I love my folks. They rarely ask anything of me more than show up for Sunday dinner. But my mom conveyed a request that they both had tonight. C.I. notes something in the snapshot and they wanted me to weigh in. So, first, here's C.I.:
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is currently taking questions at Duke University as I dictate this. He's grandstanded on the back of veterans and the military as he always does in that mincing manner he has. (Still crying over the death of PG, Bobby Gates?) We'll note his awful speech later in the snapshot but Gates got a little bit of a surprise when a 2006 Conscientious Objector stood up to ask a question.
The C.O. spoke of the demonization he received when he was going through the process and Gates grew visibly nervous and began shifting from foot-to-foot while his eyes darted wildly around the lecture hall at Duke's Bryant Center. "As a Christian," the CO expalined, "I'm concerned that I'm not able to respond to the denominational body I belong to when they deem certain wars unjust" as they did the Iraq War. He noted that, in contrast to the religious training and beliefs, soldiers are encouraged to "forfeit their moral agency to the officers" above them. And he wondered, "What your office might do to correct this tarnishment on our national integrity?"
By this point, Gates looked as if he was sucking on a lemon. War Hawks don't like being confronted. He began a snippy performance that seemed to prove true the rumors that he does a nasty camp Bette Davis impersonation. "I would say, first of all, this goes to the heart of my remarks tonight. In an all volunteer army, one does undertake a contractual obligation when enlisting. But there is certainly no obligation to re-enlist. And one should know -- anyone who has joined the military since 2002 has known -- that they are going into war with all of the moral challenges that can face people with -- So I think, ultimately, it has to be the choice of the invidivual."
Robert Gates is not a lawyer. He is a spinner. He's a damn good spinner if your goal is to advance illegal war or lies. If it's not, he's just a tired spinner who needs to create a job by retiring.
Volunteer army or not, the conscientious objector status is always recongized as a possibility or is Gates unaware that it remains on the books, has remained on the books since the draft ended, has remained on the books and has remained practiced for over thirty years? Is Gates so stupid that he doesn't know that?
(No, he's just a liar.)
As for 2002, the CO was specifically referring to the Iraq War. The Iraq War had not broken in 2002. All the lies Gates tells, it gets so hard for him to keep facts straight. The Iraq War started in March 2003. That's a fact. Equally true is that the administration lied repeatedly and the press went along with it. Finding out the truth about the Iraq War required real work. Lt Ehren Watada is one example of someone who had to do the work for themselves. In 2005, he was informed he would be deploying to Iraq in the summer of 2006. He began researching the war. He wanted to be able to answer any questions those serving under him might have. In researching the Iraq War, he discovered the realities including that it was an illegal war.
Lt Watada knew what Gates appears to have never learned: His pledge was to uphold the Constitution and he was required to refuse any illegal order. Is Gates unfamiliar with the Uniform Code of Military Justice? Gates does a vicious camp routine but he appears woefully short on the facts.
He also appears hostile to Christianity. Many Christian faiths are based on baptisms and on the Christian receiving the word of the God, a religious awakening. Gates appears completely ignorant of that fact. Anyone who joined before 2002 (or after) could very well have a religious awakening or a deepening of their religious beliefs -- those are core components and beliefs of Christian faith. Gates' bitchy little answer didn't recognize that reality.and showed extreme hostility to -- and prejudice against -- the Christian faith.
In a functioning government, Gates would be called to the carpet and told to issue an apology. That won't happen which will further lead to the suspicion among some Americans that defending religious freedoms only matters to the White House when the religion is Muslim. I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it's fair. I'm saying you're an idiot if you're ignoring the public perception of the White House -- demonstrated in multiple polls -- at this late date . And to allow your Secretary of Defense to launch what many Christians will see as an attack on the Christian faith and to not call it out will deepen the perception that some religions enjoy a "most favored nation" status at the White House.
Gates is claiming a contracts trump God. That's not how it works. And that is offensive to a large number of Christians. It is offensive to my parents and it is offensive to me. A contract does not trump your religious beliefs and how dare Robert Gates claim that it does. He owes America an apology. He won't give one but he owes one.
And few will bother to object. (Thank you to C.I. for objecting. It is noted and it is appreciated.) How dare Robert Gates attack Christianity and every words in his response was an all out insult and assault on Christianity.
Let me make it really clear for Gates who apparently doesn't know a thing about Christianity: He can vote in every election, he can drive the speed limit, he can pooper scoop after his dog, he can obey every state and federal law, every municipal code and that won't get him into heaven. In the Christian world, which is what the question he was asked was about, God trumps all. If Gates can't grasp that, it's on him. He owes American Christians an apology.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"