Fort Hood

The liturgical intercessions last week at the monastery mentioned Fort Hood. Though the abbey guesthouse did have the daily paper on the table in the waiting area, I generally try to avoid the news when I am on retreat. I waited until Friday afternoon to read about the horror in Texas. Deeply saddening, but not surprising.

On the drive home, a news report mentioned that there have been nine suicides of military personnel (in the past year, I believe I heard) at that base, one which has also contributed more casualties than any other US base. Bush/Cheney adventurism comes home to roost, and by the way, nobody from neocon territory is harping about supporting the troops. We need not wonder why.

I see this as another example of the impotence of violence as a way to address even the execution of violence, let alone some fairy-story threat conjured for or by Big Oil. Enacting violence on human beings exacts a toll on a human being. Just because we can’t see it happen as aphysical cause-and-effect doesn’t mean it’s not inevitable. The ancient Christians knew this well. Even as they formulated just war justifications, they realized that soldiers are damaged by the violence they commit, even when justified by circumstance or admittedly heroic defense. Soldiers were sent to monasteries to do penance, sometimes for years. It wasn’t intended as a punishment any more than a person is confined to a hospital for gravely serious injuries or illness. It’s not unlike stepping in front of a truck to save an innocent pedestrian. The virtue of the act doesn’t change the reality that several tons of metal will crush the hero’s body. And if the hero doesn’t die, she or he will face a long, painful rehab from debilitation.

The best thing President Obama can do is to affirm the declared victory of Mr Bush and withdraw American troops from Asia as quickly and as safely as possible. The alternative will be a continued psychic and moral damage to military personnel. The very least the federal government can do is to steer care and attention to the soldiers battered in any way by these senseless escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fighting these wars have weakened this nation economically, morally, and spiritually. They have spawned lies and self-deception in our citizenry. It’s time to heal. It would be one matter if an innocent child were in danger of getting crushed by a truck. The neocons have fashioned a phantom to protect out of an oil slick and a stack of money.

Feel free to comment, but if you’re going to attack pacifism directly, please be prepared with some serious answers to the questions I’d ask of the President or anyone else attempting to justify this mess.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Fort Hood

  1. Tony says:

    This whole political correctness thing got those soldiers killed. The gunman was a radical islamist and a traitor to the United States who exhibited all the signs of future violence, but was overlooked so as not to offend his Muslim sensibilities.

    To couch this in anti-war terms is disingenuous at best.

  2. Todd says:

    No, Tony.

    You can think deeper on this.

    The soldiers were killed because one person went on a tragic tilt. PC had nothing to do with it. PC didn’t have anything to do with military suicides. PC doesn’t have anything to do with the strains these military deployments are putting on young marriages.

    The conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, mainly in not having a clue, leave the military adrift and fractured, not only in policy and in the strategy of war and defense, but also in the nature of the sacrifice being asked of young Americans.

    In other words, a sacrifice might be asked of people battling a Hitler, if you’ll pardon the cliche, and perhaps the damage done to families and culture would be mitigated somewhat by a clear and honorable cause.

    The Bush/Cheney legacy is to give us a foreign adventure of war profiteering in search of a justification–any justification at all.

    The rest of your argument is torpedoed, my friend. Clearly, “exhibiting all the signs” wasn’t enough for the FBI or the MP, as they let this guy continue on, it seems, for at least six months. Were his commanders and investigators in deer-freeze because they were desperate to shift a psychiatrist from Walter Reed to Asia? Ponder this: would an embittered Muslim be safer to his fellow soldiers in a war zone?

    Even the non-pacifists among us should be asking a whole boatload of questions on this one.

    It is clear the warmongers among us care nothing at all for supporting the troops. It would seem anti-war Americans have the moral high ground at this stage. I plan to use it.

    Is it time for me to suggest Mr Cheney move to Canada or Brunei or somewhere? That would be in keeping with the aimless strategy of the pro-war Righ: discredit the dissenters and invite them to leave the area.

    In truth, I think he should stay put. I also think the most loyal gesture to our brave military personnel is to steer the money away from the Asian black holes and commit ourselves instead to healing the ones we can heal. Our own.

  3. Tony says:

    This guy was not targeted for investigation because of the fear of “religious persecution” charges against a Muslim.

    Multiculturalism is going to be the death of our society.

  4. Todd says:

    There are some smart arguments coming from the Right. This is not one of them.

    Lots of sins are lining up to be the death of human society. If multiculturalism is one, it’s in a crowded waiting room with a very large number on its ticket.

    C’mon, Tony, you can do better than this. You’ve posted a suspicion. Now you have to make a case for it. The alternative is a much lower number in the queue.

    The guy, supposedly, posted in a public internet forum, and they knew it. Your premise is ludicrous. It’s actually more logical to take the conspiracy theory approach and suggest the CIA or the military were going to off him once he got to Afghanistan.

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