Not Peace, But A Sword:
An Open Letter to Liberal Evangelicals

Military — By on December 9, 2004 at 11:25 pm

[Note: I’m about to go off on a rant. It doesn’t happen often so I hope that you will simply ignore this while I get a few things off my chest. I recommend skipping this post entirely and checking back when my moral outrage has subsided.]
A recent action by the U.S.military appears to have rankled many of my fellow Christians. Chuck Corrie says that hearing the news made his blood pressure go up while Canadian blogger Bene lists numerous reasons the decision made was wrong. What heinous act do they find so disturbing? The military giving our troops Bibles.
Yes, my fellow Christians are disturbed that people are receiving Bibles.
Apparently, some people are shocked to find that the government provides Bibles (as well as copies of the Koran and Torah) to military personnel. Although religious materials have been provided by the government since the inception of the Chaplaincy ‘



  • gedi

    This is one of the mildest rants I have ever read.
    God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless America and her peacemakers, her blessed military.

  • gedi

    This is one of the mildest rants I have ever read.
    God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless America and her peacemakers, her blessed military.

  • http://progressive-christian.blogspot.com/ A Progressive Christian

    I guess your post still leaves me wondering why we need to spend taxpayer dollars to put Army art in the bibles. Seems to me that there are plenty of ways to get religious materials to the soldiers. I’d be happy to donate some. Whether you approve of the war or not, I can’t imagine that this money couldn’t be better spent. I’m shocked that the Army is spending my tax dollars to put military art in Bibles, instead of purchasing body armor.

  • http://progressive-christian.blogspot.com A Progressive Christian

    I guess your post still leaves me wondering why we need to spend taxpayer dollars to put Army art in the bibles. Seems to me that there are plenty of ways to get religious materials to the soldiers. I’d be happy to donate some. Whether you approve of the war or not, I can’t imagine that this money couldn’t be better spent. I’m shocked that the Army is spending my tax dollars to put military art in Bibles, instead of purchasing body armor.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    APC,
    I’m shocked that the Army is spending my tax dollars to put military art in Bibles, instead of purchasing body armor.
    First of all, its not an either/or choice. Second, the cost to put this “art” in the Bibles wouldn’t cover three sets of body armor. Third, I don’t think their is a single soldier in Iraq that doesn’t have body armor already. And fourth, if you are really concerned about the military mispending money then have your legisltors start looking over the Air Force budget. Perhaps they can explain why we are still spending money on an AF prepared to find the Russians.
    How much mo

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    APC,
    I’m shocked that the Army is spending my tax dollars to put military art in Bibles, instead of purchasing body armor.
    First of all, its not an either/or choice. Second, the cost to put this “art” in the Bibles wouldn’t cover three sets of body armor. Third, I don’t think their is a single soldier in Iraq that doesn’t have body armor already. And fourth, if you are really concerned about the military mispending money then have your legisltors start looking over the Air Force budget. Perhaps they can explain why we are still spending money on an AF prepared to find the Russians.
    How much mo

  • David Marcoe

    Joe,
    No disagreement with your above post. And it was very issue-centric and polite for a rant. Good article.

  • David Marcoe

    Joe,
    No disagreement with your above post. And it was very issue-centric and polite for a rant. Good article.

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com/ John

    Thank you.

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    Thank you.

  • http://www.geocities.com/vvelasco3000/ VV

    A well-placed rant. Bravo.

  • http://www.geocities.com/vvelasco3000/ VV

    A well-placed rant. Bravo.

  • http://www.sidesspot.blogspot.com/ Mark Sides

    Hey Joe, sometimes a rant just has to out:
    http://sidesspot.blogspot.com/2004/11/confessing-christ-in-world-of-violence.html
    This occurs often when the Sojos are involved.
    Great post.
    Mark

  • http://www.sidesspot.blogspot.com Mark Sides

    Hey Joe, sometimes a rant just has to out:
    http://sidesspot.blogspot.com/2004/11/confessing-christ-in-world-of-violence.html
    This occurs often when the Sojos are involved.
    Great post.
    Mark

  • http://www.tallent.us/ Richard Tallent

    Jesus did “come with a sword,” but He also said (in a much more appropriate context) that those who live by it will die by it. We fight not flesh and blood, but spiritual darkness. While I have absolutely no issues with government-issued Bibles (or other religious texts), it would repulse me if I were to open one up and find that the wars of the Old Testament were used to reinforce a supposed moral imperitive for Americans to invade other nations in the name of God, regardless of the incredible evil done by their leaders.
    I’m no pacifist, but neither will I blaspheme and claim that God is “on our side” in this or any other conflict. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus encouraged self-defense, not Constantinian conversion.
    Whether you believe in the Iraqi war as justifiable is a matter of politics, not faith. Trying to bring God into it *either way* is, IMHO, using His name in vain.

  • http://www.tallent.us Richard Tallent

    Jesus did “come with a sword,” but He also said (in a much more appropriate context) that those who live by it will die by it. We fight not flesh and blood, but spiritual darkness. While I have absolutely no issues with government-issued Bibles (or other religious texts), it would repulse me if I were to open one up and find that the wars of the Old Testament were used to reinforce a supposed moral imperitive for Americans to invade other nations in the name of God, regardless of the incredible evil done by their leaders.
    I’m no pacifist, but neither will I blaspheme and claim that God is “on our side” in this or any other conflict. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus encouraged self-defense, not Constantinian conversion.
    Whether you believe in the Iraqi war as justifiable is a matter of politics, not faith. Trying to bring God into it *either way* is, IMHO, using His name in vain.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Richard,
    I’m no pacifist, but neither will I blaspheme and claim that God is “on our side” in this or any other conflict. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus encouraged self-defense, not Constantinian conversion.
    So in your opinion, were Christians justified in fighting a war against Nazism?
    Whether you believe in the Iraqi war as justifiable is a matter of politics, not faith. Trying to bring God into it *either way* is, IMHO, using His name in vain.
    Do you not think that we have a duty to keep our neighbor from being slaughtered? I have a hard time believing that God is “neutral” on the issue.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Richard,
    I’m no pacifist, but neither will I blaspheme and claim that God is “on our side” in this or any other conflict. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus encouraged self-defense, not Constantinian conversion.
    So in your opinion, were Christians justified in fighting a war against Nazism?
    Whether you believe in the Iraqi war as justifiable is a matter of politics, not faith. Trying to bring God into it *either way* is, IMHO, using His name in vain.
    Do you not think that we have a duty to keep our neighbor from being slaughtered? I have a hard time believing that God is “neutral” on the issue.

  • http://www.happymills.com/ Brad Mills

    Beautifully put! You should “rant” more often!! It is amazing to me how anyone can be so blind to not see the amazing victory this war has been to the innocent victim’s of Saddam’s torture. It was the wrong time to end their suffering. What is even more sickening is the fact that I hear more liberals connecting President Bush to Hitler than Saddam. What are people missing?
    Isn’t it amazing that the same ones fighting the tax cuts are now concerned about this? The lack of armor for troops issue is such a politically calculated deception! It wouldn’t be an issue if the Democrat’s hadn’t shot down the proposal for more funding for troops.

  • http://www.happymills.com Brad Mills

    Beautifully put! You should “rant” more often!! It is amazing to me how anyone can be so blind to not see the amazing victory this war has been to the innocent victim’s of Saddam’s torture. It was the wrong time to end their suffering. What is even more sickening is the fact that I hear more liberals connecting President Bush to Hitler than Saddam. What are people missing?
    Isn’t it amazing that the same ones fighting the tax cuts are now concerned about this? The lack of armor for troops issue is such a politically calculated deception! It wouldn’t be an issue if the Democrat’s hadn’t shot down the proposal for more funding for troops.

  • http://blam.malechite.com/ Sam

    I like it and agree wholeheartedly. I almost wish I had the guts to drop out of school and join the military now.

  • http://blam.malechite.com Sam

    I like it and agree wholeheartedly. I almost wish I had the guts to drop out of school and join the military now.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I have to agree with Joe on this one. I’m an atheist and I can’t imagine anyone giving a hoot if soldiers receieve bibles or any other religous material as a ‘perk’. I doubt anyone is forcing soldiers to take bibles against their screaming refusal. I suppose in some rare freaky case being real open about it in a region charged with fierce religious undertones might not be the smartest way to go about handing that stuff out, but how common is that likely to be? Not very I would guess.
    It is in the nature of soldiering to gripe to your fellows about everything no matter how good, or how bad, it is.
    I remember a well endowed young lady who received some shall we say, rather desirable duty in Hawaii and was assigned AIT and MOS of something like Light Watercraft Repair, even though she could barely get gas into a car, while some of her less attractive fellow soldiers who were kick ass experienced mechs did not get beachside duty. The mother of that fortunate recipient of the assignment complained so loudly, along with her daughter, to anyone who would listen that Hawaii was too expensive and they had to go shopping all the time to get her loaded up on crap that would cost ‘too much over there’, I’m surprised her daughter wasn’t beat to death in the night.
    Griping about ammo shortages, armor issues, medical care, VA resources, food quality, and so forth, are imo fair game even though there is no upper limit on how much we can spend on those items. Bitching about a freaking bible, Qu’ron, or whatever being given to a soldier that wants one is pretty damn far down the list.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I have to agree with Joe on this one. I’m an atheist and I can’t imagine anyone giving a hoot if soldiers receieve bibles or any other religous material as a ‘perk’. I doubt anyone is forcing soldiers to take bibles against their screaming refusal. I suppose in some rare freaky case being real open about it in a region charged with fierce religious undertones might not be the smartest way to go about handing that stuff out, but how common is that likely to be? Not very I would guess.
    It is in the nature of soldiering to gripe to your fellows about everything no matter how good, or how bad, it is.
    I remember a well endowed young lady who received some shall we say, rather desirable duty in Hawaii and was assigned AIT and MOS of something like Light Watercraft Repair, even though she could barely get gas into a car, while some of her less attractive fellow soldiers who were kick ass experienced mechs did not get beachside duty. The mother of that fortunate recipient of the assignment complained so loudly, along with her daughter, to anyone who would listen that Hawaii was too expensive and they had to go shopping all the time to get her loaded up on crap that would cost ‘too much over there’, I’m surprised her daughter wasn’t beat to death in the night.
    Griping about ammo shortages, armor issues, medical care, VA resources, food quality, and so forth, are imo fair game even though there is no upper limit on how much we can spend on those items. Bitching about a freaking bible, Qu’ron, or whatever being given to a soldier that wants one is pretty damn far down the list.

  • Nick

    Joe:
    So in your opinion, were Christians justified in fighting a war against Nazism?

    Should Christian’s have opposed, instead of frequently aiding and abetting, the centuries of anti-semitism in Europe which Hitler was able to exploit? You betcha.
    Should Christians have opposed the centuries of war perpetrated by the European aristocracy? yes
    Should Christians have opposed the butchery of WWI? Yes.
    Should Christians have opposed the vindictive measures in the Treaty of Versailles? Yes.
    Should Christians have opposed the mindless thuggery of Hitler and his allies, before they managed to gain power? Yes.
    Should Christians have refused to cooperate with the nazis in the 1930s? Yes.
    Should Christians have facilitated the migration of European Jews to the United States during the 1930s? Yes.
    Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths? Yes, and many did.
    Should Christians prayed for God’s mercy? yes.
    Should Christians have participated in the war effort in noncombantant roles? Possibly, although opinions differ are to whether this is morally different than combat.
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis? Questionable. Whether or not God is a pacifist is not the issue. Neither are the orders God gave the Israelites in the Old Testament. We are neither God nor living in ancient Israel. What is important is the way Jesus and his Apostles ordered Christians to live. If that can be harmonized with shooting people, then have at it. If not, then don’t.
    Do you not think that we have a duty to keep our neighbor from being slaughtered? I have a hard time believing that God is “neutral” on the issue.
    Certainly. Is bearing arms the only or the best way to accomplish that goal? Did the United States fulfill that duty by supporting Saddam Hussein when it was politically expedient?

  • Nick

    Joe:
    So in your opinion, were Christians justified in fighting a war against Nazism?

    Should Christian’s have opposed, instead of frequently aiding and abetting, the centuries of anti-semitism in Europe which Hitler was able to exploit? You betcha.
    Should Christians have opposed the centuries of war perpetrated by the European aristocracy? yes
    Should Christians have opposed the butchery of WWI? Yes.
    Should Christians have opposed the vindictive measures in the Treaty of Versailles? Yes.
    Should Christians have opposed the mindless thuggery of Hitler and his allies, before they managed to gain power? Yes.
    Should Christians have refused to cooperate with the nazis in the 1930s? Yes.
    Should Christians have facilitated the migration of European Jews to the United States during the 1930s? Yes.
    Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths? Yes, and many did.
    Should Christians prayed for God’s mercy? yes.
    Should Christians have participated in the war effort in noncombantant roles? Possibly, although opinions differ are to whether this is morally different than combat.
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis? Questionable. Whether or not God is a pacifist is not the issue. Neither are the orders God gave the Israelites in the Old Testament. We are neither God nor living in ancient Israel. What is important is the way Jesus and his Apostles ordered Christians to live. If that can be harmonized with shooting people, then have at it. If not, then don’t.
    Do you not think that we have a duty to keep our neighbor from being slaughtered? I have a hard time believing that God is “neutral” on the issue.
    Certainly. Is bearing arms the only or the best way to accomplish that goal? Did the United States fulfill that duty by supporting Saddam Hussein when it was politically expedient?

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    The German populace as well as the leadership had a large contingent of German Catholics. Hitler himself stated on many occasions he felt he was doing God’s work. It wasn’t Christians against Nazi’s, it was Nazi Ideology-with some broad undertones of derivative supremacist Christianity-against a score of other ideologies, ours among them. Hitler also was fought tooth and nail by the Russians under Stalin. I doubt anyone would characterize Stalinist Russia as Christian.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    The German populace as well as the leadership had a large contingent of German Catholics. Hitler himself stated on many occasions he felt he was doing God’s work. It wasn’t Christians against Nazi’s, it was Nazi Ideology-with some broad undertones of derivative supremacist Christianity-against a score of other ideologies, ours among them. Hitler also was fought tooth and nail by the Russians under Stalin. I doubt anyone would characterize Stalinist Russia as Christian.

  • Rob Smith

    Nick said–Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths? Yes, and many did.
    Nick–“Yes, and many did” should have been the answer to all your questions.
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis? Questionable.
    If you think it is questionable for Christians to take up arms against Nazis, is there any circumstance you can think of where it would not be questionable for Christians to take up arms and fight? Is their anything worse than Nazis?
    “Nazis, I hate those guys.”–Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

  • Rob Smith

    Nick said–Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths? Yes, and many did.
    Nick–“Yes, and many did” should have been the answer to all your questions.
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis? Questionable.
    If you think it is questionable for Christians to take up arms against Nazis, is there any circumstance you can think of where it would not be questionable for Christians to take up arms and fight? Is their anything worse than Nazis?
    “Nazis, I hate those guys.”–Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

  • http://lunarskeletons.blogspot.com/ Oengus Moonbones

    I’m with you Joe, even if nobody else is.

  • http://lunarskeletons.blogspot.com Oengus Moonbones

    I’m with you Joe, even if nobody else is.

  • http://thinklings.org/?p=1689 Thinklings Weblog

    Not Peace, but a Sword?

    Joe’s off on a rant. And it’s a beauty.

  • http://thinklings.org/?p=1689 Thinklings Weblog

    Not Peace, but a Sword?

    Joe’s off on a rant. And it’s a beauty.

  • http://alesrarus.funkydung.com/ Funky Dung

    I agree with Bene that this mixes nationalism and faith in unhealthy ways. I’m not against soldiers “getting religion”, but I don’t like the idea of potentially loading the Bible with a lot of propagandist images and text. Do I know for sure that’s going on? Nope. It’s just a concern I have and I’d like to see it addressed by the government.

  • http://alesrarus.funkydung.com Funky Dung

    I agree with Bene that this mixes nationalism and faith in unhealthy ways. I’m not against soldiers “getting religion”, but I don’t like the idea of potentially loading the Bible with a lot of propagandist images and text. Do I know for sure that’s going on? Nope. It’s just a concern I have and I’d like to see it addressed by the government.

  • Chris Lutz

    DS wrote: I doubt anyone would characterize Stalinist Russia as Christian.
    Once Stalin realized that he was getting his butt kicked, he suddenly found “religion” and started opening up the Orthodox churches again.
    One must be very careful in claiming that your cause is in keeping with what God would want, but at times it is evident.
    Plus, pacificism is really not a Christian doctrine as the Christian does have some duty to the state.
    Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay

  • http://pseudopolymath.blogspot.com/ Mark O

    Nick
    It is one thing to turn your cheek when struck. It is a very different thing, however, to turn your child’s for her when she is struck.
    Pacifism, like celibacy, are virtues that cannot be the calling for all, for obvious reasons.

  • Chris Lutz

    DS wrote: I doubt anyone would characterize Stalinist Russia as Christian.
    Once Stalin realized that he was getting his butt kicked, he suddenly found “religion” and started opening up the Orthodox churches again.
    One must be very careful in claiming that your cause is in keeping with what God would want, but at times it is evident.
    Plus, pacificism is really not a Christian doctrine as the Christian does have some duty to the state.
    Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay

  • http://pseudopolymath.blogspot.com/ Mark O

    Nick
    It is one thing to turn your cheek when struck. It is a very different thing, however, to turn your child’s for her when she is struck.
    Pacifism, like celibacy, are virtues that cannot be the calling for all, for obvious reasons.

  • Septimus

    I’m well aware this isn’t a new issue. It’s not a huge issue for me, or else I’d know the answer to these questions:
    What Christian Bible is distributed? Is it the larger OT canon that Catholics and Orthodox have embraced from the beginning, or is it the smaller canon adopted by the Protestant Reformers, consistent with that of post-Resurrection Rabbinic Judaism? If Catholic or Orthodox Bibles are distributed, I rather suspect this wasn’t always true.
    Does the government print the sacred texts, or does it buy them from designated suppliers?
    Does anyone scrutinize the Korans, to see if they include hateful or seditious commentary? (Considering what we know Islamic preachers are reported to say routinely from mosque pulpits, this seems to me a reasonable question.)
    Have the Wiccans and Pagans been heard from? They will be, sooner or later…
    My hope would be that the government merely serve to expedite delivery of sacred texts to military believers of various stripes, and not actually be involved in printing or editorial decisions.
    I’d guess the annual cost is not so much that it couldn’t be paid for from private sources, and all things concerned, I’d like that better.
    My concern about “entanglement” is that of the secularists: that government will help promote faith (collective “eeks” from the ACLU), but rather that the government will distort the content of faith: Catholics established their own schools in the U.S. because for a long time, “public” schools were actually religious: a watery, vague pan-Protestant-cum-American exceptionalism that, for all its merits, promoted one very wrong notion: that appeals to any higher authority than America and “American values” was evil.
    Catholics were demonized (albeit relatively mildly) for taking seriously something all Christians should believe: there certainly is a higher authority than ones nation, and its values; and while one hopes there is never a conflict between “America” and “Church,” insofar as Christ founded the CHURCH, then if a conflict arises, a Christian’s loyalty must be to Christ and his Body, not this or that nation, all of which come and go.

  • Septimus

    I’m well aware this isn’t a new issue. It’s not a huge issue for me, or else I’d know the answer to these questions:
    What Christian Bible is distributed? Is it the larger OT canon that Catholics and Orthodox have embraced from the beginning, or is it the smaller canon adopted by the Protestant Reformers, consistent with that of post-Resurrection Rabbinic Judaism? If Catholic or Orthodox Bibles are distributed, I rather suspect this wasn’t always true.
    Does the government print the sacred texts, or does it buy them from designated suppliers?
    Does anyone scrutinize the Korans, to see if they include hateful or seditious commentary? (Considering what we know Islamic preachers are reported to say routinely from mosque pulpits, this seems to me a reasonable question.)
    Have the Wiccans and Pagans been heard from? They will be, sooner or later…
    My hope would be that the government merely serve to expedite delivery of sacred texts to military believers of various stripes, and not actually be involved in printing or editorial decisions.
    I’d guess the annual cost is not so much that it couldn’t be paid for from private sources, and all things concerned, I’d like that better.
    My concern about “entanglement” is that of the secularists: that government will help promote faith (collective “eeks” from the ACLU), but rather that the government will distort the content of faith: Catholics established their own schools in the U.S. because for a long time, “public” schools were actually religious: a watery, vague pan-Protestant-cum-American exceptionalism that, for all its merits, promoted one very wrong notion: that appeals to any higher authority than America and “American values” was evil.
    Catholics were demonized (albeit relatively mildly) for taking seriously something all Christians should believe: there certainly is a higher authority than ones nation, and its values; and while one hopes there is never a conflict between “America” and “Church,” insofar as Christ founded the CHURCH, then if a conflict arises, a Christian’s loyalty must be to Christ and his Body, not this or that nation, all of which come and go.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net/ Jon

    I have a copy of my grandfather’s government issued new testament that he was given as a Marine in WWII. It is compelte with a ‘water-resistent’ cover. KJV text, with a ‘pleather’ cover and embossed with the Eagle-Globe-Anchor Marine Corps emblem.
    When I was active duty in the military, I placed this bible into a pocket in my duffle bag, and kept it there. I don’t recall being issued one myself, but I wasn’t active in my faith at the time.

  • Septimus

    I made an error in my post above:
    “My concern about ‘entanglement’ is… ***NOT*** … that of the secularists…”
    My leaving out the “NOT” obviously changes and confuses the meaning of that sentence…

  • http://misplacedkeys.net Jon

    I have a copy of my grandfather’s government issued new testament that he was given as a Marine in WWII. It is compelte with a ‘water-resistent’ cover. KJV text, with a ‘pleather’ cover and embossed with the Eagle-Globe-Anchor Marine Corps emblem.
    When I was active duty in the military, I placed this bible into a pocket in my duffle bag, and kept it there. I don’t recall being issued one myself, but I wasn’t active in my faith at the time.

  • Septimus

    I made an error in my post above:
    “My concern about ‘entanglement’ is… ***NOT*** … that of the secularists…”
    My leaving out the “NOT” obviously changes and confuses the meaning of that sentence…

  • http://lespritdescalier.blogspot.com/ jpe

    I have to agree with Joe on this one. I’m an atheist and I can’t imagine anyone giving a hoot if soldiers receieve bibles or any other religous material as a ‘perk’.
    Agreed. The cost of a a few thousand bibles is, for the DoD, virtually nothing. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just give them regular old bibles, rather than some grotesque new version with shiny pictures and tacky graphics, but whatever.
    If the version is jingoistic and rife with American triumphalism, I’d be a little disturbed (since it’d be promoting one theology at the expense of others), but it remains to be seen just how obnoxiously it’s done. Either way, though, it’s a pretty limited run, and I don’t think anyone has to worry too much about indoctrination or anything; most of the soldiers over there are probably reasonably intelligent and could cut through that crap.

  • http://lespritdescalier.blogspot.com jpe

    I have to agree with Joe on this one. I’m an atheist and I can’t imagine anyone giving a hoot if soldiers receieve bibles or any other religous material as a ‘perk’.
    Agreed. The cost of a a few thousand bibles is, for the DoD, virtually nothing. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just give them regular old bibles, rather than some grotesque new version with shiny pictures and tacky graphics, but whatever.
    If the version is jingoistic and rife with American triumphalism, I’d be a little disturbed (since it’d be promoting one theology at the expense of others), but it remains to be seen just how obnoxiously it’s done. Either way, though, it’s a pretty limited run, and I don’t think anyone has to worry too much about indoctrination or anything; most of the soldiers over there are probably reasonably intelligent and could cut through that crap.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Funky: I agree with Bene that this mixes nationalism and faith in unhealthy ways. I’m not against soldiers “getting religion”, but I don’t like the idea of potentially loading the Bible with a lot of propagandist images and text. Do I know for sure that’s going on? Nope. It’s just a concern I have and I’d like to see it addressed by the government.
    I don’t like the mixing of nationalism and faith either (it chaps my hide every time I see an American flag in a church). But there is no reason to be concerned that the

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Funky: I agree with Bene that this mixes nationalism and faith in unhealthy ways. I’m not against soldiers “getting religion”, but I don’t like the idea of potentially loading the Bible with a lot of propagandist images and text. Do I know for sure that’s going on? Nope. It’s just a concern I have and I’d like to see it addressed by the government.
    I don’t like the mixing of nationalism and faith either (it chaps my hide every time I see an American flag in a church). But there is no reason to be concerned that the

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Funky: I agree with Bene that this mixes nationalism and faith in unhealthy ways. I’m not against soldiers “getting religion”, but I don’t like the idea of potentially loading the Bible with a lot of propagandist images and text. Do I know for sure that’s going on? Nope. It’s just a concern I have and I’d like to see it addressed by the government.
    I don’t like the mixing of nationalism and faith either (it chaps my hide every time I see an American flag in a church). But there is no reason to be concerned that the

  • CT (formerly christian T)

    joe,
    you’re so pretentous and ridiculous.
    in reference to your comment:
    For most of us, a range of 186,000 deaths would appear to be a significant margin of error. But Mr. Peacock cites the article without the slightest hint of shame.
    The reason the article . . .
    http://pdf.thelancet.com/pdfdownload?uid=llan.364.9448.primary_research.31264.1&x=x.pdf
    . . . is cited “without a hint of shame” is because the supposed “range” you refer to and about which you claim “most of us” would interpret as demonstrating a “significant margin of error” is in fact appropriate analysis of data.
    the “range” given is derived from a statistical concept you might have heard of if you’d paid attention in school.
    namely, this “range” is the actually the expression of the 95% confidence interval for the data they analyzed.
    in statistics, one speaks of “significance”. what this means is that if suspect a change from baseline. namely, if it appears there were more violent deaths in iraq after the invasion than before then we perform a statistical test to determine if in fact the means are “significantly” different.
    the 95% confidence interval shows the upper and lower limits beyond which we might suspect that there is no statistically significant difference between our index observations and the expected baseline numbers.
    apparently you’ve missed the central argument from the dissent regarding the invasion in iraq.
    so, the cliff’s notes for you:
    THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HANDLED THE INVASION POORLY. NOW, DIFFERENT KINDS OF DATA ARE EMERGING DEMONSTRATING VARIOUS PARAMETERS THAT WERE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY POOR MANAGEMENT.
    FOR EXAMPLE, AN EXTRA 100K PEOPLE (mostly women and children) DIED. WAKE THE F#$%^$% UP AND LOOK AROUND YOU, YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING.
    Perhaps by now you’re wondering if there’s a good article on why this occured. Ironically enough, there is, and it’s also in the Lancet.
    below:
    http://pdf.thelancet.com/pdfdownload?uid=llan.364.9442.review_and_opinion.30932.1&x=x.pdf
    this article, for you reference, is written by a guy named Eric Noji, who also happened to write an excellent introductory text book called, “The Public Health Consequences of Disasters” which should be required reading for anybody who wants to issue a raging (or other) commentary on political or political crises. I’ve got a copy of the text right here, perhaps you could stop by and pick it up.
    this way, you might make a little (more) sense next time you rant.
    this rant encapsulates the whole problem with conservative evangelical folks for me. namely, you’ve read an article (you assert) and misunderstood it completely. you then produce a rant about an unrelated question–whether or not the military should purchase bibles.
    and, tellingly, all of your evangelical followers march off behind you into the darkness, venting about the unrelated question.
    what’s wrong with you people????
    regards,
    c

  • CT (formerly christian T)

    joe,
    you’re so pretentous and ridiculous.
    in reference to your comment:
    For most of us, a range of 186,000 deaths would appear to be a significant margin of error. But Mr. Peacock cites the article without the slightest hint of shame.
    The reason the article . . .
    http://pdf.thelancet.com/pdfdownload?uid=llan.364.9448.primary_research.31264.1&x=x.pdf
    . . . is cited “without a hint of shame” is because the supposed “range” you refer to and about which you claim “most of us” would interpret as demonstrating a “significant margin of error” is in fact appropriate analysis of data.
    the “range” given is derived from a statistical concept you might have heard of if you’d paid attention in school.
    namely, this “range” is the actually the expression of the 95% confidence interval for the data they analyzed.
    in statistics, one speaks of “significance”. what this means is that if suspect a change from baseline. namely, if it appears there were more violent deaths in iraq after the invasion than before then we perform a statistical test to determine if in fact the means are “significantly” different.
    the 95% confidence interval shows the upper and lower limits beyond which we might suspect that there is no statistically significant difference between our index observations and the expected baseline numbers.
    apparently you’ve missed the central argument from the dissent regarding the invasion in iraq.
    so, the cliff’s notes for you:
    THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HANDLED THE INVASION POORLY. NOW, DIFFERENT KINDS OF DATA ARE EMERGING DEMONSTRATING VARIOUS PARAMETERS THAT WERE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY POOR MANAGEMENT.
    FOR EXAMPLE, AN EXTRA 100K PEOPLE (mostly women and children) DIED. WAKE THE F#$%^$% UP AND LOOK AROUND YOU, YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING.
    Perhaps by now you’re wondering if there’s a good article on why this occured. Ironically enough, there is, and it’s also in the Lancet.
    below:
    http://pdf.thelancet.com/pdfdownload?uid=llan.364.9442.review_and_opinion.30932.1&x=x.pdf
    this article, for you reference, is written by a guy named Eric Noji, who also happened to write an excellent introductory text book called, “The Public Health Consequences of Disasters” which should be required reading for anybody who wants to issue a raging (or other) commentary on political or political crises. I’ve got a copy of the text right here, perhaps you could stop by and pick it up.
    this way, you might make a little (more) sense next time you rant.
    this rant encapsulates the whole problem with conservative evangelical folks for me. namely, you’ve read an article (you assert) and misunderstood it completely. you then produce a rant about an unrelated question–whether or not the military should purchase bibles.
    and, tellingly, all of your evangelical followers march off behind you into the darkness, venting about the unrelated question.
    what’s wrong with you people????
    regards,
    c

  • http://www.freakinjen.us/weblog.php?id=P2258 Jen Speaks

    Peace + Swords = Rant

    Go, Joe, go!
    [via jared]

  • http://www.freakinjen.us/weblog.php?id=P2258 Jen Speaks

    Peace + Swords = Rant

    Go, Joe, go!
    [via jared]

  • Doug

    CT,
    The point that Joe was making was that, even if you accept statistical methods used by article in the Lancet as valid (which many do not), you cannot say 100,000 extra people died because the actual analysis said that it could be between 8000 and 194,000. Either way, the fact that the significant difference range is so enormous makes me question the usefulness of the study other than it gives a nice sound bite to anti-war supporters.
    Either way, the point of the rant was against the people who were complaining that the military was giving Bibles to the soldiers, and it went on a bit of a tangent on the 100,000 deaths bit. Rants tend to go off on tangents. That is why Joe gave the warning at the beginning in the first place. The unrelated question that you are ranting on is the 100,000 dead, not the giving of the bibles.

  • Doug

    CT,
    The point that Joe was making was that, even if you accept statistical methods used by article in the Lancet as valid (which many do not), you cannot say 100,000 extra people died because the actual analysis said that it could be between 8000 and 194,000. Either way, the fact that the significant difference range is so enormous makes me question the usefulness of the study other than it gives a nice sound bite to anti-war supporters.
    Either way, the point of the rant was against the people who were complaining that the military was giving Bibles to the soldiers, and it went on a bit of a tangent on the 100,000 deaths bit. Rants tend to go off on tangents. That is why Joe gave the warning at the beginning in the first place. The unrelated question that you are ranting on is the 100,000 dead, not the giving of the bibles.

  • Doug

    CT,
    The point that Joe was making was that, even if you accept statistical methods used by article in the Lancet as valid (which many do not), you cannot say 100,000 extra people died because the actual analysis said that it could be between 8000 and 194,000. Either way, the fact that the significant difference range is so enormous makes me question the usefulness of the study other than it gives a nice sound bite to anti-war supporters.
    Either way, the point of the rant was against the people who were complaining that the military was giving Bibles to the soldiers, and it went on a bit of a tangent on the 100,000 deaths bit. Rants tend to go off on tangents. That is why Joe gave the warning at the beginning in the first place. The unrelated question that you are ranting on is the 100,000 dead, not the giving of the bibles.

  • Rob Smith

    Speaking of pretentous and ridiculous, how pretentous and ridiculous is it for some knucklehead, living of the fat of the land in 2004 America, with the benefit 20/20 hindsight to look back 50, 100, 500 years and say what people should have done. Let’s take a look at some insights:
    Should Christians have opposed the centuries of war perpetrated by the European aristocracy?
    Here’s a questions, has anybody in here ever been an illiterate tenant farmer in Medieval Europe? Thought not. Well, let’s just say going against the ruling class of the time was not very healthy. The were plenty of peasant revolts during the “Dark Ages” and they always ended with peasants hanging from trees.
    Should Christians have opposed the butchery of WWI?
    Many Christians in the US and throughout the world did oppose the butchery of WW1. I would go so far to say that most of the men in the trenches opposed it too, but so what. What would you have done? Would you have been willing to go to prison to oppose the War? Would you have risked a firing squad to oppose it? Suppose it was you farm that had been overrun by the Bosch, what then?
    Should Christians have opposed the vindictive measures in the Treaty of Versailles?
    Is it really surprising that after winning (if you can call it that) the most destructive war fought up to that time, the winners might have wanted some payback from the losers (and aggressors)? Do you really think that you are that much better than everybody else? That you wouldn’t have at least entertained the idea of payback?
    Should Christians have opposed the mindless thuggery of Hitler and his allies, before they managed to gain power?
    and
    Should Christians have refused to cooperate with the nazis in the 1930s?
    Many Christians did oppose Hitler and refused to cooperate with him, many ended up in the camps. What did you think only Jews ended up in the camps? But, you know it is incredibly arrogant of you in America 2004 to try to tell Germans of 1932 what they should have done. In 1932 Germany, the economy had collapsed due the the worldwide Depression, and the extreme political parties of the left and right were rioting in the street. People were getting the stores burned out and their heads broken. So along comes little Adolph who promises to bring order and jobs and restore Germany’s greatness, and enough people are in bad enough shape that they decide to take a chance. Can you say you would have done different? I can’t. Remember, there were no death camps and no war in 1932, the decision was not a cut and dried as it is now. BTW, the Nazis only got about a third of the total vote, it’s not like a majority supported him. Once he did get power, it became very difficult to oppose him, I like to think I would have, but I have a wife and kids. Would I have been willing to risk them? I pray I never have to make that decision.
    Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths?
    Of course, many did (as you mentioned), but would you have? Speaking for myself, I have a wife, a 22 month old daughter, and a 4 month old son. That makes the decision a little harder doesn’t it? Especially since the penalty for harboring Jews in Nazi Germany was a all expense, one-way trip to the camps for you AND your family. Risking my life, I do without thought, but do I have the right to risk my son or daughter for a stranger? Not an easy question to answer is it?
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis?
    If not taking up arms, what? March off quietly to the camps. Pacifism only works against people who have a sense of decency, I am not sure that the murderers of 6 million Jews would qualify.
    Did the United States fulfill that duty by supporting Saddam Hussein when it was politically expedient?
    Ah, that tired old chestnut. We gave a very small level of support to Hussein 20 years ago when he was fighting Iran (you know the guys who held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year), so that makes us morally equivalent and responsible for everything he did subsequently? What a crock. I notice no one ever says that are the moral equivalent of Stalin, whom we gave enormous amounts of support to when fighting the Nazis.

  • Rob Smith

    Speaking of pretentous and ridiculous, how pretentous and ridiculous is it for some knucklehead, living of the fat of the land in 2004 America, with the benefit 20/20 hindsight to look back 50, 100, 500 years and say what people should have done. Let’s take a look at some insights:
    Should Christians have opposed the centuries of war perpetrated by the European aristocracy?
    Here’s a questions, has anybody in here ever been an illiterate tenant farmer in Medieval Europe? Thought not. Well, let’s just say going against the ruling class of the time was not very healthy. The were plenty of peasant revolts during the “Dark Ages” and they always ended with peasants hanging from trees.
    Should Christians have opposed the butchery of WWI?
    Many Christians in the US and throughout the world did oppose the butchery of WW1. I would go so far to say that most of the men in the trenches opposed it too, but so what. What would you have done? Would you have been willing to go to prison to oppose the War? Would you have risked a firing squad to oppose it? Suppose it was you farm that had been overrun by the Bosch, what then?
    Should Christians have opposed the vindictive measures in the Treaty of Versailles?
    Is it really surprising that after winning (if you can call it that) the most destructive war fought up to that time, the winners might have wanted some payback from the losers (and aggressors)? Do you really think that you are that much better than everybody else? That you wouldn’t have at least entertained the idea of payback?
    Should Christians have opposed the mindless thuggery of Hitler and his allies, before they managed to gain power?
    and
    Should Christians have refused to cooperate with the nazis in the 1930s?
    Many Christians did oppose Hitler and refused to cooperate with him, many ended up in the camps. What did you think only Jews ended up in the camps? But, you know it is incredibly arrogant of you in America 2004 to try to tell Germans of 1932 what they should have done. In 1932 Germany, the economy had collapsed due the the worldwide Depression, and the extreme political parties of the left and right were rioting in the street. People were getting the stores burned out and their heads broken. So along comes little Adolph who promises to bring order and jobs and restore Germany’s greatness, and enough people are in bad enough shape that they decide to take a chance. Can you say you would have done different? I can’t. Remember, there were no death camps and no war in 1932, the decision was not a cut and dried as it is now. BTW, the Nazis only got about a third of the total vote, it’s not like a majority supported him. Once he did get power, it became very difficult to oppose him, I like to think I would have, but I have a wife and kids. Would I have been willing to risk them? I pray I never have to make that decision.
    Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths?
    Of course, many did (as you mentioned), but would you have? Speaking for myself, I have a wife, a 22 month old daughter, and a 4 month old son. That makes the decision a little harder doesn’t it? Especially since the penalty for harboring Jews in Nazi Germany was a all expense, one-way trip to the camps for you AND your family. Risking my life, I do without thought, but do I have the right to risk my son or daughter for a stranger? Not an easy question to answer is it?
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis?
    If not taking up arms, what? March off quietly to the camps. Pacifism only works against people who have a sense of decency, I am not sure that the murderers of 6 million Jews would qualify.
    Did the United States fulfill that duty by supporting Saddam Hussein when it was politically expedient?
    Ah, that tired old chestnut. We gave a very small level of support to Hussein 20 years ago when he was fighting Iran (you know the guys who held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year), so that makes us morally equivalent and responsible for everything he did subsequently? What a crock. I notice no one ever says that are the moral equivalent of Stalin, whom we gave enormous amounts of support to when fighting the Nazis.

  • Rob Smith

    Speaking of pretentous and ridiculous, how pretentous and ridiculous is it for some knucklehead, living of the fat of the land in 2004 America, with the benefit 20/20 hindsight to look back 50, 100, 500 years and say what people should have done. Let’s take a look at some insights:
    Should Christians have opposed the centuries of war perpetrated by the European aristocracy?
    Here’s a questions, has anybody in here ever been an illiterate tenant farmer in Medieval Europe? Thought not. Well, let’s just say going against the ruling class of the time was not very healthy. The were plenty of peasant revolts during the “Dark Ages” and they always ended with peasants hanging from trees.
    Should Christians have opposed the butchery of WWI?
    Many Christians in the US and throughout the world did oppose the butchery of WW1. I would go so far to say that most of the men in the trenches opposed it too, but so what. What would you have done? Would you have been willing to go to prison to oppose the War? Would you have risked a firing squad to oppose it? Suppose it was you farm that had been overrun by the Bosch, what then?
    Should Christians have opposed the vindictive measures in the Treaty of Versailles?
    Is it really surprising that after winning (if you can call it that) the most destructive war fought up to that time, the winners might have wanted some payback from the losers (and aggressors)? Do you really think that you are that much better than everybody else? That you wouldn’t have at least entertained the idea of payback?
    Should Christians have opposed the mindless thuggery of Hitler and his allies, before they managed to gain power?
    and
    Should Christians have refused to cooperate with the nazis in the 1930s?
    Many Christians did oppose Hitler and refused to cooperate with him, many ended up in the camps. What did you think only Jews ended up in the camps? But, you know it is incredibly arrogant of you in America 2004 to try to tell Germans of 1932 what they should have done. In 1932 Germany, the economy had collapsed due the the worldwide Depression, and the extreme political parties of the left and right were rioting in the street. People were getting the stores burned out and their heads broken. So along comes little Adolph who promises to bring order and jobs and restore Germany’s greatness, and enough people are in bad enough shape that they decide to take a chance. Can you say you would have done different? I can’t. Remember, there were no death camps and no war in 1932, the decision was not a cut and dried as it is now. BTW, the Nazis only got about a third of the total vote, it’s not like a majority supported him. Once he did get power, it became very difficult to oppose him, I like to think I would have, but I have a wife and kids. Would I have been willing to risk them? I pray I never have to make that decision.
    Should Christians have hidden Jews and refused to cooperate with Nazi roundups, even if it risked their deaths?
    Of course, many did (as you mentioned), but would you have? Speaking for myself, I have a wife, a 22 month old daughter, and a 4 month old son. That makes the decision a little harder doesn’t it? Especially since the penalty for harboring Jews in Nazi Germany was a all expense, one-way trip to the camps for you AND your family. Risking my life, I do without thought, but do I have the right to risk my son or daughter for a stranger? Not an easy question to answer is it?
    Should Christians have taken up arms to fight the Nazis?
    If not taking up arms, what? March off quietly to the camps. Pacifism only works against people who have a sense of decency, I am not sure that the murderers of 6 million Jews would qualify.
    Did the United States fulfill that duty by supporting Saddam Hussein when it was politically expedient?
    Ah, that tired old chestnut. We gave a very small level of support to Hussein 20 years ago when he was fighting Iran (you know the guys who held 52 Americans hostage for more than a year), so that makes us morally equivalent and responsible for everything he did subsequently? What a crock. I notice no one ever says that are the moral equivalent of Stalin, whom we gave enormous amounts of support to when fighting the Nazis.

  • Scott Gilbreath

    CT,
    The angry tone and abusive content of your missive is off-putting, to say the least, but it does call for a response. Your attempt at elucidating some basics of technical statistics is as clear as mud, and your defence of the Lancet article is blatantly self-serving.
    FWIW, I am a professional statistician. For the past 18 years, I have earned my living by analysing survey and other data. In my professional judgment, the Lancet article is not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly, it is grossly inadequate as a basis for informing public policy discussions or decisions. It’s an interesting first step, but further studies with far larger samples will have to be conducted before any firm conclusions can be drawn. But one has to give these researchers credit for their determination to conduct a scientifically designed random sample survey in a country much of which is an active war zone. So, ‘A’ for effort.
    The study used a cluster design consisting of 30 clusters selected at random from the 18 Governorates of Iraq, with 30 households drawn at random from each cluster. It was assumed that each household had seven individuals. So, the total sample (30 clusters of 30 households each) was 6300 persons. Right away, there’s a big problem–that sample is far too small. Iraq’s population is over 22 million, so this study’s sample amounts to less than 0.3% of the population. I just attended a Statistics Canada workshop on the Canadian Community Health Survey, a nation-wide survey with a sample size of 133,000 individuals. That’s well over 5% of the country’s population. When doing a general survey of the Yukon (where I live and work), 700 individuals, about 2.6% of the population, is an absolute bare minimum. I’m sure it is exceedingly difficult and dangerous to conduct a survey in a war zone and, as I said, it’s a feather in these researchers’ caps to have successfully completed the survey at all. But poor conditions cannot make an inadequate sample size adequate.
    The inadequate sample is reflected in the reported findings. On page 5 of the pdf copy of the study, the authors say: “We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period . . .” The CI gives their game away completely. The CI stands for confidence interval, a universally-reported statistic in sample surveys, and it is a measure of the precision of the estimate. As you can see, the CI is very large–in fact, it is so large that, if Statistics Canada had conducted the survey, the estimate would not even have been released to the public. Under Statistics Canada’s data quality control protocols, that estimate is so imprecise that Statistics Canada would not be willing to have their name associated with it; releasing it to the public would be considered likely to mislead users.
    Admittedly, it is possible that the estimate of 98,000 is bang on–but, given the estimate’s imprecision, I’d view that as almost purely coincidental.
    I conclude that the only reason this study was published in a reputable journal is because of its controversial nature. That, in my view, is also the only reason it’s been splashed across the news media.
    As I’ve said, the researchers deserve credit for conducting the study at all; but, given the imprecision of their findings, I find it troubling that the authors conclude their article by practically accusing the United States of violating the Geneva Convention. Based on their findings, we have virtually no idea whether the U.S. is violating anything. That indicates that this whole project was driven by a political agenda, which doesn’t do their credibility any good.
    By the by, CT, the study makes no mention of whether the alleged

  • Scott Gilbreath

    CT,
    The angry tone and abusive content of your missive is off-putting, to say the least, but it does call for a response. Your attempt at elucidating some basics of technical statistics is as clear as mud, and your defence of the Lancet article is blatantly self-serving.
    FWIW, I am a professional statistician. For the past 18 years, I have earned my living by analysing survey and other data. In my professional judgment, the Lancet article is not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly, it is grossly inadequate as a basis for informing public policy discussions or decisions. It’s an interesting first step, but further studies with far larger samples will have to be conducted before any firm conclusions can be drawn. But one has to give these researchers credit for their determination to conduct a scientifically designed random sample survey in a country much of which is an active war zone. So, ‘A’ for effort.
    The study used a cluster design consisting of 30 clusters selected at random from the 18 Governorates of Iraq, with 30 households drawn at random from each cluster. It was assumed that each household had seven individuals. So, the total sample (30 clusters of 30 households each) was 6300 persons. Right away, there’s a big problem–that sample is far too small. Iraq’s population is over 22 million, so this study’s sample amounts to less than 0.3% of the population. I just attended a Statistics Canada workshop on the Canadian Community Health Survey, a nation-wide survey with a sample size of 133,000 individuals. That’s well over 5% of the country’s population. When doing a general survey of the Yukon (where I live and work), 700 individuals, about 2.6% of the population, is an absolute bare minimum. I’m sure it is exceedingly difficult and dangerous to conduct a survey in a war zone and, as I said, it’s a feather in these researchers’ caps to have successfully completed the survey at all. But poor conditions cannot make an inadequate sample size adequate.
    The inadequate sample is reflected in the reported findings. On page 5 of the pdf copy of the study, the authors say: “We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period . . .” The CI gives their game away completely. The CI stands for confidence interval, a universally-reported statistic in sample surveys, and it is a measure of the precision of the estimate. As you can see, the CI is very large–in fact, it is so large that, if Statistics Canada had conducted the survey, the estimate would not even have been released to the public. Under Statistics Canada’s data quality control protocols, that estimate is so imprecise that Statistics Canada would not be willing to have their name associated with it; releasing it to the public would be considered likely to mislead users.
    Admittedly, it is possible that the estimate of 98,000 is bang on–but, given the estimate’s imprecision, I’d view that as almost purely coincidental.
    I conclude that the only reason this study was published in a reputable journal is because of its controversial nature. That, in my view, is also the only reason it’s been splashed across the news media.
    As I’ve said, the researchers deserve credit for conducting the study at all; but, given the imprecision of their findings, I find it troubling that the authors conclude their article by practically accusing the United States of violating the Geneva Convention. Based on their findings, we have virtually no idea whether the U.S. is violating anything. That indicates that this whole project was driven by a political agenda, which doesn’t do their credibility any good.
    By the by, CT, the study makes no mention of whether the alleged

  • Scott Gilbreath

    CT,
    The angry tone and abusive content of your missive is off-putting, to say the least, but it does call for a response. Your attempt at elucidating some basics of technical statistics is as clear as mud, and your defence of the Lancet article is blatantly self-serving.
    FWIW, I am a professional statistician. For the past 18 years, I have earned my living by analysing survey and other data. In my professional judgment, the Lancet article is not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly, it is grossly inadequate as a basis for informing public policy discussions or decisions. It’s an interesting first step, but further studies with far larger samples will have to be conducted before any firm conclusions can be drawn. But one has to give these researchers credit for their determination to conduct a scientifically designed random sample survey in a country much of which is an active war zone. So, ‘A’ for effort.
    The study used a cluster design consisting of 30 clusters selected at random from the 18 Governorates of Iraq, with 30 households drawn at random from each cluster. It was assumed that each household had seven individuals. So, the total sample (30 clusters of 30 households each) was 6300 persons. Right away, there’s a big problem–that sample is far too small. Iraq’s population is over 22 million, so this study’s sample amounts to less than 0.3% of the population. I just attended a Statistics Canada workshop on the Canadian Community Health Survey, a nation-wide survey with a sample size of 133,000 individuals. That’s well over 5% of the country’s population. When doing a general survey of the Yukon (where I live and work), 700 individuals, about 2.6% of the population, is an absolute bare minimum. I’m sure it is exceedingly difficult and dangerous to conduct a survey in a war zone and, as I said, it’s a feather in these researchers’ caps to have successfully completed the survey at all. But poor conditions cannot make an inadequate sample size adequate.
    The inadequate sample is reflected in the reported findings. On page 5 of the pdf copy of the study, the authors say: “We estimate that there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period . . .” The CI gives their game away completely. The CI stands for confidence interval, a universally-reported statistic in sample surveys, and it is a measure of the precision of the estimate. As you can see, the CI is very large–in fact, it is so large that, if Statistics Canada had conducted the survey, the estimate would not even have been released to the public. Under Statistics Canada’s data quality control protocols, that estimate is so imprecise that Statistics Canada would not be willing to have their name associated with it; releasing it to the public would be considered likely to mislead users.
    Admittedly, it is possible that the estimate of 98,000 is bang on–but, given the estimate’s imprecision, I’d view that as almost purely coincidental.
    I conclude that the only reason this study was published in a reputable journal is because of its controversial nature. That, in my view, is also the only reason it’s been splashed across the news media.
    As I’ve said, the researchers deserve credit for conducting the study at all; but, given the imprecision of their findings, I find it troubling that the authors conclude their article by practically accusing the United States of violating the Geneva Convention. Based on their findings, we have virtually no idea whether the U.S. is violating anything. That indicates that this whole project was driven by a political agenda, which doesn’t do their credibility any good.
    By the by, CT, the study makes no mention of whether the alleged

  • http://members.visi.net/~gbraden/gblogger.html GB

    Standing Ovation for the rant.
    My rant was going to be about the move to use the greetings ‘Happy Holidays’ over ‘Merry Christmas’, but yours makes for much better reading.

  • http://members.visi.net/~gbraden/gblogger.html GB

    Standing Ovation for the rant.
    My rant was going to be about the move to use the greetings ‘Happy Holidays’ over ‘Merry Christmas’, but yours makes for much better reading.

  • Peter

    Joe, just a small comment on one part of your rant. Like Fred Kaplan (to whom you link, approvingly), and most of the pro-war blogosphere, you misunderstand the Lancet study. The 100,000 figure is not “simply the median based on an estimate of between 8,000 and 194,000 ‘casualties.’ ” The authors estimated distribution of civilian casualties (I’m not sure why you put the term in scare quotes) is a normal distribution (a bell curve) with a mean of 98,000. I.e. there’s a 2.5% chance that there had been less than 8,000 deaths, a 10%, chance that there had been less than about 45,000 deaths, and so on. Yes, the true figure could be 8,000, but the probability that the true figure is out in the tails of the distribution is much, much smaller than the probability that the true figure is 98,000.
    Richard Garfield, one of the study’s authors, has responded publicly to Kaplan’s blunder.

  • Peter

    Joe, just a small comment on one part of your rant. Like Fred Kaplan (to whom you link, approvingly), and most of the pro-war blogosphere, you misunderstand the Lancet study. The 100,000 figure is not “simply the median based on an estimate of between 8,000 and 194,000 ‘casualties.’ ” The authors estimated distribution of civilian casualties (I’m not sure why you put the term in scare quotes) is a normal distribution (a bell curve) with a mean of 98,000. I.e. there’s a 2.5% chance that there had been less than 8,000 deaths, a 10%, chance that there had been less than about 45,000 deaths, and so on. Yes, the true figure could be 8,000, but the probability that the true figure is out in the tails of the distribution is much, much smaller than the probability that the true figure is 98,000.
    Richard Garfield, one of the study’s authors, has responded publicly to Kaplan’s blunder.

  • Brian V

    Thank you very much for your “rant”. I couldn’t possibly agree any more than I do. My regret is that this won’t be read as widely as it needs to be. Amen and amen.

  • Brian V

    Thank you very much for your “rant”. I couldn’t possibly agree any more than I do. My regret is that this won’t be read as widely as it needs to be. Amen and amen.

  • Dan

    Like Jon, above, I too have my father’s WWII Marine Corp issued Psalms and New Testament. His has a brass looking plate on the front. He carried it with him, as did most men in his outfit, when he was island hopping in the Pacific. He loved the Psalms, and when he traveled on business later in life, that is the Bible he always made sure was in his briefcase. That and a few medals, and a small mustering out payment are essentially all he got in exchange for having (he was one of two men drafted into the Marine Corps on that day in Knoxville, TN) to leave a wife and son (my older brother) at age 31. He had already been to college and owned a home, so the GI Bill did him no good. So what if the government bought him a Bible?

  • Dan

    Like Jon, above, I too have my father’s WWII Marine Corp issued Psalms and New Testament. His has a brass looking plate on the front. He carried it with him, as did most men in his outfit, when he was island hopping in the Pacific. He loved the Psalms, and when he traveled on business later in life, that is the Bible he always made sure was in his briefcase. That and a few medals, and a small mustering out payment are essentially all he got in exchange for having (he was one of two men drafted into the Marine Corps on that day in Knoxville, TN) to leave a wife and son (my older brother) at age 31. He had already been to college and owned a home, so the GI Bill did him no good. So what if the government bought him a Bible?

  • Scott

    But a sense of shame is exactly what is missing from many of my fellow Christians who opposed the war and yet never did a thing to end the suffering of the Iraqi people.
    What we did was refuse to contribute to their suffering, the way you evangelicals did:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/010/22.32.html
    Wooing the Faithful
    …The most tangible foreign policy problems for the administration have been the scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and abusive treatment of suspected Al Qaeda terrorists in detention at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay naval base. After the pictures of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse and torture were released, CT spoke with evangelical professionals in intelligence agencies, the State and Defense departments, and Congress.
    What emerged was troubling. Beyond setting Bush administration priorities, evangelicals were significantly involved in drafting policy memos that created the permissive climate in which the abuse of prisoners occurred. Asking not to be named, Christians who serve in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies told CT that aggressive interrogation of suspected terrorists was no-holds-barred. Bob Woodward, the author of a definitive book on Bush’s war effort, told CT, “It was very clear from my interviews that [Bush] felt the gloves were off for the CIA.”
    In a February 7, 2002, executive order, the President wrote that he wanted prisoners in the war on terror treated “humanely” but also “consistent with military necessity.” He also explicitly argued that the Geneva Convention’s guidelines for treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to terrorists. Evangelical legal scholar John Yoo contributed to several of the legal memos for Attorney General John Ashcroft justifying much harsher interrogation techniques in the war against terrorism. Yoo declared, “Terrorists have no Geneva rights.” (The Geneva Conventions do not address how nations in wartime should handle persons who are agents of hostile, clandestine organizations rather than members of the military arm of a recognized government.)
    A well-known evangelical, Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, heads what some label a worldwide find-and-hit squad against terrorists. And one top Pentagon-related expert who taught officers how to interrogate Muslims is an evangelical….
    See also: http://billmon.org/archives/001518.html
    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/146/story_14608.html
    The Same General Boykin?
    It has the potential to be a public relations nightmare buried within a public relations nightmare: one of the major players in the Iraqi prison abuse scandal, it now appears, was the same general almost fired last year for describing the war on terror as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan.
    According to testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, and new reporting from the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, the prison abuse scandal grew out of a decision to give greater influence to the Defense Intelligence unit, led by Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence–and his deputy, Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin.
    Boykin made headlines last fall when it was revealed he had made numerous statements suggesting that America, as a Christian nation, is engaged in a battle against idolatrous Muslims. Enemies like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein “will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus,” Boykin said during an Oregon church gathering last year….
    …There is still much to be learned about Boykin’s role in the current scandal, including the pivotal question of whether his anti-Muslim views may have made him more prone to dehumanizing Muslim prisoners. What is already clear, however, is that Boykin’s evangelical supporters now find themselves in an awkward position. They have supported Boykin steadfastly but are wary about defending prisoner torture.
    Here is what is known so far about Boykin’s role in the prison abuse scandal: He is a main strategist for Cambone, who oversees a secret program with the goal of capturing and interrogating terrorism targets. According to an article by Seymour Hersh in the current New Yorker, the unit brought “unconventional methods” to Abu Ghraib as a way of getting better information about Iraqi insurgents….
    …So far, Christian leaders are standing by Boykin.
    “A lot of our people are just so tired of hearing about that whole situation, especially now that we’ve seen [the beheading of Nicholas Berg],” Michele Ammons, spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition, said last week. “I think it’s time to get over it. And that’s what I’m hearing.”
    Ammons, who said evangelical leaders have been consumed primarily with the gay marriage debate, added that the Christian Coalition would keep an online petition in support of Boykin on its homepage….

  • Scott

    But a sense of shame is exactly what is missing from many of my fellow Christians who opposed the war and yet never did a thing to end the suffering of the Iraqi people.
    What we did was refuse to contribute to their suffering, the way you evangelicals did:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/010/22.32.html
    Wooing the Faithful
    …The most tangible foreign policy problems for the administration have been the scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and abusive treatment of suspected Al Qaeda terrorists in detention at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay naval base. After the pictures of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse and torture were released, CT spoke with evangelical professionals in intelligence agencies, the State and Defense departments, and Congress.
    What emerged was troubling. Beyond setting Bush administration priorities, evangelicals were significantly involved in drafting policy memos that created the permissive climate in which the abuse of prisoners occurred. Asking not to be named, Christians who serve in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies told CT that aggressive interrogation of suspected terrorists was no-holds-barred. Bob Woodward, the author of a definitive book on Bush’s war effort, told CT, “It was very clear from my interviews that [Bush] felt the gloves were off for the CIA.”
    In a February 7, 2002, executive order, the President wrote that he wanted prisoners in the war on terror treated “humanely” but also “consistent with military necessity.” He also explicitly argued that the Geneva Convention’s guidelines for treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to terrorists. Evangelical legal scholar John Yoo contributed to several of the legal memos for Attorney General John Ashcroft justifying much harsher interrogation techniques in the war against terrorism. Yoo declared, “Terrorists have no Geneva rights.” (The Geneva Conventions do not address how nations in wartime should handle persons who are agents of hostile, clandestine organizations rather than members of the military arm of a recognized government.)
    A well-known evangelical, Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, heads what some label a worldwide find-and-hit squad against terrorists. And one top Pentagon-related expert who taught officers how to interrogate Muslims is an evangelical….
    See also: http://billmon.org/archives/001518.html
    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/146/story_14608.html
    The Same General Boykin?
    It has the potential to be a public relations nightmare buried within a public relations nightmare: one of the major players in the Iraqi prison abuse scandal, it now appears, was the same general almost fired last year for describing the war on terror as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan.
    According to testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, and new reporting from the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, the prison abuse scandal grew out of a decision to give greater influence to the Defense Intelligence unit, led by Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence–and his deputy, Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin.
    Boykin made headlines last fall when it was revealed he had made numerous statements suggesting that America, as a Christian nation, is engaged in a battle against idolatrous Muslims. Enemies like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein “will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus,” Boykin said during an Oregon church gathering last year….
    …There is still much to be learned about Boykin’s role in the current scandal, including the pivotal question of whether his anti-Muslim views may have made him more prone to dehumanizing Muslim prisoners. What is already clear, however, is that Boykin’s evangelical supporters now find themselves in an awkward position. They have supported Boykin steadfastly but are wary about defending prisoner torture.
    Here is what is known so far about Boykin’s role in the prison abuse scandal: He is a main strategist for Cambone, who oversees a secret program with the goal of capturing and interrogating terrorism targets. According to an article by Seymour Hersh in the current New Yorker, the unit brought “unconventional methods” to Abu Ghraib as a way of getting better information about Iraqi insurgents….
    …So far, Christian leaders are standing by Boykin.
    “A lot of our people are just so tired of hearing about that whole situation, especially now that we’ve seen [the beheading of Nicholas Berg],” Michele Ammons, spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition, said last week. “I think it’s time to get over it. And that’s what I’m hearing.”
    Ammons, who said evangelical leaders have been consumed primarily with the gay marriage debate, added that the Christian Coalition would keep an online petition in support of Boykin on its homepage….

  • http://misplacedkeys.net/ Jon

    RE: Christians and Nazi Germany
    Lookup Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net Jon

    RE: Christians and Nazi Germany
    Lookup Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

  • Scott

    Lookup Deitrich Bonhoeffer
    “God Is With Us”: Hitler’s Rhetoric and the Lure of “Moral Values”
    http://www.buzzflash.com/farrell/04/12/far04041.html
    …Hitler’s Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: “Gott mit uns” (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.
    Hitler, like some of the today’s politicians and preachers, politicized “family values.” He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it.”…

  • Scott

    Lookup Deitrich Bonhoeffer
    “God Is With Us”: Hitler’s Rhetoric and the Lure of “Moral Values”
    http://www.buzzflash.com/farrell/04/12/far04041.html
    …Hitler’s Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: “Gott mit uns” (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.
    Hitler, like some of the today’s politicians and preachers, politicized “family values.” He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it.”…

  • Robert

    I have no problem with the military handing out Bibles or any other religious literature troops may request. But given the christianity-in-service-to-the-Empire paradigm our current government is working under (as well as a shameful number of us Evangelicals) I don’t trust them to have editorial control over content and commentary in the Bibles. Several of you here are remembering military-issue Bibles you carried in combat and I’ve seen many of them myself. None contained anything other than the text of the Bible. Why the need now to create one for distribution with “enhancements”?

  • Robert

    I have no problem with the military handing out Bibles or any other religious literature troops may request. But given the christianity-in-service-to-the-Empire paradigm our current government is working under (as well as a shameful number of us Evangelicals) I don’t trust them to have editorial control over content and commentary in the Bibles. Several of you here are remembering military-issue Bibles you carried in combat and I’ve seen many of them myself. None contained anything other than the text of the Bible. Why the need now to create one for distribution with “enhancements”?

  • Scott

    I don’t trust them to have editorial control over content and commentary in the Bibles.
    I got the impression that was Sojo’s objection too, not simply that the Army hands out Bibles. It’s the “custom” part that has people wary.

  • Scott

    I don’t trust them to have editorial control over content and commentary in the Bibles.
    I got the impression that was Sojo’s objection too, not simply that the Army hands out Bibles. It’s the “custom” part that has people wary.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Robert and Scott,
    It’s the “custom” part that has people wary.
    **sigh**
    How can I put this politely? Mr. Peacock is full of of it. With the exception of the outside cover (which is likely just a camoflage pattern or something similiar) there is no “customization” of the Bible. Peacock is simply talking about something he knows nothing about beause of an apparant anti-militarty bias.
    This wouldn’t be a story if Sojo had not misrepresented what was happening. They should be ashamed at the attempt to make such scurrilous claims. There is no “army-centric motivational messages” or any other such nonsense. Sojo made it up!

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Robert and Scott,
    It’s the “custom” part that has people wary.
    **sigh**
    How can I put this politely? Mr. Peacock is full of of it. With the exception of the outside cover (which is likely just a camoflage pattern or something similiar) there is no “customization” of the Bible. Peacock is simply talking about something he knows nothing about beause of an apparant anti-militarty bias.
    This wouldn’t be a story if Sojo had not misrepresented what was happening. They should be ashamed at the attempt to make such scurrilous claims. There is no “army-centric motivational messages” or any other such nonsense. Sojo made it up!

  • Scott

    Just to flesh out the Billmon link above about evangelicals being responsible for torture:
    http://atheism.about.com/b/a/090931.htm
    Evidently the team of Pentagon lawyers which crafted the document explaining how the president could avoid war crimes prosecution for himself and his subordinates even while authorizing widespread torture was led by a woman, U.S. Air Force General Counsel Mary L. Walker. She

  • Scott

    Just to flesh out the Billmon link above about evangelicals being responsible for torture:
    http://atheism.about.com/b/a/090931.htm
    Evidently the team of Pentagon lawyers which crafted the document explaining how the president could avoid war crimes prosecution for himself and his subordinates even while authorizing widespread torture was led by a woman, U.S. Air Force General Counsel Mary L. Walker. She

  • Scott

    This wouldn’t be a story if Sojo had not misrepresented what was happening. They should be ashamed at the attempt to make such scurrilous claims. There is no “army-centric motivational messages” or any other such nonsense. Sojo made it up!
    http://www1.eps.gov/spg/ODA/USSOCOM/FortBraggNC/Reference-Number-W81YJR4248N003/SynopsisP.html
    This is a notice of intent to issue a sole-source purchase order to International Bible Society, 1820 Jetstream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921 for custom-printed Bibles. The Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under authority of FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(ii). Responses to this notice will be used to determine whether bona fide competition exists. Responses must be in writing, including technical and pricing information. The items being purchased are 10,000 New International Version (NIV) Bibles with a custom-designed cover. The Bibles include Army-designed color photographs and text inserts. The Bibles are being purchased as a follow on for compatibility with previously-purchased Bibles. All responses must be received by 4:00 pm EST on 30 November 2004. No telephone requests will be accepted. Requests for a solicitation will not be considered an affirmative response. All responses from responsible sources submitting the required information will be fully considered. As a result of analyzing responses to this synopsis of intent, the Contracting Officer may determine that the action may be competed with resulting award under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Responsible firms responding to this synopsis will be considered if the action is competed. The point of contact for this requirement is Captain Matthew Urbanic, Contingency Contracting Officer, telephone 910-432-7857 or electronic mail urbanicm@soc.mil.

  • Scott

    This wouldn’t be a story if Sojo had not misrepresented what was happening. They should be ashamed at the attempt to make such scurrilous claims. There is no “army-centric motivational messages” or any other such nonsense. Sojo made it up!
    http://www1.eps.gov/spg/ODA/USSOCOM/FortBraggNC/Reference-Number-W81YJR4248N003/SynopsisP.html
    This is a notice of intent to issue a sole-source purchase order to International Bible Society, 1820 Jetstream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921 for custom-printed Bibles. The Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under authority of FAR 6.302-1(a)(2)(ii). Responses to this notice will be used to determine whether bona fide competition exists. Responses must be in writing, including technical and pricing information. The items being purchased are 10,000 New International Version (NIV) Bibles with a custom-designed cover. The Bibles include Army-designed color photographs and text inserts. The Bibles are being purchased as a follow on for compatibility with previously-purchased Bibles. All responses must be received by 4:00 pm EST on 30 November 2004. No telephone requests will be accepted. Requests for a solicitation will not be considered an affirmative response. All responses from responsible sources submitting the required information will be fully considered. As a result of analyzing responses to this synopsis of intent, the Contracting Officer may determine that the action may be competed with resulting award under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Responsible firms responding to this synopsis will be considered if the action is competed. The point of contact for this requirement is Captain Matthew Urbanic, Contingency Contracting Officer, telephone 910-432-7857 or electronic mail urbanicm@soc.mil.

  • http://benedictionblogson.com/ Bene Diction

    I posted, I have to be prepared to be flayed open and labelled at will.
    I plead guilty to being a foreigner and I plead guilty to being unaware that your government hands out contracts to print up special editions of scriptures and has done so since the inception of the US. I learn new things every day.
    There is a fine and precarious line for merchandizing a book with no borders.
    As for the other bible I put up? I went to several international bible sites to see if I could find a ‘similar’ cover. I couldn’t.
    I stand down, but not at ease. Blog on!

  • http://benedictionblogson.com Bene Diction

    I posted, I have to be prepared to be flayed open and labelled at will.
    I plead guilty to being a foreigner and I plead guilty to being unaware that your government hands out contracts to print up special editions of scriptures and has done so since the inception of the US. I learn new things every day.
    There is a fine and precarious line for merchandizing a book with no borders.
    As for the other bible I put up? I went to several international bible sites to see if I could find a ‘similar’ cover. I couldn’t.
    I stand down, but not at ease. Blog on!

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott: Did you post that to show that I was right or that I was wrong? I think the relevant passage you meant to show was:
    The Bibles include Army-designed color photographs and text inserts.
    That

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott: Did you post that to show that I was right or that I was wrong? I think the relevant passage you meant to show was:
    The Bibles include Army-designed color photographs and text inserts.
    That

  • Scott

    The text inserts, as I

  • Scott

    The text inserts, as I

  • Scott

    While the Book itself isn

  • Scott

    While the Book itself isn

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/ mumon

    Joe Carter:
    And what justification is there for Mel Sembler, Calvina Fey, Herbert Gonzales, and other fans of torture in this country?
    Where is the outrage over their victims?
    More to the point, the notion of a “just war” entails more than a choice of outrage over wrongs: it also entails (both from a moral and military perspective) an assumption that one can, in fact, achieve the objectives stated.
    We haven’t, probably can’t (not without a major draft & more arms), and therefore shouldn’t.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Joe Carter:
    And what justification is there for Mel Sembler, Calvina Fey, Herbert Gonzales, and other fans of torture in this country?
    Where is the outrage over their victims?
    More to the point, the notion of a “just war” entails more than a choice of outrage over wrongs: it also entails (both from a moral and military perspective) an assumption that one can, in fact, achieve the objectives stated.
    We haven’t, probably can’t (not without a major draft & more arms), and therefore shouldn’t.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott: Which clearly said a custom cover was the only “customization”. When I pointed out you were wrong, your only response was an assertion that the text customizations are no big deal. Maybe, maybe not.
    Those aren

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott: Which clearly said a custom cover was the only “customization”. When I pointed out you were wrong, your only response was an assertion that the text customizations are no big deal. Maybe, maybe not.
    Those aren

  • Scott

    mumon:
    ‘Commonweal’ blasts ‘First Things’ on the war.
    http://www.philocrites.com/archives/001488.html
    …What I am most concerned with can be reduced to four points. First, Neuhaus and Weigel, like the administration they support, failed in the summer of 2003 to see that the war was far from over. Second, their faith in the competency of the Bush administration, and their contempt for religious leaders who disagreed with them, can now more easily be recognized for what it was: an attachment to a particular brand of neoconservatism overwhelming their attachment to the just-war tradition. Third, their scant attention to how the war was actually conducted (jus in bello), and their disdain for those who pushed questions about noncombatant deaths and proportionality, suggest the need for a reappraisal of the value they placed on the just causes (ad bellum) of the war. Finally, I would argue that their silence since the fall of Baghdad is more disturbing than their mistakes before and during

  • Scott

    mumon:
    ‘Commonweal’ blasts ‘First Things’ on the war.
    http://www.philocrites.com/archives/001488.html
    …What I am most concerned with can be reduced to four points. First, Neuhaus and Weigel, like the administration they support, failed in the summer of 2003 to see that the war was far from over. Second, their faith in the competency of the Bush administration, and their contempt for religious leaders who disagreed with them, can now more easily be recognized for what it was: an attachment to a particular brand of neoconservatism overwhelming their attachment to the just-war tradition. Third, their scant attention to how the war was actually conducted (jus in bello), and their disdain for those who pushed questions about noncombatant deaths and proportionality, suggest the need for a reappraisal of the value they placed on the just causes (ad bellum) of the war. Finally, I would argue that their silence since the fall of Baghdad is more disturbing than their mistakes before and during

  • Scott

    Those aren

  • Scott

    Those aren

  • Scott

    Adding notations to “explain” the text is a customization, …
    As is adding extra-Biblical “inspirational” messages. There are customized Bibles cramming the shelves of every bookstore, all of which have the same unmodified NIV text contained in them.

  • Scott

    Adding notations to “explain” the text is a customization, …
    As is adding extra-Biblical “inspirational” messages. There are customized Bibles cramming the shelves of every bookstore, all of which have the same unmodified NIV text contained in them.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Adding notations to “explain” the text is a customization, if that’s what the army winds up doing. You merely assert that there will be nothing but things like the Lord’s Prayer. You don’t _know_ that.
    I don

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Adding notations to “explain” the text is a customization, if that’s what the army winds up doing. You merely assert that there will be nothing but things like the Lord’s Prayer. You don’t _know_ that.
    I don

  • Scott

    Are you truly implying that it

  • Scott

    Are you truly implying that it

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Do I really need to outline a proper course of modern medical treatment to argue against bleeding an ill person or applying leeches?
    Um, yeah. I was looking for some specific actions that you think we should have taken to prevent Saddam and the Baathists from terrorizing Iraqis. What would you suggest we have done to put an end to such atrocities?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Do I really need to outline a proper course of modern medical treatment to argue against bleeding an ill person or applying leeches?
    Um, yeah. I was looking for some specific actions that you think we should have taken to prevent Saddam and the Baathists from terrorizing Iraqis. What would you suggest we have done to put an end to such atrocities?

  • Scott

    Um, yeah. I was looking for some specific actions that you think we should have taken to prevent Saddam and the Baathists from terrorizing Iraqis. What would you suggest we have done to put an end to such atrocities?
    When someone demands any govt action, be it an invasion of Iraq or a liberal Democrat money-vomiting social program, the burden of proof is on him or her. Your response has a hidden assumption: that atrocities in Iraq have ended for good. Prove to me that nobody as bad as Saddam will take over when we leave and prove to me there will be no bloody civil war as various other thugs try to take over.
    How about we just not support thugs like Saddam when it suits our purposes, like Rummy did in the 80s? Don’t try to claim that Saddam’s actions in the 80s are relevant and prove your case for an invasion, but our support AT THE SAME TIME is ancient history.
    I’d put an end to atrocities in Iraq by stripping evangelical ‘Christians’ like Mary L. Walker, John Yoo, and Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin of their government posts and holding them responsible for their aiding and abetting war crimes.

  • Scott

    Um, yeah. I was looking for some specific actions that you think we should have taken to prevent Saddam and the Baathists from terrorizing Iraqis. What would you suggest we have done to put an end to such atrocities?
    When someone demands any govt action, be it an invasion of Iraq or a liberal Democrat money-vomiting social program, the burden of proof is on him or her. Your response has a hidden assumption: that atrocities in Iraq have ended for good. Prove to me that nobody as bad as Saddam will take over when we leave and prove to me there will be no bloody civil war as various other thugs try to take over.
    How about we just not support thugs like Saddam when it suits our purposes, like Rummy did in the 80s? Don’t try to claim that Saddam’s actions in the 80s are relevant and prove your case for an invasion, but our support AT THE SAME TIME is ancient history.
    I’d put an end to atrocities in Iraq by stripping evangelical ‘Christians’ like Mary L. Walker, John Yoo, and Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin of their government posts and holding them responsible for their aiding and abetting war crimes.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Prove to me that nobody as bad as Saddam will take over when we leave and prove to me there will be no bloody civil war as various other thugs try to take over.
    In other words, while you would have done absolutely nothing to end the suffering, you feel justified in critcizing those who did. I appreciate you clarify your point and for providing an example of the type of hypocrisy I was talking about in my post.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott,
    Prove to me that nobody as bad as Saddam will take over when we leave and prove to me there will be no bloody civil war as various other thugs try to take over.
    In other words, while you would have done absolutely nothing to end the suffering, you feel justified in critcizing those who did. I appreciate you clarify your point and for providing an example of the type of hypocrisy I was talking about in my post.

  • Scott

    I appreciate you clarify your point and for providing an example of the type of hypocrisy I was talking about in my post.
    You don’t get to invade another country on justifications (WMD, AQ) that turned out to be untrue, kill its civilians (collaterally), rape prisoners with lightsticks, and then claim the moral high ground just because you claim good intentions. “We have to do something” is not a catch-all arguement for anything you care to do. It doesn’t justify any given social program a Democrat supports, and it doesn’t justify any given war a Republican supports.
    I’d do the same thing about Iraq that you’re doing about North Korea and every other tyranny on Earth w/ a clear conscience – not invade. Personally, I’d stop propping tyranny up like we did w/ Saddam, then let people sort out their own countries.

  • Scott

    I appreciate you clarify your point and for providing an example of the type of hypocrisy I was talking about in my post.
    You don’t get to invade another country on justifications (WMD, AQ) that turned out to be untrue, kill its civilians (collaterally), rape prisoners with lightsticks, and then claim the moral high ground just because you claim good intentions. “We have to do something” is not a catch-all arguement for anything you care to do. It doesn’t justify any given social program a Democrat supports, and it doesn’t justify any given war a Republican supports.
    I’d do the same thing about Iraq that you’re doing about North Korea and every other tyranny on Earth w/ a clear conscience – not invade. Personally, I’d stop propping tyranny up like we did w/ Saddam, then let people sort out their own countries.

  • Scott

    And you evangelicals still haven’t repented for your collective responsibility for Abu Ghraib.

  • Scott

    And you evangelicals still haven’t repented for your collective responsibility for Abu Ghraib.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net/ Jon

    Having not looked up Bonhoeffer, and instead blathering out:
    …Hitler’s Germany amalgamated state with church. …” as some sort of authoritative text…
    Try googling Barmen Declaration, and begin to realize that not all Christians marched lockstep with the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net Jon

    Having not looked up Bonhoeffer, and instead blathering out:
    …Hitler’s Germany amalgamated state with church. …” as some sort of authoritative text…
    Try googling Barmen Declaration, and begin to realize that not all Christians marched lockstep with the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.

  • Scott

    Evangelical Christian moral high ground alert:
    http://www.turkishpress.com/world/news.asp?id=041210033510.1bgx7r1p.xml
    Marines hunt down Fallujah’s strays to head off rabies threat
    FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) – US troops fire off another volley of shots amid the trashed houses of Fallujah, hunting down new adversaries carrying a potentially deadly weapon that threatens to plague reconstruction efforts.
    But this time the marines are not chasing down the insurgents who they defeated in a devastating assault on the city last month. Their quarry is stray animals grown fat on the flesh from corpses and who could harbor rabies….

  • Scott

    Evangelical Christian moral high ground alert:
    http://www.turkishpress.com/world/news.asp?id=041210033510.1bgx7r1p.xml
    Marines hunt down Fallujah’s strays to head off rabies threat
    FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) – US troops fire off another volley of shots amid the trashed houses of Fallujah, hunting down new adversaries carrying a potentially deadly weapon that threatens to plague reconstruction efforts.
    But this time the marines are not chasing down the insurgents who they defeated in a devastating assault on the city last month. Their quarry is stray animals grown fat on the flesh from corpses and who could harbor rabies….

  • Scott

    Try googling Barmen Declaration, and begin to realize that not all Christians marched lockstep with the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.
    You’re absolutely right, not all Christians marched lockstep w/ the Nazis. Some, however, did. Consider it a warning not to take claims of “Jesus is my favorite political philosopher” from politicans at face value.

  • Scott

    Try googling Barmen Declaration, and begin to realize that not all Christians marched lockstep with the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.
    You’re absolutely right, not all Christians marched lockstep w/ the Nazis. Some, however, did. Consider it a warning not to take claims of “Jesus is my favorite political philosopher” from politicans at face value.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net/ Jon

    Some, however, did which of course gives you license to broadbrush as much as you like, because it fits your particular slant.
    Good advice, but still a red-herring, unless you seriously believe that anyone has been elected solely for playing the Jesus card.
    and…
    OMG… I can’t believe it, canines eating corpses and contracting rabies… OF course that only happens to corpses killed by U.S. soldiers, and not by headless corpses slain and left in the street by the righteous freedom fighters of Iraq.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net Jon

    Some, however, did which of course gives you license to broadbrush as much as you like, because it fits your particular slant.
    Good advice, but still a red-herring, unless you seriously believe that anyone has been elected solely for playing the Jesus card.
    and…
    OMG… I can’t believe it, canines eating corpses and contracting rabies… OF course that only happens to corpses killed by U.S. soldiers, and not by headless corpses slain and left in the street by the righteous freedom fighters of Iraq.

  • Scott

    OMG… I can’t believe it, canines eating corpses and contracting rabies… OF course that only happens to corpses killed by U.S. soldiers, and not by headless corpses slain and left in the street by the righteous freedom fighters of Iraq.
    That wasn’t happening before we invaded. The “we have to do something” argument is based on the assumption that if it’s not guaranteed to help, invasion will at least not hurt. Once you accept the possibility that we’ll screw up and make it worse, like we evidently have, then the argument falls apart.
    There is no way in H-ll that Bush could have gotten his war if he said Saddam had no WMD, no responsibility for 9/11, no clear ties to AQ, and dogs will be feasting on Iraqi corpses over a year after we invade. It is the height of moral arrogance for you to decide for someone else (the Iraqis) that they are better off with dogs eating their dead bodies than they would have been under Saddam.

  • Scott

    OMG… I can’t believe it, canines eating corpses and contracting rabies… OF course that only happens to corpses killed by U.S. soldiers, and not by headless corpses slain and left in the street by the righteous freedom fighters of Iraq.
    That wasn’t happening before we invaded. The “we have to do something” argument is based on the assumption that if it’s not guaranteed to help, invasion will at least not hurt. Once you accept the possibility that we’ll screw up and make it worse, like we evidently have, then the argument falls apart.
    There is no way in H-ll that Bush could have gotten his war if he said Saddam had no WMD, no responsibility for 9/11, no clear ties to AQ, and dogs will be feasting on Iraqi corpses over a year after we invade. It is the height of moral arrogance for you to decide for someone else (the Iraqis) that they are better off with dogs eating their dead bodies than they would have been under Saddam.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net/ Jon

    Okay. I’m morally arrogant. :shrug:
    And since you pointed that out, I guess I’m in some fine company.
    It would have been much better that the dead in the streets of Fallujah kept right on opressing their countrymen to the south. Or so they could keep right on chopping the heads off oof people they kidnap off the street, instead of being puppy chow.
    Of course Iraq was all butterflies and kites before the fascist Bush came in after he decided that 12 years of propping up the glorious Saddam regieme just wasn’t getting him enough OIL.

  • http://misplacedkeys.net Jon

    Okay. I’m morally arrogant. :shrug:
    And since you pointed that out, I guess I’m in some fine company.
    It would have been much better that the dead in the streets of Fallujah kept right on opressing their countrymen to the south. Or so they could keep right on chopping the heads off oof people they kidnap off the street, instead of being puppy chow.
    Of course Iraq was all butterflies and kites before the fascist Bush came in after he decided that 12 years of propping up the glorious Saddam regieme just wasn’t getting him enough OIL.

  • http://www.brutallyhonest.org/brutally_honest/2004/12/a_righteous_ran.html Brutally Honest

    A righteous rant against the Christian left

    Joe Carter takes aim and scores:A recent action by the U.S.military appears to have rankled many of my fellow Christians. Chuck Corrie says that hearing the news made his blood pressure go up while Canadian blogger Bene lists numerous reasons

  • http://www.brutallyhonest.org/brutally_honest/2004/12/a_righteous_ran.html Brutally Honest

    A righteous rant against the Christian left

    Joe Carter takes aim and scores:A recent action by the U.S.military appears to have rankled many of my fellow Christians. Chuck Corrie says that hearing the news made his blood pressure go up while Canadian blogger Bene lists numerous reasons

  • http://papercompass.typepad.com/find_your_path/ M.R. Maguire

    Hiya, Joe. Long time but I see you’re still stirring up the cerebral pot. :-) Nice rant.
    I also have no problem with our government providing sacred texts to our troops. When a man or woman is on the front line of death each day, how could we as a nation deny them comfort? They, more than anyone typing away comfortably at their computer, know more intimately the questions of life, faith, sacrifice and hope. For us, most of these discussions are intriguing philosophical jaunts. For the men and women risking their lives to establish security and freedom, these thoughts have teeth.
    Keep up the great work, Joe. You are a a much needed voice crying out in the wilderness.

  • http://papercompass.typepad.com/find_your_path/ M.R. Maguire

    Hiya, Joe. Long time but I see you’re still stirring up the cerebral pot. :-) Nice rant.
    I also have no problem with our government providing sacred texts to our troops. When a man or woman is on the front line of death each day, how could we as a nation deny them comfort? They, more than anyone typing away comfortably at their computer, know more intimately the questions of life, faith, sacrifice and hope. For us, most of these discussions are intriguing philosophical jaunts. For the men and women risking their lives to establish security and freedom, these thoughts have teeth.
    Keep up the great work, Joe. You are a a much needed voice crying out in the wilderness.

  • Peter

    For the record, I’d like to point out that the disagreements in this thread do not fit neatly along liberal/conservative lines. The pro-war position defended by Joe and others is essentially neoconservative, a far cry from the traditionalist conservative position advocated by the Old Right and the pre-Buckley conservative movement more generally. I am one theologically conservative, evangelical Protestant who agrees (on this issue) largely with Scott. John Paul II is a theologically conservative, evangelical Catholic (I’m pretty sure he’s Catholic) who does too. The arguments offered by Scott against invasion and occupation are, in my view, largely consistent with the traditional Scholastic just war position. A “preemptive strike” to free an allegedly oppressed people from a dictator does not, in my reading, come close to meeting the traditional criteria for just use of lethal force.
    So, Joe and friends, please do not describe your view as the definitive evangelical position (as opposed to, say, a mainline Protestant Sojourner-style view). And Scott, please don’t assume that you’re arguing against “evangelicals” per se.

  • Peter

    For the record, I’d like to point out that the disagreements in this thread do not fit neatly along liberal/conservative lines. The pro-war position defended by Joe and others is essentially neoconservative, a far cry from the traditionalist conservative position advocated by the Old Right and the pre-Buckley conservative movement more generally. I am one theologically conservative, evangelical Protestant who agrees (on this issue) largely with Scott. John Paul II is a theologically conservative, evangelical Catholic (I’m pretty sure he’s Catholic) who does too. The arguments offered by Scott against invasion and occupation are, in my view, largely consistent with the traditional Scholastic just war position. A “preemptive strike” to free an allegedly oppressed people from a dictator does not, in my reading, come close to meeting the traditional criteria for just use of lethal force.
    So, Joe and friends, please do not describe your view as the definitive evangelical position (as opposed to, say, a mainline Protestant Sojourner-style view). And Scott, please don’t assume that you’re arguing against “evangelicals” per se.

  • http://thinksink.blogspot.com/ Jeff H

    Thanks for that great perspective. Amen, amen, and again I say “AMEN”!!!

  • http://thinksink.blogspot.com/ Jeff H

    Thanks for that great perspective. Amen, amen, and again I say “AMEN”!!!

  • Scott

    Nobody objected to the govt providing Bibles – the concern is with what ‘extras’ will be included.
    And Scott, please don’t assume that you’re arguing against “evangelicals” per se.
    I’ve heard the usual neocon arguments from enough Bush supporters at church who would be considered ‘evangelicals’ to make the separation difficult. I don’t say that to put words or a position in Peter’s mouth – I’m just relating my personal experience.
    It would have been much better that the dead in the streets of Fallujah kept right on opressing their countrymen to the south. Or so they could keep right on chopping the heads off oof people they kidnap off the street, instead of being puppy chow.
    Freeing and defending the people you call “puppy chow” is the last surviving rationale for this war, and moral condemnation of the people who aren’t dismissing other human beings as Alpo is the last surviving rhetorical device for defending this war.
    Of course Iraq was all butterflies and kites before the fascist Bush came in
    They seem to want us gone – what does that tell you about how bad it was before vs. after we showed up?

  • Scott

    Nobody objected to the govt providing Bibles – the concern is with what ‘extras’ will be included.
    And Scott, please don’t assume that you’re arguing against “evangelicals” per se.
    I’ve heard the usual neocon arguments from enough Bush supporters at church who would be considered ‘evangelicals’ to make the separation difficult. I don’t say that to put words or a position in Peter’s mouth – I’m just relating my personal experience.
    It would have been much better that the dead in the streets of Fallujah kept right on opressing their countrymen to the south. Or so they could keep right on chopping the heads off oof people they kidnap off the street, instead of being puppy chow.
    Freeing and defending the people you call “puppy chow” is the last surviving rationale for this war, and moral condemnation of the people who aren’t dismissing other human beings as Alpo is the last surviving rhetorical device for defending this war.
    Of course Iraq was all butterflies and kites before the fascist Bush came in
    They seem to want us gone – what does that tell you about how bad it was before vs. after we showed up?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Scott: That wasn’t happening before we invaded. The “we have to do something” argument is based on the assumption that if it’s not guaranteed to help, invasion will at least not hurt.
    Listen, partner, you lost the moral high ground when you conceded that you would have done nothing. If you had your way Saddaam’s sons would still be raping and torturing people and filling mass graves. The fact that you think that is somehow preferable to a free people trying to defend against internal terrorism with the aid of American’s is so morally obtuse that it’s not even worth wasting time responding to.
    It’s obvious that the only time that you have any concern for the people of Iraq is when they are being harmed by Americans. Is everything going perfectly in that country? No. But to somehow claim that it is anywhere near as bad as it was under that brutal tyrant is simply dishonest. You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I take it that you wouldn’t have done anything to stop the Nazi’s from slaughtering the Jews in Europe either, would you? No, wait, of course you would. That’s different. Right?
    Peter: A “preemptive strike” to free an allegedly oppressed people from a dictator does not, in my reading, come close to meeting the traditional criteria for just use of lethal force.
    I would suggest that you read up on Just War theory then. It is entirely consistent with that approach.
    But I will allow you the same opportunity to clarify what you would have done to stop the bloodshed. What should we have done differently to aid these people?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Scott: That wasn’t happening before we invaded. The “we have to do something” argument is based on the assumption that if it’s not guaranteed to help, invasion will at least not hurt.
    Listen, partner, you lost the moral high ground when you conceded that you would have done nothing. If you had your way Saddaam’s sons would still be raping and torturing people and filling mass graves. The fact that you think that is somehow preferable to a free people trying to defend against internal terrorism with the aid of American’s is so morally obtuse that it’s not even worth wasting time responding to.
    It’s obvious that the only time that you have any concern for the people of Iraq is when they are being harmed by Americans. Is everything going perfectly in that country? No. But to somehow claim that it is anywhere near as bad as it was under that brutal tyrant is simply dishonest. You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I take it that you wouldn’t have done anything to stop the Nazi’s from slaughtering the Jews in Europe either, would you? No, wait, of course you would. That’s different. Right?
    Peter: A “preemptive strike” to free an allegedly oppressed people from a dictator does not, in my reading, come close to meeting the traditional criteria for just use of lethal force.
    I would suggest that you read up on Just War theory then. It is entirely consistent with that approach.
    But I will allow you the same opportunity to clarify what you would have done to stop the bloodshed. What should we have done differently to aid these people?

  • http://thinklings.org/ Bill

    Great post, man.

  • http://thinklings.org Bill

    Great post, man.

  • Scott

    Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.
    Bonhoeffer was a pacifist and not a likely candidate to support “preemptive war”.
    Listen, partner, you lost the moral high ground when you conceded that you would have done nothing. If you had your way Saddaam’s sons would still be raping and torturing people and filling mass graves. The fact that you think that is somehow preferable to a free people trying to defend against internal terrorism with the aid of American’s is so morally obtuse that it’s not even worth wasting time responding to.
    Evangelicals like you lost the moral high ground when you lied us into this war (Bush’s WMD and AQ claims), then supported whackjobs like Boykin who bear ultimate responsibility for the climate that gave us Abu Ghraib. Your “Godly Leaders” cost you the moral high ground, partner.
    You’ve yet to respond to anything above about evangelical involvemnt in torturing Iraqi prisoners.
    It’s obvious that the only time that you have any concern for the people of Iraq is when they are being harmed by Americans. Is everything going perfectly in that country? No. But to somehow claim that it is anywhere near as bad as it was under that brutal tyrant is simply dishonest. You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I take it that you wouldn’t have done anything to stop the Nazi’s from slaughtering the Jews in Europe either, would you? No, wait, of course you would. That’s different. Right?
    Dogs weren’t eating corpses in the street at the time of our invasion. That is way, way beyond “imperfect”. Holding American Evangelical Christians responsible for their own actions is not immoral, and “we’re not as bad as Saddam” is no defense. Bush did not run for election and reelection on the platform of “We’ll rape fewer Iraqis than Saddam”. Dismissing what is going on in Iraq as merely ‘imperfect’ is one of the most amoral things I’ve heard from an evangelical in some time.

  • Scott

    Bonhoeffer (an Evangelical Christian) was hung by the Nazi’s in 1945.
    Bonhoeffer was a pacifist and not a likely candidate to support “preemptive war”.
    Listen, partner, you lost the moral high ground when you conceded that you would have done nothing. If you had your way Saddaam’s sons would still be raping and torturing people and filling mass graves. The fact that you think that is somehow preferable to a free people trying to defend against internal terrorism with the aid of American’s is so morally obtuse that it’s not even worth wasting time responding to.
    Evangelicals like you lost the moral high ground when you lied us into this war (Bush’s WMD and AQ claims), then supported whackjobs like Boykin who bear ultimate responsibility for the climate that gave us Abu Ghraib. Your “Godly Leaders” cost you the moral high ground, partner.
    You’ve yet to respond to anything above about evangelical involvemnt in torturing Iraqi prisoners.
    It’s obvious that the only time that you have any concern for the people of Iraq is when they are being harmed by Americans. Is everything going perfectly in that country? No. But to somehow claim that it is anywhere near as bad as it was under that brutal tyrant is simply dishonest. You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I take it that you wouldn’t have done anything to stop the Nazi’s from slaughtering the Jews in Europe either, would you? No, wait, of course you would. That’s different. Right?
    Dogs weren’t eating corpses in the street at the time of our invasion. That is way, way beyond “imperfect”. Holding American Evangelical Christians responsible for their own actions is not immoral, and “we’re not as bad as Saddam” is no defense. Bush did not run for election and reelection on the platform of “We’ll rape fewer Iraqis than Saddam”. Dismissing what is going on in Iraq as merely ‘imperfect’ is one of the most amoral things I’ve heard from an evangelical in some time.

  • Scott

    Let me ask you something I’ve asked others who claim opponents of the Iraq war would be responsible for Saddam and Sons. If Iraq slides into civil war, and/or if another Saddam-like thug takes over after we eventually leave, will that blood be on your hands, as it results from the war you pushed for? Or will you take the easy way out and say that since your motives were ‘pure’, nobody can blame you for the results of your own actions?

  • Scott

    Let me ask you something I’ve asked others who claim opponents of the Iraq war would be responsible for Saddam and Sons. If Iraq slides into civil war, and/or if another Saddam-like thug takes over after we eventually leave, will that blood be on your hands, as it results from the war you pushed for? Or will you take the easy way out and say that since your motives were ‘pure’, nobody can blame you for the results of your own actions?

  • Peter

    I would suggest that you read up on Just War theory then. It is entirely consistent with that approach.
    Well, I’m sorry, we will have to agree to disagree here, my friend. You are obviously reading a different set of writers than I am. (You can have neocon theorists Michael Novak and Jean Bethke Elshtain; I’ll take Augustine, John Paul II, and virtually all of the medieval Scholastics.)
    But I will allow you the same opportunity to clarify what you would have done to stop the bloodshed. What should we have done differently to aid these people?
    Sorry again, I won’t take the bait. In justifying the use of deadly force, the burden of proof is on the advocate of war, not the opponent of war. Iraq’s problems are not the U.S. taxpayer’s to solve. Individuals are free to support whatever opposition movements they want, financially or otherwise.
    More generally, the claim that the opponent of war loses his “moral authority” or somehow “condones” any dictatorship around the world that he doesn’t want to bomb and invade is preposterous. This argument would justify any intervention. If I advocate dropping nukes on North Korea, vaporizing half the population, can I rebut your objections by saying “Well, Joe, what did you do to solve the problem?”

  • Peter

    I would suggest that you read up on Just War theory then. It is entirely consistent with that approach.
    Well, I’m sorry, we will have to agree to disagree here, my friend. You are obviously reading a different set of writers than I am. (You can have neocon theorists Michael Novak and Jean Bethke Elshtain; I’ll take Augustine, John Paul II, and virtually all of the medieval Scholastics.)
    But I will allow you the same opportunity to clarify what you would have done to stop the bloodshed. What should we have done differently to aid these people?
    Sorry again, I won’t take the bait. In justifying the use of deadly force, the burden of proof is on the advocate of war, not the opponent of war. Iraq’s problems are not the U.S. taxpayer’s to solve. Individuals are free to support whatever opposition movements they want, financially or otherwise.
    More generally, the claim that the opponent of war loses his “moral authority” or somehow “condones” any dictatorship around the world that he doesn’t want to bomb and invade is preposterous. This argument would justify any intervention. If I advocate dropping nukes on North Korea, vaporizing half the population, can I rebut your objections by saying “Well, Joe, what did you do to solve the problem?”

  • Scott

    can I rebut your objections by saying
    Peter, that assumes that he’d object. :-)

  • Scott

    can I rebut your objections by saying
    Peter, that assumes that he’d object. :-)

  • Peter

    Well, yes. :-)
    By the way, Scott, I understand your feeling that Joe’s view is the “official” evangelical view. Sadly, most contemporary evangelicals — even thoughtful, intelligent ones like Joe — do seem to take the Weekly Standard position on Iraq. Unfortunately, in my judgment, this is because they have not thought through the issues carefully, and have not been exposed to traditional Christian thinking about just war. Indeed, when discussing US foreign policy, many of my favorite evangelical writers, including Joe Carter, John Armstrong, and others, are about as careful as, well, the Weekly Standard crowd. You might as well be reading Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowery, or other woefully uneducated commentators. I wish my fellow evangelicals would read Joseph Sobran, Chris Manion, Jude Wanniski, Paul Craig Roberts, and other thoughtful conservatives for an alternative, non-Sojourners, critique of Bush foreign policy.

  • Peter

    Well, yes. :-)
    By the way, Scott, I understand your feeling that Joe’s view is the “official” evangelical view. Sadly, most contemporary evangelicals — even thoughtful, intelligent ones like Joe — do seem to take the Weekly Standard position on Iraq. Unfortunately, in my judgment, this is because they have not thought through the issues carefully, and have not been exposed to traditional Christian thinking about just war. Indeed, when discussing US foreign policy, many of my favorite evangelical writers, including Joe Carter, John Armstrong, and others, are about as careful as, well, the Weekly Standard crowd. You might as well be reading Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowery, or other woefully uneducated commentators. I wish my fellow evangelicals would read Joseph Sobran, Chris Manion, Jude Wanniski, Paul Craig Roberts, and other thoughtful conservatives for an alternative, non-Sojourners, critique of Bush foreign policy.

  • gedi

    Scott,
    Now that the thread is completely off topic..
    Nazis are either dead or marginalized. Let’s deal with the living.
    Do you oppose the Afghan warfront as well? Is it just Iraq that has you in a tizzy? Were you opposed to the American bombings / occupation of Kosovo/Serbia? Are you opposed to us sending troops to the Phillipines also? Would you support an intervention in Sudan to stop the senseless and brutal killings?
    Are you at all aware of the scope and breadth of the enemy that America is fighting? There is a common denominator between the above fronts. It is not necessarily rocket science, but I would guess you can figure it out.

  • gedi

    Scott,
    Now that the thread is completely off topic..
    Nazis are either dead or marginalized. Let’s deal with the living.
    Do you oppose the Afghan warfront as well? Is it just Iraq that has you in a tizzy? Were you opposed to the American bombings / occupation of Kosovo/Serbia? Are you opposed to us sending troops to the Phillipines also? Would you support an intervention in Sudan to stop the senseless and brutal killings?
    Are you at all aware of the scope and breadth of the enemy that America is fighting? There is a common denominator between the above fronts. It is not necessarily rocket science, but I would guess you can figure it out.

  • Scott

    Do you oppose the Afghan warfront as well? Is it just Iraq that has you in a tizzy? Were you opposed to the American bombings / occupation of Kosovo/Serbia? Are you opposed to us sending troops to the Phillipines also? Would you support an intervention in Sudan to stop the senseless and brutal killings?
    I opposed involvement in Kosovo/Serbia. I’d need details on our hypothetical actions in Sudan before responding. Afghanistan should have been a capture of OBL instead of letting him escape because we were diverting resources to Iraq. OBL is alive because Bush is President.
    Are you at all aware of the scope and breadth of the enemy that America is fighting? There is a common denominator between the above fronts. It is not necessarily rocket science, but I would guess you can figure it out.
    A common denominator among Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, and the Sudan? Let me guess, it’s Satan, right. Satan is everywhere and we are engaging in Spiritual Warfare ™ when we send the military around the world. LOOK, SATAN IS UNDER MY BED!!! EEEKKKK!!!!

  • Scott

    Do you oppose the Afghan warfront as well? Is it just Iraq that has you in a tizzy? Were you opposed to the American bombings / occupation of Kosovo/Serbia? Are you opposed to us sending troops to the Phillipines also? Would you support an intervention in Sudan to stop the senseless and brutal killings?
    I opposed involvement in Kosovo/Serbia. I’d need details on our hypothetical actions in Sudan before responding. Afghanistan should have been a capture of OBL instead of letting him escape because we were diverting resources to Iraq. OBL is alive because Bush is President.
    Are you at all aware of the scope and breadth of the enemy that America is fighting? There is a common denominator between the above fronts. It is not necessarily rocket science, but I would guess you can figure it out.
    A common denominator among Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, and the Sudan? Let me guess, it’s Satan, right. Satan is everywhere and we are engaging in Spiritual Warfare ™ when we send the military around the world. LOOK, SATAN IS UNDER MY BED!!! EEEKKKK!!!!

  • gedi

    “I opposed involvement in Kosovo/Serbia. I’d need details on our hypothetical actions in Sudan before responding. Afghanistan should have been a capture of OBL instead of letting him escape because we were diverting resources to Iraq. OBL is alive because Bush is President.”
    I don’t think a response is needed, nor is further discourse going to be fruitful. I will pray for you, brother. God bless, Scott!

  • gedi

    “I opposed involvement in Kosovo/Serbia. I’d need details on our hypothetical actions in Sudan before responding. Afghanistan should have been a capture of OBL instead of letting him escape because we were diverting resources to Iraq. OBL is alive because Bush is President.”
    I don’t think a response is needed, nor is further discourse going to be fruitful. I will pray for you, brother. God bless, Scott!

  • Scott

    I will pray for you, brother.
    Your ‘prayers’ are just a rhetorical weapon. Had they been honest, you would have kept your mouth shut about them:
    Matthew 6
    5) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
    6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    Luke 18: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
    9) To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
    10) “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
    11) The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[1] himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.
    12) I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    13) “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    14) “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • Scott

    I will pray for you, brother.
    Your ‘prayers’ are just a rhetorical weapon. Had they been honest, you would have kept your mouth shut about them:
    Matthew 6
    5) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
    6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    Luke 18: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
    9) To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
    10) “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
    11) The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[1] himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.
    12) I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    13) “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    14) “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • http://www.tzaddik.us/lilpoh2/wordpress/ John Luke

    I am a conservative Christian, but I suggest you’ve misread Matthew 10:34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
    The context is provided by Mt 10:35-36: 35 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughterinlaw against her motherinlaw

  • http://www.tzaddik.us/lilpoh2/wordpress/ John Luke

    I am a conservative Christian, but I suggest you’ve misread Matthew 10:34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
    The context is provided by Mt 10:35-36: 35 “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughterinlaw against her motherinlaw

  • Scott

    Mt 10:34 has been used as kind of a blank check to justify using the sword to spread His Gospel.
    If spreading the Gospel was the goal of invading Iraq, I think Bush should have been honest enough to have admitted it up front.
    Afghanistan (home of OBL, who Bush let escape) and Iraq (which wasn’t involved in 9/11) don’t belong in the same “terrorist state” category, and as a result of Bush’s war, dogs are eating the corpses of our neighbors in their streets.

  • Scott

    Mt 10:34 has been used as kind of a blank check to justify using the sword to spread His Gospel.
    If spreading the Gospel was the goal of invading Iraq, I think Bush should have been honest enough to have admitted it up front.
    Afghanistan (home of OBL, who Bush let escape) and Iraq (which wasn’t involved in 9/11) don’t belong in the same “terrorist state” category, and as a result of Bush’s war, dogs are eating the corpses of our neighbors in their streets.

  • gedi

    God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
    Then Agrippa said to Paul,

  • gedi

    God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
    Then Agrippa said to Paul,

  • Scott

    Then Agrippa said to Paul,

  • Scott

    Then Agrippa said to Paul,

  • http://www.xanga.com/quartho Quartho

    A dictatorship that oppresses its people has a grip on power that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. A government that rules by fear has a quite tenuous grip on power. Thus the best way to topple a dictatorship, and prevent chaos afterward like we continue to see so much of, is to demonstrate to oppressed people that if, once relieved of their fear, they stand up together against the government, the government will lose its legitimacy and thus its power. You think most Iraqis had much love for Saddam Hussein? They just didn’t realize that if they stood together Saddam would have had no choice but to turn tail and run like the spider hole-hiding coward he turned out to be.
    So the issue of “go to war against Iraq or do nothing” was always a false dichotomy. There was plenty we could have done that didn’t include violence, and more creative minds could have found them. By fostering an internal Iraqi movement of people willing to give their own lives but not take lives to take their government back, we could have sent an incredible message to Iraq and the world, and kept so many from violent action themselves. Indeed, it would have been the best hope for democracy, as Iraqi’s various ethnic factions could have seen how they could work together without strife. Instead this disastrous war has legitimized the use of violence in an area that hardly needed the encouragement. What a tragedy. I pray that Iraq can yet avoid civil war (one of the English language’s original oxymorons), yet once violence is legitimized . . .
    One of the worst aspects is that this “liberation” came from the outside rather than inside. What made the fall of communism so inspiring (and the recent protests in Ukraine) is that the people were taking down their own statues. Instead, insurgents are getting ever bolder in finding ways to take us down. It’s such a tragedy all around.
    And to the person above who referenced the good samaration as a rationale for using violence to counter violence, please see the story of Moses killing the Egyptian in Exodus 2, an action that robbed Moses of his legitimacy in the people’s eyes and delayed the Hebrews’ freedom by many years.

  • http://www.xanga.com/quartho Quartho

    A dictatorship that oppresses its people has a grip on power that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. A government that rules by fear has a quite tenuous grip on power. Thus the best way to topple a dictatorship, and prevent chaos afterward like we continue to see so much of, is to demonstrate to oppressed people that if, once relieved of their fear, they stand up together against the government, the government will lose its legitimacy and thus its power. You think most Iraqis had much love for Saddam Hussein? They just didn’t realize that if they stood together Saddam would have had no choice but to turn tail and run like the spider hole-hiding coward he turned out to be.
    So the issue of “go to war against Iraq or do nothing” was always a false dichotomy. There was plenty we could have done that didn’t include violence, and more creative minds could have found them. By fostering an internal Iraqi movement of people willing to give their own lives but not take lives to take their government back, we could have sent an incredible message to Iraq and the world, and kept so many from violent action themselves. Indeed, it would have been the best hope for democracy, as Iraqi’s various ethnic factions could have seen how they could work together without strife. Instead this disastrous war has legitimized the use of violence in an area that hardly needed the encouragement. What a tragedy. I pray that Iraq can yet avoid civil war (one of the English language’s original oxymorons), yet once violence is legitimized . . .
    One of the worst aspects is that this “liberation” came from the outside rather than inside. What made the fall of communism so inspiring (and the recent protests in Ukraine) is that the people were taking down their own statues. Instead, insurgents are getting ever bolder in finding ways to take us down. It’s such a tragedy all around.
    And to the person above who referenced the good samaration as a rationale for using violence to counter violence, please see the story of Moses killing the Egyptian in Exodus 2, an action that robbed Moses of his legitimacy in the people’s eyes and delayed the Hebrews’ freedom by many years.

  • http://HeartSoulandHumor.blogspot.com/ Debi

    I am a liberal evangelical and a Sojourner subscriber, and I truly praise God that our military have copies of the Bible.
    What is military artwork, though? I shudder to imagine.

  • http://HeartSoulandHumor.blogspot.com Debi

    I am a liberal evangelical and a Sojourner subscriber, and I truly praise God that our military have copies of the Bible.
    What is military artwork, though? I shudder to imagine.

  • Scott

    What is military artwork, though? I shudder to imagine.
    That was the objection. Nobody was complaining about the troops getting Bibles, and Joe bears false witness against Sojo when he claims that was their objection (“Yes, my fellow Christians are disturbed that people are receiving Bibles”).
    The concern is simply with just what ‘inspirational’ text and graphics this particular administration (unoffensive examples from WWII and Korea don’t sway me) will want included in a Bible.

  • Scott

    What is military artwork, though? I shudder to imagine.
    That was the objection. Nobody was complaining about the troops getting Bibles, and Joe bears false witness against Sojo when he claims that was their objection (“Yes, my fellow Christians are disturbed that people are receiving Bibles”).
    The concern is simply with just what ‘inspirational’ text and graphics this particular administration (unoffensive examples from WWII and Korea don’t sway me) will want included in a Bible.

  • gedi

    Quartho wrote, “Moses killing the Egyptian in Exodus 2, an action that robbed Moses of his legitimacy in the people’s eyes and delayed the Hebrews’ freedom by many years.”
    Is it the Hebrews’ freedom that is the point or Pharaoh and the people knowing the true God? “And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” The Hebrews’ freedom is the means, not the end.
    God bless, Quartho.

  • gedi

    Quartho wrote, “Moses killing the Egyptian in Exodus 2, an action that robbed Moses of his legitimacy in the people’s eyes and delayed the Hebrews’ freedom by many years.”
    Is it the Hebrews’ freedom that is the point or Pharaoh and the people knowing the true God? “And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” The Hebrews’ freedom is the means, not the end.
    God bless, Quartho.

  • Ken

    >They want to wrest the sword away from our
    >Lord. And then beat it into a plowshare.
    After which they will spend the rest of their lives (and their children’s lives, and their grandchildren’s lives) plowing at sword-point for those who kept their swords. “TRIBUTE! ON THE BACKS OF YOUR HANDS! ALLAH-U AKBAR! ALLAH-U AKBAR! ALLAH-U AKBAR!”

  • Ken

    >They want to wrest the sword away from our
    >Lord. And then beat it into a plowshare.
    After which they will spend the rest of their lives (and their children’s lives, and their grandchildren’s lives) plowing at sword-point for those who kept their swords. “TRIBUTE! ON THE BACKS OF YOUR HANDS! ALLAH-U AKBAR! ALLAH-U AKBAR! ALLAH-U AKBAR!”

  • Scott

    They want to wrest the sword away from our Lord.
    I had missed that – thanks Ken. Here, Joe shows exactly what’s wrong with American Evangelical Christianity, and proves that everything he says about helping Iraqis and all the other nonreligious justifications for his war are just excuses. We didn’t invade Iraq, Jesus did.

  • Scott

    They want to wrest the sword away from our Lord.
    I had missed that – thanks Ken. Here, Joe shows exactly what’s wrong with American Evangelical Christianity, and proves that everything he says about helping Iraqis and all the other nonreligious justifications for his war are just excuses. We didn’t invade Iraq, Jesus did.