War Stinks to High Heaven

Following is a speech for Antikriegstag 2012 in Bremen, by Martin Warnecke, Pastor und Friedensbeauftragter der Bremischen Evangelischen Kirche.

Liebe Friedensfreundinnen und Friedensfreunde, ein Song des US-amerikanischen Sängers Neil Young heißt „Living with war“. „Ich lebe mit Krieg jeden Tag“, singt er, „ich lebe mit Krieg in meinem Herzen und in meinem Bewusstsein jeden Tag, ich lebe mit Krieg jetzt gerade.“ Er beschreibt, wie er im Fernsehen die Bilder sieht von den Kriegen im Irak und in Afghanistan. „Und auf dem Bildschirm töten wir und werden getötet.“ Er sieht die Raketen und Bomben, die dafür sorgen, dass „unsere Fahne auch über Nacht immer noch da ist.“ „Und wenn die Nacht kommt, dann bete ich für Frieden, dann versuche ich Frieden zu erinnern.“

Neil Young leidet darunter, dass sein Land Krieg führt. Er engagiert sich für den Frieden und erlebt gleichzeitig, dass der Krieg immer weiter geht. Er verweigert es, sich an den Krieg zu gewöhnen. Das ist ziemlich schwer, vor allem dann, wenn der Krieg weit weg ist. Die Gewöhnung lässt einen abstumpfen.

And the rest… War really does stink.

The Government of Iraq, Backed by the US, is Helping Iran Skirt Sanctions

So once more American policy in the Middle East allows us to shoot ourselves in the foot whilst wasting billions of tax dollars to do it. Well done, US Government.

Iraqi banking institutions have been helping Iran sidestep regulations imposed by the United States, said American officials. The country’s cozy relationship with Iran little more than eight months after American troops left Iraqi soil has caused concern among American leaders, and Obama placed a call to Iraq’s prime minister recently after learning that Iranian supply planes were passing through Iraqi airspace en route to Syria.

Who’s in charge in Washington?  No one intelligent, that’s for sure.

Iraq… Where They Kill You For Your Hair Style

This is the country that our young men and women have fought for???

Iraqi activists sounded the bell over the killing of dozens of teenagers by religious police for having “emo” haircuts.  Activists told the Cairo-based al-Akhbar daily that at least 90 Iraqi teenagers with “emo” appearances have been stoned to death by the Moral Police in the country in the past month. The violent crackdown against “emo” Iraqi teenagers came after the Iraqi interior ministry declared them as “devil worshippers.”

“The ‘Emo phenomenon’ or devil worshiping is being probed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate it as soon as possible since it’s detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger,” according to a statement by the interior ministry.  “They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationery that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities,” the statement added.   The statement said that Iraq’s Moral Police was granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter Baghdad schools and pinpoint students with Western appearances.

What barbarism.  What a country, filled with lunatics (or they’d put a stop to this).  Sure, Emo kids are creepers, but they shouldn’t be killed for it.

Iraqis Just Love to Kill Each Other

That’s the only possible explanation for the ongoing never ending violence there.

A wave of violence across Baghdad has killed at least 57 people and injured nearly 200 just days after American forces left the country.

The blasts come after a political crisis between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia factions erupted last weekend. The spat, which pits Iraq‘s Shia prime minister against the highest-ranking Sunni political leader, has raised fears that Iraq’s sectarian wounds will be reopened as Iraq begins navigating its own political future without US military support.

Iraqi officials said at least 12 blasts went off early on Thursday morning in nine neighbourhoods around the city. The explosions ranged from sticky bombs attached to cars to roadside bombs and vehicles packed with explosives.

And there you have it.  Iraq needs a tyrannical dictator to control its uncontrollable self-hatred.  Unfortunately for the normal Iraqi.

You Can’t Win a War When Greed is at its Heart

There was a great piece on Fresh Air today which featured an interview with the author of a new book about the Iraq War.

For years federal auditors have reported that millions of American dollars have been wasted or are unaccounted for in the effort to rebuild and stabilize Iraq.  State Department employee Peter Van Buren gives a ground-level account of that waste and corruption in his book, We Meant Well – How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds off the Iraqi People.

The interview is loads of informative.

Barack Obama: The Best Republican President Since Ronald Reagan

The Washington Post informs us that

President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.

So let’s take stock: he’s pro-war (we’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan) ; he’s pro big business (hello Exxon and BP) ; he’s anti-environmental protection (see the link above) and his presidency is an utter failure so far as the average American is concerned.  He really IS the best REPUBLICAN President since Reagan.

Thank God, I can’t be blamed.  I didn’t vote for him (or McCain).

Widespread Wartime Waste

Waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $60 billion and the tally could grow, according to a government study released Wednesday.

In its final report to Congress, the nonpartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting said lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and corruption resulted in losses of “at least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion” out of some $206 billion in total payments to contractors by the end of the current fiscal year.

“Much of the waste, fraud, and abuse revealed in Iraq and Afghanistan stems from trying to do too much, treating contractors as a free resource, and failing to adapt U.S. plans and U.S. agencies’ responsibilities to host-nation cultural, political, and economic settings,” the 240-page report read.

Your government being disgusting again and taking YOUR money (it’s yours, not theirs) and tossing it into the cesspool of war as wastefully as humanly possible.  Could anything be more absurd…  And your politicians doubtless got a kickback.

The Easy Way to Fix the World Economy

Truly.  And it’s just a two step procedure:

1- The US Government can report that 500,000 jobs have been added.

2- The news networks can report that the stock market is up 700 points.

Neither of these have to be true.  The government lies all the time, as do the news outlets, so telling these two lies will not be at all unusual.  The benefit of both is that they will, if repeated often enough, be believed and so hope will be restored and the economy will recover.

And given the simple truth that people love lies (just think of the angry atheists and their prattish lies or the people who attend the eMErgent church- they love lies too- especially the lie that God lives to make them happy) they won’t at all be bothered if the truth ever comes out.  Heck look at Iraq.  We’re there because we were told that Hussein had WMD.  We’ve known that was a lie for years and it hasn’t changed our behavior: we’re still wasting money there!  Look at Afghanistan: we went there to get Osama.  Well guess what, we got him and we’re still there!  Or look at the politicians Americans keep voting for!!!!  A lying lot the bunch of them but they retain their power.

Yes, Americans love lies.  Lying to fix the economy is just what’s called for…

Christians Keep Being Targeted in Iraq

Barbaric murderers.

Via Yahoo News: Kirkuk, Iraq – Fifteen people were wounded on Tuesday by a car bomb targeting a Syrian Catholic church in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, a police officer and a priest said. The bomb exploded at the Holy Family church in the north of Kirkuk at about 5:30 am (0230 GMT), wounding 15 people including church staff and people in neighbouring houses, the high-ranking officer in the Kirkuk police said. The officer, who spoke on condition of … Read More

via Fr Stephen’s Blog

How Iraq is the Spoiled Brat of Nations

How dare he?!  How dare a US Congressman suggest that Iraq repay the massive sum we’ve sunk into their cesspool?  After all, Bush/Cheney and the other deceptive ‘we must go to war to rescue the world from terrorism’ administration officials said Iraq would end up paying the cost of invasion with its massive oil reserves.  So why shouldn’t it?

Iraqi authorities asked a United States congressman to leave the country after he called for Baghdad to repay part of the money spent by Washington since the 2003 invasion, a spokesman said on Saturday.  Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher’s remarks at a news conference in Baghdad stood in stark contrast to those by senior American officials, who have pressed Iraqi officials to decide soon whether they want US troops to stay beyond a year-end withdrawal deadline.  “We called the US embassy yesterday and we told them to ask the congressmen to leave Iraq,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told AFP. “We don’t want them here. What they said was inappropriate.”  Mr. Dabbagh said that Mr. Rohrabacher and his congressional delegation had not raised the issue in a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, contradicting the US politician’s comments that he had spoken about potential repayments with the Iraqi leader.

Iraq is the spoiled brat of nations.  It’s been feeding off the teat of the American taxpayer so long now even mention of paying its own way sends it into a temper tantrum.  Americans, when oh when will you realize that nations around the world don’t love you, they just love your money.  From Iraq to Afghanistan to Israel to Mexico to Honduras to the rest – they only tolerate you because you give them stuff.  Cut off the stuff, and you’ll see what they really think of you.

Ron Paul may be a nut but he’s right about one thing, American foreign aid needs to end.  If the other nations of the world can’t manage on their own it’s their problem.  As long as they have our milk to suck out, they’ll never learn to take care of themselves.

Don’t You Dare

It seems the Administration is considering extending the US Military’s stay in Iraq.  They had best not.

The Obama administration is evaluating whether to keep troops in Iraq beyond the planned withdrawal date, a decision that would extend an unpopular war that the American public expected to end this year.  The Status of Forces Agreement signed by Iraq and the United States during the Bush administration says all U.S. troops must leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011. But the contract also leaves the door open to further negotiations that would delay withdrawal.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said members of the Iraqi government have indicated they are “very open to a continuing presence” by the United States.

Know what?  Too bad.  Let the Iraqis worry about their own problems.  We have more than enough here and we don’t need to be wasting our resources on Iraq.  If they can’t manage, too bad.  This idiotic war has drained us long enough and the lies of the Bush administration (that oil revenues would pay for it all) have already been shown to be just that, lies.

Get out.  Get out NOW.

A War Waged Because of an Uncorroborated Lie

The Constitution in Peril

I suppose that’s what happens when the White House wants to go to war- even an invented reason is sufficient. Seriously though, Bush should have just told us all the truth and admitted that he would have invaded if Saddam had been a kitten trainer and Baghdad were inhabited by children and old women.  I could at least respect him, and our government, for their honesty.  But because they chose to take the word of a liar and didn’t bother to check things out (they didn’t want to know the truth), many people in Iraq and among our own young men and women died.

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.  Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.  “Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right,” he said. “They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy.”

Oh you weren’t right, you liar.  But no one would have died if the administration hadn’t been so hot to kill.

We constantly have to wonder if our government doesn’t hire the absolute stupidest people in the country to make policy and implement it.

Afghanistan Isn’t Egypt

As events today make abundantly clear.

At least 21 people have been killed following an attack by Taliban fighters on the police headquarters in Kandahar city, in southern Afghanistan, sources say. The attack on Saturday, which took place over several hours and left at least 45 people injured, involved several suicide bombers armed with guns and grenades, provincial officials said. The attackers fired on the main police headquarters after occupying a wedding hall opposite. Initial reports suggest a car bomb exploded outside the police compound. Immediately afterwards, two suicide bombers tried to storm the headquarters but blew themselves up outside the perimeter wall, according to NATO officials in Kandahar.

The US had no influence over events in Egypt and their revolution was essentially bloodless; the US has been shaping the government in Afghanistan and Iraq and both are essentially uninhabitable death pits. Perhaps it’s time for the US to learn a simple lesson- let people determine their own destinies. We have, why can’t, and shouldn’t, they?  Why should American lives be on the line in foreign lands?

Christians Are Still Being Targeted, and Killed, in Iraq

So depressing, really.  The radicals doing this aren’t Muslims.  They aren’t even humans.  They are demons in human disguise pretending to be Muslims.

One week after an Islamic extremist group vowed to kill Christians in Iraq, a cluster of 10 bomb attacks rattled Baghdad on Thursday night and sent additional tremors of fear through the country’s already shaken Christian minority.  Two people were killed and 20 wounded, all of them Christians, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The bombs were placed near the homes of at least 14 Christian families around the city, and four bombs were defused before they could explode.  …   For some Christians here, the latest attacks represented the last straw.  “We will love Iraq forever, but we have to leave it immediately to survive,” said Noor Isam, 30. “I would ask the government, ‘Where is the promised security for Christians?’ ”

In my estimation it is the government of the United States which bears ultimate responsibility for the murders being committed in Iraq.  It has left Christians in a vulnerable, unprotected position.  Even Saddam Hussein insured that such madness and vile cruelty was impossible, so why have US forces not been able to accomplish the same level of security?  Government incompetence is allowing Christians to be slaughtered and driven from their homes.  The government has some explaining to do.

Because of Radical Islamic Extremists…

Christian churches across Iraq have been forced to cancel Christmas celebrations.

Iraqi Christians on Wednesday called off Christmas festivities across the country as al-Qaida insurgents threatened more attacks on a beleaguered community still terrified from a bloody siege at a Baghdad church two months earlier. A council representing Christian denominations across Iraq advised its followers to cancel public Christmas celebrations out of concern over new terror attacks and as a show of mourning for the victims of the church siege and other violence. Church officials in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, the southern city of Basra and in the capital confirmed they will not put up Christmas decorations or hold evening Mass and have urged worshippers to refrain from decorating their homes.

Such is life for Christians in Iraq. What’s that I hear? The voices of Muslim clerics all around the world raising their voices in solidarity with Christians against extremists? Oh no my bad. No such voice is to be heard…  Is that because there are no moderate Muslims or is it because they are afraid of their own co-religionists so that they are cowered into silence?  I prefer to imagine that it must be the latter.  I prefer that option anyway.

NPR’s In Depth Story of Iraq’s Christians and their Persecution

Chaldean Christians

It aired this evening on All Things Considered and is very much worth noting.  What’s happening to the Christians of Iraq would be causing real outrage all around the world, if it were happening to any other faith group.  If Jews or Muslims in particular were being hunted and killed, the world would express just outrage.  So why not now?  Why the conspiracy of silence and the lack of US Government reaction?

Christians around Baghdad have been getting threats by text messages and envelopes with bullets inside. Officials in France and Germany have offered asylum to a limited number of Iraqi Christians. But diplomats in Iraq say that is a dangerous game. They say singling out Christians only makes them more of a target. What’s more, they say, in a country where hundreds of people still die every month, it’s not as if Christians are the only victims. Bashar Warda is a Chaldean Catholic archbishop. He says Christians have been part of this country since the 2nd century. But, unlike other Christian leaders, he can’t in good conscience encourage Christians to stay. “Practically, I cannot guarantee anything to any family. I would ask them if they have the patience to stay, if they could travel elsewhere, just for the meantime. That’s all,” he says.

Christians aren’t the only ones dying, that’s true. But they are being singled out only because they are not Muslims. And that’s the tragic truth.

It’s time for the US Government to do something about it. I say we need to open America to Iraqi Christian immigrants. Without reservation or restriction.

Iraq’s Christians Are Under Fire, From Within the Iraqi Government

A Christian lawmaker called on Iraq’s government Tuesday to better protect its dwindling Christian community, lambasting the nations that have offered asylum to the minority as meddling in Iraq’s problems.  The comments by lawmaker Younadem Kana, from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, come after a spate of violent attacks on Iraqi Christians — including a Catholic church attack last month that killed 68 people.  Earlier this week, two Christian brothers in Kana’s hometown were fatally shot by unknown gunmen who raided their auto mechanic shop.  Officials in France and Germany have offered asylum to Iraq’s Christians, an estimated 1 million of whom have already left their homeland since 2003.

I find Kana’s remarks unspeakably idiotic.  He is basically urging Christians to stay and be killed whilst waiting for the inept government to do something to protect them (funny, isn’t it, that Saddam Hussein did a better job of that than the US Government is).  And at the same time he attacks western States offering safety.  What a prat.  Maybe he’d feel differently if he didn’t have bodyguards.

Our Iraqi Brothers and Sisters…

A church in Baghdad.

A Baghdad Church

Show themselves to be true and faithful disciples of the Crucified Nazarene in a profoundly devoted way when they meet in their blood splattered Church in spite of the danger.

The walls were still splattered with blood and pieces of flesh as Iraqi Christians celebrated Mass on Sunday in the church that just a week before had been the scene of a horrific bloodbath in which dozens died. Parishioners holding candles and wearing black gathered in Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation church, which had been stripped bare of pews and still bore bullet holes along its walls, while overhead the chandeliers and ceilings were stained with blood.

Many Christians in America stayed home today because ‘they forgot to set their clock back’. I think the faithfulness of Iraq’s persecuted Christians is an indictment of American Christianity’s apathy.  Threat of violence doesn’t keep Iraqi Christians home.  Threat of missing their fantasy football league draft does keep American Christians home…  And that’s precisely why Christianity is growing in every part of the globe except Europe and North America.

US Taxpayers are Subsidizing Iraq’s Massive Budget Surplus

George is Keeping an Eye On You!

Thanks Congress.  We appreciate you guys and gals so very, very, much.  We thank you for sending our tax dollars to Iraq and making it possible for them to run the sort of surpluses we haven’t seen since Bill Clinton left office.

Even as the United States has been borrowing trillions to pursue its wars in the Middle East, the government of Iraq has posted a tidy surplus, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report makes a direct link between U.S. government spending — including $642 billion on U.S. military operations there and $24 billion for training and equipping the Iraqi security forces — and Iraq’s cumulative surplus of $52.1 billion through the end of 2009. For comparison purposes, Iraq’s annual gross domestic product is $65.8 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt has soared from $6.4 trillion to $13.4 trillion since former president George W. Bush invaded Iraq and decided to borrow the money for wars and slash taxes.

Thanks Congress. Really. I can’t use the words I’m thinking to express my feelings for you right now.

Total Depravity: The Dregs of American Culture Reach Iraq

Top of Combat Outpost Texas, in Sadr City, Bag...

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr

Others might find this report a sign of progress, but I find it just simply saddening.

The nude women on the DVD cover in a Baghdad street stall say it all: Change, whether you like it or not, is afoot in Iraq. Hundreds of porn DVDs are stacked elbow-deep on a wooden table in Jassim Hanoun’s ramshackle stall on a downtown sidewalk. His other tables have Hollywood blockbusters, like “King Kong.” But not surprisingly, it’s the sex that sells best. “I’ve got everything,” Hanoun says of his sex selection, flashing the kind of impish grin only a 22-year-old in tight jeans and slicked-back hair can pull off with any real conviction. “What do you want? I’ve got foreign films, Arab, Iraqi, Indian, celebrities — whatever you like.” The porn, in an odd way, has told the story of Iraq’s security and political situation since Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003. It emerged in the anything-goes atmosphere that erupted in the vacuum immediately following the U.S. invasion — then went back into hiding amid the anarchy when armed militias roamed the capital through 2008, targeting those they saw as immoral. Its reemergence since then reflects how security has improved but also how the fragile government is busy with more pressing issues than spicy videos.

The last sentence is telling: the government has more important issues than morality. But what issue is more important for a decent society than the question of morality? When morals go, nothing else stable remains. When morality is lost, ethics are undermined. When ethics are undermined, a society turns from a community to a rabble of individuals striving to satisfy their basest needs at the expense of all.

Porn may be seen in some quarters as an innocent past-time but it is an insidious cancer killing culture.