reply to post by Sashromi
Thanks for another great and informative reply my friend.
First I sure do want to say so that it is clear I don't oppose Chaplains in the Military...Father McAhee was my favorite character on M.A.S.H.!
People of this country have a right to practice the religion of their choice in the manner of their choosing as long as it does not infringe upon the
powers of the State or risk it's Health and Welfare. Simply put a Santeria Priest has a right to kill a Chicken as a sacrifice to Chango...He
doesn't have a right to keep or kill that Chicken in a place or condition that the raising and slaughter of poultry would present a health hazard. He
doesn't have a right to make you or me attend it. He doesn't have a right to make the State make you and me attend it.
People's religious beliefs play an important part in the quality of their lives and happiness and productivity.
Moral is crucial in the military and whether it's badminton rackets, Oreo s, the latest Car and Truck Magazine from Home, a Thanks Giving Turkey or a
Chaplain to seek spiritual council with the Men and Women in the Military truly deserve every thing we can give them. They put their lives on the line
for our State whether it's a just war or not, the citizen soldier doesn't decide who to go to war against or when, the politicians do that through a
Constitutionally subscribed process. The military do deserve access and unfettered access to Chaplains who respect and appreciate the basis of their
individual religion and needs or just to hear more about religion at a time in their life they feel it might have some comforting value that enhances
their moral in a difficult situation.
I want the Politicians to follow the Constitution when deciding to go to War, just like I want the Chaplains to adhere to it, and their own Shared
Code of Ethical Conduct just like my fellow citizens expect me as a member of the State to adhere to the Constitution and the Laws and my business's
Shared Code of Ethical Conduct.
This one Chaplain didn't do that. The base's commanders did step in and confiscate the specially printed foreign language versions of the Bible he
gave out to them before they were handed out and thankfully no Afghanistan Laws were broken as a result of that. Someone did tape it though, and that
tape got out and it got to the Islamic Media that broadcast the tape, and created a perception that this conduct was going on and was permissible
within the Armed Forces which despite what many respondents to the threat would like to think to the contrary it truly is not permissible in the Armed
services which is why the wise Base Commander stopped those Bibles from being handed out.
I agree with you my friend that we have a moral obligation to both Iraq and Afghanistan both of which had functional and well ordered governments
before we invaded them, that I like many people not from those cultures as well as some people from and living in those cultures would not want to
live under. In large part our greatest American principal has always been to say, alright...give us those people, be the tired, poor, hungry or
oppressed, if they want a free way of life and the right to self determine their own existence, to be able to pray to who they want, how they want,
where they want, work or educate themselves at and in what ever they want...please let them come here and add to the melting pot of people, ideals,
philosophies and cultures that has made America the strongest and most diverse Country on Earth for that very reason. We aren't one people, a
Christian people, we are all people, proving that we can each can contribute through our differences without attempting to solely dominate all others
because of our individual differences.
Stronger and better enforced sanctions through the United Nations might have worked with Iraq, the Taliban offered to turn over Osama Bin Laden if we
would provide proof of his complicity. Canada or France would have asked for the same before extraditing someone from their country to ours. Some
European Countries and Canada won't extradite Criminals that might face the Death Penalty, when that happens we don't bomb Canada or make Canada
complicit in their crimes. We had a lot of unexplored options to formulate solutions that were peaceful and respectful of the innocent placed into
harms way who have suffered and died and will carry scars and traumas the rest of their lives because of that rash impulse and rush to some righteous
vengeance or imagined sense of security. The reality is we will never be secure as a Nation until we ourselves all seek to uphold our Constitution and
see that it is upheld, and we conduct our foreign policy utilizing those principals and applying them evenly to all nations whether they have oil or
not, share some religious or cultural kinship or not, or share some political ideology or not. Lets learn to respect our own Laws and principals and
adhere to them before we start judging other nations for theirs. Our forefathers did not want us to be policemen but neutral in foreign matters and a
refuge for all people that sought freedom.
We did however invade these countries and rip apart their social and political fabrics in the process and in so doing open the door to various
factions within them who saw a vacuum created by that who would and have and will take advantage of that chaos to further their own agendas at the
expense of their fellow citizens in ways they would never be so violently able to do under the governance of the regimes we toppled.
It is an absolute moral Crime to pull out of Iraq or Afghanistan until they have stable forms of government that the majority of their peoples will
abide by and see as lawful, and their own security apparatus to deal effectively with any unlawful elements within those societies that might seek to
take advantage of the additional vacuum we create when we do leave.
We owe it to them, we owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the brave men and women of our armed services who put themselves in harms way, shed blood,
lost lives, and will bear their own traumas and scars for the remainder of their lives, that none of those sacrifices have been a vain one. We owe it
to all those people even if it bankrupts us financially...but we should never allow it to bankrupt us morally, or shun or Constitutional privileges
and protections in that process no matter how attractive that corner that one imagines might be cut from such a fool hardy act might be.
The time to abide the most strictly to our Constitution and Principals and Fine Traditions is during those most difficult moments of Crisis and
Trouble when it is only that Constitution and those Principals that will see us through, poor or not, humbled or not, safely to the other side with
all our traditions and freedoms and liberties and protections still in tact.
What politicians do not understand and what the religious do not understand is that war is a science and an art. It might be as Von Clausewitz so
famously said "War is the continuation of politics by other means" but wars should not have their battlefield strategies created by Politicians or
Priests but Soldiers learned in that art of strategy and psychology and tactics that is best known and understood by soldiers and their Generals who
best know it because their life's work and studies are it.
Inflaming the indigenous populations sensibilities by not understanding and respecting their way of life, culture and their religion and traditions
simply for feel good personal reasons related to one's own has no constructive place in a War Zone...it's why the base commander stopped it before
it happened...sadly it left the perception in the minds of many people in Afghanistan and in that part of the world that it is or could happen, and it
is those kinds of needless attacks on their way of life that does harden the resolve of those who cherish it, and does cause them to see us not as
liberators or protectors occupying their country for just reasons, but aggressors aimed at undermining their culture and way of life.
This issue is not about religion, it's not about whether our troops have the right to worship freely which they do, its not about whether troops
should have access to Chaplains which they should...
It's about adhering to our Constitutional principals in a war zone, it's about respecting the constitution and the laws of the nation we went to war
with to help them set up those laws and that constitution, and its about people whose actions derived independently of the strategic chain of command
to further their own individual beliefs and agendas not imperil that military strategy created through a chain of command who are the ones charged
Constitutionally and Militarily by the State to see to it's success at the lowest cost of lives and money in the very shortest order, not assuming
their own personal agenda regarding their beliefs can not do harm or create problems for that strategy and plan just because they choose to imagine
that it can't cause problems for that strategy and command, because what they imagine suits them solely based on their personal agenda and their
They put military men in women in uniform not just to identify that they are a member and their rank to one another and their opponents on a
battlefield, they put them in uniform also in part to remind them that their actions are combined and collective and must be carried out in the same
uniform way, that those Commanders involved that make strategy and know strategy and use real intelligence to formulate it are the only ones empowered
to order a uniformed action that effects the outcome of that strategy.
That commander is not me or you or anyone posting on this thread, this thread is about understanding and respecting that vital process.