Friday, December 17, 2010


From a correspondent:

The [Wikileaks] have undermined the relationship between our nation and other nations, and now they aren't willing to send us confidential documents, including negotiations. Aren't we conducting sensitive negotiations in the North Korean part of the world right now? Is the Pentagon allowed to keep things secret from the people such as how to construct nuclear weaponry? VX gas? if they didn't keep secrets, we would have many more biological weapons on the streets.

You've asked a reasonable set of questions. They deserve a principled set of answers. I'll state my principles first and then apply them.

First, Christians are to do everything for the glory of God. Only God, his word, his church, and his people are eternal. Anything that gets in the way of the God's kingdom is expendable. We know we are serving his kingdom when we obey his word; there is no other test.

Second, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means treating them the way we want to be treated. At the base, that means that we don't do to them what we don't want done to us: we leave their bodies and property alone; we don't violate them directly, by proxy, or by deceit. Again, we know we are serving our neighbors when we are obeying the word of God and not doing to them anything we would not want them to do to us.

I don't need to tell you that North Korea does not live by these principles, but I may need to remind you that Uncle Sam also violates them: he takes your tax money and uses it to facilitate abortions; he touches the genitals and other private parts of men, women, and young children at airports; he has taken the capital that businessmen who could otherwise have hired a certain intelligent graduate of an exclusive Christian college and given it to some of the richest people the world has ever known, first through loan guarantees and then through bailouts; he has destroyed the doctor–patient relationship that was the mainstay of community health through fascist and now socialized medicine, as well as the cohesion of the family through Social Security and "public" schools. He has arrogated to himself the right to determine what you may and may not (under penalty of jail) put in your body or look at or read. He tortures people accused—not convicted—of crimes. He reads your e-mail, and he keeps track of every Web site you visit, everywhere you go, and every purchase you make.

(To the last of which you no doubt say, "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear." To which I say, if Uncle Sam has done nothing wrong, he has nothing to fear from Bradley Manning.)

Does he do this for the glory of God? Or is it more likely that he's looking out for himself and those in his inner circle? Do we not agree that to ask that question is to answer it?

So why is he negotiating with North Korea? What business is it of ours what North Korea does? Is Uncle Sam about to bring the kingdom of God to North Korea?

It's a little-known fact that when US soldiers first went to Korea in 1945—years before what we think of as the Korean War—they were resisted forcibly by South Koreans. Needless to say, those Koreans didn't live to tell their side of the story.

And that was over 50 years ago. Why are US soldiers still there? South Korea has a world-class economy; North Korea is a well-armed pauper. Why don't we leave the Koreans to sort out their differences? "South Korea might go communist." So what? Vietnam went communist, but that didn't stop me from having a Vietnamese guest for dinner a while back or wearing shoes made in Vietnam today.

What good would it do North Korea to bomb us? If they come here under the banner of "what's yours is yours; let's make a deal," they would be as welcome as immigrants were a century or so ago (and, as anti-immigration politicians who get caught hiring illegals demonstrate, still are today), and they wouldn't have to hide in a fortress to keep from being IED'd by "insurgents."

Why would they invade if there were, as Yamamoto put it, "an armed American behind every blade of grass"? "Ah, but Americans aren't all armed." Could that have anything to do with Uncle Sam's ban on private citizens owning heavy arms?

"But if we could own combat weapons, America would become a war zone." Only if America is the dirt under our feet: America is the idea that people have the right to life, liberty, and property, and Americans don't use weapons offensively. If the US were to become a war zone, it's because the church hasn't done its job to convince people that God's ways are best, even for nonbelievers. And Uncle Sam certainly isn't putting that word out.

Uncle Sam is not doing what the Torah says he should be doing—forcing those who violate others' bodies and property to make restitution to their victimvs, and executing those for whose crimes restitution is impossible (and yes, I'm leaving aside for the moment my claim that the Torah does not allow for what we know as a state)—and he is doing a lot of things he shouldn't be doing. In fact, if we knew more of what he's doing but keeping secret from us, we might be motivated enough to tell the emperor he has no clothes and laugh so hard at his nakedness that he beats a retreat. If only we had someone with access to his secrets....

As for the building of nuclear weapons and development of VX gas, use of both of those weapons systems necessarily violates the just war theory requirement that noncombatants not be targeted. If A fears B and so acts in such a way that may or may not stop B but will certainly kill C, who is otherwise not involved, he is a murderer. I assume you didn't vote for Obama, so this should make my point: If the Iranians were to fear Obama and so engage in a pre-emptive that cost you your eyesight, wouldn't you cry out for God to hold them morally accountable? That's what Uncle Sam has done to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, at least 70 percent of those who have gone through the hell of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib.

If Germany had had a Bradley Manning in 1938, there might not have been an Auschwitz. For that matter, if there had been a Bradley Manning in Wilson's White House in 1917, the US might not have gotten involved in the War to End All Wars, and there might not have been a Hitler to begin with.

As Crovelli put it, if the system from Manning's immediate superiors to the White House is involved in murder and cover-up, where should he have gone with the information he had? Isn't the biblical course of action to bring these things to light (Pr 24:12; Ep 5:12-14)?

What is Uncle Sam using all those secrets to protect us from?

Communism? With Obama in the White House and the GOP preaching Obamunism Lite, what do we lose if we lose that we haven't already lost?

Are you afraid you'll have to wear a burqa? I like grokking cleavages at least as much as the next guy, but I'm not proud to say it. Maybe burqas would make life easier for me. I'm not a woman, but I think I'd prefer wearing a burqa to being felt up at the airport. Oh, I forgot: they feel up women in burqas, too.

Bankruptcy? Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt alone will cost as much as the entire federal budget before long.

Back to principles: Are we spreading the kingdom of God by supporting Uncle Sam's activities? Or are we spreading the predations of a government run amok? Does Uncle Sam treat our neighbors the way we would want to be treated?

I say no, yes, and no. If you disagree, rejoice! You're in the majority (Mt 7:13). I just hope that when your heroes get their way they don't decide I'm more valuable to them alive than dead, because I think that when that day comes the living will envy the dead (Re 9:6). I gather that Bradley Manning already does.


  1. I don't know if you answered my questions. In the case of North Korea, the united states is engaged or soon will be engaged in the 6 party talks. These are peaceful countries trying to talk down a dictator who is trying to make the history books before he dies. These sensitive negotiations should not be suspected as being published the next day by Wiki. VX gas: Is government allowed to keep ANY secrets? Nuclear weapons:if they aren't allowed to keep secrets, then people like bill gates could go out and buy some nukes and nerve gas. Heck, nukes were discovered 70 years ago the free market would have'em a dime a dozen.

  2. I spent a paragraph arguing that the US is not a peaceful country; any Cherokee would agree with me. And as bad as Uncle Sam is, he's much better than most. And, as the article on USAMGIK that I linked to shows, Uncle Sam has been pursuing his own, not our Korean Christian brethren's, interests in Korea for 65 years already, and he's not done messing things up yet.
    Just a glance at the Wikipedia article on VX gas leaves me thinking any chemistry major so motivated could make it, and I've heard that almost everything you need to know about building atomic weapons is on the Web. Bill Gates is not my favorite person by a long shot, but I'd rather have him controlling the nukes *and being transparent about it* than having a bunch of people no better than he keeping their doings secret.
    When it comes to government secrecy, I can do no better than Thomas Jefferson: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter" (context here:

  3. In case I still haven't answered the question, let me put it this way: Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned, and Romans 6:23 says that the wages, the just reward, for sin is death. It follows that God grants us life and property only in that he grants no one permission to take it from us; we have no inherent right to either. However, when we transgress against the bodies or property of others, God removes the prohibition from "the community" and allows it to force the miscreant to make restitution.
    So in a word, no, government (even if granted the right to exist, which I don't) does not have the right to secrecy, and that goes double for governments known to have committed murder and deception, as Uncle Sam has.
    Rumor has it that when Hillary Clinton called some functionary of another government to smooth feathers that might have been ruffled by the Wikileaks, his reply was, "That was nothing. You should hear what we say about you."

  4. You still didn't answer my questions. North Korea is trying to shake up the peace in the civilized world, so we are negotiating with them and six other large countries to give them party favors and trying to avoid a war. While I admit that the US hasn't been straightforward or beneficial in some of its work overseas, preventing a war where the hundreds of thousands of troops march toward south Korea's automated killing machines that are south of the DMZ is a good idea. There's a reason the death machines were recently made public. Those negotiations where china agrees to send 5% more electricity over the border to keep Nkorea happy should remain confidential.

    VX gas was specifically uninvented because it is so lethal. If you were murdered using VX gas, 3-4 other people would die in discovering you before they realized they needed to put on VX gas masks and full gas protection. It required it's own national treaty beyond what the Geneva convention banned. If anyone had access to VX gas, we would have school VXing, instead of school shootings. Oh, and everyone dies when you VX a school. I don't mind the government keeping weapons of that lethality away from the public.

    If Bill gates went online and bought a nuke, what prevents him from nuking the building beside oracle headquarters and saying it was terrorists? If bill gates can get nukes, howabout Nutjob? Has he not explicity threatened to turn israel to glass? What about hezbollah? they'd get the tech, and would have more incentive to bomb israel. The nuclear bombs have such lethality that once it has gone off, it would be impossible to tell who did it unless they claimed it. Bill gates doesn't have to be transparent about it. People not familiar with world events don't know about Sudan's second civil war and how many millions of people have died. Put nukes in their hands, and how many more people would die?

    So you're defending Wikileaks based on the fact that our negotiations and leaked memos aren't as bad as other nations with the Hillary comment? Whoa!

    The Pentagon is involved in technology that would sink every ship in the water besides it's own. If we were involved in a war, one of our ships could sink every ship in Europe and China's fleets (not subs), untouched. Do you want to give that technology to the angry students that want to make a statement by destroying school buildings? Why not give that technology to North Korea? They could think of some ships they want to sink. The wages of sin would involve the United States navy on the bottom of the ocean.

  5. I've tried again with a new post: