Friday, July 29, 2011

The Air Force invokes God...and I think I agree.



A Facebook friend posted an article from the Center for Inquiry to my fb page. It seems the Air Force has included a discussion of religious/biblical justification for nuclear war as part of the training for those charged with launching nuclear missiles. Here is the short article, worth a two minute read: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/news/cfi_condemns_use_of_religious_materials_for_instruction_in_nuclear_war_ethi

I am ambivalent. Not sure where I land on this. My instincts tell me that with the hyper-religiosity inherent in the Air Force Academy (a major issue with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) and throughout the military services that this is another proselytizing attempt at worst, or the unnecessary invoking of Judeo-Christian doctrine at best.

But on the other hand there is a reality that must be confronted. A vast portion of the military is in fact Christian. They were before they entered the military, and carry that affliction around with them on active duty. In the unique position these nuclear missile specialists are in, they would be faced with a life changing ethical/moral dilemma in the event they are asked to launch nuclear weapons. The very thought of such an event should send shivers up all of our spines as its ramifications, including global nuclear war, is the stuff nightmares are made of.

If any one of those airmen hesitates just long enough to ask the question "What would Jesus Do?” or start babbling prayers for guidance, or fumbling with their rosary beads and waiting for a sign from God during the critical moment, we could well be worse off as a nation than had the launch order been immediately executed...unquestioned and instantaneously. If by settling the religious issue or, shall I say, if by justifying mass killing on religious grounds as part of training it eliminates that hesitation, then this may in fact be a reasoned and logical approach.

So, it's not proselytizing to non-Xtians, or even the government endorsing one religion over another. It’s a matter of recognition that the job of these selected few, largely believing, must never be impaired by thinking too hard on how their deity perceives mass destruction. They lay it out and nail it shut: “He's done it lots of times, and He has endorsed it lots more... it’s all good. So be ready to push the button on command.”

I wonder if CFI has given it this kind of thoughtful consideration. I’ll give the Air Force a pass on this one.

[Thanks to Linda Mortensen for the inspiration for this article]

11 comments:

Fifthgen said...

I think I'm ready to wave my hat in the air as I ride the bomb, just like Slim Pickens did in "Dr. Strangelove" and help protect my precious bodily fluids from all these goddamn Christians and all the rest of these god/allah fearing souls! More people have died in the name of GOD than for any other reason; I'll die to protect and continue my species on this little planet called Earth.

Kompani said...

America appears to have a need to hate someone or an idology, have a mass of technology to help and a God to justify it. These are the signs of an imature country, look at Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. To invoke 'God' lays the blame and reason elsewhere. A 'God' will always be there in the win but never in the loss.

Early Out said...

Hump: "If any one of those airmen hesitates..., we could well be worse off as a nation than had the launch order been immediately executed...unquestioned and instantaneously."

If Gen. Jack D. Ripper issues the launch order, I think I want some airman to stop and think about whether this is really a good idea.

I was under the impression that "I was just following orders" had been pretty well discredited. Do we really want servicemen and women who blindly follow all orders?

Dromedary Hump said...

Early,
I long ago abandoned basing reality on movies.

The answer to your question is: No, I don't want 1 million men and women in the service to question every order given to them, or to hesitate to evaluate it's legitimacy. Yes, I want them to follow lawful orders as directed by their senior/commanding officers and the President of the United States.

Putting ones religious precepts ahead of duty is a recipe for disaster.

Early Out said...

Hump: "Putting ones religious precepts ahead of duty is a recipe for disaster."

True. But I think putting ones rational thought processes behind duty is equally dangerous. I really, really don't want world-ending weapons in the hands of people who have abandoned all rationality. Blind obedience to orders scares the crap out of me.

Momma Moonbat said...

Early, missles are launched by decoding a sequence of commands. It takes four people to do it. (I dated a BMAT back in the day and he told me all this nifty info.) I don't want a single one of the four questioning orders. If you can't bring yourself to launch the missle, don't be a BMAT. I'm with Hump on this. It's not trying to "win souls for jebus". It's getting his followers to accept that it's alright to follow orders when those orders include kill and destroy the enemy.

Dromedary Hump said...

Early,
You weren't in the military, were you?

If rational thought came ahead of duty noone in their right mind would take up arms and put their life on the line. Not for YOU your family or your freedoms. They'd stay at home, lock the door, and hope someone else will carry that rifle and expose themselves to death.

No...soliders do not/cannot allow "rational thought" to supplant directives. Only if the alarmbell goes off that says this is in violation of the UCMJ may a soldier question an order.

That's the way it has been for a few 1000 years, the way it is, and the way it must be lest we don't have an effective military and have to rely instead on independent thought/free agency/chaos.

I'll go with the former.

Early Out said...

I'm sure you didn't intend this, but your preference for unquestioning obedience seems to argue for getting rid of the pesky Nuremberg Principle IV: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

Deciding whether an otherwise lawful order (i.e., issued by someone properly in command) violates international law or the UCMJ requires, by definition, something other than immediate, unquestioning obedience. Moral choices have to be made, and that's the way I prefer it.

Dromedary Hump said...

Early,
STOP..you're sniffing the wrong tree trunk.

Committing an act known to be illegal by the GC or the UCMJ is infact an unlawful act. It is ones duty to refuse to follow an unlawful order. Period.

NOW..stop confusing that with the lawful order, as part of an established protocol, to launch.
I do NOT want the guys with the keys to the launch process asking WWJD, and will god punish me for this. I want them to do their duty. So do you unless you are nuts.

This isn't rocket science...oh wait, yes it is.

Alex Reynolds said...

Sorry Hump, you are all wrong. I do not put "duty" above my principles, especially for a country that tortures people, and has committed acts of atrocity equal to that of the Nazis and even now commits them. Testing drugs on people in Guatemala, allowing Monsanto to get away with Murder, and atrocities committed world wide..... I do NOT support the military and NEVER will. They are murderers plain and simple and I am happy to say whenever a national secret comes out that embarasses them, I celebrate. This country is way out of control and is run by big money, plain and simple. That is not an authority anyone should ever follow and with the Occupy movement, Im glad to see the beginnings of revolution in America. Things need to change and no matter what it takes, it will happen and you dont have the intelligence to understand that all nations are finite and that this one has become corrupt and needs to be remade then you are just as lost as the military and government is.

Alex Reynolds said...

The American govt, which is run by super PACs and big money and conducts to support big corporations and prop up GMO, even resorting to threaten Europe, in spite of all the non-Monsanto sponsored research that proves their dangers, needs to be afraid of the people and the Occupy movement. We're taking the country by storm and the goal is nothing less than a true revolution :-) It will happen, and way sooner than they think. The founding fathers would be turning in their graves to see the rampant violations of the constitution, from the TSA sexually harassing hundreds of women to the plutocratic nature of our country to violations of privacy tha Ben Franklin famously wrote about: "Those who favor security over liberty, deserve neither." Fortunately, we can bankrupt large corporations like the drug and agribusiness industry with class action lawsuits so Monsanto's usage of Agent Orange and PCBs and Mercury can be put to an end and with war vets joining the Occupy movement, well you know former soldiers know war is nothing but a hypocrisy and brain washing of the people by big money and bad authority. They should have realized this when the CIA started experimenting with nukes on their own people or ordered LSD to be given to mental patients or the experiments with syphilis done on blacks. Remember, the govt should fear the people, not the other way around and they are finally starting to, but it's too late for them.

Funny to see the US Military taking in former Nazis and using their methods.... it isn't rocket science to see who the real bad guys here are, oh wait......

http://www.truth-out.org/air-force-cites-new-testament-ex-nazi-train-officers-ethics-launching-nuclear-weapons/1311776738

http://www.truth-out.org/air-force-pulls-christian-themed-ethics-training-missile-officers/1311972789

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/07/28/air-force-teaching-guide-minimizes-history-of-recruiting-nazis-part-two/