Friday, June 24, 2005

Ya gotta have faith...

It happened again last night. I was biking home when some young fella with close-cropped hair pulled up beside me in his flag-draped pickup truck at a redlight and hollered out, “Why should we stop Bush?” (My bike has a bumper sticker with words to that effect).

I responded, “Because he's a war criminal and all war criminals should be stopped.”

He replied, “Oh, I guess that means that Churchill and Roosevelt were war criminals, too,” and drove away laughing and shaking his head.

I know that I'm mostly preaching to the choir, but for the occasional Iraq War supporter who might stray to my humble blog, allow me to answer a question or two.

While I'm a pacifist and generally against all wars, Churchill and Roosevelt don't fit the definition of war criminal. They never invaded another country unprovoked, as Bush and Hitler did.

It's about consistency: We don't want the Saddams and Hitlers of the world invading countries unprovoked (despite whatever reasons they might have), we shouldn't invade countries unprovoked.

As to the question of whether or not our earlier leaders were war criminals, I'd say that we have, in fact, committed war crimes in our checkered past. Certainly the targetting of two civilian centers (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and the deliberate decimation of these cities qualifies.

It's a little thing I like to call the Golden Rule – just do unto others, ya know? It's funny that so many conservative Bible believers don't really think that the Golden Rule works on an international level. As if God has one set of rules for people and a different set of rules for governments.

Yes, we need to work on better ways to confront murderous tyrants. We just ought not become murderous tyrants ourselves in response.


hipchickmamma said...


I was shocked and delighted (please don't read too much into that) to see Bush and Hitler being compared to one another. It's an excellant and shocking point.

I too wonder about Bush (and others) touting such a strong Christian faith, yet totally forgetting what it means to value all life, pray for and love your enemies, etc.

Keep preaching!

hipchickmamma said...

we cannot become that which we hate in order to defeat it. if so what are we to do when we look in the mirror? do we go on to anihilate ourselves to rid the world of evil?

you cannot practice war to create peace.

whollyman said...

Amen brother! The last election got me when all the religious folks started talking about morals. Of course they meant abortion and gay marriage. What about lying murdering, pandering to the rich. . .

Deb said...

"you cannot practice war to create peace." I like that, hipchickmamma.

I really have nothing more to add, except for my "Amen". Keep on spreading the good word, brother.

Morpheus said...

America was attacked by the Japanese, and we declared war against Germany. Ipso facto, Roosevelt was a war criminal.

Sky Niangua said...

Excellent Dan.
You keep stirring up those Bushites. :)

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

Brother Morpheus,

I'm sure we're both opposed to war crimes - invading a country unprovoked, genocide, torture, etc. Even if it is the US doing it, we should be opposed to it.

I don't know that our declaration of war met the criteria of a war crime, inasmuch as it was considered a legitimate declaration of war (authorized by congress, I believe). But there are internationally accepted rules of what fits a war crime.

I'll always be opposed to any country that commits them. You'll join me in that opposition?

ricklibrarian said...

If my memory is corrct, more civilians than soldiers died in World War II. I am sure there were many war crimes there. U.S. warplanes leveled German cities. It seems beyond the rules of war to me.

More civilians than soldiers have died in Iraq, many from U.S. actions. That seems criminal to me. It never seems to stop.

the dharma bum said...

Good post Dan. I've decided that all war is a failure. The greatest failure of man. Justice does not factor in. The goodness of justice can not outweigh the failure of war.

And then there is the issue of war crimes. It's a stretch to suppose that somehow you can do something worse than war, but if you can, it seems that Bush has done it. Thanks for taking a stand and not being afraid of your own opinion.

Wembley said...

Based on my experience, I don't think it's exactly that they feel there is a separate set of morals for individuals and governments, but rather there is a separate set for "America" and "Everybody Else".

"Here There Be Dragons", you know?