The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Foreign Policy”

Zero Dark Thirty or: How I Learned to be Ambivalent Toward Torture

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For Memorial Day yesterday, we watched ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ Here are a few thoughts: 

1. It is an amazing piece of 21st Century propaganda. I can scarcely believe that the USSR or any other despotic state would ever have made a movie justifying, and perhaps even glorifying, torture, much less even publicly admitting that did it. But that is just what Zero Dark Thirty does. And even I, never one to acquiesce to utilitarianism, almost came away thinking, “Wow. That’s disgustingly awful, not to mention illegal, but I guess that’s how they got bin Laden.” 

2. The fact that our government will torture people, but moralisticly set limits on it (as if theirs is “good” torture and anything beyond this arbitrary line is “bad” torture), is tragically comical. We won’t break bones and fingers, use sharp objects to inflict pain, put bamboo underneath a man’s fingernails and glass in his urethra. No, that’s all bad. We’ll just deprive him of sleep, food, and water, hang him from ropes, walk him like a dog, confine him a small box, and pour water down his throat, and do it all for the rest of his life. This is like a pirate ship with a strict code of “honor,” that justifies its piracy because they only pillage, whereas the “evil” pirates pillage, rape, and murder. 

3. Another movie that also graphically portrayed a Western State torturing Muslims was ‘The Battle of Algiers.’ Except this was an anti-war movie that was banned for five years in France because it made the French Government look bad. Contrast that with ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ Here we have torture graphically portrayed, but rather than revolting the viewer and forcing him to rethink his nation’s foreign policy objectives, it is portrayed as a necessary evil serving the interests of the foreverwar. Every time the portrayals of torture bring you to the point of being sickened, another terrorist attack will be re-enacted on screen to show you just how “worth it” torture is. How we can go from a society that is sickened by torture to one that cheers (or at the very least is ambivalent toward it) in little more than a generation is amazing.

4. As a has friend pointed out to me, one of the major themes running throughout the film is that we are made to feel empathy for the CIA agents who are doing the torturing. This is true. Both Maya and Dan, the CIA Agents in the film who participated in torture, are visibly fatigued by years of that work. Dan eventually leaves for another assignment, due to the gruesomeness of the work (and, oh yeah, fear of being held accountable for his crimes). Maya, though, consumed with zeal after the death of her friend at the hands of a suicide bomber, presses on. However, in the final scene, we are supposed to come away with the thought that years of her barbarous work have taken their toll on her. It seems what director Kathryn Bigelow wants us to believe is that the ends justify the means and that if there is a cost for having tortured people, it is only the torturers who pay it. Never are we in any way made to put ourselves in the place of the men who are being tortured. They, of course, are subhuman. Empathy toward the tortured and empathy toward those abducted from their homes and interned in camps for the rest of their lives is not something this film makes us feel. And lest anyone mistake me for an Al Qaeda sympathizer, most of these men are murderers or men who have aided and abetted murderers, at least allegedly (of course, few have actually ever stood trial). The reason we should feel empathy for these men is not that we should sympathize with radical Islamic Jihadists, but that if the American State can break its own laws and torture truly evil men and hold them without trial, how long is it before the IRS, for instance, can do that to any one of us? And you think audits are bad. 

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Universal Healthcare, Universal Drone Strikes

by Adam McIntosh

Who else remembers the progressive-liberal movement displaying such moral outrage towards George W. Bush because of the “war on terror” and his unconstitutional invasion of Iraq? We’re talking impeachment-level outrage. Bush was deemed a war criminal worthy of imprisonment. He was condemned for passing the Patriot Act, a bill that essentially repeals the fourth amendment. Celebrities made a mockery of him and thousands upon thousands of protesters gathered all over the world in defense of peace and the rule of law.

The anti-Bush hysteria certainly included independents, libertarians and constitutionalists, but the majority aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. Riding the coattails of the anti-war movement was Senator Barack Obama, identifying himself as one who was against unconstitutional wars and the Patriot Act. He promised to bring the troops home from Iraq within the first year of his presidency. This sealed his White House victory quite easily. The movement had finally found their man. So, where aantiwarleftre they now?
Read more…

Mobile Church Added to Russian Military

by Adam McIntosh

Russia has added a new unit to its military: a parachuting, mobile church – complete with priest, deacon, and an iconostasis. The purpose of this flying cathedral is to satisfy the spiritual demands of military personnel and to improve morale and discipline in military units.” The inflatable-tent-turned-cathedral can be dropped where needed to provide worship, prayer, and sacraments to soldiers engaged in war or those stationed away from an accessible parish. The following demonstration video is a must-see:

As silly as this may sound to some, I personally think it is a great concept. Now, this is not an approval of the Russian government as a whole, nor am I condoning all practices of the Russian Orthodox Church. I’m not even saying that civil governments should be involved in such programs. But I think it shows two things. First, it shows a great contrast between Christianity in Russia and Christianity in the United States. While the U.S. military burns Bibles and labels Christianity an extremist group, Russia is making Christian worship a part of its foreign policy. While the U.S. supports Christian-killing rebels in Syria, Russia seeks to protect Syrian Christians by not supporting the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad. And while the U.S. gets closer to nationalizing gay marriage each day, Russia outlaws homosexual propaganda. Read more…

Jesus the Anti-War Hippie?

My post last week addressed an image on the internet claiming that Jesus is an anti-war, socialist hippie. The image is obviously directed at Christian conservatives, attempting to show an inconsistency in their acceptance of Jesus Christ but their rejection of President Obama’s policies. We looked at how even though Jesus wants his followers to be charitable to the poor and needy, this doesn’t mean that Jesus approves of the government forcing people to be charitable. In a similar way, Jesus is anti-war but this doesn’t mean he is against all government force. He is neither a pacifist nor an anarchist. Read more…

US: A Promise

“US: A promise”

A Poem of American Love For Vision and Revision

by V. O. Waver

Know I would never have you doubt our love; it will endure
For we, the people, spoke our words: of them we may be sure
That they were never writ in stone – now we are more mature
of this united state, my love, be ever so secure

Don’t tell of ancient meaning laid within our founding caper
Don’t say your freedom was elusive, fleeting as a vapor
Don’t say your liberty was strong, but now you see it taper
There’s been a revolution, love; it’s just a piece of paper

Once all you wanted was the freedom to procure a tea
For me to harbor your decisions in obscurity
But I’ve decided what you need is not my purity
And I’ll be watching you my dear to give security

For I will never let you go, as sands of time do run
And I’ll be firm with promises as rising of the sun
Here to enact some sequences next decade to be done
Your mind can know my faithfulness, while I’m out having fun

I may not have the means to fund, but there’s a strange solution
I bless your scooting over, dear, to make room for intrusion
I bless your silence, as I force your frequent absolution
I bless your will to love a man of weakest constitution

——-

Luke Welch is a conservative in politics. He has a master’s degree from Covenant Seminary and preaches regularly in a conservative Anglican church in Maryland. He blogs about Bible structure at SUBTEXT.

Tom Woods Speaks on Foreign Policy

This is a terrific illustration of the false premises of American foreign policy.

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