Monthly Archives: November 2015

“You Can’t Win By Playing Defense”

“You can’t win by playing defense. You must take the war to the enemy — without restraint. If you’re not determined to win at any cost, you’ll lose…

…War is never clean or easy…Collateral damage and civilian casualties are part of combat and always will be. The most humane approach is to pile on fast and win decisively…

…The generals who won World War II would start by leveling Raqqa, the ISIS caliphate’s capital. Civilians would die, but those remaining in Raqqa have embraced ISIS, as Germans did Hitler.”

So, kill ’em all, says the retired military officer.

Aggressive wars. Fought without restraint. At any cost — financially or in terms of human life. Fought not against combatants but “the enemy.” This is the American military mentality and sums up 20th century warfare. All horror is justified in the name of “winning” based on some completely theoretical and speculative and imaginary number of people who were “saved” as a result of whatever action was taken. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Christian Just War Theory.

I would love, just once, for one of these people to define what “winning” looks like in the War on Terror, let alone in a post-nuclear age. That would be interesting.



Manhattan Project Park

I believe stories like this, lauding nuclear weapons and defending our supposed need for them, will likely become more prevalent in the ensuing weeks and months in an effort to gain support for their use.

New Mexico Community Marks Opening of Manhattan Project Park, ABC News, November 11, 2015










The Pledge in Church?

The controversy at Seattle Pacific University.

If you want to say the pledge, why do you have to do it in church? That’s not a normal part of most Christian worship services. Why don’t you just stand up afterwards and invite people who want to participate in something patriotic to a small, private service out the by the flagpole, and those who wish to participate in that can then do so?

This is, in fact, what I had to do when I was a part of a peace group in church! We were not allowed to incorporate our prayers for peace into the liturgy, not even on January 1st, which is a feast day in the Catholic Church know as World Peace Day — not even then! Oh, no. People would get offended, you know! It was too controversial, all this talk about peace in the house of God, who is the Prince of Peace. We were relegated to an outside gathering after church at the peace pole, and those who wanted to join us, could. We were allowed to stand up after Mass and invite people to come join us in a rosary. Most people were more interested in brunch, of course. But our peace group, being peaceful, did not complain.

What is funny is that the people at SPU who objected to getting roped into participating in some kind of collective patriotic expression in a sacred space are being branded the whiny, too easily offended liberal sort; but isn’t it just as whiny to say that you are offended when other people wish not to participate in your honor ceremonies and theatrics that have nothing to do with worship of God, which is what a church is for? When people say, “No thanks” to this kind of thing, and object to it being foisted upon them, those people who want everyone to join in their patriotic ritual become apoplectic with righteous indignation!

As we’ve always said at CAM, Christian churches should be preserved as sacred spaces. We applaud the folks at SPU who had the courage to speak out and we hope this is a sign that after more than a decade of war, Christians are finally starting to get tired of this kind of thing and are going to start speaking out more and saying, “Enough already.”

Our “Just” Wars

“I think that if there is one truth that people need to learn, in the world, especially today, it is this: the intellect is only theoretically independent of desire and appetite in ordinary, actual practice. It is constantly being blinded and perverted by the ends and aims of passion, and the evidence it presents to us with such a show of impartiality and objectivity is fraught with interest and propaganda. We have become marvelous at self-delusion; all the more so, because we have gone to such trouble to convince ourselves of our own absolute infallibility. The desires of the flesh — and by that I mean not only sinful desires, but even the ordinary, normal appetites for comfort and ease and human respect, are fruitful sources of every kind of error and misjudgment, and because we have these yearnings in us, our intellects (which, if they operated all alone in a vacuum, would indeed, register with pure impartiality what they saw) present to us everything distorted and accommodated to the norms of our desire.” Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Authority: “Love Your Enemies”

“When it comes to accepting God’s own authority about things that cannot possible by known in any other way except as revealed by His authority, people consider it insanity to incline their ears and listen. Things that cannot be known in any other way, they will not accept from this source. And yet they will meekly and passively accept the most appalling lies from newspapers when they scarcely need to crane their necks to see the truth in front of them, over the top of the sheet they are holding in their hands.” — Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain