Monthly Archives: August 2015

DoD’s latest “Law of War”

Now journalists who report things that the government doesn’t like (things that are critical of the government and/or military) can be detailed indefinitely. It’s the latest update to the Pentagon’s “Law of War” manual. But no worries; I’m sure everything will go back to normal as soon as this undeclared, unwinnable “war” is over.


Retreat for Veterans

I am not sure if they are doing it again this year, but someone sent this to me and I thought it was worth posting.

A Retreat for Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts at Blue Cliff Monastery, November 5-9, 2014

It looks like they also offer the opportunity to sponsor a veteran!

The retreat last year appears to have been led by a former soldier turned monk: Brother Phap Uyen. Here’s an article that features him from the Huffington Post.

Military Kids at Risk

Study: Military Children More Prone to Risky Behavior

“The fact that military and nonmilitary kids are different is certainly meaningful,” she said. “But we don’t know what it might be about military experience that’s producing these differences.”

Hm. Maybe children need two parents, a mom and a dad, and having one parent deployed for months or years at a time is not the best thing for them. Or could it have something to do with the high rates of alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse among adults in the military? Of course wars place a great strain on soldiers and their families, which can lead to family disintegration, mental health disorders, and suicide. All of this should be perfectly obvious.  But it seems impolite to actually talk about it, doesn’t it?



Obedience to Authority (1974)

During the years 1960-1963 Stanley Milgram carried out some experiments on obedience while working in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Years later, in 1972-1973 he was granted a Fellowship and, while sojourning in Paris, he condensed in a book the results and reflections on those experiments that had already been presented in a shorter form in various scientific journals.

In 1974 a book by the title Obedience to Authority was published. It makes chilling reading because it unmasks, in the crudest and clearest possible way, the weaknesses of human nature. In fact it shows us that human nature is a very flexible bundle of tendencies and that those tendencies that are highly regarded in our mass society (e.g. loyalty, duty, and discipline) are potentially the most dangerous for the survival of humanity and humankind as they can be used for making people to commit the most heinous actions whenever specific conditions are in place.

And the conditions are (a) the concentration of power in individuals and institutions that circumfuse themselves with an aura of professional authority that puts them beyond moral questioning; (b) the neglect, for the mass of people, of the development of critical faculties made possible through the monopolistic use of the means of communication and education as instruments of propaganda and manipulation, at the service of the Church power in the past and of the state power in the present.

Go here to read the first chapter.


I guess I’m on a Pope Benedict XV kick.  Check out this interesting article, “Snubbed: Pope Benedict XV and Cardinal James Gibbons.”

“Cardinal Gibbons never made it for the papal conclave in which Giacomo della Chiesa became Pope Benedict XV. Arriving just hours late, he did become the first to have an audience with the new pope. Yet on his return from the trip, he began immediately a course of politics that, while publicly deferential to Benedict, was in opposition to the pope.”

Get this!

“As April of 1917 and the U.S. entrance into the war drew near, Gibbons stepped up his  campaign to be a public voice on behalf of President Wilson. Despite criticism, he endorsed a plan for universal military service. (It is significant here that in September of 1917 Benedict lobbied for a ‘general boycott in sanction against any nation that might attempt to reestablish obligatory military service.’) Gibbons also publicly backed, in the New York Times, Wilson’s ‘preparedness campaign”’of military build-up. And so, even a day before the formal declaration of war on Germany came, Gibbons was ready with a prepared statement. The statement, of course, made no mention of Benedict’s condemnation of the proliferation of the war. Yet he didn’t need to make mention of this; it was clear how Gibbons expected Catholics of American stripe to proceed during this time of national crisis. Far from obedience to the words of the pontiff, who had taught in Ad beatissimi that “[t]here is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism,” Gibbons had other instructions for U.S. Catholics. “The primary duty of a citizen,” Gibbons taught, “is loyalty to country. It is exhibited by an absolute and unreserved obedience to his country’s call.”

Alright, Gibbons, sorry but reading about your militaristic antics has just landed you on my new “Catholics For Militarism” Pinterest board (alongside Gemelli)!