Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

Archive for the ‘wwii’ Category

Support Our Troops?

What happens when you begin to parse, from a biblical Christian context, the bumper-sticker thinking that pleads, “Support our troops”?

Troops

John the Baptist tells soldiers to do no violence to anyone. But that is what troops do. Their very job is to enforce by physical means the will of some person or group of persons that claims for itself the right to coerce others. This may be as a group of soldiers who are engaged in military assault, or, as in Palestine, merely an occupation force. Either way, troops are an agency for coercion. But if God makes compliance with His gospel voluntary during this period of the great conflict between selfishness and unselfishness, then there is no place for coercion of others; there is no place for troops.

There is a built-in feature some use when they argue that we should support our troops; they make a separation between the troops as individual soldiers, and the officers or the state. However, Every army consists of those who command and those who obey the commands. In terms of what the army does, there is no difference between grunts and the West-Pointers. Supporting our troops must mean not only supporting the private first class but also the general; not only those who kill on command but those who command to kill.

Those who support the troops also support the rifles, grenades, bunker-buster and hydrogen bombs of the military. The bullets and the guns and the bombs are the very tools used by the troops to murder and to coerce. Support of the troops must mean also supporting the use of these murderous weapons. The man who pulls the trigger or pushes the button is no less culpable than the one who commands, even from the oval office, that the button be pushed or the trigger pulled. To support our troops is to support the weapons used by the troops, is to support the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that it was known by its planners would murder women, school-children, and aged men–civilians–and only a very few soldiers.

But then, some want to claim that the army is separate from the state, that the soldiers only do what the civilian leadership of the state tells it to do. And yet, what it all amounts to is a group that enjoys power on the basis of coercion; there is no difference between the political leaders and the military ones. Supporting our troops means supporting the dogface, the general, the representative, senator, and the president. The word “troop” traces back to Middle Latin and “troppus” meaning “flock.” Which reminds us to ask the question, What flock do I belong to as a Christian? Am I part of an earthly flock or a heavenly one? How could I identify with a group whose fundamental task is to murder or coerce–do violence–to others?

Our

The troops are said to be “our” troops. Which calls forth the question, what business does a Christian have murdering or coercing others? Or, what business does he who endorses God’s law–“Thou shalt not steal”–have in aggressing against the property rights of others? Even from the standpoint of the Constitutionalist–the one who believes that the United States Constitution is what amounts to a magic formula that if we all embraced it would prevent all these kinds of issues in terms of government–we have a problem here. For the Constitution does not give authority to raise perpetual standing armies. But this is what we have had since the beginning of World War II. Although the Constitution does not permit it, there has been one for a third of the time the USA has existed. Go checks and balances!

Some of those who serve may be our sons and daughters, but they are not “our” troops. They exist anti-constitutionally. And, blood descendancy does not indicate rational or moral agreement with behavior. If they are serving voluntarily as murderers and coercers, aggressors for pay, they are mercenaries, pure and simple. I do not pay mercenaries to aggress against others. And if they were not voluntary in the present sense, but the state commanded them to serve, still they would be–voluntarily–choosing to obey. We can never be forced, but all of our choices ultimately are voluntary. This is the only way that all of our choices, ultimately, can be moral.

Finally, we do not command them. We have no control over them. The United states public has been opposed to many of the wars that have been fought in its name. More recently, the public is overwhelmingly opposed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And yet, troops, bases, military actions continue. They are not ours. These are not our troops.

Support

Finally, we come to the question of support. What does it mean for us to “support” these troops which are not ours? Support boils down to our non-coerced approval of them. If we voluntarily choose to say, I will pay them to aggress against others and I agree with them when they pull the trigger and push the button that kills, we are disagreeing in the most fundamental way with God’s law which says “Thou shalt not kill.” And so, it is human law, ideas, attitude, versus God’s law, ideas, attitude. And I know where I stand.

Conclusion

I do not “support our troops.” They are not ours. I do not have aggressors and I do not support aggressors; it does not matter what emblem they wear or what flag they salute. I cannot serve two masters. The end result of the attempt to serve two masters is always the declaration “We have no King but Caesar.” I have no King but Christ.

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Pearl Harbor

Yesterday was December 7, which we are all supposed to remember as “Pearl Harbor day,” or, as the then president called it, the “day that will live in infamy.”

Yes, it will. But evidence is abundant that Roosevelt had labored long and hard to bring us to that day. The president was anxious to get the United State into the war and had engineered provocation after provocation against Japan. The American public was overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. entrance into the war. But undue trust in the state, centralized power, and the “goodness” of “our” leaders was their downfall.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was an act of desperation. Japan did not have the resources to win a war against the U.S. and this was known—to them and to Roosevelt. The president baited the Japanese by stationing the Pacific Fleet at Pearl.

Evidence is abundant that Roosevelt hoped for just such an outcome. The lives of a generation were changed because of too much trust in the government. The people thought that their leaders were looking out for them, nobly aiming to keep them out of harm’s way; the reality was otherwise. The president was playing with the lives of American men and women.

What could be more evil?

A Century of Servitude: Pribilof Aleuts Under U.S. Rule

Dorothy M. Jones tells the little-known history of Alaskan Aleut natives, under deep colonial exploition and treated almost like slaves and animals. Yes, the hand of the US government is all over it. During WWII, this exploited group was dropped into concentration camps where the inhuman conditions resulted in 10% mortality rates. It can’t happen in America? Well, it did, time and again. Here is one more example. Be sick to your stomach and read:

http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu/HistoryCulture/Aleut/Jones/jonesindex.html

These people had been better off had the United States, in all its purity and righteousness, never come along. . .

Are we living in USA 5.0?

Whatever one may think of Hauerwas, he has a point:

Who has the infinite duty to honor the infinite claim of every person to the pursuit of happiness? The answer of the eighteenth century, and of those who have followed, is familiar: it is the nation-state. The nation-state replaces the holy church and the holy-empire as the centerpiece in the post-enlightenement ordering of society . . . the nation-state has taken the place of God as the source to which we look for happiness, health, and welfare (Stanley Hauerwas, After Christendom, p. 66).

For long years the situation has developed. The powers that be would prefer that we go blandly onward believing a cardboard cut-out picture. The United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave. “We” are always the good guys. No need to be concerned. Those who run the country are ever engaged in “the art of cutting into this chaos [the messy way things actually are] and imposing a simplified definition on the situation, that is, making people act as if the simplified picture were the reality” (F. G. Bailey, Humbuggery and Manipulation, p. 2).

Still, the networked-world renders this a difficult prospect. The state has failed. Today, even those of us who grew up attending state schools, indoctrinated into all the fine tales about the goodness of this fine nation, sense that the United States of America isn’t quite what it once was. In fact, the history of this nation is divided rather easily into periods, each dominated by a distinct ethos. One way to outline these is as follows.

United States of America 1.0
1775 – 1782 War of Secession from England (Revolutionary War / War of Independence)
1776 Declaration of Independence
1777 – 1789 Articles of Confederation
United States of America 2.0
1789 – 1791 Constitution
1791 Bill of Rights (first ten amendments to the Constitution added)
1819 US Supreme Court rules congress’ powers not limited to those expressly delegated
United States of America 3.0
1846 – 1848 Mexican-American War (US acquires Alta-Mexico, i.e. The southwestern states)
1861 – 1865 War of Northern Aggression (Southern War for Secession, Civil War)
1862 Creation of US agency that became the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
1869 US Supreme Court in Texas vs. White rules US Constitution does not permit states to secede
1886 Creation of US agency that became the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms)
1898 Spanish-American War (US gains control of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam)
1898 US steals Hawaii
1908 Creation of US agency that became FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
United States of America 4.0
1913 16th Amendment to Constitution legalizes Federal income taxes
1913 17th Amendment to Constitution changes to direct election of senators
1913 Federal Reserve Act establishes Central Bank
1917 Woodrow Wilson and US entry into World War I
1919 18th amendment to the US constitution prohibits manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol
1929 – 1940 Great Depression I
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt and US entry into World War II
1942 – 1945 110,000 Japanese descended imprisoned in US concentration camps by executive order 9066
1945 135,000 German civilians killed in Dresden bombing by Britain and US
1945 100,000 Japanese civilians killed in fire-bombing of Tokyo by US
1945 220,000 Japanese civilians killed by US nuclear weapons attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
1945 – 1963 US the primary polluter in above-ground nuclear testing
1947 Creation of US agency CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
1950 – 1953 US-Korean War
1952 Creation of US agency NSA/CSS (National Security Agency / Central Security Service)
1965 – 1973 US-Vietnam War
1971 US abolishes gold standard, moves to only fiat currency
1979 Creation of US agency FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
1983 US invasion of Grenada
United States of America 5.0
1990 – 1991 US-Iraq War I (Persian Gulf War)
2001 USA Patriot Act
2001 – Present US-Afghanistan War
2002 Creation of US agency DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
2003 – Present US-Iraq War II
2007 Directive 51 gives president authority to declare suspension of regular operation of government
2007 US spy satellites in use against US citizens
2007 – Present Great Depression II
2008 US soldiers stationed and operating on US mainland

USA 1.0 covers the period of the United States’ war to secede from Britain. Many of the 13 former colonies specified that they were confederating in union as sovereign states.

Under USA 2.0, a major shift occurred from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution. The result was centralization of power and a substantial weakening of the powers of the individual states. In the space of less than 30 years, the working of the Federal government moved from the tenth amendment’s language of powers “expressly delegated” by the Constitution, to the US Supreme Court ruling in 1819 that Congress’ powers were not limited to those expressly delegated. The hand-writing was on the wall, but who wanted to see it? Murray N. Rothbard states what had become obvious: “the Constitution has proved to be an instrument for ratifying the expansion of State power rather than the opposite” (For a New Liberty, p. 67).

In USA 3.0, we see naked thirst for empire slipping into the open. The idea of Manifest Destiny justified the expansion of the state. The lands of Native Americans were seized, treaties they signed disregarded by the USA. Overseas, numerous lands were taken by force. Finally, war between North and South was loosed after the imposition by the North of the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861, which imposed a 47 percent tax on the value of all imported goods coming through Southern ports. At this point, the Southern states sought to secede from the Union. The North aggressed. Where slavery had been ended peacefully almost everywhere else, in America it was ended via cataclysmic bloodbath in a northern victory.

In USA 4.0, the deterioration continues. Power is further centralized at the Federal level. A central bank is restored and the devaluation of the dollar proceeds. US presidents manage to manipulate facts and circumstances such that public opinion which had firmly opposed entry into world wars was turned. During WWII the US is directly responsible for the killing of half a million civilians, beside foreign military. American citizens of Japanese descent on the West Coast are rounded up and imprisoned in dozens of concentration camps. The cold war began and the wealth of US citizenry was spent on stockpiles of genocidal weapons. The nation renounced the gold standard and moved to a purely fiat currency. (Several cases of foreign “regime change” under 4.0 and 5.0 are not here noted.)

In USA 5.0, we have empire fully on display. With the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the US stood at a crossroads. No longer “necessary,” it was time to shrink the military-industrial complex. Fat chance. Instead, the US embarks on a further round of foreign military adventures, buying-off other nations and forming coalitions providing a cover of legitimacy. The terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 offered convenient justification for government surveillance of its own citizens. Unrestricted spending by the US triggers worldwide economic collapse. US debt during this period assumes catastrophic proportions. In repudiation of Posse Comitatus, US soldiers are stationed in the United States mainland to be available for use against US citizens in case of “civil unrest.”

We summarize, noting that there have been at least five iterations of the United States of America. From the initial concept of a very limited government and soveriegnty of the states in union, the state has travelled to its present situation as an autonomous behemoth operating independent of its founding values. The idea of a state whose power is limited by a piece of paper has run its course. We live in the result. In human terms, only time will tell whether the whole thing comes tumbling down of its own weight, or solidifies into a perpetual totalitarian regime as bad as the worst science fiction nightmare.

Welcome to America 5.0!

Book review: Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1995, 848 pp.

This lengthy volume will not be for every reader. However, if you want to understand how the decision to nuke Japan was made, who influenced whom, whether the Japanese were already trying to surrender, and whether the war was already won before the United State used two nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945, this is your book.

Alperovitz has exhaustively documented these questions, and—surprise—the answers are damning. Truman was influenced by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes. Among factors in the bombing were that an enormous amount of money had been spent in secret to develop these weapons and it seemed important to some to “have something to show for it all” in the end. But the saddest point is that scores of thousands of Japanese civilians were incinerated by the United State in a special attempt to impress the Soviet Union. They were impressed—they accelerated their own program developing the same kind of weapon.

Most of the top military figures advising the president did not want to use the bomb, or at least wanted to arrange a demonstration of the weapon for the Japanese. Initiatives were coming from the Emperor himself for ending the war, but surrender terms were left unclarified, although virtually everyone advising Truman sought for such a clarification.

This matter as outlined in the book raises the question of granting one man or a small group of men power to kill civilians. The myth that dropping the bomb saved hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives is also addressed. This myth was developed after the war when the use of the bomb generated a considerable outcry of disagreement. This book is almost two books in one, and the material about the myth and its development as worthy as the first part. First estimates were that the casualties that might accrue in the first month of an invasion of the Japanese mainland could go as high as 7,000. This number kept ratcheting up as pressure against what had been done mounted.

This book is a worthy read, quite detailed. This brief review does little justice to it. Since I have chosen to personally pursue more detail about the WWII / Cold War period, this book was one of real interest. Read Stinnett Day of Deceit,) first. You will have to set aside some time for Decision, although when you get down to the main text, you will only be reading some 670 pp. Helps one understand that the state is immoral, is run by incompetents who murder, and that there is grave danger in merely following orders. Nuking Japan adds a permanent tarnish against the record of the United State. No doubt, many good men fought in the war and did bad things as ordered, not understanding the import of their actions. However, the information is ready for you to chase it and you will see that what was done was a crime. Truman, Byrnes, and others will face their actions under the searching scrutiny of the Judge of all the Earth.

Updated: Suggested reading list

Friends, we have updated the suggested reading list in the resources section, adding an entry about Robert B. Stinnett’s Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor. The resources section continues to be one of the most referenced of the C&S site section.

“Instructions to all persons of JAPANESE ancestry…”

So read the title line of placards posted in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona in March 1942. I have been researching this event of late and suggest to readers the following article: “The Japanese Camps in California” by Mark Weber. What is your government capable of? Just about anything! http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v02/v02p-45_Weber.html

According to the article:

All incoming and outgoing mail was censored. All internal communications were strictly controlled. The Japanese language was banned at public meetings and Japanese religious services were suppressed.

The inmates were forced to salute the flag, sing patriotic songs, and declare their allegiance to “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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