and virtures.
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« Reply #94 on: June 16, 2004, 08:52:35 PM »

I am certainly grateful that most of the opinions expressed are the minority opinion in the US.

Well, we shall see come this November...I've seen a lot of "ANYBODY BUT BUSH IN 'O4" bumper stickers lately....

Would Christianity have survived to this day without this ["kill or be killed"] menatlity?

Seems to me Christianity did just fine for itself while under periods of severe Roman persecution -- not only surviving, but growing, both in intensity and numbers.

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Christ ministered to the Roman Centurians. He did not admonish them or tell them to stop serving Caesar.

True, though one can hardly make an argument from what Christ did not say.  If I were to go that route, I could mention that Christ said to love your enemies, to pray for those who despitefully use you, who abuse you...period.  

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In fact he even pointed out one Roman officer as having more faith than all those in Israel.

None of which has the slightest to do with warfare.

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In the Jewish tradition, killing an enemy in combat is nowhere near equal to comitting murder.

Wonderful.  Shall we then defer to the Jewish tradition in terms of kids who backtalk (death), adultery (death), folks who wear cotton/polyester blend and have pepperoni and cheese pizza (can't be admitted to religious services)?  We've moved on from the Jewish traditions.

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Christ tells us to love our enemies...so what happens when we shower them with food and medical services and other aid...and they attack innocents?

In the case of this administration, apparently, they drop the fa+ºade of supposed christian goodwill and invade.  As I said before, Christ said to love your enemies, and left it at that.  Not, "love your enemies...but only initially, 'cause if they don't come around, well, you've gotta protect your interests, so..." :cwm1:
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« Reply #95 on: June 17, 2004, 07:53:13 AM »

"I won't get into Viet Nam...being born at Ft. Benning during the height of that war and spending my early years among the soldiers and families who were giving their all -- Let me just say that our failure --our national failure led to the Killing Fields in Cambodia where 6 million died -- such is the price for engaging in war and not having the resolve to do what is needed militarily rather than what is politically expedient."

I am not criticizing the soldiers who fought and died there, most of them were conscripts in any case, but the policy of the war was silly.  

"As for Korea.....All of Korea would be a slave state now if we had not interceded....today we drive Korean cars."

And we achieved a nasty, ongoing stalemate, pretty much the same situation when we intervened.  It's a case of treading water, nothing more than that.

"The US Marshal plan and occupations of Europe and Japan prevented a third world war."

Ah, but the key is that this was peace through strength, rather than peace through fighting.  Once the fighting starts, you've lost the leverage that peace through strength gets you, you've spent it.  Peace through strength is a policy that uses mililtary strength to create diplomatic leverage and project power.  The current fools in the administration have it 100% backwards, and seriously misunderstand the peace through strength policy that was so successful in the cold war era.

"Our stand in the 80s stopped communism in Central America"

Did it?  Nicaragua is still communist, as is Cuba.  And at what cost?  The cost was the complete destruction of American credibility in Latin America, thanks to the fact that we supported practically every right-wing, neo-fascist dictator there for an extended period.  Sometimes I wonder how dense our policy makers really are ... we are constantly finding ourselves supporting governments that are unsupportable, whether in Iran, South Vietnam, Cuba or Nicaragua ... and now Saudi Arabia.  It seems like we will never learn our lesson.

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« Reply #96 on: June 18, 2004, 12:25:33 AM »


Did it?  Nicaragua is still communist,

Check your facts on this one friend...the Sandinistas have been history for some time now.
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« Reply #97 on: June 18, 2004, 08:46:33 AM »

Check your facts on this one friend...the Sandinistas have been history for some time now.

The Sandinistas are the leading opposition party today, actually, but the government practices in Nicaragua are still broadly socialist in nature, thanks in significant part to the continuing influence of the Sandinistas on government policy there.  It isn't Chile.  What's different is that we just don't care very much any more what happens there, it has ceased to be a pawn for us.  And, in any case, the Sandinistas themselves allowed political pluralism, and accepted the results of that, and not as a result of the CIA mining the harbors or other misguided US policies during the 80s.
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