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Liberal Christians: Kill ISIS With Peacenikkery

A coalition of liberal Protestants and Catholics have called for meeting the ISIS threat with old-style peacenikkery [1]. I especially like this suggestion:

Mark Tooley comments [3]:

Suppose you were a Christian living in an Iraqi village about to be conquered by ISIS, and you’ve already heard about your co-religionists murdered at the conquered village up the road. You have the choice between fleeing to a just arrived team of U.S. church pacifists trained in “interpersonal conflict transformation.” Or you could accept the protection of U.S. armed Kurdish or Iraqi armed forces, supported by U.S. air power. Which would you choose?

They also call for an arms embargo to all parties in the region, including the Kurds, whose land came close to being invaded by ISIS until the US began bombing ISIS from the air. Plus, economic sanctions against ISIS. You read that right: they expect economic sanctions to stop religious fanatics who behead children and crucify people for the greater glory of Allah.

The liberal Christian program is not all bad. Establishing a long-term peace really does require doing some of the things they recommend. However, it’s simply nuts to think that monsters like ISIS can be stopped with anything but bullets. These are religious fanatics who rape, pillage, and behead. The photo above is of ISIS fighters. What I’ve cropped out is the three heads they have impaled on the fence above them. This is what we’re dealing with.

To be clear, there are plausible prudential arguments against the United States involving itself directly in a military capacity against ISIS. But the idea that pacifist strategies are sufficient to stop berserkers like ISIS strikes me as crackpot. I can only imagine how this sort of thing sounds to refugee Christians in the region.

Sometimes, war is the answer. It may not be the answer for the United States in this particular situation — I am not convinced that it is; Pat Buchanan has some wise words [4] about US policy on this matter — but there will be no stopping ISIS without somebody taking up arms and shooting them all. War is the answer when all other possible answers have been tried and failed, but there really is such a thing as just war. If war against ISIS is not a just war by Christian standards, then what on earth is?

[H/T: Ryan Booth]

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124 Comments (Open | Close)

124 Comments To "Liberal Christians: Kill ISIS With Peacenikkery"

#1 Comment By Virgil Caine On September 6, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

Uncle Billy said:

I am reminded of something we used to say when I was in the Marine Corps: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil. For I am the meanest SOB in the Valley.”

The way to deal with ISIS is to kill them, and as many of them as possible, and via the most awful ways possible, such as Napalm. We do not want to “bring them to justice,” we simply want to kill them. More will take their place? Yes, and then we must kill them as well. Eventually, even fanatics wise up.

Amen Uncle Billy! I hope to God there are guys in the Pentagon working this weekend, drawing up plans to trap and slaughter them en masse using the most brutal and wicked means necessary to psychologically zombify and liquidate them before they can change out their jihadi nightgowns.

#2 Comment By HeartRight On September 6, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

Amen Uncle Billy! I hope to God there are guys in the Pentagon working this weekend, drawing up plans to trap and slaughter them en masse using the most brutal and wicked means necessary to psychologically zombify and liquidate them before they can change out their jihadi nightgowns.

That works fine if done by a native military – see Algeria circa 1990
It does not work if done by a military with a foreign accent – see Algeria circa 1960.

There is something about foreign accents that can turn everyone into an uncompromising fanatic – beyond wising up. Hence my belief that paramount American participation would be counter-productive.

#3 Comment By HeartRight On September 6, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

JonF says:

But ultimately all choice is individual choice: we do not have communal minds and wills, only individual minds and wills. The autonomous individual is a fact of nature for homo sapiens no matter how many potentates wish it were not so.

That is manifestly not true. Even our very thought-patterns are hardcoded. ( See Prufrock )
You are not a die with free will, you are a loaded die. The same goes for me, of course.
Neither of us is capable of independent thought – other than within parameters over which we have no control, since they are hardcoded.

The middle question does not belong to me, therefore I do not comment upon it.

Re: It follows then that I consider Pacifism morally reprehensible.

Question: did the Martyrs in question presume to tread upon a collective prerogative?

That is the essential problem with the pacifist individual in a working democracy or republic – he treads upon the prerogative of others.

Jesus, of course, HAS the ultimate authority, and can therefore not to be said to presume upon the authority of the State,

just as I consider it foolish to argue that State could usurp the authority of a County, since the authority of the County exists by the grace of the State, and not the other way around.

#4 Comment By Mark J Logsdon On September 6, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

Uncle Billy: > “… For I am the meanest SOB in the Valley.”

The way to deal with ISIS is to kill them, and as many of them as possible, and via the most awful ways possible, such as Napalm. We do not want to “bring them to justice,” we simply want to kill them.”

Spoken like a typical 17 year old American male. By Marines who have actually been in combat? Have seen napalm used on human beings? Well, much less so.

The idea that American troops, ebven light infantry, are some hairy-knuckled, gung-ho he-men is a fiction developed in comic books. One does not need – in fact is not well served by – such fantasies in a professional military unit. The essence of a Marine is in his motto: Always Faithful. That is enough, indeed it is a very great deal. But it is not anything to do with blood-thirstiness.

#5 Comment By Virgil Caine On September 6, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

Mark J Logsdon said:

Uncle Billy: > “… For I am the meanest SOB in the Valley.”

The way to deal with ISIS is to kill them, and as many of them as possible, and via the most awful ways possible, such as Napalm. We do not want to “bring them to justice,” we simply want to kill them.”

Spoken like a typical 17 year old American male. By Marines who have actually been in combat? Have seen napalm used on human beings? Well, much less so.

The idea that American troops, ebven light infantry, are some hairy-knuckled, gung-ho he-men is a fiction developed in comic books. One does not need – in fact is not well served by – such fantasies in a professional military unit. The essence of a Marine is in his motto: Always Faithful. That is enough, indeed it is a very great deal. But it is not anything to do with blood-thirstiness.

From [5]:


US defends using napalm-like firebombs
August 8, 2003

US forces used napalm-like MK-77 firebombs against Iraqi forces in their drive toward Baghdad last spring, a Pentagon official confirmed today, defending their use as legal and necessary.

US Marine Corps jets dropped the firebombs at least once in March to take out Iraqi positions at the town of Safwan just across the Kuwait border from the US-led invasion force, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 6, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

Oh, nonsense. Kill them. The only reason non-violent direct action overcame the Ku Klux Klan is that the federal government was worried about increasing Soviet influence in Africa. Non-violent direct action can win allies among the wavering classes, but its not sufficient, and against an army in the field, only useful if there is rampant disaffection in the ranks. Nobody disaffected is joining ISIS in the first place.

Possibly if an Iraqi Christian family found a wounded ISIS soldier near unto death, took him home, nursed him back to health, that might be a good witness, particularly if he came to realize that Christians are good people who also worship The God, and it really isn’t good to slaughter the men, rape their wives and sell their girls into slavery. A lot of ifs there.

#7 Comment By HeartRight On September 6, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

such fantasies in a professional military unit.
What on earth makes you think that professional military is to the point?

Quality through Professionalism is no match for Quantity through Ideology.

#8 Comment By Northern observer On September 6, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

What galls me the most is these theologians blatant ignorance of Islam and their refusal to learn beyond their prejudices. In this case pacifist prejudices. They are projecting their values and morality into the members of Isis. Besides being fatal it is incredibly arrogant, myopic and narcissistic. A failure of theological leadership.

#9 Comment By JonF On September 7, 2014 @ 7:24 am

Re: That is manifestly not true.

You did not address my point at all, which is that there is no such as a human “communal mind”. And no our thoughts are not “hard-coded”. We are not pre-programmed robots. The closest thing to that in nature would be insects. To be sure there are mental structures that we are born with, but they are rooms without furnishings. The shape and size of the room dictates what and how much can be put in them, but not all the details. Language is a good example: we all have a language instinct, but what language(s) we speak depends on what language(s) we grow up with, and to some extent what we deliberately learn.

Re: That is the essential problem with the pacifist individual in a working democracy or republic – he treads upon the prerogative of others.

I can’t even wrap my mind around that. It is the morality of slavery: the master is being wronged by slaves demanding freedom! So if Caesar demands you worship idols or the President decrees you kill his enemies then you must obey and are being wicked if you do not, and never mind that said actions may violate what you believe is God’s will.
Your error is that you assume the state is prior to the citizen: this is the logic of fascism, and it is not consonant with the Christian faith.

#10 Comment By Mark J Logsdon On September 7, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

Virgil Caine (quoting Leatherneck.com): > “…defending their use as legal and necessary.”

They may be legal and they may be necessary (in a tactical sense). I certainly hope that the US forces who used them believed at the time that these factors both were true. That they are to be celebrated or used as a model for right action generally is quite a different matter. imo, of course.

Mark L.

#11 Comment By HeartRight On September 7, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

JonF says:
September 7, 2014 at 7:24 am

Re: That is manifestly not true.

You did not address my point at all, which is that there is no such as a human “communal mind”. And no our thoughts are not “hard-coded”. We are not pre-programmed robots.
Your point is irrelevant, since the question does revolve around the nature of human consciousness but around the locus of Authority.

We are not pre-programmed robots.
Oh, really?

[6]
/prufrock/

“When you read action-related metaphors,” says Valentina Cuccio, a philosophy postdoc at the University of Palermo, in Italy, “you have activation of the motor area of the brain.” In a 2011 paper in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Rutvik Desai, an associate professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina, and his colleagues presented fMRI evidence that brains do in fact simulate metaphorical sentences that use action verbs. When reading both literal and metaphorical sentences, their subjects’ brains activated areas associated with control of action.

Remarkably similar to a robot responding to instructions, right? Indeed, much more true for humans than for insects.

Your error is that you assume the state is prior to the citizen: this is the logic of fascism, and it is not consonant with the Christian faith.

Then what do you make of the claim of Jesus that he has been given all authority?
Authority is top-down and not bottom-up.

#12 Comment By HeartRight On September 7, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

Your point is irrelevant, since the question does revolve NOT around the nature of human consciousness but around the locus of Authority.

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 7, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

I’ve only now taken a look at Uncle Billy and Mark J. Logsdon. It is common that people who have actually experienced armed combat are more reserved about wishing it on anyone, or calling for it to be used, and one must consider seriously what a marine has to say on the subject.

HeartRight is correct that if we send in massive numbers of U.S. troops, we will become the target of all concerned, or almost all. That is not a viable way to exterminate ISIS. One difference between the INITIAL incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq was that in the former case, we provided useful support, and experience armies who knew the terrain took care of the ground.

Thus, our question should be, in what way can we EFFECTIVELY use those resources at our disposal, such that ISIS is liquidated as an effective political and military force? For that, we do not yet have a strategy, and should be in no hurry to rush into one. We can develop it in due course as we try to do what we are able.

However, it is unlikely that “community-based nonviolent resistance strategies to transform the conflict” are likely to be effective measures either. Those are the armchair dreams of people sitting in the comfort of their own living rooms, ten thousand miles away.

#14 Comment By MikeS On September 7, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

Yes, lunacy. #NotAllLiberalChristians

#15 Comment By JonF On September 8, 2014 @ 7:30 am

Re: Your point is irrelevant, since the question does revolve NOT around the nature of human consciousness but around the locus of Authority.

“Authority” is derivative from the individual human mind since only the individual has consciousness and volition. It is a tool, not a master. I note that you do not bother to address my point about authority dictating matters of conscience: were the old Emperors exercising their just power in demanding Christians bow down to idols? If not, how can authority legitimately make other demands that trespass on conscience?

Re: We are not pre-programmed robots.
Oh, really?

Nope, we are not preprogrammed robots.
If we were we would still be living in the trees. And the whole point of the christian faith is pretty much overthrown too, since there were be no sin, just programming, and repentence would be impossible.

#16 Comment By HeartRight On September 8, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

“Authority” is derivative from the individual human mind since only the individual has consciousness and volition.
Proof required. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and you present none

Does the authority of Jesus end if the individual denies it?

If not, how can authority legitimately make other demands that trespass on conscience?
Notice how I pointed at pacifism in a democracy.

So, now, someone takes part in the democratic process – which can legally compel others to do as they don’t please –
but when it comes to being compelled himself, he engages in special pleading to be let off the hook.

That is the problem And that is exactly why refuseniks in a Democracy are at best, scum., if not simply traitors.

If we were we would still be living in the trees.
Proof required.

and repentence would be impossible.
I would say that obviously, the capacity for Metanoia is coded into the program too.

were the old Emperors exercising their just power in demanding Christians bow down to idols?
I did adress it – but you did not notice.

The authority of the Emperor is derived from God – Jesus Christ.
If the Emperor acts seditiously towards God, he abrogates his own claim to Authority.

Authority is top-down, and not bottom-up.

#17 Comment By JonF On September 8, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

Re: Proof required.

Easy. No human individuals = no authority either. (Assuming no human analogues, e.g., sentient aliens), just as no humans = no science, no government, no art, no religion, etc. Authority is a human thing and requires human minds.

And for the umpteenth time, consciousness and volition, on which authority depend, inhere in the individual.

Re: So, now, someone takes part in the democratic process – which can legally compel others to do as they don’t please –
but when it comes to being compelled himself, he engages in special pleading to be let off the hook.

So it’s OK if the Democratic process were to demand sacrifice to idols? This just gets worse and worse. You are espousing ideas which manage to be both illiberal and unconservative. Is there even a trace of human rights or limited governance in your ideology of (apparent) “Fascism by popular will”? Rousseau and Nietzsche are smiling on you from Hell.

Re: And that is exactly why refuseniks in a Democracy are at best, scum., if not simply traitors.

That sounded better in the original German.

Re: Proof required.

Animals governed purely by hard-coded instruction can only change by very gradually evolutionary processes. Insects are an example of animals whose behavior is purely preprogramed by their genes: many of them have not had any appreciable change in behavior since dinosaurs were rumbling around the Jurassic gymnosperm forests.

Re: I would say that obviously, the capacity for Metanoia is coded into the program too.

It can’t be coded– it requires free choice.

Re: The authority of the Emperor is derived from God – Jesus Christ.

Except that this authority comes first to the People who then delegate it to those who will rule. It does not come straight from God to the ruler, that’s a 17th century heresy invented by absolutists to justify “L’etat c’est moi” and similar flights of hubris.

#18 Comment By HeartRight On September 8, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

JonF says:
September 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Re: Proof required.

Easy. No human individuals = no authority either. (Assuming no human analogues, e.g., sentient aliens), just as no humans = no science, no government, no art, no religion, etc. Authority is a human thing and requires human minds..

In other words, I take it you believe God had no Authority before the 6th day?

So it’s OK if the Democratic process were to demand sacrifice to idols?
Once again, you miss the overaching Authority on the next level.

That sounded better in the original German.
Godwin.

Animals governed purely by hard-coded instruction can only change by very gradually evolutionary processes
Wrong.
[7]

Transforming the hopper is gene expression — a change in how the hopper’s genes are ‘expressed’, or read out – and further.

It can’t be coded– it requires free choice.
So you are saying an RNG cannot be coded?

Except that this authority comes first to the People who then delegate it to those who will rule.
Wrong. See: Letter to Romans.

You are espousing ideas which manage to be both illiberal and unconservative.

None of my ideas would strike a Mohist or a Confucianist as unconservative. Julius Nyere or Kwame nKrumah, of course, would be more inclined to see them as in line with orthodox African Communitarian Socialism.

As for liberalism, it is an individualistic ideology, and I have no truck with it.

#19 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 8, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

Authority is top-down, and not bottom-up.

In America, we shoot people who practice that. (Note, I said practice, not talk).

HeartRight is nothing if not full of flights of hubris; he would gladly say “L’Etat C’est Moi” if he had the leverage to enforce it.

#20 Comment By JonF On September 9, 2014 @ 6:36 am

Re: In other words, I take it you believe God had no Authority before the 6th day?

The question is undefined without humans to have authority over– like asking if there was religion before humans existed. (God certainly did have power over nature, but that’s not the same as authority)

Re: Except that this authority comes first to the People who then delegate it to those who will rule.
Wrong. See: Letter to Romans.

Romans tells us only that authority comes ultimately from God. It does not specify the details of the process. And any 1st century Roman would have agreed with what I have said about authority (auctoritas); the public offices of Rome even imperator, were ultimately grants of the Senate and People, so yes, even in ancient Rome Authority flowed from the Divine to the People (and the oligarchs in the Senate– but they were people too) then to the office holders.

Re: None of my ideas would strike a Mohist or a Confucianist as unconservative.

They might not strike Ivan the Terrible or Henry VIII or Louis XIV as unconservative either If you want rule by monarchs under divine right why be so coy? Just come out and say it. Outside a few dysfunctional Middle Eastern states the rest of the world has moved on from that era.

#21 Comment By Mark On September 9, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

On The Lost Dutchman’s suggestion I went back to read the two versions of the healing of the centurion’s servant in the gospels. The story seems to emphasize the importance of faith, the faith that the centurion had that Jesus could heal his servant. Seems to be an element of compassion in the story: the centurion was so moved by the suffering of his servant/slave/property, that he reached out to Jesus indirectly. Jesus was moved with amazement at the centurion’s faith, and heals the servant. The story also raises the issue of authority, but in a very post-modern move it balances authority with compassion. It is also interesting that the centurion was so interested in the truth that he was willing to deal with the religious ideas of the people under his occupation. How many stories do we see out of the countries our troops occupy about the rebuilding of mosques or temples or whatever, and openness to teachings of their spiritual leaders? Very open to truth, and a faith that Jesus praised. Indeed.

#22 Comment By HeartRight On September 10, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

They might not strike Ivan the Terrible or Henry VIII or Louis XIV as unconservative either If you want rule by monarchs under divine right why be so coy? Just come out and say it. Outside a few dysfunctional Middle Eastern states the rest of the world has moved on from that era.

It would appeat that you flip-flop between a worldvision which in one post divides the world between liberalism and fascism, and the next post between liberalism and absolute monarchism, and perhaps the next post between liberalism and rousseauism or whatever strikes your fancy next – perhaps Orbanism or Moodi-ism?

Your claims about the workings of genetics and the nature of human consciousness have been soundly trashed by empirical evidence.

#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 12, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

I think what JonF was trying to say comes down to this: Defining what is “conservative” depends on what status quo one is committed to conserving. The term “conservative” has no intrinsic meaning without that context, and therefore does not represent any enduring principle of set of principles from age to age, or even from continent to continent. What passes as “conservative” politics in presend-day America is nothing but classical Gladstonian liberalism, complete with the religious affectation. (When Gladstone met his future wife, his first utterance was to ask her if she had meditated on the goodness of God that day.)

#24 Comment By ISISneedstodie On September 14, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

“God wills it” Kill all ISIS, then behead them and bury them at sea.

Lets call this what it is – the next crusade.

Look at the cleansing of the Christian children and the beheading of those kids and say that you can discuss anything but retaliation and hate.

I have been on the fence about Iraq and Afghanistan but now its time for these thugs and bullies to be destroyed.