Liberal Grace

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pace thinks sinners shouldn't be in the military.

Pace is selectively applying the bible to the military. This is even worse than mixing church and state.

Gay Soldiers Dismayed by Pace's Comments

Some gay members of the military were shocked that outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace repeated his personal belief that homosexuality is immoral during congressional testimony Wednesday.


"My upbringing is one that says that sex between anyone other than a man or woman inside the bonds of marriage is a sin," he said during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing as protesters booed and called him a bigot.
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I wonder if Pace's religious upbringing also taught that fornication was sin?

If so, shouldn't Pace also be calling for the expulsion of all soldiers guilty of fornication?

Here is a relevant passage in the KJV which Pace probably grew up with:

1 Corinthians 6:9 KJV (King James Version)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
I grew up near a navy base and when the ships would come in, fornication was pretty much the main agenda item of shore leave with drinking a close second.

Speaking of drinking, I wonder if Pace's upbringing taught him that was sin, too? The bible certainly teaches so.

Read on to verse ten of 1 Corinthians 6:
... Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
So, if the military should not condone sin by allowing sinners into the military, shouldn't the military ban those who drink too?

That would certainly put the skids on war! The only soldiers left would be a small minority of just the most pious Christians.

I, myself, would actually have been allowed into the military since I was both celibate and sober as a youth.

Why? Because I take very seriously the moral obligations of the bible for Christians.

I, unlike many of my more verbally pious conservative friends, believe that Christian morality is for us Christians -- and should not be codified in the military code.

But what Pace has done is even worse than mixing religion and public policy -- he has selectively done so.

There is no big distinction between homosexuality, fornication or even gluttony and greed in the bible. Sin is sin.

To lift out homosexuality as a special category of sin, would be heretically altering scripture.

So, General Pace, should heretics be allowed in the military?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nope. No gays in Iran. That's an American thing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets a big laugh by claiming Iran has no gays

One of Ahmadinejad's comments at Columbia that got the most laughter was his claim that Iran is free of homosexuality:

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that like in your country. ... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this. "external link

This difference in Muslim self-perception about homosexuality versus my own observation has been a mystery I've tried to unravel.

In my observation, there is more homosexuality over there than in the west.

Does that mean that Ahmadinejad is lying? I don't think so; I suspect he actually believes his claim. Even though, quite possibly, he himself has had gay sex.

It's all from a very different definition of homosexuality.

For starters, boys are not considered fully men, so sex with them is not considered homosexual.

I had a friend who had a deep knowledge of Islam in Pakistan and she believed that a very high percentage of boys -- perhaps 80 or 90 percent -- have been homosexually abused. And, just like in the west, many of those abused boys grow up be bi-sexual with a high percentage also being abusers.

Yet, with all this homosex going on, very few participants would consider themselves homosexuals. This is because they have a very different definition of a homosexual; a homosexual is person receiving penetration. In other words, a homosexual is not defined by having "homosex" but is defined by taking the "feminine" role in the sexual act.

Best I can tell, there are relatively few gays in Muslim cultures by that definition with many of those being sex workers, I'll guess that most adult-only homosexual activity -- of which there seems to be a lot -- is Larry Craig-style non-penetration recreational encounters. (I also suspect that Larry Craig honestly believes he's not gay.)

Perhaps this is something like the African American phenomenon of being on the "Down Low" where the participants generally don't consider themselves gay even though they are having gay sex. external link

I have not seen much written on this phenomenon had have pretty much sussed it out myself by talking with a lot of people about it. So, take it has on man's opinion. If you have a different impression, please leave a comment.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Will mercenaries derail a young Iraq democracy?

Private armies operating above the law are antithetical to democracy.

We "whiny liberals" have been pointing out the danger of mercenaries in Iraq since we first heard about them years ago. Anyone with common sense intuitively understands that it's a bad idea to have outside-the-law private armies in a country where we're trying to establish rule of law.

Blackwater's alleged practice of "shoot first, ask no questions later" is not how free and democratic cultures are run.

Another concern is who are the mercenaries. People who bear arms for big bucks are bad ambassadors for America -- especially to a society learning how to be free. I apologize to all Blackwater employees for saying this but I firmly believe it.

This is in contrast to a regular army made up of citizens who are disciplined, fighting according to military code and international treaties. Most importantly they are motivated by a sense of service and patriotism rather than profit.

As I've understood them, mercenary armies are typically a hodgepodge of nationalities recruiting anyone who will carry a gun and kill for money, putting profit above patriotism.

The Iraq contracted mercenaries are a little different because they claim some patriotism but I've heard more than a few finally admit they went over there out of patriotism but now it's all about the money.

Not long after 911, I met a mercenary in Dubai who was on his way to Afghanistan. As a pacifist I'm fascinated by people so opposite of me. We were driving together and he had enough time to tell me about his assignment and his motivations for doing it.

He made no mention of freedom, justice or democracy. He was in it for thrills and money. Period.

I should also mention that he was exiled Afrikaans South African.

I suspect that mercenary "contractors" tend to attract these kind of unsavory characters. The stories this week reminds me of earlier reports that Blackwater was recruiting soldiers from South Africa and other previously anti-democratic places like Pinochet's Chili.

Mercenaries 'R' Us

With the casualty toll ticking ever upward and troops stretched thin on the ground, the Bush administration is looking to mercenaries to help control Iraq. These soldiers-for-hire are veterans of some of the most repressive military forces in the world, including that of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and South Africa's apartheid regime.

In February, Blackwater USA, a North Carolina-based Pentagon contractor, began hiring former combat personnel in Chile, offering them up to $4,000 a month to guard oil wells in Iraq. The company flew the first batch of 60 former commandos to a training camp in North Carolina. These recruits will eventually wind up in Iraq where they will spend six months to a year.

"We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals -- the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," Gary Jackson, the president of Blackwater USA, told the Guardian.


Apart from Chile, the other popular source for military recruits is South Africa. The United Nations recently reported that South Africa "is already among the top three suppliers of personnel for private military companies, along with the UK and the US." There are more than 1,500 South Africans in Iraq today, most of whom are former members of the South African Defense Force and South African Police.

This dependence on "contractors" is just another spectacularly bad neo-con idea. There are just something you shouldn't outsource and your military is one of them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

If the Iraq war is going so well... who needs Blackwater?

Bush and McCain should use Iraq armed forces for their security if Iraq is going so great.

If, as Bush claims, "Absolutely we're winning. Al Qaeda is on the run." then he should have no problem using Iraqi security forces to protect him on his visits.

The same for McCain who claims Americans can walk safely in Baghdad. If so, then let him prove his claim by relying on Iraqi security forces.