Drumbeats category archive
Thom discusses evangelism and evangelical causes and the danger thereof when they become political.
He starts by somewhat awkwardly establishing a premise the Communism was an evangelical movement, that, one that wished to convince persons to follow it to the exclusion of others, and moves on to argue that evangelical movements can lead to crusades. It’s not as polished as his usual presentations, but I think it’s well worth a listen.
Instead of getting rid of the planet’s horrifying nuclear arsenal, humankind’s only winning strategy for avoiding Armageddon these last 72 years was not having nuclear launch codes in the hands of people like North Korea’s dangerous and despotic Kim Jong Un or a hotheaded, impulsive, and unconventional American president like Donald Trump. The last week has revealed the utter folly of that notion.
The good news is that the experts still believe, despite the insane rhetoric and threats from both sides, that a nuclear war involving the United States, North Korea, and assorted allies is highly unlikely. In that sense, it’s a little like comedian Steven Wright’s joke about his plan to live forever: so far, so good.
Follow the link.
Image via Job’s Anger.
Farron describes how members of the Trump administration are trying to clean up the mess after the Trumpler-in-Chief’s warmongering rhetoric about North Korea.
Given Donald Trump’s disdain for diplomacy, Tracey Rubin sees more blood in the sand (and the forests, and the cities, and the seas).
“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition,” said the general, who was then head of U.S. Central Command. Mattis recognized that skilled diplomacy is required to prevent wars or cement military victories.
President Donald Trump not only wants to slash the State Department’s budget by a third but clearly considers the department unnecessary. His vision of foreign policy revolves around military strikes and arranging mythical “big deals.”
Meantime, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conducts diplomacy as if he were still the god-head of Exxon Mobil, consulting only a few aides while gutting the department. Most key posts and many crucial ambassadorships remain vacant.
Image via The Bob Cesca Show Blog.
I remember sitting on the side porch in the 1950s and feeling relief that, in the event of World War III, we were within the radius of the nuclear attack that would most certainly be delivered to Norfolk Naval Base, so I would not be around for the aftermath.
If Trump wins, I can comfort myself with that same thought.
Jim Wright hears the war drums. Here’s a bit; follow the link for the rest.
War, it’s always the answer.
War, it’s what Jesus would do. That’s what The Decider would do! That’s what Reagan would do! War! War! War!
Drs. Joel Howell and Sanjay Saint think that the phrase “boots on the ground” to mean persons in the military needs to be retired as demeaning and dehumanizing. I certainly do not think of Captain First Son, USA, as a “boot” (though there were times I was inclined to give him one).
Methinks they have a point. Here’s a bit of their column from the Detroit News:
Some will die there. Some will return home injured; many will receive care at VA facilities.
These people have lives, friends, loved ones, and all too often dreams lost and hopes abandoned on account of what happened to them.
“Boots on the ground” implicitly invites the reader to think not about the many individuals who serve, but instead to reduce those people to a single article of clothing, one that in its uniformity belies the many different types of people who wear those boots.
I will give a dollar to a doughnut that most of those who so casually use the phrase “boots on the ground” have not served. They would send the children of others into harm’s way.
Rick Steves is fed up with cable news; he suggests that television news now foments fear for funding. A snippet.
When Walter Cronkite closed the evening news by saying, “And that’s the way it is,” I believe that, to the best of journalists’ knowledge, that really was the way it was. In those days, television networks were willing to lose money on their evening news time slot to bring us the news. It was seen as their patriotic duty as good corporate citizens.
But times have changed, and now corporations have a legal responsibility to maximize short-term profits for their shareholders. They’ve started sexing up, spicing up and bloodying up the news to boost ratings. And 24/7 news channels have to amp up the shrillness to make recycled news exciting enough to watch.
In a sense, news has become entertainment masquerading as news. Now an event is not news, it’s a “crisis.”
The drek to information ratio of TV news, cable or not, is off the scale.
The last time I watched a television news show was a couple of years ago when we had (I kid you not) a white Christmas. We watched local TV News reporters standing around shocked! shocked! I tell you, that below-freezing temperatures are cold and slippery streets lead to car crashes.
At least their findings were factual.
Jon Stewart takes on the hysterians.
Below the fold in case it autoplays.
Culled from a larger article about a veteran’s efforts to provide a means of therapy to other veterans by encouraging them to write about their experiences, here is the nasty truth that the mongers of war want you to ignore (emphasis added).
More than 2 million Americans have deployed in the post-9/11 wars, and they’ve all come back with something. Besides physical wounds and full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder, there are subtler torments: “moral injury,” an affliction separate from PTSD that comes from experiences that transgress deeply held moral beliefs; the weird desire to go back to a place they hate, because now nothing else makes sense; the feeling of extreme isolation, because whereas before they lived among people they’d have died for, now they live among people who barely know there was a war; the nagging certainty that they’ll never feel as alive as they did over there, or as connected to others, and that nothing will ever feel as important.
I encourage you to follow the link and read the rest.
The mongers of war want you to think that war is a John Wayne movie. In the movies, though, unlike in wars, everyone gets up and goes home whole after the shooting stops.
Read the rest, then ask yourself, “Why is it that men too old to serve are so eager for war?”
Old men lie. Young folks die.
Joseph J. Ellis, professor of history at Williams College, spots a trend.
When you study how the U.S. goes to war, there is a prevalent though not perfect pattern. The triggering event is often a sudden crisis that galvanizes popular opinion and becomes the immediate occasion for military intervention but subsequently is exposed as a misguided perception or outright fabrication.
The Mexican War began when President Polk cited an attack on American troops in Texas – troops he had deliberately placed there to provoke Mexico. The Spanish American War began when President McKinley claimed that the battleship Maine had been blown up by Spanish saboteurs; subsequent investigations showed that the explosion originated inside the ship, probably due to an accidental fire in the munitions compartment.
Read the rest to see how often this pattern has repeated.
The next time you hear the war drums beating, be very skeptical.
In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dan Simpson counsels against heeding the war fever currently being spread by Republicans. A nugget:
The first of these is a deep-rooted sense of our own best interests. Most Americans understand fairly well that we don’t want our sons and daughters in miserable places such as Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine standing at risk to their lives between people who want to fight over something that has nothing to do with us.
The second is that we as Americans have a very short attention span. Notice, for example, that Syria, an intense passion not long ago, is now sloping off into channel-changing obscurity.
The third grace that may save us from self-destruction through meddling in other people’s affairs is a decent sense of what is really important to us.
Do please read the rest.
Bloomberg’s Pankaj Mishra, published in the Japan Times, questions the relevance of Cold War thinking–and Cold War thinkers–now that the Cold War has been over for almost a generation. He suggests that recent domestic drumbeating about Crimea is, at least in part, an attempt by Cold Warriors to regain their think-tank mojo (and their think-tank gigs).
The Cold War credentialed a kind of “thinker” who cannot think without the help of violently opposed abstractions: good vs. evil, freedom vs. slavery, liberal democracy vs. totalitarianism, and that sort of thing.
Forced into premature retirement by the unexpected collapse of communism in 1989, this thinker re-emerged after Sept. 11, 2001, convinced there was another worthy enemy in the crosshairs: Islamic totalitarianism.
Unchastened by a decade of expensive, counterproductive and widely despised wars, these laptop generals have been trying to reboot their dated software yet again as Russian President Vladimir Putin formalizes his annexation of Crimea.
He goes on to suggest that confrontational Cold War thinking led to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as the USSR reacted to its perceptions of American intentions. (We experience the long-term effects of that whenever we stand in a security line at an airport, for that nurtured the Taliban and other forms of Islamic political radicalism, including Al Qaeda).
Der Spiegel points out that, no, it’s not 1914 all over again once more. A snippet:
But in fact the alignments implicated in the Ukrainian emergency bear little relation to the geopolitical constellations of 1914. At that time, two central powers faced a trio of world empires on Europe’s eastern and western peripheries. Today, a broad coalition of Western and Central European states is united in protesting Russia’s interventions in Ukraine. And the restless, ambitious German Kaiserreich of 1914 scarcely resembles the European Union, a multi-state peace framework that finds it difficult to project power or to formulate external policy.