Sunday, July 22, 2007

God’s Work

From today’s New York Times, we learn that conservative Christians are fighting the prosecution of American GI’s in Iraq on charges of war crimes. Aided by talk radio nutcase Michael Savage, Christian groups have joined veterans’ organizations in raising funds for troops accused of violent crimes against Iraqi civillians.

I can understand veterans supporting their brothers and sisters in uniform, I can understand Michael Savage trying to wave the flag and ignore wartime atrocities, since his whole radio schtick is to be a morally rudderless blowhard. But for Christian groups to cite ”religious conviction” as their reason for supporting war while not demanding justice for civillians affected by conflict strikes me as a quantums shift in religious thinking.

For example:
One the most heinous episodes occurred last year, when a group of soldiers from Company B of the First Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killed her and her family, Army prosecutors said.
But in more than a dozen interviews, organizers and contributors said they were motivated by anger at the Bush administration and the military for prosecuting combat troops and commanders just for doing their jobs, they say, in life or death circumstances, as they were trained.

Reality check, folks: soldiers are not trained to rape and murder 14-year-old girls. That is not “their job.”

“We all feel like the big brass have eaten their young here,” said Ms. Jones, whose son is serving with the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, the same unit as the marines accused in the Hamdaniya case. “You just can’t put people under a microscope when the lines of combat are so blurred.”

That, Ms. Jones, is precisely why the military should not intervene in a civil war. That is precisely why we do not belong in Iraq. When the lines are blurred, it puts Americans on very shaky moral ground. We are to be the world’s standard-bearer, not sink to the level of Third World dictators who use rape as an intimidation tactic. That so-called Christians don’t see this is very disturbing.

There’s more:

"Terry Pennington, a former Air Force technician whose son, Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington, was among the Hamdaniya marines who pleaded guilty, said in an interview: “Many of these people see this country as not having the guts anymore to fight a war. They’re outraged really all the way up to the White House.”

Ah. Now we get to the crux of the matter. This isn’t about faith, or religious values, or patriotism or even supporting the troops. It’s about the national penis anxiety.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The past decade has been about a group of (largely though not entirely) white males who feel disenfranchised from an increasingly multicultural society (what I call the “Falling Down” crowd), desperately trying to regain their manhood. It’s the last gasp of the American White Male. They have a “stomach for war” because that makes them feel manly and strong. They howl at such wussy, mamby-pamby notions as justice; right equals might to these folks, and they will stomp their feet and beat their chests just because they can. They found a national identity in George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and they enjoyed a momentary ascendency in the Bush years. But ultimately they will fail, because they are cultural dinosaurs. Their era is over.