Posts Tagged ‘War

25
Apr
17

On ANZAC day: Some overlooked realities behind the ANZAC myth.

Today is Anzac Day, commemorating the date of the landing of Anzac forces at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.

While it is customary to remember the sacrifices made by a generation of young men in wartime, celebrating bravery and heroism, there is an aspect that is always ignored.

When we say ‘lest we forget’, we choose not to remember some very uncomfortable things.

What Does Glorifying The ANZAC Myth Say About Our Attitudes To Violent Men Today? by Nick Irving

http://junkee.com/what-does-glorifying-the-anzac-myth-say-about-our-attitudes-to-violent-men-today/76563

06
Apr
17

Biblical Response to the Crisis in the Middle East

Biblical Response to the Crisis in the Middle East

What Is a Biblical Response to the Mounting Crisis in the Middle East? // Dalton Thomas from FAI on Vimeo.

 

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him

 

02
Apr
17

A Blast From The Past: Chemical Weapon Use.

Before Trump, there was another evangelical favourite. Here is a tribute to part of his legacy.

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US criticised for use of phosphorous in Fallujah raids
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent November 9, 2005

A leading campaign group has demanded an urgent inquiry into a report that US troops indiscriminately used a controversial incendiary weapon during the battle for Fallujah. Photographic evidence gathered from the aftermath of the battle suggests that women and children were killed by horrific burns caused by the white phosphorus shells dropped by US forces….

The 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons bans the use of weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus against civilian – but not military – targets. The US did not sign the treaty and has continued to use white phosphorus and an updated version of napalm, called Mark 77 firebombs, which use kerosene rather than petrol. A senior US commander previously has confirmed that 510lb napalm bombs had been used in Iraq and said that “the generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.”

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2005/051109-phosphorus-fallujah.htm

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Conventional Terror…

Image after image of men, women and children so burnt and scarred that the only way you could tell the males apart from the females, and the children apart from the adults, was by the clothes they are wearing… the clothes which were eerily intact- like each corpse had been burnt to the bone, and then dressed up lovingly in their everyday attire- the polka dot nightgown with a lace collar… the baby girl in her cotton pajamas- little earrings dangling from little ears.

Some of them look like they died almost peacefully, in their sleep… others look like they suffered a great deal- skin burnt completely black and falling away from scorched bones.

The Pentagon spokesman recently said:

“It’s part of our conventional-weapons inventory and we use it like we use any other conventional weapon,”

This war has redefined ‘conventional’. It has taken atrocity to another level. Everything we learned before has become obsolete. ‘Conventional’ has become synonymous with horrifying. Conventional weapons are those that eat away the skin in a white blaze; conventional interrogation methods are like those practiced in Abu Ghraib and other occupation prisons…

Quite simply… conventional terror.

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2005_11_01_archive.html#113218124805731713#113218124805731713
scroll down to entry for Nov 17, 2005.

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US used white phosphorus in Iraq

 

 US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year’s offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

“It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants,” spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC – though not against civilians, he said.

The US had earlier said the substance – which can cause burning of the flesh – had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

 

Col Venable denied that white phosphorous constituted a banned chemical weapon.

Washington is not a signatory to an international treaty restricting the use of the substance against civilians.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4440664.stm

 

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The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it

George Monbiot
15 November 2005

 

White phosphorus is fat-soluble and burns spontaneously on contact with the air. According to globalsecurity.org: “The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen… If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone.” As it oxidises, it produces smoke composed of phosphorus pentoxide. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke “releases heat on contact with moisture and will burn mucous surfaces… Contact… can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage.”

Until last week, the US state department maintained that US forces used white phosphorus shells “very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes”. They were fired “to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters”. Confronted with the new evidence, on Thursday it changed its position. “We have learned that some of the information we were provided … is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, ie obscuring troop movements and, according to… Field Artillery magazine, ‘as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes…’ The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds.” The US government, in other words, appears to admit that white phosphorus was used in Falluja as a chemical weapon.

 

 

We were told that the war with Iraq was necessary for two reasons. Saddam Hussein possessed biological and chemical weapons and might one day use them against another nation. And the Iraqi people needed to be liberated from his oppressive regime, which had, among its other crimes, used chemical weapons to kill them. Tony Blair, Colin Powell, William Shawcross, David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, Ann Clwyd and many others referred, in making their case, to Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. They accused those who opposed the war of caring nothing for the welfare of the Iraqis.

Given that they care so much, why has none of these hawks spoken out against the use of unconventional weapons by coalition forces? Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who turned from peace campaigner to chief apologist for an illegal war, is, as far as I can discover, the only one of these armchair warriors to engage with the issue. In May this year, she wrote to the Guardian to assure us that reports that a “modern form of napalm” has been used by US forces “are completely without foundation. Coalition forces have not used napalm – either during operations in Falluja, or at any other time”. How did she know? The foreign office minister told her. Before the invasion, Clwyd travelled through Iraq to investigate Saddam’s crimes against his people. She told the Commons that what she found moved her to tears. After the invasion, she took the minister’s word at face value, when a 30-second search on the internet could have told her it was bunkum. It makes you wonder whether she really gave a damn about the people for whom she claimed to be campaigning.

Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/nov/15/usa.iraq

21
Mar
17

Truth is not the only casualty (the white “evangelical’s” choice)

Samuel Oakford, investigative reporter for the journalistic project Airwars, reports that the number of civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes has been escalating since Donald Trump took office two months ago.

DONALD TRUMP: The other thing is with the terrorists. You have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They—they care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.

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The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — “areas of active hostilities” in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible.

That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

“Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes,” said one U.S. official briefed on the matter.

The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a “near certainty” that no civilian would be harmed.

full article:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-admin-ups-drone-strikes-tolerates-more-civilian-deaths-n733336

Another site of interest:
https://airwars.org/civilian-casualty-claims/

 

09
Mar
17

Syrian children undergo trauma and distress.

Syrian children undergo trauma and distress.

 

The Impact of War on Children

28
Feb
17

Refugee Situation: Exposing Human Nature

morningnujeenhope

These three books show how the current Syrian refugee crisis exposes some the worst aspects of human nature.

Firstly through the HUMAN cause of the crisis: widespread violence against large populations in Syrian cities and towns, inflicted by both governments and extremist groups.

Secondly through the exploitation of those trying to flee to safety. Profiteers charging large fees to “help” people escape to safer locations – but so often sending those trusting in them to their deaths.

Thirdly through vindictive, violent responses to refugees on the road or at sea.

Fourthly the response of people and their governments who close their doors to people in desperate need.

Each of these books give personal stories of the abuses and suffering that lead countless individuals and families to take that last resort of leaving behind everything they’ve known, everything they’ve worked for and often everyone they know (friends and family) in the hope that they’ll find a better life elsewhere.

Hoping that when safety has been reached, they can work to bring their families to join them along a safer road than their own journey.

Despite the horrors, and despite the underlying inhumanity assaulting those seeking safety – those seekers have to draw on those rare human virtues that sometimes arise out of adversity.

In The Morning They Came for Us, Janine Di Giovanni gives a brutal, confronting and uncompromising look at the nature of the Syrian conflict where torture, rape and murder are no less weapons of war than bombs and guns.

This is the background to the millions of refugees who try to escape to safety, the refugees who many in the west (including so-called Christians) are intent to demonise.

 

 

Part of the story of A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming is perhaps better told by the author herself in this video.

 

And the story of Nujeen Mustafa:

 

07
Feb
17

Tolkien, Lewis, WWI

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte, is one of several books I’ve read over the past couple of years about WWI, its origins and its ongoing effects.

 

What it says about the spiritual conditions leading into (and through) the First World War seems disturbingly familiar. The specifics may have changed, but the general spirit of those conditions is unmistakably in the world again today; disguised to a degree – but with a flimsy mask.

“The alliance of church and state allowed the secular goals of government to get mixed up with the spiritual goals of Christianity.”
“Add to this the rise of the most potent political ideology of the hour: nationalism. The nation-state was replacing religion as a powerful source of meaning and identity in people’s lives…

…For devoted nationalists, their patriotic faith was equivalent to membership in an alternative church. For religious believers, nationalism offered a grandiose political outlet for their faith commitments. The result was the birth of Christian nationalism, the near sanctification of the modern state.”

That hybrid of nationalism and religion may have worked well at first for the recruitment of willing soldiers (“for God, King and country”) but it later had a detrimental impact on the faith of many. Christianity and God had been portrayed as being aligned with the cultural, political and philosophical systems of the age leading up to WWI, so:

Since Christianity was considered integral to Europe’s political and economic system, the perceived failure of that system was a spiritual failure as well.

…the Great War had defamed the values of the Old World, along with the religious doctrines that helped underwrite them.

Loconte writes about the despair and disbelief affecting the generation that lived through the War, and how it was reflected in post-war literary expression.

Postwar writers seemed to have no mental category for the nature of the conflict, no set of beliefs to understand it.

However he observes a difference in the work of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis who “rejected the sense of futility and agnosticism that infected so much [literary] output of their era”.

The dark horrors of their experience such as the scale of death and destruction informed their writings”

Central to their experience was an encounter with the presence of evil: the deep corruption of the human heart that makes it capable of hunting down and destroying millions of lives in a remorseless war of attrition.
A conviction emerged in both of these authors, however, that the problem of evil was not explainable only in natural terms. Rather, evil existed as a darkness in the soul of every human being and as a tangible spiritual force in the world.

But they also drew on aspects of “light”, things like the strong and often sacrificial relationships that sustained men through their time in the trenches. That close interdependent bond is the strength that, despite setbacks, ultimately leads the authors’ characters through the obstacles they face, looking ahead for the hope and promise of victory. But that hope wasn’t based on mere, vague wishfullness.

After returning to England from the front, Tolkien and Lewis might easily have joined the ranks of the rootless and disbelieving. Instead they became convinced there was only one truth, one singular event that could help the weary and the broken hearted find their way home: the Return of the King

xa-hobbit-a-wardrobe-and-a-great-war_jpg_pagespeed_ic_-ws7jyhfp8

…the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess 4)

[All quotations, apart from the last are from A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte




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