Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Whose Killing Whom?: Rejoinding Gilliam

Mssr. Gilliam wrote:

"Who's life and liberty are we protecting? The Iraqiis who we are taking over and killing? That's
an interesting perspective."

The answer to his question is found in today's NYT:

1. We aren't taking over anything. These folks are creating their own constitution and government.
2. We aren't killing Iraqi civilians. Most of the killing going on is that of those who have chosen to be terrorists, killing their own countrymen and innocent civilians, in order to make a power grab.

The U.S. is abdicating power. Terrorists seek for it. Interesting Perspective indeed.


Blogger jeff g said...

Again I ask: who's life and liberty are we protecting?

Life: We certainly aren't protecting our own lives, for Iraq never attacked us, nor was there any immediate threat that they were going to do so. Back in the original context, this is the way the justification was intended, namely that war is okay to protect your own lives and those of your family when somebody else invades. This did not happen.

Now I assume that the argument will shift to our protecting the lives of the Iraqis. This is fine, so long as we recognize that this is not what the scriptures you were trying to cite meant. This is your opinion, not that of any prophet.

Of course this line of defense only raises the question are more or less Iraqi's dying because of due to our actions? It doesn't matter whether we actually shoot them or not. What matters is that our actions have consequences. Now of course more Iraqis have been dying because of our actions.

Another question which must be asked is Did they ever ask for our help? No, they didn't on any significant scale. Any body can feel justified if "freeing" other from governments which we happen to not agree with. Such a sentiment is clearly not a justification for war in the scriptures. The closest thing we can find is the Ammonites asking the Nephites for protection after they has taken initiative themselves to flee from thier government. This is more like the US asking for France's help in the revolutionary war than our "helping" Iraq.

We haven't protected much of anybody life. We have wasted the lives of our soldiers and we have caused (sometimes indirectly, sometimes not) the death of many more Iraqis. Who's life is being protected here? None that I can see.

Liberty: Nor are we protecting the liberty of any americans by our unprovoked attack on Iraq. The only thing close to any liberty which was ever in danger was that caused by terrorists, not Saddam Hussien. What did we do? We took our troop off of the task of searching for the real bad guys (a war which I fully support) and instead diverted all attention and resources to a totally uninvolved nation.

What about the liberty of the Iraqi people? Again, I must point out that the scriptures do not back up such a position either. Never do the Nephites ever feel justified in invading the Lamanites for any reason other than in their own defense. Never to "preempt" anything or to "liberate" the Lamanites. Again, if this defense is used it is your and not the prophets.

The reasons for why this excuse as applied to the Iraqi people is similar to the "life" defense. They never asked for our help. They never took initiative. It should also be pointed out that if this is the real reason then there are other countries you deny their citizens far more liberties than Saddam did. Why not attack those instead? Nor is it very clear that the Iraqi sense of "rights and liberties" is at all similar to ours.

Now I don't want to sound too pessimistic, for I do believe that it is better for them to be governed by some form of democracy than the dictatorship which they did have. I question, however, whether it was right for us to take that initiative. I question who gave us the authority to police the governments of other countries. I question the false excuses which were created to justify the attack in our minds. I question the presidents refusal to acknowledge any form of error on his part or demonstrate any sense of humility.

You say that we haven't taken over their government. C'mon. Its true that they might actually form their own government eventually, but this new government, make no mistake, will be and has been watched over and influenced principally by us, the United States. We are ensuring that this constitution and government which these people are supposedly "creating by themselves" is in accordance with our demands, desires and expectations. To say that we haven't taken over anything is a gross exaggeration.

Captain Moroni would be appalled by our actions. Again, interesting perspective.

2:20 PM  
Blogger W. Lyle Stamps said...


Excellent points. Kurds don't consider themselves Iraqi's, so they obviously don't count. And since American lives and liberty aren't at stake...we should abdicate and let our brothers and sisters everywhere else in the world rot. Yes, interesting; albeit not in deed.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Patrick Blaine Stamps said...

Let me lead this away for a moment and ask a question:

Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ not to penetrate every continent, visit every clime, sweep every country, and sound in every ear?

Granted that currently, and in the near future, there may be no view of the Restored or even apostate/pagan (Catholic or Protestant, not necessarily in order of description) Christianity being taught to almost any Semites, but the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done at some point in the future of our world no matter what any of us may believe or even begin to consider.

In places like Iraq, without some form of democracy, there would never be any way for God to accomplish his work given nothing was done in preparation (Look at the resistance and bloodshed it faced, and that in the United States!), unless we expect him to enforce his knowledge and principles upon them like the founder of Islam did in its infancy.

Some of the people of Iraq, no matter how mind-boggling and impossible it may seem at this point, will 'Recite!' from the Holy Scriptures, and not from the Holy Qur'an, but honor it as part of their history.

Whether anyone sees Iraq's liberation as a mistake or not, it will in the future be seen as having been a necessity.

8:44 PM  
Blogger jeff g said...


I guess I should let up on you, for at least you don't consider this war to be a justified holy war like Patrick does.

8:57 AM  
Blogger W. Lyle Stamps said...

Actually Jeffrey, while I'm not 100% in agreement, I do see the institution of democracy and religious toleration as a necessary side benefit. I simply choose not to speculate whether this is God's "direct" hand or not.

9:44 AM  
Blogger jeff g said...

That part that you don't endorse is what I meant. I have no doubt that you view the spread of democracy through war justifiable and also benefitial to the church's mission. However, to say that God couldn't spread the church in some way that didn't involve so much death and lies is patently absurd.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Patrick Blaine Stamps said...

Sure, Jeff, and you probably believe in creation ex nihilo. Quit thinking like an evangelist!

Thank you for putting words in my mouth, also. Holy War? I never said or intimated that. The intended purpose was to liberate the Iraqi people and dipose a cruel dictator. To agree avec mon frere, it will simply bear fruit.

However, I'm not going to say that President Bush was not inspired to make the move. Do we believe in modern revelation or not? Did not President Hinckley ask us to pray for the leaders of our country to make the right decisions regarding this matter?

Has God ever used a world power in the past to accomplish his purposes? Herein, God's people may not have understood or even realized it immediately.

Patience, Danielson.

10:57 PM  
Blogger W. Lyle Stamps said...


Great story today about _ALL_ the people who _DID NOT_ invite the U.S. to Iraq.

Guess what? They amount to less than 5-10% of the entire population; i.e. 90% or so was happy to get rid of Saddam and happy that we were the instruments of their liberation.

8:09 AM  
Blogger jeff g said...

Wow! Patrick is a feisty one.

1) You didn't say the phrase "Holy War" because that would make your position sound as politically incorrect as it really is. Your position is that the war is justified, maybe even good, if only because of its religious implications. Isn't that the definition of a holy war?

2) "Did not President Hinckley ask us to pray for the leaders of our country to make the right decisions regarding this matter?" What does that prove about anything at all? John over at the Iron Rod has shown that Hinckley's statements should NOT be construed as any kind of pro-war support:

I'm also curious as to where these revelations concerning the war are at, were received or were ever even claimed. I find no such record of any such revelation.

3) If we are going to be totally honest, the reason why we went to war was probably not to spread the gospel or to "liberate" the Iraqis. Instead, it was to do two things originally: a) find those weapons of mass destruction and b) get back at Iraq for 9-11, both excuses turn out to be totally and completely wrong. The "liberation" excuse wasn't invented until much later to justify, rather than admit, a previous mistake.


I didn't really plan on responding to your comment, but while I'm at it I might as well. I have no doubt that they were happy when it happened, but that should not be confused with any kind of previous invitation, for there clearly was none. These are two very different things which people only confuse when doing so serves the purpose they want it to. Your statistics and bringing in the Kurds is totally ad hoc finagling. Why can't we just admit that our original reasons for going in were totally wrong, and the reason we now use would never have been good enough for anybody to support that original decision at the time. Clearly we should be able to agree with this.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Patrick Blaine Stamps said...


While we may not be accustomed to the idea of anyone outside of the Church receiving personal revelation per se, beyond receiving a witness of the Gospel, we can liken our terms to President Bush in that he has the "keys" of the presidency of the country, and can therefore receive inspiration, which is probably a better term, for the country.

What I wrote does not mean that I said that President Hinckley advocated or approved of the war; it simply means that we were asked to pray that the right decision would be made. Whether or not we agree with President Bush's decision makes no difference. I believe that the prayers of the righteous "avail much".

Again, Holy War was not the purpose. The banner of "war" was not raised in the name of the Lord, though he certainly slays the wicked to bring about his purposes. As always, the eye is in the beholder.

I am curious, though. If the liberation of Iraq was something that was later tacked on to cover up a mistake, why was it dubbed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at execution?

I'll try to forget that you even tried to suggest that 9/11 was a reason.

I will apologize that I am not entirely politically correct, though, as I am not educated as such. Like Michael Savage, I agreed with Pat Robertson's comments (Lord, forgive me) about Hugo Valdez, even though he publically rescinded.

11:57 AM  
Blogger jeff g said...

You honestly don't think that 9-11 had any motivating force whatsoever? C'mon. Even if it wasn't really a reaons for the attack, it was certainly a wide spread belief that there was probably some sort of connection between 9-11 and Iraq and Bush made no attempt whatsoever to correct such beliefs. That's why you will still find so many idiots today who are still unaware that Iraq had nothing to do with it. Of course then again, there are the even bigger idiots who claim that even if Iraq wasn't responsible, it was "their kind" who did it, so Iraq needs a good bombing anyways. As ridiculous as this sounds its still all too popular. (Don't worry, I'm not throwing you in with this club.) My point is that 9-11 was a HUGE motivating force, if not for the presidency (I would find that hard to believe) then for the American public.

I also find it interesting that you claim that Bush is somehow receiving revelation through the proper channels to start a war, a war which is at least partially justified because of the religious benefits we get from it, and yet you still refuse to consider it a "Holy War." What "keys" did the president ever receive? Is this a theocracy or what? If the reason why we went to war has anything to do with inspiration of any kind then I want absolutely nothing to do with the source of that inspiration.

Question: When did God ever inspire people to launch a first strike? Other than the disturbing examples found in the Old Testament, examples which we would tolerate no country emulating, I can think of none. The BoM certain doesn't allow for that.

Its when we start saying that the unprovoked invasion was "inspired" or that it serves "God's purpose" that we place ourselves squarely in the same position as those who committed 9-11. It makes us a nation of terrorists. Are you sure you still want to pull the religion card?

1:48 PM  
Blogger Patrick Blaine Stamps said...

As for the Holy War, I was only following your lead and going off of the definition, with which I will maintain my position.

As for my "claiming" of President Bush having keys and receiving revelation, I was only trying to get you to open yourself up to possibilities. If he were going through "proper channels" then he would have asked President Hinckley to petition the Lord for guidance, but given the fact that he is not of our faith and probably holds the belief of most protestants that we are part of the occult, this standard cannot be applied nor expected. But oh how I wish that that would have been his course! Then we most likely wouldn't be having this conversation.

Overall, it seems that to rebut my ideas, you are ignoring key words and scratching the turntable. I am simply trying to stimulate thought, and you're just not following.

As to pulling the religion card, and your gross exaggeration and comparison of liberating a country where a majority (yes, a majority) of the people approved and welcomed us, to "killing the infidel", I have to tell you that you're way out of line. Enough said.

God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, and how he intends to accomplish his plans. If it turns out that I am wrong about this, I will certainly tell you that my judgement was off and pull the wood chip from my own eye, supposing it was only a little spec of sawdust. Will that be in this stage of our existence? Our God is on his own timetable, which is not ours, and his ways are certainly not our ways.

Why don't we all just stay tuned and watch the Lord of Hosts do his work. Then we will be able to judge whether it be of God or some other way.

11:41 PM  

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