Reading about Bowe Bergdahl in the papers since his release from captivity on May 31, made me think of another soldier, whose memorial service I attended on June 9.  Jack had been in Special Forces for many years.  He had learned Arabic and Farsi as part of his training, which included joint training with the British, the Saudis, the Australians, and others in parts of Africa he didn’t talk much about.

    . . .


    Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), an organization that includes those who fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan, decided six years ago that continuing the war in Afghanistan was wrong on several counts:


    “[T]here is no battlefield solution to terrorism, and any escalation of the war in Afghanistan will only serve to exacerbate the plight of the Afghan people, destabilize the region, and further the breakdown of our military . . . Iraq Veterans Against the War calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces in Afghanistan and reparations for the Afghan people, and supports all troops and veterans working towards those ends.”


    I am sorry that Bowe Bergdahl became trapped in a quagmire not of his making.  But today’s US military, for all the patriotic nonsense that is spewed forth by many well-meaning people, is an instrument of war that serves the interest of politicians and the corporations that make money off of war.  It is likely to destroy Bergdahl, just as it destroyed Jack, though in a different way.  It is a multi-headed beast that destroys the “better angels of our nature.” And it has destroyed the lives of many fine Americans, who too late discover that being a “Universal Soldier” is not the way to a peaceful world.

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  • Taking Direct Action Against the Theocrats

    Evangelical Pastor Bob Smith delivers an invocation before the San Marcos City Council


    The US Supreme Court has now given public officials in the US clear permission to promote and propagandize for the religion of their choice (mostly Christian), as well as religion in general, while performing their public duties.  Five justices, all Catholic (one other Catholic opposed the decision) made up the majority in Town of Greece v. Galloway, decided on May 5, 2014.  How this ruling can afford equal protection for everyone has not been explained.



    The Greece case is a victory for all Christians who need the government to endorse their religion, which shows that they have too much faith in the government and not enough faith in their chosen religion

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  • How Clemson's Football Coach Uses Religion to Manipulate His Players

    For the last half-century, Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, has been a coeducational, public institution.  Lately, however, Clemson has seemed more like a private religious school.  Its head football coach, Dabo Swinney, recruits players based on his philosophy that being a Christian means that he has good values, so he lets all of his recruits and their families know that he is a devout Christian of the Baptist persuasion.  Not only does Swinney use his personal Christian beliefs to recruit, he uses religion to manipulate, control, and motivate his players.


    Being religious has never assured that a person is moral, fair, kind, charitable, competent, or any of dozens more attributes one might want to associate with being religious. I suppose Swinney never knew that Hitler was a Christian (though he was Catholic, not Baptist), or that the Ku Klux Klan is a proud Christian organization.


    What Swinney is, without doubt, is sanctimonious and disingenuous.

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