The Sleazy German Past of Qur’an Hating Pastor Terry Jones

Sep 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

This is the type of rage Jones' is stirring up against Americans

The Fanatical and Illegal Past of Qur’an Hating Pastor Terry Jones

The Pastor of the church in Florida who is planning to burn the Quran has a sleazy past in Germany involving both allegations of financial wrong-doing and being convicted for using a false PhD.

A German news paper, Zeit Online, is reporting that the Pastor at the center of the proposed Quran burning in Florida this September 11, was convicted in Germany for holding a false PhD.

Stephen Baar, deputy chairman of the Christian Congregation of Cologne, which was co-founded with Pastor Jones, also says Jones was “prone to violence and fanaticism” and Baar remembers Jones as a pastor who had “not the biblical standards and values” worn on the outside, but rather “self as personality.”

In the German city of Cologne, the reason for Jones’ break with Baar were related to financial irregularities in the community of faith, with which Jones was associated. Furthermore, the German authorities had become aware of Jones and in 2002 he was convicted of the Cologne District Court of claiming a wrong doctorate and fined 3000 €.

Baar issued this statement to Welt Online:

“We distance ourselves from this action and do not want to be associated with it. We are very disturbed by [the plan]. Jones himself embodies the spirit he condemns – this propensity to violence, this fanaticism – within himself.” This is strong language coming from a church that Jones founded in Cologne in the 1980s after receiving a “sign from God.” ”

According to, “Members recall him as a charismatic but extremely authoritarian personality who “brainwashed” his parishioners, urged them to beat their children if they got out of line, and established strict hierarchies. To this day, some members of his flock are supposedly still in psychiatric care. He may also have exploited them financially.”

This is the man the far Right are defending. This is their base, their audience, and the sort of people who are clearly easily seduced by the regular shots of GOP inspired crazy into doing horrific things.

Joining the mounting numbers of those who are condemning Pastor Jones’ plans to burn the holy Quran (including the Catholic Church), Stephan Baar is doing what the Republicans in our own county refuse to do by distancing themselves from Pastor Jones, saying they want nothing to do with his behavior and condemning Jones’ plan to burn the Quran.

Americans await a leader of the Republican Party to join the growing voices of condemnation for Jones’ book burning plan.

Update at 5:42PM: Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour and John Boehner have come out today with the same message, saying that burning the Quran is bad. So there are three tepid voices of sanity. However, I’d like to point out that merely saying it’s bad is not the same as owning up to weeks of the leaders of the Right deliberately ginning up hate regarding Park 51 in order to create a false enemy in order to win this fall nor is it the same as strong condemnation or a reminder of religious tolerance. They are also using their obviously forced statements (get ahead of the violence so they can’t be blamed) in order to falsely equate the Park 51 building with Pastor Jones burning the Quran. If Republicans don’t know the difference between these two things, perhaps they shouldn’t be anywhere near political office.

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The Burning of the Quran Will Be Another Dark 9/11 Moment

Sep 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Fear mongering leads to endangering US and Troops

Certainly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison never envisioned such a thing. Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur’an. You can be sure he read it.

Pastor Terry Jones probably has not, and he wants to burn them. Lots of them.

By now, most everybody in the World who has access to television, radio, or who does not live in a cave, knows that there will be a burning of Qur’ans held in the United States.

On September 11, 2010, which happens to be the ninth anniversary of the attack on the WTC in 2001, the ironically-named Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, will burn copies of the Muslim holy book.

Consider it a Bible burning, for it is no different in any way than if some group had decided to throw a bunch of Bibles into a fire.

All Book Burnings are the Same

Remember, if you will, the Nazi book-burnings of the 30s, or other burnings of books held before or since.

And ask yourself, is this America?

The church claims that the burning is “neither an act of love nor of hate” toward individual Muslims and that “We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

If someone told this to Christians, would they buy it? No, and you shouldn’t either. They almost admit it, in fact, saying that they’re doing it “to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.”

So they don’t hate individual Muslims, but they hate their religion. So the message is: We don’t hate you, but we hate your religion and we’re going to burn you sacred book.

I’m a little fuzzy on how that’s meant to placate Muslims both here and abroad. I’m a little fuzzy too on how that message would placate members of the Dove World Outreach Center if an Islamic group held a similar Bible burning.

Can you imagine the outrage then?

The situation is so potentially explosive that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has condemned it, reports CNN.  The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan called it, “disrespectful, intolerant and divisive.” According to a report by MSNBC, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is said to have called the planned burning “Idiotic and dangerous,” and CNN has also reported that General David Petraeus, “The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning that the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.”

If US soldiers abroad must be braced for violence, the church itself seems to understand that their protestations of innocence will not be believed. Another report on CNN reveals that “Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones has accepted the support of Right Wing Extreme, which he said offered to come to the church with between 500 and 2,000 men on September 11. He described the organization as an armed civilian militia group.”

It sounds like they’re planning not on a few demonstrators, but on a war. You would think the police could handle anything that comes up, but I suppose it’s more fun to shoot a few angry Muslims yourself should push come to shove. And they get to play with their guns.

“There is a need for this protection. It is absolutely necessary in light of the death and terror threats we have received,” Jones said in an e-mail to CNN.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Shades of Gomer Pyle: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! And do you wonder why you’ve received death and terror threats, Pastor Jones?

And while you are being protected by the police and your private army, have you given any thought to the life and safety of other Americans, including the 120,000 U.S. and NATO troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan? Fighting to protect the freedoms of people like you so you can get them killed?

Pastor Jones had something to say to Petraeus. On CNN’s “AC360.” he said, “The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them.”

Nobody can deny that Pastor Jones can demonstrate as much hate and intolerance as he would like by exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, but is this the way a civil society shows its disapproval, through acts of violence?

Reject what you claim is a message of hate by showing hate?

Back in 2009, Aljazeera reported that “Afghan police have fired into the air to break up a protest in Kabul by thousands of people who are condemning an alleged desecration of a copy of the Quran by foreign soldiers.”

You can easily imagine that if the alleged burning of one Qur’an led to violence what the burning of perhaps dozens or hundreds of Qur’an’s will do.

Aljazeera reported that “Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was Barack Obama, the US president.”

“Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organised mainly by university students.

CNN reports that the founder of the hate posse which will protect the haters who are protesting hate, Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson, said: “We fully support Dove World Outreach Center and its efforts to put an end to the notion that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is a violent cult with the goal of world domination.”

And nothing says Islam is a violent religion like a well-armed, conservative Christian rabble.

And as far as world domination goes, Christianity is still working towards that, with missionaries active on every corner of the earth’s surface. All Abrahamic monotheisms, incidentally, claim identical goals, that eventually “God” will destroy everyone who isn’t a believer and thus ensure world domination for its chosen religion. But then conservative Christians have never hesitated to dig deep into the well of hypocrisy when making their arguments.

To do them justice some Evangelicals have protested the burnings and CNN reports that “Religious leaders in Gainesville have planned an event billed as a “Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope” on September 10, in response to the church’s proposal.”

The New York Times reported today that dozens of events are planned in Gainesville, FL: “On Saturday, hundreds of local residents and visitors are expected to rally against Mr. Jones, an evangelical pastor, with signs containing messages like “Peace among religions leads to peace among nations.”

One pastor, Larry Reimer, points out that Pastor Jones only “represents only 30 people in this town.” But if the rumor of one American soldier desecrating one copy of the Qur’an can bring shouts of “Death to America” and riots, it’s pretty clear that the size of Pastor Jones’ congregation is irrelevant.

We are told that Jones has suggested that he and Abdul Rauf, the imam who wants to build the Islamic Cultural Center at 51 Park, near ground zero, get together to talk.

The meeting would be meant to negotiate a “peaceful resolution,” said a statement from Dove World Outreach Center on Tuesday.”

You can well imagine what Jones’ blackmail terms will be.

16 responses so far

Republicans Defy Military Leaders By Not Condemning Quran Burning

Sep 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Fear mongering leads to endangering US and Troops

GOP Fox Rhetoric Endangering Troops Fighting for USA

The inflammatory and inaccurate Fox/Republican Party created drama ginned up over Park 51 has led to Florida pastor Terry Jones of The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida, saying they will mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning copies of the Quran. The Florida church has a sign reading “Islam is of the devil” on its front lawn, coining a phrase from the pastor’s book of the same title. The church is inviting “Christians” to burn the Muslim holy book from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it’s causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times,” Pastor Terry Jones told CNN’s Rick Sanchez last month.

CNN reported tonight:

Talk about regressive, anti-constitutional and anti-Christian behavior. And think, these are the same folks waving flags and claiming to have ownership of patriotism.

Both top US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, and one of his deputies, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell are warning Americans that burning the Quran will endanger the troops in Afghanistan (and around the world), who are there fighting a war started by Republican President George W. Bush.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan. It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community,” Petraeus said in a statement provided to Fox News.

A pause while we ponder how Fox reconciles this statement from their hero who is calling their actions out as dangerous to our troops, their mission, and our own safety.

CNN reports that Lt General Caldwell warned:

“We very much feel that this can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country,” said Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces.

Caldwell said American troops “are over here to defend the rights of American citizens, and we’re not debating the First Amendment rights that people have.” But he added, “What I will tell you is that their very actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish.”

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Afghan protesters chanted “death to America” and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its military convoy. Some of the protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy, although officials told the rock-throwers to stop.”

Petraeus made the point that the Taliban will use this as propaganda to drum up anger toward the US.

And it’s not just the troops in danger. CNN reports:

“Thousands of Indonesians gathered Sunday outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta to protest a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran. Protesters in Jakarta carried signs saying, “Jihad to protect Koran” and “You burn qu’ran you burn in hell.”

In other words, the result of the Republicans’ fear-mongering behavior regarding Park 51 is contradictory to the Republican claims to be “pro-troops” and “pro-constitution”.

As Edward R. Murrow once said, “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” Nor can we have hawkish leaders who recklessly and irresponsibly take to the airwaves to hate and fear monger regarding freedom of religion in this country (as it pertains to Park 51). And lastly, we can’t have a Republican front-runner for 2012 who understands so little about the world that she would endanger our troops and this country’s national security every time she opens her mouth.

Sarah Palin owns this mess, along with the majority of Republicans who got on board her hate talk express and Fox News who gave oodles of airtime to selling this hate with little or no pushback from reality or the law.

Democrats like Harry Reid who gave shelter to the hate talk because he had his eye on his reelection campaign may not have created this or endorsed it, but by failing to denounce it and thereby giving way to his moral cowardice, deserve to be called out. Harry left the President out on a limb after Obama took the proper stand regarding our Constitution because Harry was pandering to his fearful base.

If leaders prove themselves to be this cynical and willing to use any means possible to get elected, they don’t deserve to be considered leaders. Leaders of both parties need to stand up for our freedoms and stand up for what makes this country great instead of giving the Taliban more propaganda from which to recruit and propagate hate.

Republicans, you own this debacle. Our nation’s safety is once again at risk so that you could win another election term. Is there anything Republicans hold sacred enough that they won’t violate it to gain power?

A fearful nation awaits a leader from the Republican Party to grow enough courage to take a stand for us, for our troops and their mission. All we’re hearing is the cynical silence of dead air, as they hope this passes by unnoticed by the American People. Do Republicans want another 9/11 so they can finally convince themselves that their erroneous and much repeated belief that we never had a terrorist attack under Bush is somehow vindicated?

38 responses so far

The Brainless Monster Running the Republican Mob

Obama as Terrorist

“A mob’s a monster; heads enough, but no brains.” – Benjamin Franklin

Folks, It is dangerous to be a public figure and to appear to be too reasonable. The two extremes will always find fault with you. That is, there will always be those who hate so much that nothing short of denunciations flowing from your lips will satisfy them. As that hate flows in both directions, you can see why standing in the middle of it might not be a comfortable place to be.

I am talking about President Obama. But a quick lesson from the 19th century American frontier will illustrate my point.

Western people were generally very hostile to the Indians. They stood to suffer most when hostilities broke out and they stood to gain the most if some excuse were found to push back or exterminate the tribes and open up the land to settlement. Folks in the East, however, far removed from the scene, tended to feel sorrier for the Indians.

A soldier on the frontier was caught in the middle.

George Armstrong Custer described the problem in his My Life on the Plains (1874):

How many military men have reaped laurels from their Indian campaigns? Does he strive to win the approving smile of his countrymen? That is indeed, in this particular instance, a difficult task. For let him act as he may in conducting or assisting in a campaign against the Indians, if he survives the campaign he can feel assured of this fact, that one-half of his fellow-citizens at home will revile him for his zeal and pronounce his success, if he achieves any, a massacre of poor, defenseless, harmless Indians; while the other half if his efforts to chastise the common enemy are not crowned with satisfactory results, will cry “Down with him. Down with the regular army, and give us brave volunteers who can serve the Government in other ways besides eating rations and drawing pay.”

No. The middle is not a fun place to be. You’re everyone’s target, sometimes simply because you’re willing to be reasonable. Fanatics hate reasonable people, whether they are left- or right-wing fanatics. Fanatics like mobs.

Colonel John Chivington, a conservative Christian, led a righteous mob to Sand Creek. There are lots of potential Sand Creeks in America; lots of mosques; lots of righteous mobs.

Chivington said, “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians!”

Does this sound familiar? It ought to.

Those who took a reasonable view of Native Americans in the 19th century were often labeled “Indian lovers.” In those days that was as bad a thing as a Muslim-lover today. President Obama, for his reasonable approach to Islam and the question of Islamic terror, is called not only a Muslim-lover but a Muslim.

And as we all know the old saw, that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Anyone who is not vociferous enough in their denunciations is, as Custer and other officers found out, suspect: The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim.

“Damn any man who sympathizes with Muslims!”

President Obama has made the same discovery. A Newsweek poll released Monday shows that most Republicans believe that he “Favors the interests of Muslims” and worse, “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.”

If you look at the results of the poll. You find that, for example, that to the question, “As president, do you think Barack Obama has been tough enough in dealing with terrorists, or not tough enough?” that 43% say “yes, tough enough” and that 50% say, “No, not tough enough.”

It sounds like a poll frontier army officers like General Custer would have understood.

The partisan lines are clear in the poll results. Look at the following poll question: “Favors the interests of Muslims.”  59% of Republicans say “yes” but only 9% of Democrats and 28% of Independents. To the question, “Has generally been even-handed” the percentages are 34/82/62.

It’s pretty clear that GOP propaganda is working well on its own base, but while the looniness of Republicans is unsettling we can be relieved that it seems to be contained within their own ranks.

President Obama has shown in his first two years that he is taking a very centrist approach to the problems of this country, trying to bridge the gap between right and left, just as he promised, and trying reach out and work with his opponents across the aisle.

His opponents have shunned his conciliatory approach and then accused him of refusing to work with them because he refused to govern the country the way they told him to.

At the same time, President Obama has taken heat from progressives who feel he has in some way “betrayed the revolution” by not pushing for enough change fast enough. Like the army officer on the frontier, he is caught between the two extremes and his actions are pleasing to neither. A reasoned approach is anathema to ideologues.

Isn’t it enough that George W. Bush governed the nation by the seat of his pants, shooting from the hip like a cowboy? If you read accounts of western gunfights, you find that aim was not all that Hollywood makes it out to be. People missed more often than they hit. And often, the wrong people were hit. Wild Bill shot and killed one of his own deputies.

Carry that over to the results of Bush’s policies and you will see the connection.

Wouldn’t you, if you had somebody on your side, take aim before firing, to make sure they hit the target – the right target – than to just pull out a pistol and start banging away at anything and everything? It was in one of those wild shooting sprees that the United States invaded Iraq.

What President Obama needs, and what he deserves, are informed voters who think about and try to understand the issues and the ramifications of policy decisions, not those who want them made from the hip, as a knee-jerk reaction or in the heat of the moment. We don’t need any more invasions or any more Sand Creeks.

Voters need to understand that turning the United States into the very thing Islamic extremists say we are is not going to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism. The ripples of Bush’s policy missteps are still being felt. It will take time for the waters to settle; time for America to show the world that it is a credible partner and no longer behaving like a rogue state.

John Quincy Adams

It takes courage to do the right thing when it’s the unpopular thing to do. A coward finds it easy to go along with the mob and it is the exceptional man who, like President Obama, will say, “Now, hold on just a minute…”

We should take that cue. We should step back from that mob too.

Let’s remember the words of John Quincy Adams:

“America…goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy…The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. the frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished luster the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.”- John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821

I don’t think that President George W. Bush read John Quincy Adams; he wouldn’t have understood what he was saying if he had. Neither would Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. But I think President Obama gets it. Let’s give the first president we’ve had in eight years who thinks rather than reacts, our support.

Reason shines; mobs tarnish. Let’s do nothing to tarnish the luster of our great nation.

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Reflections on a Crusade Gone Wrong: Bush’s Iraq War 2003-2010

Aug 19 2010 Published by under Featured News

Military Prayers in Afghanistan

Now that the last US combat brigade has driven into Kuwait, 4,000 men of the 4th Stryker Brigade, it is an appropriate time to look back at the Iraq War and to reflect on how it matters a great deal who we elect as our leaders. There are lessons to be learned, and we owe it to future generations to heed them.

It has never been a secret that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were packaged by the Bush administration as a holy crusade, and that the war itself was not simply a war against an enemy nation or against terrorists, but as a war against Satan.

This apocalyptic imagery is an essential part of the Christian narrative, a holdover from Jewish apocalypticsm of the first century C.E. The passage of two thousand years has not dimmed the fervor of religious fanatics.

Unfortunately, despite the Constitutional wall of separation between church and state, this crusading message was allowed to go forward by the evangelical Bush administration. It was not enough to fight a war against somebody who was supposed to have attacked us in a most dastardly fashion; it had to be wrapped up in not only a flag but a bible.

The United States decries the forces of Islamic radicalism. Conservative Christians in this country rail against “Islamofascism” and “Sharia Law” and claim that Islam is an enemy of everything America stands for. But American crusading spirit is far from spent. Activities of church groups and more shockingly, of the US Military, give jihadist all the fodder they need to rally their own base to the threat.

Evangelical Christianity in Afghanistan

Because of how Bush packaged what was and very much remains “his” war.

It’s a serious problem: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) on August 11, 2010 called on Defense Secretary Gates to end “unconstitutional proselytizing” in the US Military.  Bruce Wilson of Alternet reported on August 10 that “the Jihadists are observing unrestricted, unlawful Christian activity within the military and interpreting it as irrefutable proof of a Christian Crusade that justifies jihad.” And it does. One can’t wage a crusade, after all, and expect the other side not to crusade right back. The Jihadists are dancing to a tune we called.

Are we our own worst enemy in the war on terror?

The L.A. Times Blog reported a few days before Wilson wrote for Alternet of “a mass baptism of marines from Lt. Col. Lawrence Kaifesh’s 3rd Battalion unit as “part of Operation Sword of the Spirit, a program meant to prepare the battalion for duty in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province.””

Operation Sword of the Spirit.

Does an operational plan with a title like that belong in the US Military? Sword of the Spirit? How is this different from, say, the “Sword of Allah”?

This is not a war between Christianity and Islam. We cannot allow it to be packaged as such, and we cannot allow such a lie to be perpetrated and sustained.

As Bruce Wilson reports, “The piece was republished by the leading Jihadist Web site Ansar Al-Mujahideen, under the heading “Crusaders Baptized Before Leaving For Afghanistan.”

It is difficult to see this as helpful to the American cause overseas.

We’re even being told that “the application of the principles of [Christian] Scripture” can help returning vets to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.” This is a story that received in depth coverage at on August 3.

One can understand how it would be difficult for Muslims to understand the US commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan as anything other than a religious crusade.  An American can be excused for wondering the same thing.

Just what is the US military trying to do?

CNN reported the other day that according to a Pentagon spokesman, “The Army culture of religious freedom dates back to the Revolutionary War” – that he described it as “a big tent.”

Operation Sword of the Spirit would seem to belie his claim. It’s a strange dichotomy that Muslims can pray at the Pentagon chapel but overseas we’re teaching our men and women that we’re in a holy war against Islam.

President Bush set the tone when on September 16, 2001 he called for a global “crusade” against terrorism. With a call like that, it’s no wonder his later assurances that the US was not at war with Islam fell flat, or went unheard. And after all, he told French President Chirac that “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

And after all, nothing has changed. The US is still apparently acting like it’s a crusade.

Can you start a war as a holy crusade and then pretend it never happened? That it’s just another run-of-the-mill wars countries start? No, that doesn’t seem to be possible. We can’t escape the taint of crusade and we can’t escape the taint of attacking a country that had not attacked us first.

If the US was a victim of 9/11, so too was Iraq.  2,976 Americans died as a result of the World Trade Center attacks. Over 4,000 have died in Iraq to punish a country that did not have anything to do with the attacks on 9/11, and more than a thousand in Afghanistan. According to Iraq Body Count over 100,000 Iraqis have died in acts of violence because President Bush declared a holy war on an innocent nation for an attack it did not commit. This does not count the untold suffering of thousands more due to hunger and homelessness.

All we need is the Pope to add his voice to the mad chorus.

Or maybe we don’t need the Pope. We had President Bush after all, with his “”This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.”

He wasn’t whistling Dixie.

And meanwhile, the crusade machine keeps marching, and people keep dying. So let’s think about the war, and why we fought it, and how we fought it, and apply the lessons learned in Afghanistan while we still can.

11 responses so far

Fox News Hosts a Terrorist to Discuss the Ground Zero Mosque

Aug 18 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Fox Hosts Terrorist to Scare Republicans

The GOP media arm and political organization Fox News took to the airwaves today to continue their Fear And Anti-Law Campaign against the Cordoba Center (aka, the scary Mosque of terrorists). In order to really, really scare people, they dipped into their vast pool of political terrorists and came up with this guy, Walid Shoebat — a self-professed “former terrorist” and born-again Christian. Er, that may have been redundant at this point. At any rate, this Christian terrorist was on Fox and Friends today and he did Newt and Sarah proud by furthering party division and racism in this country. USA! USA! USA!

Yesterday, my fellow sane people, you may have heard the echo chamber of Republican bots across the country repeating the mantra that it was like letting Hitler build a monument on the concentration camps to “let” a community center (with several prayer rooms) be built within two blocks of the hallowed ground of Ground Zero. I guess Republicans really love them some Hitler, because they’re pulling this guy out for all of their arguments since they lost the 2008 election. I guess Hitler and the modern day Republican Party share a lot of values.

Fear. Intimidation. Propaganda.

So, to counter the reasoned pleas of those few sane Republicans left in this country (who tried desperately to remind their party that Republican leaders like Newt and Palin were advocating to violate our laws and freedoms – gosh, did they just notice this now?), Fox stepped it up today by having on a real terrorist to…well, scare everyone.

Said “former PLO” terrorist and reborn Christian (oh, Walid! Welcome to our nationalism club of brown shirts!) Walid Shoebat tossed around accusations against Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Cordoba Center, ironically accusing Imam of being a terrorist.

Walid also wants us all to know that if we “let” (aka, follow our laws) private citizens build something on private property, we are giving the terrorists everything they want.

Watch Scary Warning here (and imagine for old time’s sake the terror alert level going up as the election day drew near):

And honestly, who can doubt the veracity of this? After all, no one knows terrorism like the modern day Republican Party. So, if they say so…………..

And this guy, Shoebat? He’s got a stellar history! If this guy isn’t a Bretibart video waiting to happen, I don’t know who is. He also, too, thinks Islam is the devil and has called it thus. Gosh, those reborn Fox Christian Republicans! Spreadin’ Jesus’ love.

Here’s a brief look at Shoebat’s past statements according to Media Matters:

Shoebat: “It is very clear that Obama is definitely a Muslim.” On September 10, 2008, Shoebat appeared on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show to spread falsehoods about Obama. Shoebat claimed that in Obama’s speeches, he was “talking about the same kind of issues that CAIR, Council on American-Islamic Relations, would want to fight for, and that is fighting for the terrorist cause.” Shoebat later claimed: “No one is called Hussein unless he is Muslim. So it is very clear that Barack Hussein Obama is definitely a Muslim.” He added: “I haven’t heard a really serious testimony of his Christian conversion. A Muslim who converts to Christianity, the first thing he does is denounces Islam. Has Barack Hussein Obama denounced Islam as a false religion?” Liddy responded: “No.”

Shoebat appeared on God’s Learning Channel to bash Islam and Obama. In an online interview with God’s Learning Channel, Shoebat made a series of unsupported, inflammatory claims about Islam and Obama. Among these were the claims that:

* Shoebat: Obama “bowed down” to the king of Saudi Arabia because he is African. Shoebat stated of Obama: “He is from a Nigerian stock, you know, he is an African. To meet with a king who is from an Arab ‘pedigree’ he would have to bow down. … He is culturally Muslim. No doubt about it.” (12:50)

* Shoebat: Obama is a “combination between socialism and Islam.” Shoebat stated: “Obama is — culturally grew up as a Muslim, and the whole world knows, Obama is a socialist, kind of ‘communistic’ views. His whole upbringing, you know, he’s a combination between socialism and Islam. And you find them collaborating together quite well, because Islam and socialism have one thing in common: revolution.” (85:37)

* Shoebat: “[I]f Islam is not the Antichrist system, why do you think the devil wants to put a ‘cultural Muslim’ in the White House?” Shoebat said: “In fact, Obama is allowing [Rep.] Keith Ellison (D-MN) to entertain a hundred different applications of Muslim activists to work in the White House. … The fox is entering into the henhouse. This is why I always argue, I say if Islam is not the Antichrist system, why do you think the devil wants to put a Muslim — a ‘cultural Muslim’ in the White House?” (14:35)

* Shoebat: Obama is doing the bidding of the Islamists. Shoebat stated of Obama: “He is doing the bidding of the Islamists. Definitely, no doubt about it. It’s very obvious what’s happening. We’ve said that before the election.” (11:45)

Shoebat again suggests “the devil” had a hand in Obama’s election. In a 2008 interview, Shoebat said: “This is why I like to argue with many Christians an interpretation of the Bible. If Islam is not playing the major role in Antichrist spirit, why do you think the devil wants to appoint somebody connected to Islam in the White House?”

Shoebat repeats “birther” arguments. In the same 2008 interview, Shoebat claimed Obama is ineligible to be president by calling his citizenship into question:”

Wow! He seems so fair and balanced! I can see why he’s a perfect fit for Fox and Friends. Oh, you know what? Much like so many of the Right wing’s heroes, this guy isn’t exactly who and what he says he is.

Yeah. The Jerusalem Post says the bank Shoebat claims to have bombed said it had no record of the attack. Oopsie. Sort of a Joe the Plumber moment there. But then, you’d think maybe he would be proud of not being a terrorist.

I guess I don’t get the Right wing at all.

And meanwhile, Democrats are split on the issue, or rather, some are afraid to stand up for our constitution and our freedoms in the face of more right wing Get Out the Vote hysteria.

Wonder when the Democrats will realize that if they give in on the principles of this country again just because they Right is shrieking, they are giving the terrorists exactly what they want.

The Right will never stop shrieking and making accusations about Hitler. It’s best to ignore them. And it would be really nice if the Democrats would stand together for once, united against this kind of political scare tactic, and say ENOUGH. We will not be cowed into giving up our freedoms again. We will not be cowed by accusations of not being patriotic or of being like Hitler. And we will certainly not allow our values to be destroyed because the Republican Party has nothing positive to offer this country this fall.

They’re just going to have to find something else to terrify their base with. That shouldn’t be hard.

All citizens of this country should unite over this attempt to violate freedom of our religion – left, right and center. The constitution is very clear about this issue. Laws were made as a guide for when we are at our worst, not our best. Let’s not give in to our fear this time.

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Looking for Terrorists in All the Wrong Places

Aug 09 2010 Published by under Featured News

“Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” Sarah Palin on Twitter, July 18, 2010

Everyone is by now familiar with the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. Cries of horror have ascended to the heavens from the right-wing as they denounce Muslim plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

A couple of things, first off: the planned Cordoba House is as much a community center as a mosque and it’s not at ground zero.
In point of fact, it’s two blocks away. You can’t even see it from Ground Zero. You know how cities are, intervening buildings and all.
Pesky things, facts.

But xenophobia, to be more precise, Islamophobia, most of it originating from conservative Christians, is not fact-friendly. Bottom line is that it’s getting put where it can be put, to serve an existing need in Lower Manhattan.

As Media Matters has said recently, “you can be forgiven for thinking that it’s a tough time for white Christians in America right now,” but white Christians aren’t the ones being targeted – by anyone. Rather, it’s the other way around. It’s the white Christians who are doing the targeting.

On the 19th century Western Frontier, white folks would hold an entire tribe accountable for what one individual did. The same rules did not apply to whites, of course. Welcome to the 21st century, where all Muslims are held accountable – and guilty – because a few radicals – who happen to be at war with the rest of Islam – did a truly terrible thing.

The application of Collective guilt is obvious, given that the man behind the Cordoba Center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the spiritual leader of Masjid Al-Farah mosque in lower Manhattan, is known as a progressive Muslim and for his interfaith efforts. The Imam did not blow up anything. He has not advocated blowing up anything. He has not attacked America or advocated attacking America.

The terrorists, you might observe, are not progressive in their outlook. And they represent a minority in Islam. Yet even the Anti-Defamation League, which above all others ought to know better, has condemned the mosque.

What’s next on the agenda? The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim?

The fear mongering is in full swing aided and abetted not only by Tea Party personalities but old Republican mainstreamer Newt Gingrich, whose pandering cry is: “Creeping Sharia in the United States.”

Scholar Gerd Lüdemann has argued (Intolerance and the Gospel 2007) that Christianity’s values are incompatible with those of modern liberal democracies. Ironically, this is the argument being made by conservative Christians with regard to Islam even while they do their best to dismantle that liberal democracy themselves and replace it with Mosaic Law.

Lüdemann, who argues that toleration for what you don’t approve of us essential to the modern liberal democracy, seems to be on to something. Listen to what the Republicans are saying: “We’re all about religious freedom,” Sarah Palin says, but only “down the road.”

Newt Gingrich gives and takes in the best biblical tradition when he claims: “I favor religious freedom,” but not “right at the edge of a place where, let’s be clear, thousands of Americans were killed in an attack by radical Islamists.” Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum, a conservative think tank, calls the building of the mosque a “soft jihad.”

“This is something where they’re not doing it in our face, they’re doing it very quietly, very stealthy…this is a triumphant gesture on their part.”

As in they [the Muslims] conquered with their attack and now they are following an ancient custom by building on the site. Or as some are saying, “a monument to terrorism.” Rush Limbaugh seems to be on board with this and calls it a “recruiting tool for domestic extremists” and Glenn Beck refers to it as an “Allah tells me to blow up America mosque.” One doesn’t have to guess where FOX News stands with regard to the defamation.

You’d think old Tariq ibn-Ziyad had come back in the flesh and planted his spear on the rock of Gibraltar. But this isn’t 8th century Spain, and there is no Muslim army on our shores preparing to march into the heartland from Ground Zero.

The mosque, Newt, is not a home to radical Islamists. And Daniel, Islam did not attack the US. Some Islamic terrorists did. They are not the ones building the mosque, however much you wish to pretend otherwise.

Yet Daniel Pipes even goes so far as to claim that the imam isn’t one of us. He has a dubious record, Pipes says suspiciously, and you can almost hear the sinister whisper: “He’s an Islamist.”

Daniel, what’s an Islamist? Is that the same as being a Christian reconstructionist like Sarah Palin or Sharron Angle, but Muslim instead? An Islamist according to definition is someone who wants to impose Sharia Law, which does not seem like something a progressive interfaith person like Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has any interest in.

But then, Pipes also thinks Barack Obama was a Muslim and that the PLO held a fundraiser for him.

As I’ve said many times, context is everything. And Mr. Pipe’s context is not as a Middle East expert, as he is so often billed, but as an extreme right-wing Islamophobe. In that, he has something in common with our other critics, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. They have already made the pre-determination that Christianity=good, Islam=bad and that therefore anything which is good for Islam is an attack on white Christians.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who is currently running third in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary race, is apparently not sure if the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of religion apply to Islam, on the grounds that the Constitution refers to religions, not cults, and Islam is, in his opinion, a cult. Tennessee Republican congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik seems to agree, saying in July that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro TN is secretly pursuing a “radical agenda,” one that is “designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.”

This is all a far cry from Thomas Jefferson’s “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Yet we must fear the creeping Sharia. And embrace Mosaic Law instead! In every courthouse throughout the land! That is what Nevada Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle wants. Angle is a Christian Reconstructionist who believes in a return to Mosaic Law. The message seems to be that when Muslims stone somebody it’s bad but when Christians do it, it’s according to God’s will. Never mind that it’s the same god with different names.

Do you see where this is leading? There is no appreciable difference between Sharia Law and Mosaic Law. It makes no difference to non-monotheists which law is in place. They’re equally repressive and Draconian in nature.

The cry could as easily be “creeping Law of Moses.” Let’s talk about Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle and their reconstructionist attitudes. They’re the ones we ought to be afraid of; they’re already on these shores and have armies of followers ready to strike, if you’ll pardon me for using Palin’s own words, at the heart of America.

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A Plea for American Healing As the War in Iraq Winds Down

Aug 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, White House

American Troops Turn Bases Over to Iraqis

With the Iraq drawdown comes criticism and violence. Expect these criticisms to warp unrecognizably and pop up on Fox this week as talking points against the drawdown.

The drawdown in Iraq (Operation New Dawn) came under fire today along with reports of violence erupting throughout Iraq, in what had been a calm area. The criticism of leaving Iraq comes from all sides. For the Left the troops can’t get out fast enough, and to the Right the troops should never leave at all, even former Saddam VP Tariq Aziz is critical of the withdrawal of the same American troops that removed him from power.

The day before we turned all combat missions over to Iraqi security forces, The Guardian UK came out with a story quoting Saddam Hussein’s former VP Tariq Aziz (from his jailhouse where he is serving 15 years in prison for crimes against humanity) accusing President Obama of abandoning Iraq.

The Guardian reported:

“Aziz slammed the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country, saying that both America and the United Kingdom had an obligation to make sure Iraq was back on its feet before exiting.

“‘We are all victims of America and Britain, They killed our country in many ways. When you make a mistake you need to correct a mistake, not leave Iraq to its death.'”

Yesterday’s headlines screamed: Aziz: Obama is “Leaving Iraq to the wolves!” Yahoo then pushed back a bit with an interview with Aziz’s lawyer, who suggested that Aziz was misquoted:

“I know how Mr. Aziz speaks and I know that he’s not very aware or informed of what goes on in the world outside the jailhouse where he is,” Aref told The Associated Press. “So, how could he say what he said about the U.S. troop withdrawal and about President Obama? He was definitely misquoted.”

Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq was on ABC’s “This Week“.

Despite the latest reports of violence, Odierno said the security situation has drastically improved in Iraq since 2006:

Watch Here:

AMANPOUR: But five months after elections, Iraqi politicians have not yet formed a government, and violence continues. Last night, three explosions at a market in southern Iraq killed dozens of people. And today, two car bombs went off west of Baghdad.

ODIERNO: Well, this is something that we’ve been working for a very long time with the Iraqi security forces. For the last 20 months, we’ve been slowly and deliberately turning over more and more responsibility to them, and they have stepped up. They continue to do broad-scoped operations across all of Iraq. We continue to help them as they do these, and that will continue after 1 September, our assistance. But we do believe they are ready to assume full operations in Iraq……

AMANPOUR:……… What gives you the most concern at the moment as you approach that August 31st date?

ODIERNO: I think I would just say it’s not the security profile. Obviously I believe there will be people who attempt to take advantage of the opportunity of the attention being brought upon the August 31st date. And so, there will be groups who will try to take advantage and show weakness in the government of Iraq and try to create some sort of lack of confidence of the people in the process as you move forward. So that’s probably my first concern. But I believe we can overcome that concern. The second is, is that the Iraqis have to understand the importance of forming a government, doing it as quickly as possible, and getting themselves ready to leap forward so they can make progress on the economic front and the diplomatic front. And they’ve got to set themselves up for that, so it’s important for the Iraqis to understand the importance of moving forward quickly, and I think we’re starting to see that as we see negotiations pick up over the last couple of weeks.

Command General Odierno summed up his position thusly:

“Our commitment in Iraq is changing from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats…. We have ups and downs here…. There is a level of violence and level of terrorism here that’s going to occur, though the success that we’ve had against Al Qaeda in Iraq, specifically in decapitating the leadership, has in fact affected them…

The U.S. will continue to support Iraq’s stabilization…We’ll have 50,000 troops on the ground. That is still a very significant presence to continue to assist the Iraqi security forces as we move forward.”

The Iraq war remains the ultimate unresolved political and ethical moral dilemma confronting our nation. The philosophical quagmire started with Bush’s decision to invade, and it is continuing straight through Obama’s decision to depart.

It would be great if the nation, Right and Left, could come together during this transition to support our country’s conclusion of the mission in Iraq and our President’s strategy. There is no easy way out. But we’ve done everything we can to train the Iraqis and we’ve utilized our diplomatic efforts to bring the warring political factions to the table.

In spite of all of the griping on both sides, we Americans can be better than this. We can move forward together. We can stay committed to our values of Democracy and support our efforts to leave Iraq responsibly. It is time for us for us to agree to let the Iraqis stand on their own and for America to get beyond the moral quagmire of preemptive war.

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President Obama Relieves General McChrystal of His Post

Jun 23 2010 Published by under Featured News, White House

President Obama’s Meeting with General McChrystal – BREAKING

McChrystal arrived at White House ready to tender his resignation Wednesday at 10:00 AM. At 1:15 PM, MSNBC announced that President Obama relieved General McChrystal of his Afghanistan post as commander. MSNBC is reporting that General Petraeus has been chosen to replace General McChrystal as commander of the Afghanistan forces.

After his disastrous profile in Rolling Stone, General Stanely McChrystal was summoned to the White House to meet with his unhappy boss, President Obama. The normally calm and even-tempered President displayed rare signs of edginess yesterday when speaking about the General’s contemptuous remarks in Rolling Stone.

“Obama said McChrystal had shown “poor judgment” in criticizing Obama and the administration’s handling of the war in Afghanistan in an interview to be published later this week in Rolling Stone magazine…(The President further added that) “So whatever decision that I make with respect to General McChrystal or any other aspect of Afghan policy is determined entirely on how I can make sure that we have a strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice of those men and women over there.””

Yes, even when angry, the President is careful in his choice of words so as not to inflame an already disturbing situation.

General McChrystal met with President Obama at 10:00 Wednesday morning for a meeting, after which the President met in the Situation Room with his National Security Team to determine the fate of McChrystal and the implication of that decision on the Afghanistan strategy.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed grave concern over the General’s undisciplined outbursts. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “I’m concerned that if General McChrystal has to resign, and he may, what happens to the leadership in the middle of a very crucial time in Afghanistan, but, I respect the President’s decision as Commander in Chief on this situation.”

What isn’t clear is whether or not putting the President in this lose-lose scenario was a continuation of what appeared to be a deliberate tactic to force Obama to agree to his war strategy, or whether the General endangered the national security of this country by showing the enemy our lack of unity simply because he is suffering from some sort of long-term battle trauma resulting from a war that is quite simply not going well.

Either way, the General’s outburst gave birth to a surge of questions regarding his Afghanistan strategy.

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Rachel Maddow Lasers in on McChrystal’s Counterinsurgency Doctrine

Jun 23 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, White House

Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show last night, where he expressed surprise that his bombshell interview with General Stanley McChrystal was causing such an uproar as to lead to McChrystal tendering his resignation. However, it wasn’t a shock to much of anyone else after reading McChrystal’s comments wherein he showed staggering disrespect and contempt for his civilian boss and indeed the administration at large.

What may come as a surprise to the General is that his actions are casting doubts regarding McChrystal’s own counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan, and I would take that a step further and suggest that it’s time that civilian political leadership take back control of our military strategy, rather than relying so heavily on professional military officers.

General McChyrstal: The Runaway General

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Yesterday was the unveiling of General McChrystal’s profile in Rolling Stone. It didn’t go well. Not only is the General is shown as a sort of locker room frat boy rather than a serious leader, but his disdain for his boss and Commander in Chief was palpable. If you’ve never been around anyone who’s enlisted, this might not strike you as it does those who are familiar with the military’s strict adherence to the chain of command. This is simply not done.

It’s not done because there would be chaos if the lower ranks questioned and or undermined the authority of their boss during battle. But it’s also not done precisely for the reason it should not have been done here: it leaves us wide open to attacks from the very enemy the General has sworn to protect us from. Now why would this passionate, fierce man show the soft underbelly of the American machine to the enemy? Why would McChrystal knowingly show the weakness in an international publication? Perhaps the frustrations from a war that can’t be “won” are too much for the General — but regardless of the reasons, his lack of discipline can’t be ignored. Our national security at risk.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Rolling Stones writer Michael Hastings while he was in Afghanistan. Her questions quickly and pointedly zeroed in on McChrystal’s counterinsrugency strategy, which relies upon civilian and governmental unity with the military strategy.

Transcription courtesy of Rachel Maddow blog:

MADDOW: Michael, I know that in the piece, I mean General McChrystal comes across as incredibly impolitic but not in an unflattering light. You definitely portray him as a true believer in counter-insurgency. But counterinsurgency means military force combined with a lot of non-military force and he and his inner-circle talk complete smack about everybody on the nonmilitary side, so how does that make sense? How do they reconcile that?

HASTINGS: Well I think one of the things about General McChrystal and whether or not he’s impolitic: just look at his public statements. What he said recently about Marja which was an operation in southern Afghanistan, was that it was a ‘bleeding ulcer’. he’s saying in public about the war effort or he thinks he’s saying in private. I think that that’s a big issue in terms of counterinsurgency, the relationship between the civilian military side. I think that’s always very tricky in terms of the operation, and i think part of the problem is that there’s a military says they actually buy into these political solutions, they’re the most preferred solution, the one to use is to use force, which is sort of what they’re inherently good at.

MADDOW: It’s sort of a hollowed out insurgency idea that you talk a lot about military force but maybe it’s not as important a part of it when it comes down to it. You describe Michael that the hardcore proponents of counter insurgency of COIN as having a sort of cultish zeal. The COINdenistas, which is something we’ve talked about in the past. Is there something about the idea of counterinsurgency that essentially requires people to be disdainful of outside views, about the wider impact of it of it, about the difficulty of selling it politically?

HASTINGS: I was just rereading David Halberstan’s “The Best and the Brightest,” and one of the things described is Kennedy in his 1961 being very excited about these new theories of counterinsurgency. I think what anyone has to look at it is where the counterinsurgents here draw their inspiration from and most of the examples they draw from are not very promising. the French in Algeria in 1962 and then the us in Vietnam in 1965 –both ended in defeat. Now they claim that they were military victories but if they were just victories outright they all would have worked but in fact there’s not really too many promising examples that they can really point to.


At which point, Rachel zeros in with her laser intensity:

MADDOW: Of course the way that General McChrystal got this job is because General McKiernan was rather summarily relieved of his responsibility um in Afghanistan the previous top commander in country. Does the counterinsurgency doctrine and strategy survive another change at the top if it has to happen? Are there enough true believers just among the ranks of soldiers and officers who you’ve been dealing with there while you’ve been reporting?

HASTINGS: “I think counterinsurgency is the only solution that they’ve come up with that they really want to do. It seems like there’s not much stomach for actually changing our strategy, drawing down to say 50,000 and doing more counter-terrorism mission. I think you change the top, but the problem remains. I mean, I think the counterinsurgency was set in motion and I believe even if you change the top, it’s not going to make too much of a difference because I think the problems of these things –one of these things I’m talking about — in terms of long protracted conflicts that democratic societies wage usually in, you know, developing nations, is that they take on a momentum of their own. We went into Afghanistan after September 11 with the explicit goal not to get stuck in a quagmire. Anyone who even used the word “quagmire” was mocked mercilessly. Some years later, we’re exactly where we set out not to be — in a quagmire, and it’s a quagmire we knowingly walked into.

Not only did McChrystal’s impolitic criticisms of the civilian side of the administration betray the very military values of loyalty, commitment and patriotism that McChrystal has stood for in terms of the counterinsurgency doctrine, but ironically his doing so draws all eyes back to the legitimacy not of the administration, but of this war and of this strategy.

We were three years into the war when the Army published its updated counterinsurgency doctrine:

“The manual codifies an important lesson of insurgencies: it takes more than the military to win. “There are more than just lethal operations involved in a counterinsurgency campaign,” said Conrad Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, in Carlisle, Pa., and one of the leaders of the effort.

He said the team working on the manual decided early on to emphasize the interagency aspect of counterinsurgency fights. “The military is only one piece of the puzzle,” Crane said. “To be successful in a counterinsurgency, you have to get contributions from a lot of different agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and host-nation organizations. There are so many people involved to make counterinsurgency successful.”

All of these organizations bring important weapons to the campaign, “and you’ve got to bring unity of effort if you can to make it effective,” he said. ”

Unity, you say? It seems as if McChrystal’s Rolling Stone interview spits in the face of the very core of a COIN campaign that he himself has advocated and fought for. Rachel was right on with her line of thought. Does the COIN strategy make sense? Is it the best course of action? McChrystal is an expert on military strategy – this is why he is in this position, so it was understandable that the President gave weight and heft to his advice. However, the military is run by a civilian for a reason…and we might just be seeing exactly WHY in this Runaway General Saga. War does change people. And no person is infallible in their judgment or impervious to the challenges of long-term combat. And like many Generals, it may be that this one would be lost without his war.

At any rate, while we might not agree with McChrystal on his strategy (or much else), he has also been a dedicated General and served this country with great distinction. There should be no doubt that while he appears to have been misguided in his execution, he thought he was doing the right thing. This is a sad day for him, for this country, and for the troops serving under him whose morale has to be suffering right now.

The question on everyone’s mind shouldn’t be if the President will fire McChrystal, but more importantly, will McChrystal’s disobedience to his own strategy bring about a rethinking of the strategy in Afghanistan and if so, can and will this administration take hold of the reins and put an end to this right wing pandering to the military as all-knowing deity to be worshiped. The military is one vital aspect of our government — but it is not in charge and Obama needs to make that very clear.

The civilian control ideal (see The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations) is based on the idea that the civilian leader is more objective than the in-the-trenches General. Civilian control of the military includes proper subordination of the military to the ends of policy — as determined by civilian authority. That objective authority is the President of the United States. The people elected Barack Obama, not General McChrystal, to lead and be in charge of our war policies.

We will discover the answer to at least one of those questions today.

Samuel Adams in 1768: “Even when there is a necessity of the military power, within a land, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and jealous eye over it.”

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