Tag: U.S. military
Religious Extremism Inside the State, a Poison We Can Eliminate With Good Ideas, Behaviors and Policies
Christian extremism in the U.S. Military, Muslim extremism in the new Egyptian Parliament, the worst kind of racism and fantasies of ethnic cleansing reaching the most official governmental positions of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. That is just the news from one week, and it all points to the same thing: religion is poison for the State and the State is poison for religion. Want to kill a religion? Give it power in the State. Want to save a religion from those men who would abuse it for their own violent fantasies? Deprive religion of all state power, and the maniacs lose interest in it.
The State is all about power, and we have learned from a long and painful human history that no one should be trusted with too much power. That is why religion should remain powerless, so that it can function as a place …
He was racing in a Humvee with four other soldiers, having arrived there just days before, 19 years old. The day he got there his best friend was shot in the head, boom, gone in an instant. Now he was racing along this road when a missile directly hit the cab of the vehicle. One guy’s legs were gone and another was killed right away, and the missile flew right by his head, just missing him. He seemed uninjured, but he was, and now he is back in Boston.
It was a sunny August afternoon in Boston as I leaped into a cab. I had just finished attending a conference of great religious educators at Boston University, and I was feeling very good about my presentation. I thought it was a home run because I really connected with the message and the people.
The 50-something Irish cab driver, whose presence …
Secretary Clinton’s apology for the Afghan civilian casualties was profuse and heartfelt, which is good. And her commitment to additional measures of addressing the conflict beyond the military one is welcome. But the standard alternatives, as usual, are about economic development and are rather long-term. There are other interventions afoot, however, that could have a more dramatic effect if the United States pursued them. This may have to challenge a tendency in the United States and Israel to always find a bad guy, even as you are engaging in nonviolent alternatives. In this case the ‘bad guys’ are the Taliban, who have a horrible human rights record. But evidence from the ground from our colleagues in the field, which I cannot share at this point, suggests that there are significant numbers of Taliban, young and old, who are trying to pull away from the extremist leadership who have no regrets …
An important debate is raging on the future of the Western intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Congressman Michael Honda has two important articles, here, and here. CRDC expert and ICAR student Neamat Nojumi, a former mujahaddin, has an important piece here.
Central to these analyses is that military force alone will never solve the Afghanistan conflicts, nor will an intervention work that does not directly address the role that Pakistan has played in perpetuating this conflict for decades. Another more difficult question is the Taliban, how to compete with them more effectively, how to defeat them, and whether to engage any of them.
All of the recommendations seem excellent. I also recommend reading The Kite Runner which has profoundly affected my life and my appreciation for what Afghanistan has gone through and who or what is responsible. I never cease to be amazed at how effectively …