In light of my recent post regarding Egypt and the comments made from the pulpit, I though this Roberts piece to be appropriate. Why does he see and understand the way things work and so many Christians, so many Christian leaders do not?
Rather than 'our' soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines protecting and serving us, all too often they serve a powerful political and financial machine. More often than not it is run by men that practically speaking don't have faces and they could not care less about you or the lives of your children.
We live in Appalachia and this area is prime territory for military recruiters. This part of the country more than any other has been consistently exploited by those wielding power. They've exploited the resources at the expense of the people who live here and because of the consistent and long-term economic situation there are many young people who have little hope and little future.
I know I told the story in one of the earlier posts, but I remember sitting in a local coffee shop waiting for my car to be repaired and I couldn't help but listen to the conversation at a nearby table.
Three military recruiters were having an early lunch and discussing their work. The one was quite vocal...he was ecstatic when he would drive up to a contact's house and find it to be a run-down trailer or mobile home. He said it was more or less a guarantee that he would have them. People with no hope were his prey.
Not long after we were driving through the same town one evening and watched a recruiter (maybe the same one) leading a young man from his house. They were getting into the recruiter's vehicle...off to the office to sign papers I'm sure. I felt like stopping and shouting at the kid..."Don't listen to him!"
The kid wanted a way out of rural America, but would he be laying in Walter Reed medical center a year later with no legs? Or would he drink himself into a stupor when has to deal with the blood on his hands? Maybe none of those things, but perhaps...God willing, when he's older and looks at his own children he will have a little more wisdom.
My own experience with the military recruiter was less than positive. Let me just say I was not terribly impressed when I left 'the service' and when applying for entrance to a Reformed Seminary I found the public relations liaison was...you guessed it, a proud ex-recruiter. Apparently they thought his car salesman tactics were just they wanted. I didn't bother attending that school for other reasons, but that experience left a very foul taste in my mouth and I immediately lost a great deal of respect for that institution....a very Dominionist one at that.
I must confess...I sought after the recruiter when I as a young and very lost 20 year old was trying to find my way. I grew up comfortably and it was only my idolatry of nation combined with restlessness and romanticized notions that led me to sign up. That's not the case for many, like the people I see around here who are wooed by promises of adventure and excitement or exploited for their naive sentimentality and a very skewed sense of duty.
It is very often these same people that proudly fly American flags on the outside of their houses. These are the same people who a generation ago gave up sons, brothers, and fathers to the wars in Indochina.
Some consider their devotion to be noble. Others like Roberts or the famous Smedley Butler whom he cites see it as sad and not a little frustrating.
Why do they continue to wave the flag when they are used, exploited and their lives are treating as less than dung?
I don't know, but for many I think the alternative would be too unsettling. It would destroy their world not to have that foundation to stand on. As Christians we rest in Christ's Kingdom and place no hope in this world. But for those who are lost, what more do they have? They have society, culture, nations...these things are the essence of their identity.
The fact that so many in Appalachia are professing Christians and yet continue to literally worship their country says much about American Christianity.
For the most part it's not Christianity at all. Something far different and far more dangerous than any false religion.
Sometimes when someone actually sees what I'm saying, when they actually get it...I almost feel guilty. It ruins so much for them. They can't look at things the same way. Many of the sentimental moments...those down-home good ol' Americana moments are forever ruined. We see them differently.
We see them like Christians saw Rome in the first century. They might have been thankful they lived within the Roman dominion versus the wild Sahara, the German forests or the Persian domains. Maybe, maybe not.
Nevertheless they understood what Rome was...and what it wasn't. We need to look at nations today in the same way. And as Christians we need to understand how the world works and not be fooled.
We don't have to hate our country or ancestry, but for most of us who know a lot about our family history, we know full well it's often not pretty. There's not much to glory in, it's usually full of dark deeds and secrets. Now multiply that by millions and that's the story of our nation. We can dress it up and make it sound good, and it's not all bad....but let's be realistic.
I don't have a lot of hope for the American Church as long as it continues to wave the flag, wrap the cross in the flag, or whatever way you care to express the idea. It's idolatry and rather than view our young men as 'serving'...I was one of them...we're sacrificing our children to the Pentagon Molech.
Here's the link to the Robert's article, followed by the text.
War Über Alles
by Paul Craig Roberts
Recently by Paul Craig Roberts: The Shame of Being an American
The United States government cannot get enough of war. With Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime falling to a rebelling population, CNN reports that a Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. is looking at all options from the military side.
Allegedly, the Pentagon, which is responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis, is concerned about the deaths of 1,000 Libyan protesters.
While the Pentagon tries to figure out how to get involved in the Libyan revolt, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific is developing new battle plans to take on China in her home territory. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard thinks the U.S. should be able to whip China in its own coastal waters.
The admiral thinks one way to do this is to add U.S. Marines to his force structure so that the U.S. can eject Chinese forces from disputed islands in the East and South China seas.
It is not the U.S. who is disputing the islands, but if there is a chance for war anywhere, the admiral wants to make sure we are not left out.
The admiral also hopes to develop military ties with India and add that country to his clout. India, the admiral says, "is a natural partner of the United States" and "is crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China." The U.S. is going to seduce the Indians by selling them advanced aircraft.
If the plan works out, we will have India in NATO helping us to occupy Pakistan and presenting China with the possibility of a two-front war.
The Pentagon needs some more wars so there can be some more "reconstruction."
Reconstruction is very lucrative, especially as Washington has privatized so many of the projects, thus turning over to well-placed friends many opportunities to loot. Considering all the money that has been spent, one searches hard to find completed projects. The just released report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting can’t say exactly how much of the $200,000 million in Afghan "reconstruction" disappeared in criminal behavior and blatant corruption, but $12,000 million alone was lost to "overt fraud."
War makes money for the politically connected. While the flag-waving population remains proud of the service of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, cousins, wives, mothers and daughters, the smart boys who got the fireworks started are rolling in the mega-millions.
As General Smedley Butler told the jingoistic American population, to no avail, "war is a racket." As long as the American population remains proud that their relatives serve as cannon fodder for the military/security complex, war will remain a racket.
February 26, 2010
Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail], a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House