Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Christian ministerial advice on killin' Afghans and the Kandahar massacre

Several days ago, I commented in a couple of different posts about post the Southern Baptist minister Rev. Wade Burleson, made at his self-named blog, one praising some Christian Right minister for scolding Obama and The Call's National Prayer Breakfast over not opposing abortion rights. The other was a rant about how outraged he was at Obama's apology for Qur'an burnings in Afghanistan. And in that latter one, he had some suggestions for counterinsurgency policy in Afghanistan (The Absolute Absurdity of Apologizing for Burning the Koran 02/27/2012). I'm going to quote it at some length here, because it came to mind as I thought about the Kandahar massacre at least one American soldier carried out this past weekend. The emphases are his. (Update 10/29/2012: The Rev. Burleson has changed the name and graphics on his blog to Istoria Ministries Blog; he seems to have kept many of the posts from his previous blog but not the one quoted here. As of this update, the post is cached here.)

When dealing with religious fanatics who believe murder is an appropriate response for the burning of their religious material--ONE SHOULD NEVER APOLOGIZE.

The President should order the military to do what United States General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing did in the Philippines in 1911 when his troops were faced with terrorism from radical Muslims. Documentation is scarce, and Snopes is unsure whether Pershing simply threatened a particular course of action, or actually did what he threatened. Either way, Pershing definitely NEVER APOLOGIZED for anything. Faced with increasing terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists, Pershing threatened the Mullahs by saying, "(If you don't stop) we will splatter your houses and your families with pig's blood. If you attack us and are killed, we will bury you in pig-skins." Pershing knew that radical Muslims believe no person enters heaven who dies with pigs' blood on him or is buried among pig carcasses, and he used their beliefs against them.

Some contemporary accounts suggested that Pershing followed through with his threat after his forces captured some radicals who attacked and killed Americans in the Philippines. Pershing is said to have tied the captured terrorists to wooden posts, slaughtered some pigs, and then ordered his men to pour the pigs' blood over the radical Muslims. The terrorists were then shot. All of them were executed. All but one. One terrorist was tied to the stake but was intentionally NOT shot. The survivor watched as Pershing's men untied the dead, blood-covered bodies of his comarades. The soldiers then dumped the dead terrorists in fresh graves. The bodies were covered with pigs' carcasses and buried. Pershing ordered his men to cut the survivor loose. The U.S. commander told the surviving terrorist to go back to his superiors and report to them everything that he had seen. The Muslims became terrified of Pershing as a result. He was deemed a hard and unapologetic man who met force with vicious force. Consequently, there was peace in the Philippines for the next fifty years. The Mullahs even made Pershing an Honorary Chieftan and never again gave him trouble during his military career.

Fast forward one hundred years. Our military is now facing the same problems in Afghanistan that Pershing faced in the Philippines. Unfortunately, our President is apologizing for our military burning the Koran. That is absolutely absurd. I wonder what Obama would say if the U.S. commander in Afghanistan did what Pershing did in 1911? Sound too tough? Well, the U.S. government should be tough. The U.S. military should be even tougher. Our government bears a sword of vengeance, and it should be used. Churches are in the business of redemption, forgiveness and love. The United States government is in the business of justice. Any government that apologizes to murderers for burning their holy book has lost its moral bearings. You don't apologize when at war. If you have to apologize, you shouldn't be at war. The United States is at war. NO MORE APOLOGIES. The more you apologize, the weaker you look. The weaker you are perceived, the more your people are murdered.
Presumably the Rev. Burleson is outraged at President Obama for expressing regret over the Kandahar massacre, because, as he says, when dealing with those barbaric Muslim fanatics "ONE SHOULD NEVER APOLOGIZE".

I posted the following comment Tuesday at Rev. Burleson's sanguinary post. He has comment moderation, so I'm curious to see if he will let it post there:

It seems that at least one American soldier in Kandahar this past weekend decided to deliver the kind of terror you recommended in this post. From what we know so far, it looks like he decided he wanted to go kill him some of them barbaric Muslim Afghans. So he just went to a few houses and killt him some men, killt him some wimmin, and killt him some of them thar terrorist children. I haven't seen a report on whether any of those precious unborn babies were killed in his nighttime rampage.

So your prayers were answered, Rev. Burleson. Although it's very obvious to me that in this case it wasn't Jesus that answered them.

I would be curious to know if the shooter read your pastoral advice in this post before he decided to go out and show them thar Muslim Afghan[s] how morally superior our Christian American way of doing things is. (I'll be very surprised if you allow this comment to post.)
I'll be even more surprised if he has anything but weasel words to say about what responsibility good Christian white folks screaming for more blood might have on some brain-damaged soldier who gets liquored up and decides to go kill people just for the hell of it.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of warmongering Christian ministers, I'm sick of the Pentagon's lying propaganda about its wars, I'm sick of them dealing with massacres by American soldiers with a slap on the wrist, I'm sick of the gutless and irresponsible politicians in both parties who are unwilling to deal straightforwardly with what is obviously a far bigger problem in the killing fields of Afghanistan.

By the way, I didn't even bother to check whether the pastor lusting for more Muslim blood was even remotely accurate in his account of the incidents he claims happened in the Philippine War. It reads like something cracker militarists would e-mail around to each other. There's no doubt that mass killings of civilians were part of what the American colonial forces there did. The good Reverend obviously didn't care either: his point was about killin' more of them thar Afghan Muslims. Our gubment "bears a sword of vengeance, and it should be used," Rev. Burleson said. Obviously the American mass murderer(s) in Kandahar agreed.

Some press accounts related to the killings that the Rev. Burleson hoped to see the American "sword of vengeance" inflict:

Jon Stephenson, Insurgents attack Afghan delegation near massacre site McClatchy Newspapers 03/13/2012

Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians in unprovoked attack McClatchy Newspapers 03/13/2012

Jim Lobe, More Bad News on the Afghan Front Inter Press Service 03/12/2012

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A.J. said...

To be fair, what you say the pastor wrote (your link to it is broken) and the conclusions you draw from it are absurd. This post is an insult to anyone with a modicum of intelligence.

Bruce Miller said...

The link is broken because he's taken the post down as of now. Apparently he wasn't so proud of seeing in the news of the Kandahar massacre what the kind of bloodthirstiness he advocated looked like when put into practice.

A Reader said...

Mr. Miller,

"Apparantly he wasn't so proud of seeing in the news of the Kandahar massacre what the kind of bloodthirstiness he advocated looked like when put into practice."

You ought to be ashamed. Not only was the killing of women and children NOT advocated, the statement you make above impugns your integrity.