Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 12, 2014

Counterterrorism capitulates to war

Filed under: Media,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on September 12, 2014

As you have probably already seen/heard unfold over the day, the Administration has decided not to argue terms-of-reference related to its current and anticipated action against the so-called Islamic State.

Here’s how the Daily News framed the fast-moving rhetorical controversy:

The U.S. is at war with ISIS, the White House and Pentagon said Friday, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry stubbornly declined to use the ‘W’ word.

“In the same way that we are at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at war with ISIL,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, using another acronym for ISIS, also known as the Islamic State.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby offered a similar reaction Friday.

“Make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL in the same way we’re at war and continue to be at al Qaeda and its affiliates,” Kirby said.

In a Thursday evening (US time) interview with CNN the Secretary of State said: “We’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action.”

Secretary Kerry could have more effectively advanced understanding of CT by being just a bit more diplomatic. But his fussy language does reflect consistent Administration policy.

If I was in the West Wing I too would have sacrificed the high ground of maintaining the meaningful distinction.  It was high ground totally exposed to the worst sort of ideological artillery.  Given today’s reality the hill would have been over-run no matter what was done to defend it.

But the distinction is meaningful.  Since the mid-Nineteenth Century Americans have come to  expect wars to end in victory and the unconditional surrender of our enemies.  This has not always been the case, but our expectations persist.

This expectation is wildly inappropriate — entirely unrealistic — regarding the sort of adversary that has emerged (again) along the Euphrates.  We can degrade it.  We can even, in many meanings of the word, destroy it.  We will not receive a surrender.  We would be foolish to declare victory.

Americans would benefit from better understanding the difference between “war” as we typically choose to understand it and the counterterrorism operations we are actually executing.  Two very different activities.  Confusion regarding them may generate all sorts of mischief.

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30 Comments »

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 12, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

War or a counterterrorism action….really? Are you kidding and all that is now evolving is the direct result of this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” in politics rather than standing forthright for our principles, our national interests and taking a strong posture with boots on the ground….

We no longer whisper in the pews, but now shout for “House Arrest” for suspicion in breach of faith, treason at the “Benghazi Massacre” as well as all these shenanigans contrary to our American ideals and way of Life w/Barry Obama from his expedient trip to cairo to the other evening again talking about the peacefulness of Islam, well fellas, wake up and by the way, walk across the border and get our brave warrior, our US Marine out of jail as we need him and if DHS and this WH can let convicted felons walk the streets and operations personnel for our enemy released without conference with Congress, you have our orders from “Main Street USA” for you as US Marines to walk across the border and take our brave warrior back because we do not leave anyone behind!

Enough is enough!

Let’s get our act together despite this eight year WH resident who obviously favors Tehran in every way as promoted by negotiations with these bloody terrorists, these “Brutes of Tehran” as I reference these thugs to have WMD as long as the “Zionists” have such according to the Rev Wright where Barry Obama listened attentively for 20 years….! I bet you and I would have walked out long before listening to this fool….

Exclusive: ISIS Starts Recruiting in Istanbul’s Vulnerable Suburbs
By Alev Scott and Alexander Christie-Miller / September 12, 2014

Last week at a Nato summit in Wales, US President Barack Obama said Turkey was part of a “core coalition” to fight Isis. However, Deniz and other victims of Isis recruitment question their government’s willingness or ability to tackle the terrorist organisation’s infiltration of Turkey. They speak of their frustration at police inaction and of their powerlessness to retrieve their loved ones. In her extended family alone, Deniz says, 15 people – including five children – have gone to live under Isis rule or fight in its ranks in recent months.

Her story is echoed by others in Istanbul, who describe an organised recruiting network operating online and through religious study groups, targeting young men from Sunni Muslim districts plagued by poverty and drug addiction. One family, whose son joined Isis, says that he was among 19 young men from their neighbourhood alone who left for Syria recently, with at least four others planning to join them soon.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 12, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

Well confusion reigns in DC and in country at large. I would seek UN action, even if approval NOT given, and a new AUMF from the Congress against IS!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 12, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

“When the wicked beareth rule, the People mourn” – Proverbs 29:2

“Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.” Ezekiel 13-15.

Recall Winston Churchill’s words in wisdom when stating that “The farther backward you look, the farther forward you see” – Let’s not shun history, but to embrace history and the l;lessons we can learn….
__________________

No breakthrough as Kerry urges reluctant Turkey to help fight militants
Email

Obama strategy in Iraq, Syria hinges on long shots
BY PATRICK J. MCDONNELL

September 12, 2014, 6:59 p.m.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry visited Turkey on Friday, seeking to persuade a reluctant leadership in Ankara to participate in a U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.

But there appeared to be no breakthrough in convincing Turkish officials to join the military front against the Islamic State, the Al Qaeda breakaway group that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria, two of Turkey’s neighbors.

“Turkey and the United States will stand together against any challenges in the region, including all terrorism,” Kerry declared after meeting with top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While Turkey is a NATO ally, its leaders are hesitant to partake in military action as part of what U.S. officials say will be a coalition of more than 40 countries arrayed against the Islamic State.

Asked if the Turks had given permission for U.S. fighter jets to use the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, Kerry replied that it was too early yet to detail any country’s role in what he labeled the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, after a common acronym for the Islamic State.

“It is entirely premature and frankly inappropriate at this point in time to start laying out … what individual nations are going to do,” Kerry told reporters in Ankara. “A lot of details are being worked out.”

But it seemed unlikely that Turkey would agree to join in military action, though Ankara is reported to be open to providing humanitarian and logistical support in the campaign against the Islamic State.

The Turkish government fears potential blowback and retaliation if it joins in military actions against the Islamic State. Specifically, Turkish officials are worried about the fate of more than 40 Turkish citizens seized by militants in June when the Islamic State overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The captive Turks include staff of the Turkish consul general’s office in Mosul and their family members.

“Our hands are tied because of the hostages,” a Turkish official told the Agence France-Presse news agency on the eve of Kerry’s visit. Turkey “will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official told AFP.

In the past, Islamic militants in Syria have vowed to strike in Turkish territory if the Turks took military action against them in Syria. Still, Turkey has fired shells into Syria in response to cross-border fire from both government and rebel positions in Syria.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 13, 2014 @ 5:41 am

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is “Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.”

To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit http://www.creators.com.

“James Madison is commonly referred to as the Father of the Constitution in large measure because, in the secrecy of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he kept the most complete set of notes. He also had a very keen mind and a modest demeanor and an uncanny ability to solidify consensus around basic principles that are woven into the Constitution.

After he wrote the Constitution and before he became Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state and eventually a two-term president, he was a congressman from Virginia. When he spoke on the floor of the House, the parts of the Constitution he was most adamant about restrained the president. Chief among those restraints, in Madison’s view, was the delegation to Congress, and not to the president, of the power to wage war.

War often has surprise endings and unexpected human, geopolitical and financial consequences. A debate in Congress will air them.
Madison knew that kings became tyrants through war. He fervently believed that by keeping the war-waging power in the hands of the president and the war-making power in the hands of Congress, the Constitution would serve as a bulwark against tyranny. He explained:

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Madison is instructive for us today as President Obama decides whether to ask the nation to go to war or to order hostilities on his own.

Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the president can deploy U.S. forces anywhere outside the U.S. for 180 days upon his written notifications of congressional leaders. He does not need a declaration of war to deploy forces for 180 days, yet he cannot deploy forces beyond that without express authorization from Congress.

Obama used the WPR as the legal basis for his air invasion of Libya in 2010. That resulted in the destruction of the government there, which the U.S. had supported with $1 billion annually since 2005 (we literally destroyed armaments that we had paid for), the death of Col. Gadhafi, whom President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called a friend in the war on terror, the instability of the nation, the death of our ambassador, and the seizure by mobs of U.S. government-owned real estate. The president declined to use the WPR authority last year when he sought — and did not receive — express congressional authority to use military force to degrade the offensive weaponry of the Syrian military.

The WPR is a two-edged sword. Though the courts have never reviewed it, it is certainly unconstitutional, as the courts have consistently ruled that one branch of government cannot give away its principal constitutional powers to another. Congress surely cannot give its war-making power to the president any more than it can give it to the courts. So, the political question with respect to war remains: Who will take the heat for fighting a war against ISIS — the president via the WPR or Congress via the Constitution?

Yet, beyond the political question is the more profound question of who will enforce the Constitution. In addition to Madison’s fears about foreign wars leading to domestic tyranny, there are profoundly practical reasons why war is a decision for Congress alone.

Here is where it gets dicey and inside the Beltway. Republicans want war because they see ISIS as a dreaded enemy and can use its televised barbarity to rally voters to their candidates.

Democrats want war because they can use it to show the voters that they, too, can be muscular against terrorists.

Yet, Republican leadership in the House is reluctant to permit the House to debate and vote on a resolution authorizing hostilities, because they can’t agree on how to instruct the president to end the war.

But war often has surprise endings and unexpected human, geopolitical and financial consequences. A debate in Congress will air them. It will assure that the government considers all rational alternatives to war and that the nation is not pushed into a costly and bloody venture with its eyes shut. A congressional debate will compel a written national objective tied to American freedom. A prudent debate will also assure that there will be an end to hostilities determined by congressional consensus and not presidential fiat.

What should Congress do? It should declare once and for all that we will stay out of this ancient Muslim civil war of Shia versus Sunni. We have been on both sides of it. Each side is barbarous. In the 1980s, we helped the Sunni. Now we are helping the Shia. Last year, Obama offered to help ISIS by degrading its adversaries; now, he wants to degrade ISIS. We have slaughtered innocents and squandered fortunes in an effort to achieve temporary military victories that neither enhance our freedom nor fortify our safety. We will only have peace when we come home — when we cease military intervention in an area of the world not suited for democracy and in which we are essentially despised.

I suspect most Americans have had enough of war, and they understand that if the political class ignores Madison’s warnings, it will do so at its peril.”

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 13, 2014 @ 6:14 am

Just thinking out loud with you: early thinking, nothing I want to claim as a conclusion. Nothing I would even write for the front page.

Are our attitudes/understandings toward “war” and “evil” tightly bound together?

Most Americans would agree: War is bad. Not every culture, not every people would automatically agree.

But because we perceive war to be innately bad (evil?), we are — when inclined toward war — tempted to justify our inclination by projecting on our prospective enemy something profoundly evil… something even worse than the evil of war. Given our worldview, the only acceptable war is that of good against evil.

All of this can involve considerable contortions, especially if and when we try to claim we are (I am) “good”. We are (I am) not consistently or solely good.

So… the prospect of some sort of surgically restrained comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy offends (many of) us. It suggests a universe less neatly divided between good and evil. It suggests ambiguity. It smells therapeutic.

We prefer to see ourselves as spiritual warriors rather than sometimes among the diseased and sometimes asked to be reluctant surgeons.

In this I am not trying to obscure — much less deny — what I do perceive as profoundly evil — something of an entirely different category than the sort of ambiguous/ambivalent self-indulgent banality that abounds.

We are reminded that terrorism is only a tactic. Counterterrorism tends toward the tactical. In the popular imagination, in our national mythology of war-and-peace, Americans contend with evil and are victorious because we are virtuous.

Is it possible that because we misunderstand evil we have unintentionally and unnecessarily fueled its proliferation by how we have tried to engage it? Our way-of-war too often serving to spread rather than contain it?

Needing your help.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 13, 2014 @ 6:20 am

Syrian Kurds Ally With Rebel Groups To Fight The Islamic State
By John Beck

September 12, 2014 | 8:55 am

Kurdish and rebel armed groups fighting extremist militants the Islamic State (IS) in Syria have agreed to join forces against their common enemy, the latest in a complex and shifting series of battlefield allegiances.

Units affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Islamic Front (IF) and US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) will form a new coalition named Burkan al-Forat (Euphrates Volcano) after the river which flows through the region in which the agreement was formalized.

The alliance was announced via a video posted on Wednesday in which a man read a statement in front of an armed group including a number of women fighters backed by YPG pennants alongside the three-starred flag of Syrian opposition groups and others. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the news.

“Due to the behaviour and actions of IS gangs; of injustice and corruption in the country, humiliation of people, and their seeking to suppress the blessed Syrian Revolution we — the brigades and battalions of East al-Tawhid, Swar al-Raqqa, Shams al-Shamal, YPG, Women Protection Units (YPJ), Saraya Jarabulus, Kurdish Front, Umana al-Raqqa brigade, Qasas army and al-Jihad Fi Sabil Allah Brigade — have declared a joint coordination military room called Burkan al-Forat to stand against [IS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi’s gangs, IS and whoever supports it,” the commander said in the statement.

He went on to ask fighters who had joined IS to desert the group, called for assistance from the international community and finished by saying that the coalition wished to free all areas of Syria under IS control, including Qaraqozaq, Jarabulus, Sirin, Manbaj and Raqqa.

Syrian rebel groups have not always had a smooth relationship with Kurdish militias. The YPG, which is the main force in majority Kurdish parts of the country, has maintained an uneasy truce with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the region, leading some rebels to accuse them of colluding with the government, a charge the Kurds deny.

However, it has been instrumental in the fight against IS and has been one of the few forces to mount an effective defense against the jihadis, inflicting heavy losses against them clashes across northern Syria and stymying their efforts to extend control into Kurdish regions. Problematically for the US, the YPG is affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an organization which is on both America and the EU’s terrorist blacklist.

The US has found itself unofficially allied with the group all the same. When IS besieged tens of thousands of members of Iraq’s minority Yazidi population on Mount Sinjar, the YPG made a humanitarian corridor from Iraq into Syria allowing Yazidis to escape the mountain while American planes hit IS targets and provided humanitarian aid.

The loose coalition of moderate Syrian rebels backed by the West has not been so effective against IS, however, and lost ground to the hardline militants in recent months. The FSA and others have a complex but often cooperative relationship with more extreme groups, including al-Qaeda’s official Syrian franchise Jabhat al-Nusra, which has also fought against IS.

Meanwhile, one of Syria’s most powerful rebel group named new leadership on Wednesday after a massive explosion wiped out its senior figures during a meeting in Syria’s Idlib province. Ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham has effectively battled Syrian government forces and fought fiercely against IS. However the attack — which killed leader Hassan Abboud and many of his officers — raises major questions over its future. The group is a key member of IF and has close ties with al-Nusra so has been spurned by the US as a result. However it has also worked closely with more moderate revels.

A spokesperson said in a video statement that Ahrar al-Sham would now be led by Hashem al-Sheik, otherwise known as Abu Jaber and that it would continue to battle both Assad and IS. What lies next for the group is still unclear, however. IF is ideologically opposed to the FSA. It wishes to establish an Islamic state in Syria and does not recognise the exiled political opposition. However, it regularly collaborates with the FSA and others, as with the Burkan al-Forat coalition.

Also this week, a Syrian rebel leader launched a second concerted campaign against IS. Jamal Maarouf, who leads the Syria Rebel Front, which is part of the FSA. Maarouf made the announcement on Sunday. A similar statement earlier this hear heralded an offensive against IS which expelled the group from Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 13, 2014 @ 7:48 am

At a time when we see “transgressors are come to full” the reference to Zadok and to our Judeo-Christian Biblical scripture and the teachings and necessity to stand against Lucifer and these evil beasts….

As faithful much like Zadok and as the sons of Zadok where we are steadfast against these evil beasts who walk among us, the story and significance of one of the most loyal priests under King David, obviously a story most of us do Not know as so many choose to dismiss history and the wisdom of those who have experienced Life and have attempted to convey the lessons history and the Bible attempt to teach us and a story we should become familiar with…

Acknowledging the significance of Zadok much like we see in each and every time a coronation takes place and “Zadok the Priest” by G.F. Handel is sung every time a king or queen has been crowned and even on 2 June 1953 when Queen Elizabeth was crowned prompting the question as to why this story and praise to Zodok and how many of us have been Blessed in America and we are tied to such in exclaiming our worldly view, our responsibilities, our pledge to God that in a noble cause, despite the corruption now obvious even in our American political system placing self-serving interests first (consumed by the sin of selfishness) over serving the people and challenging Lucifer and his soldiers which abound and seek our demise domestically and from afar….

….let it be known that We will Never allow evil to overcome justice and the rest and piece for all good people, the hope that ol Glory portrays and the salvation that God’s children deserve in this 21st century and with God’s hand and Love for us, Lucifer and his evil beasts will be defeated….

Remember (Proverbs 29:18) “where there is no vision, the people perish….”

In this time where Satan spins far better than any of the political pundits we see interviewed on CNN and Fox News, the heinous sins and divisiveness we see against the precious and good among us is our responsibility, one by one and together to challenge with all our spirituality and fortitude! We must never allow anyone including ministers and leaders to divert us from our spirituality and we must clearly see the people among us (kindly see: 2 Thessalonians 2:10) who are unfortunately perishing spiritually where today so many have become weak in the knees which Lucifer and his soldiers see in our weakness in heart, hands and knees and see the “languor and trembling of them”

….and clearly conveyed by Barry Obama who has weakened us using the powers we bestowed upon him in trust and his oath in allegiance only to that of the subversive as evidenced by his past and present portrayals and to Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals, anti-Christians and anti-colonialists where Barry Obama has sought to weaken our strength when in fact we acknowledge the necessity of a strong arsenal for a Democracy to stand against evil and to understand our strengths required in worldly responsibilities….

Remember, when nehemiah built the wall around Jerusalem, it took 52 days. It takes extremely committed workers to accomplish such a job that quickly and each time I have seen and walked the walls and streets of Jerusalem, I, too am impressed with such commitment and they did not opposition stop them: they worked with one hand and held a weapon in the other (Nehemiah)….

….and it is this same urgency that we demand that our esteemed US Marines march across the Mexican border and take back our (their) brave brother and warrior being tied naked to his Mexican jail cell while busloads of illegals waving to him as they pass his jail cell and being permitted by both American and Mexican officials to cross borders and our borders be secure and those we “entrust” by precious vote – enforce the laws – not seek to circumvent our Constitution and our Judeo-Christian principles….

Close our border now and remember despite this perverse and divisive WH and eight year resident who should be held under House arrest for suspicion in breach of trust along with Ms. Hillary for willing and blatant lie at the “Benghazi Massacre” – we never leave anyone behind!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 13, 2014 @ 8:31 am

Mr. Tingus:

I am an absolute sucker for Handel’s Zadok the Priest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW9Uudkx42g). My predictably tearful reaction reminds me that — despite all — I remain a romantically unrealistic conservative. We are an exotic and increasingly rare species, evidently destined for extinction. Confirming popular Darwinism?

You have dramatically exemplified the Manichean tendencies which I have recently referenced. Thank you. Given your perception — your understanding — how else could you possibly respond? Given the obvious threat of this great Satan, what else can we do but to take up a righteous sword? You are not alone. I hear echoes or, even more, similar shouts from many corners.

But just as you are so confident of Satan’s active role, I am confident of my own sin. I recall that it was a religiously-anchored righteousness and imperial pride that did not allow otherwise faithful, competent and intelligent men to recognize the personification of love in their midst. I recall that despite the shouts of “vivat” and hallelujah and acclamations of joy, Solomon — anointed by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet — fell into sin and planted seeds of disunion and millennial destruction.

Are you and I — and our associated tribes — so trapped in these antithetical viewpoints to obviate any substantive discussion?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 13, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

Breaking news:

National/global news alert • Sat., Sep. 13, 2014 6:47 pm

Video purports to show Islamic State beheading of British aid worker

A video released Saturday purports to show the Islamic State militant group beheading British aid worker David Haines, the Associated Press reports.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 3:53 am

Excerpts from a CNN report:

The murder of David Haines is an act of pure evil,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter. “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes,” he vowed.

In the two previous videos, the killer directed his comments at the United States, which had begun airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. But the latest one singles out Britain.”Your evil alliance with America, which continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq and most recently bombed the Haditha Dam, will only accelerate your destruction and claim the role of the obedient lap dog,” says the killer, who sounds like the man who murdered Foley and Sotloff.

Haines, 44, went to Syria to help organize the delivery of humanitarian aid to a refugee camp in Atmeh, close to the Turkish border. He was abducted near the camp in March 2013. “David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles,” his brother, Mike, said in a statement. “His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.”

Haines had more than a decade of experience doing aid work, helping victims of conflict in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. He was in Syria as a logistics and security manager for ACTED, a French aid group that was helping provide food, tents and water for tens of thousands of people who had fled to the Atmeh camp amid the vicious civil war.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 4:33 am

By James Dawes writing at CNN:

Is ISIS evil?

The problem with that question is that the answer is as easy as it is useless. Yes, ISIS is evil and must be stopped. Saying so over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.There is only one good reason to denounce a group as evil — because you plan to injure them, and calling them evil makes it psychologically easier to do so. “Evil” is the most powerful word we have to prepare ourselves to kill other people comfortably.The flip side is that “evil” is also a word that stops us from thinking.
There is no point in trying to understand evil because it is, in the most typical phrasing, “inhuman,” “senseless” or “beyond comprehension.” It is a fool’s quest to analyze the local realities and strategic imperatives of unthinking savages. There is something almost offensive about trying to understand such evil. MORE

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 5:07 am

This morning, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, tweets:

“In every church let us pray for the family of David Haines, evilly killed in the place he was serving in love for its suffering people.”

On September 3, responding to the beheading of James Sotloff, the Archbishop commented to SkyNews, “We respond by recognizing the immense evil that we are facing. As someone said this morning, an almost unique evil… And this makes for a very extraordinary circumstance that we’ve got to face and it will take a huge and united response.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 14, 2014 @ 5:59 am

Breaking News:

National/global news alert • Sun., Sep. 14, 2014 5:55 am

North Korea sentences American man to 6 years

North Korea’s Supreme Court has sentenced Matthew Miller, a U.S. citizen, to six years with labor for entering the country illegally and trying to commit an act of espionage.

The court said Sunday that the 24-year-old Miller, of Bakersfield, California, tore up his tourist visa at Pyongyang’s airport when he entered the country on April 10 and intended to “experience prison life so that he could investigate the human rights situation.”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 14, 2014 @ 8:13 am

Yes, WE are at War! WE are at War with the foot soldiers of Lucifer and we whether Christian or Muslim, Hindu or our Hebrew brethren, those “extremists” whether Muslim, Christian or other often so ignorant of their ways and those who have chosen to dismiss the words and teachings of God and the importance of family among us and allow scripture and the verse of Qur’an to be so manipulated by the evil doers, well, darkness will prevail among you always….the trumpets play loudly and repentance is foremost a necessity among us all!

Surely We are at War with the “extremist of Islam” which as I watched limited and delusional eight year resident of the WH whose face became so evident when unable to utter any words against radical Islam as having any responsibility and participation in the vile and inhumane acts cats upon another….

….w/most of us all in agreement that while we would like more condemnation from Muslims everywhere against the evils all of us see, yet certainly acknowledging that the billion of fellow and good Muslim human beings who choose Islam as there way of Life, choose a peaceful co-existence and with family and pride seek to become enlightened, to achieve and contribute to the world as so many of us all strive to do daily as fellow human beings, Christian, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other in seeking peace and sharing Life’s Blessings bestowed upon each of us and together, though not to suggest necessarily We all embrace or assimilate….for each of us have our faith and our customs and traditions which must to be Respected by all and no one to impose on another and Respect boundaries….

…however just as with the “extremist of Christianity” who have dismissed as well all that God has given each of us and instead of fellow human beings educating and removing “generational stonewalls” – as I reference the dysfunctional mannerisms of mankind so immersed in hatred for brethren and so willing to raise sword toward one another rather than plough and till the land and be productive and Respect the boundaries of another, again, not necessarily embrace, however Respect one another and to put end to seeking to impose on another their values, their choices, so….

Yes, We are at War and this War continues generation to generation and mankind at least in my perception, is obviously quite ignorant at best well-suited as Satan’s recruits following Satanic orders rather than the Father’s orders and abiding by commandments! Such outright victimizing of women and children, the outright willingness to slaughter and murder is Not what God, all our Father has taught anyone of us who truly elect to follow his law!

God is witness to all! I reiterate, God is witness to all!

No person has a right to make such judgement against another and certainly against innocent.

Whether Christian, Muslim, Hebrew or other, all are God’s children and unfortunately, Satan does deceive and mankind does not read or understand and therefore light is indeed turned into the blackest darkness for Christ said clearly, “My Father is greater than I” – (John 14:28) and it is God that is so disrespected by both Muslim and Christian and this satanic deception destroys the very family of God and we see Islam and Christianity at War!

In the 21st century with all the knowledge and Blessings in technological innovation we have and We are still engaged in the Middle Ages. Learn to live together and Respect one another, not raping and killing and demanding that another must convert and follow Islam! How ridiculous and how ignorant of those who force themselves upon another whether Christian, Muslim or any other and yes, by the way, despite the efforts of Christianity and Islam to control Jerusalem, forget it fellas for Jerusalem is God’s throne at that of his son, Jesus Christ and neither of you will ever truly own the Mount of Olives….get over it!

By turning your head and your Heart, your soul and not be attentive and adhering to the Kingdom of God, or Family of God, well, you have enabled Lucifer to gather his foot soldiers all of whom are deceived and full of the devil! By rebelling against God’s government, his Family Government and the Blessings he has bestowed upon each of us, you, the elect, who truly understand that again, light is being turned into darkness….

“Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:7, 10) in other words. God rules!

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” – Revelation (12:17);

They “caused many to stumble at the law” (Malachi 2:8), or at God’s commandments;

Unlike this eight year WH resident and his illustrious AG and Ms. Hillary so willing to place self-serving agenda before the national interests, shoulder to shoulder in blatant lie, surely leaving our men behind as we have done now in Mexico as our brave warrior sees busloads of busloads of illegals waving to our imprisoned US Marine for making a u-turn and this administration making deals with Mexican authorities to open borders, but it could give a damn about those (they) have left behind, let us now turn to the enforcement of laws in God’s world and commandment, not this divisive and manipulative mannerism of this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” we see and read:

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of through this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand” – (Revelation 1:3) God has always led and that the truth be spoken and if Not, well fellas, men will always stumble….it’s that simple.

The real simple truth about all we see, when all these thugs and all who fail to enforce the laws and to stand up for the Lord and his commandments and those that profess late term abortions and even death to the new born as this present administration does and we see these beasts who kill, whether by beheading another of God’s children or however they choose to commit such outrageous sin against a fellow person and ion this case, a humanitarian, truly an innocent seeking to carry out the word of God to help those in anguish, well, I say they are “blind” (Revelation) (3:17) and full of the devil! Whether Muslim (Islam) or Christianity or Hebrew or other, unless HIS royal law (James 2:8) is adhered to, it will be the nuclear holocaust which as the Trumpet suggests, playing games in self-deceit will no longer be possible and these will perish and see no virgins!

We are at WAR and no matter what this eight year resident and his obvious seductress on extremist Islam led by those his heart evidently supports such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the teachings of the illustrious Rev Wright where Barry and Michelle Obama chose to attentively listen to as to Tehran, these “Brutes of Tehran” who I reference them, such bloodied hands of our American youth so apparent” and the Rev Wright stating quite clearly that as long as the “Zionists” had WMD in hand, Tehran should have same and we have seen this administration do absolutely nothing to truly impede such WMD development and it will be the Germans and their fast deployment Army, our arch enemies as well which will stomp on Tehran and then dupe so many as well as even launch weapons upon US soil!

Without the testimony of Jesus Christ and understanding that we are at War and with these evil beasts and so many others from within and from outside our porous borders who will walk across and cause much anguish among us unless You demand from those you have “entrusted” to stand strong against all and enforce the laws instead of making such mockery of our Judeo-Christian ways and laws of a nation which all must respect and none, including Barry Obama, Hillary Clinton or this illustrious AG are not above….Everyone including Congress on both sides of the aisle must stand forthright in oath and pledge to ‘ol Glory and our beloved Republic or we, too will perish….

Do Not underestimate even in the 21st century the power of Satan and his foot soldiers who seek our demise.

We are at War and it is evident that unless America stops the veil of darkness from shrouding mankind and affording hope rather than despair and we again portray a strong arsenal and a fortitude in commitment against Satan and his ignorant recruits, the heartfelt tears of our Creator, Muslims, Christians, Hebrews and other, well, mankind will continue to stumble and it is Your charge to stand forthright and kick Satan out as the very elect Not deceived by Satan (Revelation 12:9) and understanding that man was made – all men and women and children – Muslim, Christian, Hebrew, Hindu and all other, man was made in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and beheadings as we see these fools use as some sort of scare tactics, well, unless one no matter who you are and what you choose to follow as religious preference, (Revelation 1:3) it is “He that reads” and he that hears” and who Respects God as the Father and his family that will inherit all! Put your AK-47s and your bombs away and pick up the Quar’an or the Bible or whatever it is you need to understand that even the deceived religious among you, enough is enough for it is obvious that all of mankind, no matter your choice in following, You have not read and truly understood that all men, women and children have been made into the likeness of of our Father, the Lord and that until all comprehend the royal book of Revelation, Satan and this world of Satan will conquer unless God’s laws are adhered to unless they are followed, the simplicity of message pointing to the future:

…repent of that sin (Romans 14:23;

…the Great Tribulation (Revelation 3:20);

…and unfortunately, 50% will never learn (Matthew 25:1-10)

…is this really necessary and you to support Satan who has not a chance to win against the royalty of God’s throne, yet again so many to face such unnecessary anguish rather than repent!

God Bless Muslims, Christians, Hindu and their Hebrew brethren and every human being who must place the Father and family first above all else….

….or the fading light of humanity will certainly turn to darkness and the heartfelt tears of God looking upon us who has tried to teach each and everyone one of us and He sees such outrageous transgressions, well, until you who transgress such laws and boundaries allow God to lead you away from such transgressions and to repentance, the question is prompted towards each of us whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu or the chosen, our Hebrew brethren who so many breathe such hatefulness towards (really?), the question is posed in (John 3:16), Do you love the world as God does?

We, Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Hebrew brethren, yes We are at War together against the foot soldiers of Lucifer and each of you must read and educate and dedicate yourself to God and his family, each of you and together rid ourselves of those who walk among us and seek to undermine the word and teachings of God!

God Bless each of us and God Bless America and its most charitable people who have been so Blessed to reach afar to lead and thwart those who besmirch the Qur’an and Bible and all of God’s teachings of the importance of repentance and family, not this conveyance of divisiveness and self-serving politicizing immersed in perverse and limited perceptions of the Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Hebrew brethren, the elect among us who understand that sword raised is Not what God has taught us, but rather to Respect one another, looking to our similarities which are many more rather than differences and to follow God’s laws and to enforce laws and attempt to help neighbor and friend each and every day in acts of kindness rather than such willingness in charging such dastardly deed upon one another….

We are at War against the foot soldiers of Lucifer and as the elect, time is precious and fortitude is called upon all as the trumpets warn us of transgressions quite contrary to God and family which abound today!

God Bless each of us and God Bless America which has been the beacon of hope for so many subjected to tyrant and those seeking to brutalize the innocent so….we presently lack leadership, however God will Bless us with a new course and an understanding that We are obligated to thwart those who seek our demise and We will do so…

Close our southern borders now and enforce our laws!

To our esteemed US Marines, march across the border and take back from the Mexican prison our brave warrior for we do No leave anyone behind Barry Obama or Ms. Hillary!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 11:31 am

Mr. Tingus: Thank you for this response. You have vividly articulated a worldview that is helpful to examining the character and potential consequences of evil — as language, concept, and perceived adversary.

I will give more detailed attention to what you have written. But first, I want to listen to how political leaders use the term “evil.” As we have seen just today, Prime Minister Cameron has characterized the beheading of David Haines as “pure evil”. What does such language intend? How is it heard? What are the implications for action?

After considering this use of evil in political speech I hope to look together at some prior thinking on evil, certainly by Reinhold Niebuhr, probably by Spinoza and, at least in the West, its tough to avoid Augustine of Hippo. I am reading the Buddha and Confucius, but have not decided if this is their time and place. Jung has a lot to say. I’ve had a hard time finding contemporary neuroscience that seems helpful. Zimbardo is clearly relevant. Who else probably depends on how the discussion goes.

Then I will be ready to come back to what you have written here. I’m guessing we will cover most of this ground over the next three weeks or so… with plenty of new examples of potential evil unfolding as we do.

I will note that while I have certain predispositions which I have referenced, I am not sure where I may end up on this issue — especially in terms of the operational utility of attempting to engage evil. Not knowing is a big personal motivation for going down this path.

I am sensitive that this sustained attention could drive readers away. But given the — at least rhetorical — place of evil in homeland security thinking, some serious engagement of the issue seems — to me — appropriate for this blog.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

Philip Zimbardo’s website for The Lucifer Effect has a very helpful bibliography on evil. Some of my favorites are missing, but there’s a lot of good stuff there. You can review at: http://www.lucifereffect.com/about_evilreference.htm.

If you have texts or other resources to suggest, I would welcome using this thread to put together a “master-list”.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 14, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

From Revenge by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a stand-still because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.

From Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on out traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil. The “reasonable” people’s failure is obvious. With the best intentions and a naive lack of realism, they think that with a little reason they can bend back into position the framework that has got out of joint. In their lack of vision they want to do justice to all sides, and so the conflicting forces wear them down with nothing achieved. Disappointed by the world’s unreasonableness, they see themselves condemned to ineffectiveness; they step aside in resignation or collapse before the stronger party.

An assessment of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Douglas Huff, Professor of Philosophy at Gustavus Adolphus College:

He was sharply critical of ethical theory and of academic concerns with ethical systems precisely because of their failure to confront evil directly. Evil, he asserted, was concrete and specific, and it could be combated only by the specific actions of responsible people in the world.

Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian executed for his role in the attempted assassination of Hitler.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 14, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

Breaking News:

THE MIDEAST

Saudi anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement
By Benjamin WeinthalPublished September 14, 2014

FILE – In this Friday, June 27, 2014 file photo, Saudi King Abdullah speaks before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at his private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool, File)
Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America’s help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.

Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates.

“Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy,” Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com. “It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments.”

In Friday’s crackdown, several Bibles were confiscated, according to reports from the Kingdom.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va, told FoxNews.com he will press the U.S. ambassador in Riyadh and the State Department to assist the arrested Christians.

“I hope our government will speak up,” said Wolf, adding that the anti-Christian raid was not surprising given that the Saudi regime “did not want our soldiers to wear crosses during the Desert Storm” operation in 1991 to stop Iraqi jingoism.

A spokeswoman for Saudi Arabia’s embassy press officer, Nail Al-Jubeir, in Washington, told FoxNews.com that “Mr. Jubeir has nothing on that [arrests of Christians].” She suggested calling the Saudi Gazette newspaper.

The English-language paper Saudi Gazette, along with Saudi Arabic-language news outlets, published a news item about the mass arrests.

An article posted on the Arabic-language news website Akhbar 24 said the arrests came after the Kingdom’s religious police got a tip about a home-based church. The report further noted that “distorted writings of the Bible were found and musical instruments, noting their referral to the jurisdictional institutions.”

The Saudi media reported different compositions of the arrested Christians. Some reports said the Christians were men and women, while the Saudi Gazette wrote that children, as well as men and women, were detained. It was unclear if a court date has been set in the notoriously opaque fundamentalist court system.

Saudi Arabia has gone to great lengths over the years to re-brand its image as a tolerant advocate of multi-religious dialogue. The arch-conservative monarchy funded the Vienna-based King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue. Nevertheless, critics argue, Saudi Arabia’s Islamist religious police continue to expunge any trace of Christianity within its territory.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah appears to be tied up in knots because of his conflicting messages to the international community about religious diversity.

“Such actions are especially dangerous in the current situation, where the world is seeing the rise of extreme Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and elsewhere,” Shea said. “The West should demand that its strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, release the Christians at once and allow them to pray according to their own faith traditions. Otherwise, Riyadh will appear to be validating the practices of the Islamic State in northern Iraq and Syria.”

Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to marshal support to combat the radical Islamic State terror organization. It was unclear if Kerry plans to raise the arrests of the Christians. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Pskai said she was not aware of the arrests, but pledged to look into the reports.

Benjamin Weinthal reports on persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Weinthal is a fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal

Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter@BenWeinthal.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

September 14, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

“Americans would benefit from better understanding the difference between “war” as we typically choose to understand it and the counterterrorism operations we are actually executing.” Phil Palin

Very, very few Americans have any concept of what war is, what it smells like, feels like, its ramifications, and its intensity of death, destruction and also ineffectiveness.

War is hell. It’s also a rush;

“…Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot,” Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. “It’s fun to shoot some people…” General Mattis, USMC retired.

This country has a long history of running the less than fortunate out in front as fodder. Militias of cobbled together frontiersman were conscribed into the British Army for the war against the French.

Draft riots in 1863 were largely in part, due to affluent buying their way of war. In WWI conscientious objectors and others were jailed, beaten, and exiled to other parts of the country because they felt war immoral.

The “good war”, the just war, WWII touched far more many Americans. And we mobilized nationally…not one could make the case that this was for the war effort and others could charge that this was simply about engaging an economy that had lied virtually dormant for almost a decade.

Korea touched far less Americans and the ideology era was on. Then Vietnam, a war fought primarily by less than affluent Americans with no increase in taxes or decrease in consumption. We then moved into the all-volunteer force that teases and dances with the truth about benefits, scholarships, skills, etc. all in the name of service.

And since they are volunteers, it makes skirmish and fighting a lot easier.

“What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?’ Madeline Albright to Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the 1990s, on Bosnia.

Maintaining a standing army is expensive. It is also in its current configuration, a shallow and insignificant representation of the Nation. Currently 1/3 of 1% of this nation participates in the all-volunteer force.

If we are indeed at war, who actually is being impacted? Americans? Businesses? Commerce? Congress? The President? Very few families know the pain and sorrow of the loss brought on by war. And at the same time, we perpetually glorify it, idolize it, glamourize it and minimize its impact.

There are still some who want to ramble on in metaphor about how gallant and glorious war is. War has been written and spoken of time and time again, romanticized in literature, in movies, and propagandized to ensure bodies are available to move through the proving ground and complete the rite of passage to manhood.

And do not be fooled by the champions and trumpets extoling the “right” of women to go to combat. It has nothing to do with effectiveness, but politics and promotion.

There are also many semantic arguments given forth that war is a natural state of biology. I disagree. Violence maybe. Competition for resources maybe. War however, is not biology. It is politics.

Combat is waged by so few Americans now. And it is ironic how so many people are thankful for others’ service and at the same time whisper about returning folks, PTSD, incompatibility with “civilians” and other remarks. If I had not heard them myself I would have dismissed them outright. But I have heard them. There is rhetorical concern for the suicide rate and deployment schedules, but they did volunteer.

“We got out of the Vietnam effectively when the lottery started and middle class kids were getting killed. First thing that happened was that they went to this all volunteer army. And that solved that draft inequality problem, because everybody is a volunteer. And that makes the military much easier to use because: you are fucking volunteers, screw you, you signed up for this. You know, the objections [against going to war] don’t carry as much water.” Chuck Spinney in Why we go to War.

Our leaders will delude themselves with thinking that technology is a panacea, that this little stroll the Middle East, again, will have great effect and have minimal impact on our citizens. This country is not at war and the faster we realize that the more effective our efforts can be. We are not at war. It is a crying shame that so many of those men and women who make these decisions and brief the citizens of this nation cannot seem to move past the buzz word or expedient euphemism.

Nations fight wars. Our nation has been asked to do little if anything in this “war on terror”. When we start drafting athletes, teachers, bankers, and politicians and are collectively asked to give up something, anything for the greater good, to conserve and/or sacrifice then maybe the idea of being at war could be revisited.

Just one mans opinion…

“It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it”. Attributed to General Robert E. Lee.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 14, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

Madeline Albright set a record for self-deception IMO and her statement on using the military totally amoral!

Comment by Dan O'Connor

September 15, 2014 @ 11:30 am

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/name-fight

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 15, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

Thanks Dan and your comments about “war” well, yes, just one man’s highly valued opinion and I have numerous colleagues who certainly concur with you though from another perspective, We are at War and while different in many ways from the two conventional global wars, we are at War with Islamic fundamentalists who see an ideology of our way or else and seek our demise in every way w/WMD very possible!

Christianity and Islam have been at War for centuries and the pursuit for the prize of Jerusalem will never be the true possession of either for God and his Loving son will never permit Jerusalem to fall to the beasts who allow Biblical verse and Qur’an and messages of peace and respect towards another to be so manipulated and hide behind their vestments as they impose themselves on another.

Human nature, ignorance, intolerance, greed and self-serving politics play a significant role again in all that is evolving here in the 21st century where as a senior in my last innings, as I exit, I would have thought that after these many years of technological innovation and the resilience I have witnessed offering much contribution to all fellow human beings, the world we have strived to contribute to in some small way would have been far better than it appears….

The demographics of our beloved Republic have changed w/far many unappreciative of the freedom that they have been afforded and disregard for transparency, adherence to budgets, respecting immigration laws and other and the failed enforcement thereof led by even our elected and “entrusted” leadership on the local, state and federal level which has created an environment of mistrust of our own government heightened as never before…this is unfortunate and unless We understand that Democracy must have a strong arsenal and the willingness to engage those who commit such dastardly deed, our future as well, so bankrupted and mired in debt given the incompetence of those serving their own agenda versus our national interests….

We here on “Main Street USA” are a generation who labored long and hard and ‘ol Glory still flies high in the sky, though our front porch flags are upside down in distress!

We need leadership with fortitude and a commitment to our Judeo-Christian values….We need our US Marine returned across the border….for We never leave anyone behind.

God Bless us all!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 16, 2014 @ 8:39 am

Dan: Thanks. Some undisciplined — or at least untethered — thinking prompted by your comment. I’m looking for feedback, redirection, disagreement…

Rather than “bad”, war can be seen as essentially ambivalent, one of many contexts reflecting a whole host of contending strengths, some good, some bad, some ecstatic, some evil.

So — I hear in your comment — it can be argued that neither war nor any other situation-in-itself is unalterably or thoroughly evil.

Rather reality is unfolding potentiality… it is how humans encounter, respond to, and make sense of this unfolding that produces a range of outcomes: very good to profoundly evil (e.g. A pious orthodox Christian makes the horror of crucifixion into the ultimate symbol of self-sacrificing love, which — in a way — requires evil to facilitate transcendent good).

Where does this fit and not-fit with your perspective?

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 16, 2014 @ 11:08 am

How about WAR as EVIL no such thing as GOOD WAR!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 16, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

Bill:

Niebuhr argued with Bonhoeffer, while the latter was still in New York, that non-violence would be ineffective against Hitler. Bonhoeffer eventually came to — dramatically — agree. The “Hitler condition” has, ever since, been raised to justify various sorts of military intervention. If war is always evil, what is your alternative to confronting the “Hitler condition”?

Comment by Dan O'Connor

September 16, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

Phil; I will try to respond. I take into additional consideration I am fairly aware of what I am capable of, what I trained to do and did in a variety of capacities for over 2 decades and what I trained others to do. I ask neither forgiveness nor praise. And I make this argument to further the dialogue not win an argument.

Moving through the 2 key elements from me on this and the previous thread; evil is an overused, ill-defined and misunderstood concept that is a marketing tool and that we are not at war. I attempted to define a context where we might be able to move past the meta physical and spiritual element of evil. If one were agnostic on the matter of God and atheistic than the element of evil may not have merit. So to define, fix, either contextually or physically a “state” of being has many challenges. And what then of this phenomenon?

Is evil required to defeat evil? Given the syntax of how we define evil it makes for an interesting conversation. And it is ironic that Chris posted today about Social Identity Theory (SIT) as I think it relates to our conversation, at least tangentially.

Humans have used the term evil for many behaviors over the last two millennia. Inquisitions, witch hunts, both church canon and Apocrypha and any number of atrocities, genocides, and killings have been initiated against “evil”. Hindsight would indicate that it was not evil in as much as dislike, maligned discrediting, and other reasons that were cast as evil.

Media, persuasion, and propagandists extol many reasons, both in image and written word to convince, connive, cajole, and contextualize our enemies; enemies that for all intents and purposes may be attempting to create the same wealth, opportunities, and influence that we, the United States have. It must be done to remain even remotely objective.

Operating on the premise that wealth and resources are finite, than the only way to accumulate it is by exploitation of people, geography, geology, and circumstance. Is that a fair statement?

So how is it that we can create, manufacture and/or wage war against an idea at worst and the antithesis of all that is good at best? Evil is an adjective and an adjective is a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it. How do we wage war against an attribute?

And that’s the 2nd part. I differentiate between combat and war. War, is another overused aphorism by a group of people that have never been nor comprehend the context.

When we see the terminology expressed like war on drugs, war on cancer, war on obesity, war on war… it expresses to me some reasonable understanding that a nation’s entire portfolio of tools, capabilities, assets and talents will be corralled, targeted, and swarm to defeat something. It will be a relentless pursuit. There will be no half measures. Its a simple I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…

We are not doing this with ISIS, or the GWOT, in my opinion. Why? It is too hard and we have become as a nation less capable of exposing the life and treasure to wage war. But at the same time the sacrifice asked is a burden fewer and fewer bear. We lack both the political will and gravitas to state that the problem we face while not completely of our own doing has our fingerprints on it.

War is a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state. So from that point of view, I do not see the “state” or nation engaged…just a couple of hundred thousand men and women…considered “kids” in most circles being asked to engage in a limited, constrained, and difficult mission of metaphorically removing the bad apples from the good ones.

And here is the irony, to me anyway; Is the Afghan or Iraqi conscript who is fighting to protect his small piece of land, life, and family any more or less evil than the same age American who has been tasked to inflict grievous bodily harm upon him? And now in a place where these disaffected and refugeed people have consolidated we will drop $50K and $100k bombs on them killing scattered few and wonder why their numbers grow. I have no doubt that some of these are barbaric and do deserve to die…but that’s one human speaking about another, not

So is this war on evil evil fighting evil, good fighting evil, or simply a manifestation of the necessity to kill as the extreme politicization of failed policies? It’s all a bit of a conundrum. And within that conundrum comes the syntax; they’re all evil and collateral damage is unavoidable.

They are not all evil, but death comes anyway.

In WW2 I am sure the Brits in London and the Germans in Dresden knew unequivocally that war was upon them. They surely had no superficial or abstract argument about it as their respective cities laid in ruin.

So I am left with some of your comments intertwined with mine; war is ambivalent because it can be both good and bad, evil and righteous, glorious and wicked, moral and immoral and always political. And those who are asked to kill, to become really good at it, to thrive at it are than asked to return to a nation that does not understand it anymore. THAT is serious problem. And those who have lost fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brother and sisters, are left trying to figure out what value lies in their loss. What did we gain by losing Johnny and Janie? We teach them to be killers and then punish them for killing.

So are we as a Nation at war? Does the entire nation mourn and sacrifice? Do we sacrifice our future for the failed policies of the past? If this is a war on evil than drop 500,000 Marines and soldiers in and soak the sand with the evil doers blood.

But is so much more complicated than that isn’t it?
War cannot possibly evil because good people wage it against other good people with the idea that killing them is righteous. Those who defend their homes against the evil doers are righteous because they must defend themselves against tyranny and exploitation.

Perhaps its not the people but the politics…and if we had prevented then we might have to face now.
2 great quotes to end with;

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand, we apply too late the remedies which then might have affected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the Sibylline books. It falls into that long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”- Winston Churchill, May 2, 1935

Mortui solum finem belli viderunt . Only the dead have seen the end of war. Attributed to Plato

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 16, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

Dan, Thanks very much. I want to think about what you have written. Probably won’t have much substantive until Thursday. But regarding evil as “marketing”: It is being used in that way. I am also reminded that not all marketing is misleading. Some of the best marketing in fact is targeted and specifically responsive to reality. I will certainly agree that in the case of Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL et al, that some of the principal marketeers do not seem especially mindful in their use of “evil”. Their use might even be judged gratuitous. But I also perceive that this may reflect their best effort to characterize and communicate a phenomenon that they perceive is real and very challenging. So… it is probably worth a bit more attention by us. I very much appreciate your close attention above.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 16, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

A new Caliphate is coming only question is who participates?

In international law the concepts of revenge, retorsion, and retaliation are imbedded!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 16, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

See also REPRISAL!

Search Wikipedia for Hugo Grotius!

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » More listening: What is meant by evil?

September 18, 2014 @ 3:43 am

[…] The discussion spilled into Friday and the weekend as well.  In my judgment, it is a discussion that shows some potential to actually — eventually — elucidate an innately murky topic. […]

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