"If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all." ~ Virginia Woolf
Destroying Life in Order to Save It
Exclusive to STR
To: Jerry Bowyer, talk-show host, WORD-FM, Pittsburgh
From: Mike Tennant, Christian
Dear Mr. Bowyer:
I tuned in your WORD-FM radio program shortly after five o'clock Tuesday afternoon in time to hear you introduce your guest, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Knowing that politicians and their advisers tend to appear on shows where they can expect a relatively friendly chat, and knowing your political leanings, I was not too surprised to discover Mr. Rumsfeld on your show. However, when I heard you greet the secretary with the announcement that you are a great admirer of his, I felt at once both dismayed and compelled to voice my strong disapproval to you. (I'll also admit that, after that opening, I tuned my radio to another station so as to avoid hearing the love-fest that was about to ensue.)
You see, I find it unseemly that a professed Christian should find anything at all to admire in a man who has participated in the brazen violation of at least three of the Ten Commandments. It is one thing to have a conversation with a person who has sinned, as we all have; it is quite another not only to converse with him but also to pat him on the back for his sins. Jesus was frequently criticized for fraternizing with sinners, but he also told those same sinners to repent (see John 8:11 , for example). Had he been granted an audience with Caesar, it is unthinkable that our Lord would have bowed and spoken words of praise to the emperor. You, however, have seen fit to do just that.
The first commandment broken by Mr. Rumsfeld'and I have little doubt that you will scoff at this as a piece of extremist rhetoric'is 'You shall not steal' (Ex. 20:15 ). After all, does not the secretary earn his living by legalized theft, i.e., taxation? Does not his entire department operate with additional stolen money? If you or I were to hold a gun to someone's head and demand he pay us a salary, we would be thrown in prison for a long time to come. How is taxation any different? No man or group of men can, by legislative fiat, change the laws that God has set down in his Word.
The defense secretary's second broken commandment is 'You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor' (Ex. 20:16 ). Mr. Rumsfeld, and indeed the entire government of which he is a part, excelled in giving false testimony against Saddam Hussein. (Whether or not the victim of one's lies is a good person himself is irrelevant; there are no caveats to the commandments.) It is now patently obvious to all but the most pigheaded partisan that Saddam Hussein did not possess the weapons, weapons programs, or working relationship with al-Qaeda that the Bush Administration'following the lead of its predecessor, hardly a paragon of veracity'so adamantly claimed he did.
Here are some sample lies from Mr. Rumsfeld:
'We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.' (March 30, 2003)
'I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.' (May 14, 2003) This is directly contradicted by the fact that the vice president himself, on March 16, 2003 , had flatly stated: 'We believe [Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.'
'[Saddam Hussein's] regime has amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX and sarin and mustard gas.' (Sept. 18, 2002)
'But I can say obviously that [Hussein and his regime] have had an enormous appetite for weapons, biological and chemical weapons. They've taken these capabilities and weaponized them. They are continuing to do so today.' (Sept. 18, 2002)
Trying to justify these lies as the result of 'intelligence failures' is just as underhanded as were the attempts by the Clinton administration to blame its various illegalities on 'bureaucratic snafus.' We now know that there was much uncertainty among the intelligence agencies about these and similar claims but that the Office of Special Plans, established as an independent unit within the Defense Department, massaged the existing intelligence or even created its own 'intelligence' to help bolster the administration's charges against Iraq . Clearly, as has been the case in every other war in which the United States has become involved, the government lied us into it, and Mr. Rumsfeld was an integral part of that fairy-tale factory.
I note, by the way, that I, a lowly taxpayer in western Pennsylvania with no means of getting powerful government officials to sit down with me for a cup of tea'and thank goodness for that!'never once bought into the administration's phony-baloney stories about Iraq. How is it that I, armed with nothing but an Internet connection, could see through this pack of lies while some of the most powerful men in the world were taken in by it (that is, assuming that the 'faulty intelligence' excuse is to be believed)? Answer: Either the Bush administration is composed of idiots, which it clearly is not, or they lied to us on purpose.
Furthermore, Secretary Rumsfeld is guilty of duplicity, if not outright lying, in other matters. He, for example, is the one who, just hours after the disaster of September 11, 2001 , ordered his subordinates to find a way to pin the crime on Saddam Hussein so that 9/11 could be used as a pretext for war on Iraq . Mr. Rumsfeld is also among the members of the Bush administration who, as members of the Reagan administration, helped supply Hussein with the very weapons that they later claimed he could not be trusted to possess'and then tried to blame the gassing of the Kurds on Iran at the time it occurred, only later to use it as a bludgeon with which to beat Hussein. (See, e.g., this famous photo of Mr. Rumsfeld glad-handing Hussein back in 1983.)
The third commandment violated by Mr. Rumsfeld is, of course, 'You shall not murder' (Ex. 20:13 ). Oh, Rummy has never personally murdered anyone, but he has directed a campaign of mass murder under the euphemism of war. How else would one describe a project that has resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Americans and anywhere from 27,000 to over 100,000 Iraqis?
Arguing that the hoped-for good results of the war (democracy, freedom, or whatever the administration's Panglossian talking point du jour is) can ever justify such an action is nothing but vile and puts one in the company of the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, and the Nazis, all of whom had wonderful plans for the world'in their opinions'which could only be brought to fruition by the deaths of millions of their fellow human beings. (Quoth Vladimir Lenin, 'You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.') The end can never justify the means, or else the apostle Paul would not have admonished us to avoid the temptation to 'do evil that good may result' (Rom. 3:8).
These are but a few of the ways in which Mr. Rumsfeld has broken the clear commandments of God. Now tell me again, please, how much you admire Donald Rumsfeld and how strongly you support President Bush.
Conservative Christians today, rather than recognizing the state as the greatest temporal enemy of the faith and of human freedom, have thrown in their lot with a political party which betrays them and the teachings of their Savior at every turn and with a president who, while claiming to be a Christian, violates those same teachings and, further, bluntly denies the central tenet of the faith, namely, that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father except through him. (Don't think I'm shilling for the Democrats; they're no better.)
It is time for Christians to stop being court jesters for the Republican Party'for they are played for fools by practically every politician claiming to be on their side'and to start being courtiers of the only One who can save them.
'It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes' (Psalm 118:9).