Thursday, November 10, 2011

How To Thank A Veteran

Previously: Best Evidence For The Book of Mormon

The post I had originally prepared for this Veterans day was another of my overlong diatribes bemoaning the fetishistic military worship that has marked this anniversary for the past decade.  But after re-reading it, I think I came off a bit overly cynical, so I have scrapped that screed in favor of just presenting a few short videos that better express my views, including some words from a handful of American military veterans I very much admire.

But first I'd like to introduce you to someone else I very much admire: Dr. Laurence M.Vance.  Dr. Vance should be of interest to latter-day Saints because he is an expert on the early Christian church, particularly as it existed in the first century A.D.

Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the modern incarnation of that first century church, we should expect to find Dr. Vance's vast body of scholarship of some use to us as we compare the similarities between that church and the version we embrace today.

Dr. Vance owns a publishing company, and he has made the world of biblical scholarship richer by reprinting 146 rare books that are all but unavailable anywhere else. He is also proficient in ancient Greek and Hebrew, and has translated a number of works himself.

But where Dr. Vance has had the most direct influence on my own thinking is in his research and commentaries on the history and theology of the Christian's duty concerning war.  His book on that topic, Christianity and War, so triggered a paradigm shift in my thinking that I bought an entire case of 36 copies and gave them away with missionary zeal.  I have never before in my life bought a bunch of books just to give them away, other than the Book of Mormon.  That may give those familiar with my miserly ways some idea about how essential I believe Dr. Vance's book to be to any discussion of war as it pertains to the follower's of Christ. I wish everyone would read it, especially my fellow Mormons.

All this is by way of offering one of Laurence Vance's own Veteran's day pieces in this space in liu of my own.  If I could have written something more spot-on about the subject, I would; but everything I could possibly say has already been said better by him.  So, lifted in its entirety from, here is Dr. Vance's short essay on whether or not it's appropriate for disciples of Christ to be thanking today's soldiers for their "service."

Thank You for Your Service?

Recently by Laurence M. Vance: The Warmonger’s Lexicon
It is without question that Americans are in love with the military. Even worse, though, is that their love is unqualified, unconditional, unrelenting, and unending.

I have seen signs praising the troops in front of all manner of businesses, including self-storage units, bike shops, and dog grooming.
Many businesses offer discounts to military personnel not available to doctors, nurses, and others who save lives instead of destroy them.

Special preference is usually given to veterans seeking employment, and not just for government jobs.

Many churches not only recognize veterans and active-duty military on the Sunday before holidays, they have special military appreciation days as well.

Even many of those who oppose an interventionist U.S. foreign policy and do not support foreign wars hold the military in high esteem.

All of these things are true no matter which country the military bombs, invades, or occupies. They are true no matter why the military does these things. They are true no matter what happens while the military does these things. They are true no matter which political party is in power.

The love affair that Americans have with the military – the reverence, the idolatry, the adoration, yea, the worship – was never on display like it was at the post office the other day.

While at the counter shipping some packages, a U.S. soldier, clearly of Vietnamese origin in name and appearance, dressed in his fatigues, was shipping something at the counter next to me. The postal clerk was beaming when he told the soldier how his daughter had been an MP in Iraq. Three times in as many minutes I heard the clerk tell the soldier – with a gleam in his eye and a solemn look on his face – "Thank you for your service." The clerk even shook the soldier’s hand before he left.

I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing, and I am no stranger to accounts of military fetishes in action.

Aside from me not thanking that soldier for his service – verbally or otherwise – I immediately thought of four things.

One, what service did this soldier actually render to the United States? If merely drawing a paycheck from the government is rendering service, then we ought to thank every government bureaucrat for his service, including TSA goons. Did this soldier actually do anything to defend the United States, secure its borders, guard its shores, patrol its coasts, or enforce a no-fly zone over U.S. skies? How can someone blindly say "thank you for your service" when he doesn’t know what service was rendered?

Two, is there anything that U.S. soldiers could do to bring the military into disfavor? I can’t think of anything. Atrocities are dismissed as collateral damage in a moment of passion in the heat of battle by just a few bad apples. Unjust wars, we are told, are solely the fault of politicians not the soldiers that do the actual fighting. Paul Tibbets and his crew are seen as heroes for dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Before he died, Tibbets even said that he had no second thoughts and would do it again. I suspect that if the United States dropped an atomic bomb tomorrow on Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing everyone and everything, and declaring the war on terror over and won, a majority of Americans would applaud the Air Force crew that dropped the bomb and give them a ticker-tape parade.

Three, why is it that Americans only thank American military personnel for their service? Shouldn’t foreign military personnel be thanked for service to their country? What American military worshippers really believe is that foreign military personnel should only be thanked for service to their government when their government acts in the interests of the United States. Foreign soldiers are looked upon as heroic if they refuse to obey a military order to shoot or kill at the behest of their government as long as such an order is seen as not in the interests of the United States. U.S. soldiers, however, are always expected to obey orders, even if it means going to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Libya under false pretenses.

And four, what is a Vietnamese man – who most certainly has relatives, or friends or neighbors of relatives, that were killed or injured by U.S. bombs and bullets during the Vietnam War – doing joining the U.S. military where he can be sent to shoot and bomb foreigners like the U.S. military did to his people?

And aside from these four things, I’m afraid I must also say: Sorry, soldiers, I don’t thank you for your service.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in fighting foreign wars.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in fighting without a congressional declaration of war.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in expanding the war on terror to Pakistan and Yemen.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in occupying over 150 countries around the world.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in garrisoning the planet with over 1,000 military bases.
  • I don’t thank you for your service in defending our freedoms when you do nothing of the kind.
  • I don’t thank you for your service as part of the president’s personal attack force to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.
Thank you for your service? I don’t think so.
July 19, 2011
Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

What If They Had A War And Everybody Came?

The next thing I'd like to offer on this Veterans Day is three short clips from the 1969 British film, Oh What a Lovely War. I was in high school when this movie came out, and didn't see it then because, like all good latter-day Saint youths, I was an unabashed hawk about the war in Vietnam.  Anti-war movies like this one represented anti-patriotic godless anti-Americanism to me in those days. There couldn't possibly be anything worthwhile in a film that went against what I thought at the time were the teachings of my religion.

So two weeks ago I rented Oh What a Lovely War through Netflix, and saw it for the first time.  I still have not returned it. After watching all the extras and commentary, I decided I have to own this movie, so I've ordered a copy off Ebay.  As with those three dozen copies of Christianity and War, actually buying a movie to own is something I seldom do anymore.  Money is too scarce, and life too short to watch the same film over and over.  But this one had an effect on me that grabbed me and won't let go.

At a time when the approach of World War Three is practically a foregone conclusion, it would serve us all well to reflect upon the causes of World War One.  As with our current quagmires, we know how that war got started, we just don't really know why it kept going and how it got so out of hand. Oh What a Lovely War presents the answers both to how the leaders of Europe cavalierly started World War I , and why it kept escalating long after those doing the actual fighting just wanted it to be over.

This first clip demonstrates how easily young men can be duped into enlisting by getting them to see themselves as gallant heroes in the service of their country. As is often the case, pretty hometown girls are employed to do the enticing. This clip features a smooth-faced Maggie Smith, decades before she went on to teach at Hogwart's.

This second clip makes me weep every time I watch it. It shows the British soldiers in the trenches on Christmas eve, just months after the war began.  Trench warfare has brought the war to an early stalemate as each side has hunkered down in their respective ditches.  Just prior to this scene, the British "Tommies" hear the faint sound of the carol Silent Night being sung by some of the German soldiers across the way. The Tommies have responded with a carol of their own, then there is silence until one of the Jerries calls out a friendly proposal.

The closing scene of the film portrays the last soldier to die in that unnecessary war. The final shot is both sobering and impressive, given the fact that CGI did not exist at the time this movie was made:

So You Want To Thank A Vet

I recently came across the following at The Daily Paul:

I am an officer in the US Army and it always makes me uncomfortable when a citizen comes up to me and says, "Thank you for your service." I always felt it was a cop out, a way to make them feel justified for not taking civic action against the government. I finally found the perfect reply to that statement: 
"You can thank me by voting Dr. Ron Paul for president 2012"
Other active duty GIs and veterans have taken up the call of this noble officer; T-shirts can be ordered with a soldier's branch and service dates on the front, and on the back the words, "You Can Thank Me By Supporting Ron Paul."

American veterans are waking up, and it's happening exponentially.  Many are learning just how expendable their own government thinks they are, and they are tired of playing the sap. Soldiers, more than most people, are tired of the status quo. Like many Americans, they've lost faith in the phony left-right paradigm that always promises change, but delivers the same ol' same ol'.

That's why Ron Paul has received twice as much in campaign donations from active duty military personnel as all the other Republican Candidates put together.  Want to see a breakdown of the top contributors to Ron Paul compared to our own Mitt Romney?

Ron Paul                                                                               Mitt Romney
US Army                                  $23,552                                 Goldman Sachs               $367,200
US Navy                                   $23,335                                Credit Suisse Group         $198,750
US Air Force                            $17,432                                 Morgan Stanley               $191,800
Mason Capital Management     $14,000                                 HIG Capital                     $186,500
Microsoft Corp                         $13,398                                 Barclay's Bank                $157,750

You'll notice that those employed by the banks were able to contribute considerably more than those poor grunts who labor in the trenches.

As for me, I support Ron Paul because his position on war is consistent with LDS scripture.

Notice I said LDS scripture, not modern LDS assumptions. The last time a president of the Church addressed the topic was just weeks after our government began the bombing of Iraq, and his tacit approval for the attacks was not very consistent with traditional Mormon teachings.  Hinckley's pronouncement on the war that was then just beginning represented a shameful vacillation that gave lip service to the words of Jesus, but ultimately came down on the side of the State. He did not pretend to have received any any kind of revelation in that talk, but was instead conveying to the congregation what he called "my personal feelings" and "my personal loyalties."

That embarrassing nothing of a conference talk stands in stark contrast to this letter from the First Presidency on the eve of World War II:
"...we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense." 
"We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put.  We believe our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialist state of some sort."
That statement is completely consistent with the numerous war chapters in the Book of Mormon, which can be distilled down to two sentences:
1. God's people are justified when they take up arms in direct defense of their wives, their children, and their lands.
 2.  When God's people take the battle into the borders of another people, God withdraws his protection from them.
If you don't feel like wading through the entire Book of Mormon just to glean those two nuggets, the Lord provides the Reader's Digest version in D&C 98.  In verse 33 He summarizes thus:
"And again, this is the alaw that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them."
Ron Paul has proposed removing all American soldiers from foreign lands and closing those 700 foreign bases that have nothing to do with the protection of America.  No wonder he's become so popular with military personnel.  You may want to keep our soldiers in harm's way, and government shills may want to keep our soldiers in harms way, and Obama, and the generals, and the Neocon warmongers may want to keep our soldiers in harm's way, but the ones constantly being put in harm's way never seem to get asked for their input.

So they've come up with a way to make their voices heard. Here is what these veterans want you to think about:

If you love liberty, it's not enough to decide to merely vote for Ron Paul. First, we have to make sure he becomes the Republican nominee in the upcoming primaries.  If, like me, you quit the Republican Party in disgust during the Bush administration, or if you are a registered Democrat, you can do what these Democrats and others are doing for their country.

Put Up Or Shut Up

So. You want to really thank a veteran?  Today's your lucky day. You can start by clicking HERE.

Update, November 14th: The Ron Paul Moneybomb collected almost a million dollars, not as much as previous moneybombs, but an astonishing amount when you realize that a good deal of it came from active duty military personnel.
Update: Eagle-eyed reader Jon informs me that Oh What A Lovely War can be viewed in it's entirety here:


Elder Scott Senior said...

Everytime I think about Mitt Romney, the J. Reuben Clark quote about wolves in sheeps clothing dressed in the habiliments of the Priesthood comes to mind.

I appreciate the sound analysis, it was for these reasons I threw away my vote in 2008 voting for Ron Paul. Hopefully one day people will catch on.

Shawn C said...

Dang, almost got first post.

One of my all time favorite LDS talks is Spencer Kimballs "The Flase Gods We Worship"...

In there he states among other things...

"We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)"

I have brought this up a time or two in church settings. It is an idea that is scoffed at the same way deploring riches is.

Makes me sad.

goingtozion said...

My favorite professor at UW was an atheist but he would start preaching about ideals, "the Carpenter's Son said, 'love thy enemy!'" Then he'd gasp for effect and just hold his breathe.

Even to my Atheist professor, Jesus' command to love our enemies was so powerful.

We have forgotten Jesus. We have become so entrenched in Babylon that the ways of Jesus are foreign to us. Places of peace like Zion are only fairy tales that we ignore.

Thanks Rock. This war stuff just breaks my heart.

Jon said...

You can watch the movie in its entirety here:

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks, Jon! I've added that link as an update at the end of the piece.

I had scoured YouTube for the movie, but all there were was disjointed clips.

I still recommend renting or buying the film for the extras, especially director Richard Attenborough's commentary detailing all the symbolism in the film.

Zo-ma-rah said...

Great stuff. i was thinking about this and I think it's important to make a distinction between the personal and familial hardships that someone in the military goes through, and their "service to the country". It's true there is no reason to thank them for serving greedy, lying governments and corporations. But we should respect and be empathetic to the hardships they go through.

But that is more of a universal thing we should be doing for all people, instead of just for military personnel.

Similar to me spending two years as a corporate recruiter in the Philippines. While now I realize I was in no way building up God's Kingdom. That doesn't mean that my experiences were worthless.

I hope that makes sense what I'm driving at.

On the lighter side I thing we should replace our military serving abroad with these guys:

Don't close the bases just replace the personnel.

Zo-ma-rah said...

Actually this clip is pretty good too(same guys):

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Are you saying we should continue to "police the world," or just ship all the blooming cops offshore?

...In which case Guantanamo might be a more appropriate destination for many of them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hands down the best ever version of Pirates of Penzance, by the way.

Zo-ma-rah said...

Rock, that's exactly what I'm saying! We will be known as the best dancing policemen ever!

According to my plan we will have three main advantages by having the Penzance policemen serving as our military abroad:

One, we will gain much more respect from the local populace. Especially when we include the coupon day which includes free Glazies on Wednesdays.

Two, we wont have to have a huge military budget to pay for all the equipment and stuff soldiers carry around. just buy some blue uniforms, pointy helmets, and sticks.

Three, ...uh...ok I forgot what number three was.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I recall that statement from President Kimball caused me quite a bit of Cog Dis when originally released. At the time I was quite the warhawk, and here was the prophet telling us we don't have to be such zealots. Really caused me to reassess my opinions. Thanks for reposting it here. That should be read and remembered by every latter-day Saint at least monthly.

Jon said...


Just for future reference all I did was a google search for the movie then clicked on the "videos" tab (on the top) and then clicked on the tab that says 20+ minutes on the left. If that doesn't work out I'll go to youtube and put in the movies name plus "part 1".

Great post BTW. I like Vance's and that book is on my to-read list. I'll have to put it higher up on the list now. But first "Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Zomarah, I wish Blogspot provided a "Like" button.

Not to further hijack my own thread, but on the subject of "I forgot what number three was," have you seen this yet?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Okay Jon, I'll trade spots, since "Healing Our Age" is on my list, but further down. I've now run it up to the top in honor of your fine advice on how to efficiently search Google for videos.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ron Paul was in Ripley's Believe it or not! So now I finally have a baseball hero:

GayBob Spongebath said...

I haven't yet watched last night's debate highlights, but I did just catch the Ron Paul highlights. The man was on fire!

Frederick said...

My favorite part of this article was the quote from the US Army officer,if you want to thank a veteran, vote for Ron Paul. Several years ago, I was in the military and recently returned from a deployment to Iraq. After my return, I often felt uncomfortable when people thanked me for my service. As a way to cope with that, I wrote an article in the newspaper that basically stated, "If you support our troops, support the Constitution."

I see a vote for Ron Paul as a vote for our Constitution. I only hope more and more people continue to feel inspired by the Spirit to reject that which destroys our free agency and promote all that defends it.

The Arkwelder said...

I'm really gonna have to wrap my head around this Libertarian Capitalist stuff one day. Ron Paul just seems like the anti-Christ to me. You know, that guy who will eventually deceive even the very elect. He just absolutely scares me. I mean, all you're saying is, "Hey, instead of electing presidents that turn out to be total sociopaths; lets just a elect a guy who's blatantly a sociopath." I mean, you guys HAVE GOT to move to Canada or some other nation for a few years, just so you can see yourselves for a moment, because you've been scaring the shit out of the globe for the past decade. When is it gonna let up? You guys are FUCKING NUTS. You need to accept that not one of you know what you're doing anymore.

Anyway, sorry about the harsh words. My favorite anti-war film is Paths of Glory, one of Kubrick's earliest before he started making less conventional films (I also like the less conventional ones, 2001 being my favorite). If you haven't seen it, it's a must see.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Are you basing your assessment of Ron Paul on his own words, or are you basing it on the assessment of others?

I would welcome evidence to prove that the only consistent champion of the Constitution in the room is a blatant sociopath. I would expect the anti-Christ to be smooth and slick, perhaps like Mitt Romney (or Rick Perry before his recent meltdown). The only thing Ron Paul has going for him is honesty and a consistent message.

Our government has indeed been scaring the shit out the rest of the globe. That's why so many Europeans are hoping we'll wake up and elect Ron Paul:

John Penn said...

Arkwelder, I, personally, love all the Ron Paul fever. However, a sitting president has little or no real power. Certainly every POTUS since Woodrow Wilson has been a stooge placed upon the "throne" by the secret combination referred to in Ether 8. But like you mentioned in your comments on Rock's previous post, the Lamanites NOT the Nephites rooted out and detroyed this secret combination. I believe there are still true Libertarians in the global political theatre, Ron Paul, Jesse Ventura, Andrew Napolitano to name a few.

I believe Joseph Smith when he makes the claim that the US Constitution is of Divine Origin. And "by [his] fruits" of 30 years in staunch defense of that same "God given" Constitution, my vote will go to Ron Paul.

karl waterman said...

as a veteran of the Naval Submarine service. i before now, had no idea how to respond. i joined because i was passing by a recuiters office after just taking my sat's and asked what was happening.

then i found out.

while i enjoyed punching holes in the ocean,listening to fish fart (Hunt for red october, i was Jonesy) and played movies, ate often and read a lot.

Mountain Man said...

For better or worse, we have a two-party system. Either a Republican, or a Democrat, is going to be elected president in November. No one else has a chance.

Not Ron Paul, not a Communist, or someone from a Green party. Minor party candidates are sometimes spoilers - like Nader costing Gore the presidency in 2000 - but they don't win presidential elections. Ross Perot got 20 million popular votes in 1992, and exactly zero Electoral College votes.

A Democratic president, works within the political boundaries of his party and its coalition. The party that wins the presidency gets to chair all the positions in the executive and judicial branches of government. Members of its coalition are given all the jobs, judgeships and appointments. That's the way our current system works. Europe has their multiparty system where coalitions are formed after an election. In our system the coalitions are formed first.

A vote for the Republican agenda puts conservative players in key posts. A vote for Democratic agenda is a vote for their agenda.

A vote for Ron Paul is noble but will change absolutely nothing because he has no chance of getting elected.

I agree with many of Ron Paul's views but if you want real change you are going to have to change your party of choice. In the U.S., one of the two existing parties.

Does it come down to choosing between the lesser of two evils? I guess so. If we had 100 custom minor parties, everyone would get what they wanted, but that is not realistic.

You can be a purist and cast your vote symbolically with a boutique party, or settle for and try and change, the least imperfect of the Republican or Democrat alternatives. It is your vote and of course you can do whatever you want.

It is very much like the discussions on many LDS blogs. People would like to see the church change some of its views and they petition or put pressure on the church because they see the value proposition of the church (warts and all). Whatever your views, you would like to see the church change some of its practices.

Or you could just go and start your own church from scratch (Ron Paul). Or perhaps, leave the church and join another that better agrees with your views.

Mountain Man

Jon said...

Mountain Man,

Ron Paul is a republican. So, if you want to effect change within the party wouldn't you vote for Ron Paul?

The Simpson's had an episode where there were two aliens that were disguised and running for president in both parties. Then they were found out. And the people didn't know what to do. Someone suggested that they vote for a third party instead, then someone else said "but you would be throwing your vote away!" So the people voted for one of the popular candidates and the all became enslaved.

So what is the point of voting for the most popular candidate if you already know they are going to win and you know they are against the Constitution? You mine as well not vote and save your time since they will win anyways.

In the end, you are right, it does not matter, the solution isn't political, it's a changing of the minds that matters, and that is what makes Paul so good, because he is changing minds.

In the end how do you save America? Through the free market. You opt out of social welfare programs you perform civil disobedience (within reason, no reason to get yourself killed). It is not through violence that America can be saved from tyranny it is through a people with an understanding of freedom and liberty. It is by people coming to Christ. The scriptures don't tell us that in the latter days we need to turn to violence but to love and understanding.

Mountain Man said...


You are right, Ron Paul is running as a Republican although he has said he still might consider running as an independent (

He has alsow said that he probably would not endorse any other of the Republican candiddates.

I remember that episode of the Simpsons well...

Shawn C said...

From Ether 8: 22...

"And whatsoever anation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed;"

A vote for lesser of 2 evils is still a vote for evil I suppose. If you are standing by your principles and choosing NOT to uphold the current secret combinations, often times you might be alone, but at least you are not bringing condemnation on yourself.

Like the discussion earlier; the Nephites participated with the secret combination and partook of their spoils, the Lamanites stood by their beliefs and preached the gospel to them.

People like Paul who espouse many of the scriptural and thus the Lord's teachings of constitutional government and true righteous use of agency are good in my book.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mountain Man,
You are putting your own spin on things when you say Ron Paul "has said he still might consider running as an independent."

Read that piece carefully you linked to above. That headline, and the inferences contained therein are not in any way derived from the words of Ron Paul. They are wishful thinking on the part of the reporter.

"Fox’s Juan Williams said during a broadcast of the station’s Special Report program. “If you don't get the Republican nomination, could that independent candidate be Ron Paul?"

"Paul responded by saying that it would undermine his current run with the Republican Party but he wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of switching affiliations later on in the race."

Note the second half of that sentence. The words, "he wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of switching affiliations later on in the race" are not based on anything Ron Paul actually said. Rather it is the reporter saying, in effect, "we couldn't get the guy to eliminate the possibility that he might switch affiliations later in the race." It does not quote Ron Paul as saying he might do that. What Ron Paul did was emphatically state the opposite.

Here's Fox's Juan Williams trying to bait Dr. Paul:
"But what you're saying is you are not saying that you will not run as an Independent,” asked Williams, to which the congressman responded, "I pledge that I have no intention of doing it."

Juan Williams' desire to discover something in Ron Paul's words that isn't there is reminiscent of this scene from Dumb and Dumber:

Jeremiah Stoddard said...

Thanks for the article; it's a message that needs to be repeated often. It's horrific how we worship in the cult of death while throwing around the name of Christ and calling ourselves Christians. I was once guilty of that military worship, seeing no contradiction with my religion (what utter blindness! It's as if there were a veil over my eyes every time I read the Sermon on the Mount). I'm surprised that in the combination of my praises for our military excursions overseas and my identification as a follower of Christ I didn't spontaneously burn. Apparently God is very patient, but it is a stain on the soul that has to be hard to remove...

Alan Rock Waterman said...

What is this obsession reporters have in trying to get Ron Paul to run as a third party candidate, anyway? Does anyone ask that of Mitt Romney?

"Mitt, if you don't get the republican nomination, will you consider running as a third party candidate?"

Ron Paul is a Republican. He has participated in all the Republican Debates. He's on the Republican ballot in all 50 states. My question for Mountain Man is this: instead of echoing the establishment prattle that "Ron Paul can't win," why don't you get out with the other Republicans and see that he does?

Chris Wallace recently pressed Ron Paul on the subject, and Paul was adamant that a third party run was not in the cards.

"Why not?" asked Wallace.

"Because I don't want to."

Isn't that good enough? If the man is running as a Republican and has made it clear repeatedly that he does not even WANT to be a third party candidate, why do people like Mountain Man insist that is what he is?

There is only one reason I can see. To try to persuade people that Ron Paul isn't a serious contender.

Ron Paul consistently wins straw polls, consistently comes out on top in polls conducted after the debates, and has remained in the top tier since the beginning. How is that evidence that he "can't win"?

To me this phony controversy looks like evidence that certain people are afraid he might.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jeremiah said,
"It's as if there were a veil over my eyes every time I read the Sermon on the Mount. I'm surprised that in the combination of my praises for our military excursions overseas and my identification as a follower of Christ I didn't spontaneously burn."

You and me both, brother. I'm only grateful God removed that veil from my eyes before I had to face him at the judgment.

Miri said...

I've been lurking on this blog for a couple weeks now, and I just want to say that I think this is a really fantastic and fascinating post. I'm going to check out the movie and book you mentioned as soon as possible. I share these same sentiments but would never feel comfortable talking about them; there's way too much of the "fetishistic worship" (excellent phrase, by the way) going on in my circles, and I would probably be torn to pieces. I'm really looking forward to watching that movie.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I just got that copy of "Oh What a Lovely War" I ordered in yesterday's mail, so I'm excited to watch it again myself. Now I guess I can send Netflix their copy back.

Note to other Netflix users: "Oh What a Lovely War" will be back in circulation again by Saturday. Get in line.

karl waterman said...

watch the last episode of the BBC tv 'comedy'.

"the black adder"

very dark comedy, and sums up the stupidity of just following orders to the death.

Mountain Man said...

First of all, who is to say that Ron Paul gets eliminated as the GOP candidate and then runs as independent? Or Libertarian? (

(Rock, I suggest you read these links carefully)

Do you have some kind of inside track to his intentions? You seem to be pretty sure of it. My opinion is that he will not be the nominee for the GOP as I mentioned in my post.

I have not said who I am in favor of anyway. My post was more on the lines of who trumps party vs person or person vs party.

In the end, if you feel that Ron Paul is the agent of change for the GOP, then, by all means vote for him.

Anonymous said...

How can we change minds and hearts when we are so enamored with war.

Modern Warfare 3, the latest installment in Activision's juggernaut shooter franchise, has set a new entertainment industry record for the biggest product launch of all time, selling 6.5 million copies in the U.S. and U.K. in its first 24 hours and earning $400 million in the process.

We train them from an early age to love war.
I can imagine the Lord is pretty disgusted with us.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mountain Man writes,
"Do you have some kind of inside track to his intentions? You seem to be pretty sure of it."

I tend to gauge a man's intentions by what he says his intentions are.

I am aware of the links you provide, but there is a difference between what a man says he intends and what other wish or hope he would do.

Of course the libertarians would welcome Ron Paul as their candidate. But the fact is, Ron's positions, libertarian as they may seem to some today, are classical conservative positions once universally held before the party was captured by the Neocons, who are the intellectual -and literal- descendants of Trotyskyite Socialists.

The Neocons, (and this is evident from the writings of Irving Kristol, the father of modern Neoconservatism) had soviet style ambitions for the world that they felt could best be achieved through the Republican party rather than by remaining with the fading Old Left. The popularity of Reagan in 1980 told them that the old order was dying and it was best to jump on the bandwagon.

The problem the Republican establishment sees is that those of us who have awakened to our awful situation will not be voting for any of the other candidates on that stage, no matter what. Since they definitely don't want to see the party return to its roots, they hope to take the wind out of the Paul candidacy by portraying him as "not really a Republican." Hence the suggestions that he belongs in a third party race.

If Ron Paul does not win the nomination, I hope he does run as an independent, not because I believe he would win as a third party candidate, but so that the millions of us who have been locked out of the process can have a place to lodge our protest votes.

But if he does not win the nomination, it will be because the majority, who should have worked to see that he won the primaries, sat back instead and said, "I'll vote for him IF he becomes the nominee."

It is not my hope that Ron Paul, as you say,"is the agent of change for the GOP." That party is going down, and I say good riddance. I stand with the founders, who warned against Americans dividing their allegiances into political parties (Federalist No. 10).

What I hope to see in Ron Paul is an agent for change in AMERICA, not merely in some flaccid, obsolete organization interested in nothing more than perpetuating its own power.

The Republican Party today is represented by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, George Bush, and Dick Cheney, all of whom worry that Ron Paul will interfere in the clubby little thing they've got going. I don't want Ron Paul to save the Republican Party. I hope to live to see the whole structure collapse in on itself and fall into the fiery pit of hell.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anoymous at 12:21,
It's on record that many video game “killing simulators” that have found their way into living rooms all over the country, are directly tied to the Pentagon and military efforts to indoctrinate young people and deaden them to the effects of constant killing promoted with First Person Shooters.

Read more:

Mountain Man said...

"I don't want Ron Paul to save the Republican Party. I hope to live to see the whole structure collapse in on itself and fall into the fiery pit of hell"

Well, I guess that is where we differ. Just exactly what would we get by burning it all to the ground?

You do not know much about me and I agree with more of what you are saying than you know. I believe in the conservative values that this country was founded on.

I do not just say that. I became a citizen when I was 19. I remember putting my arm to the square and renouncing my citizenship. It was emotional, but I was glad to do it. I'm so grateful for my citizenship that I can't tell you. I want to see this country be great. It is my country too.

I often speak to my cousins that live in S. America and corruption there is a way of life. It is in the DNA of the people also. People in this country do not know how good it really is.

You served a state side mission. I don't know if you have ever lived in another country or not. Maybe you know what I'm talking about... I don't know.

I am not interested in burning down the whole house... how about kicking out the current occupants instead?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I like you, Mountain Man, and I have appreciated your contributions here, particularly regarding my previous post. But with all due respect, you seem to have a propensity for misconstruing the words of others, first by attributing a position to Ron Paul when he holds the opposite position, and now in inferring that I advocate "burning it all to the ground."

No one will have to burn down the Republican party. What I said is that I hope to see it collapse in on itself.

That collapse began during the Bush administration when the party abandoned its core principles. It continued with the election of Barack Obama, who was voted in primarily because the populace THOUGHT he would represent something different from that national disaster.

The collapse of the Republican party continued further with the rise of the Tea Party movement, whose members voted out incumbent establishment politicians because those Republicans had betrayed their oath to the Constitution.

The Tea Party movement struck fear into both Republican and Democratic operatives precisely because these people were interested in principle, not party loyalty.

The latest incarnation of the collapse is evident in the Ron Paul candidacy. After having heard him hundreds of thousands of erstwhile party loyalists will never go back to supporting the status quo.

The founders of this country warned against the emergence of political parties (what they called "factions") because allegiance to party candidates would come to trump what was good for the country.

You can see this party loyalty evident every day on Fox News. The commentators are horrified at Ron Paul's success, even though by every measure, he represents the bedrock, constitutional conservationism they claim to champion.

On the other side, there's MSNBC, where there is no such thing as a good Republican, and all Democrats are angels.

Ironically, the Democratic party was on the ropes when Reagan appeared, but it was reinvigorated when Bush and Cheney wantonly set fire to America.

I'm with the founding fathers. I'd like to see both parties self destruct. Stand back, it's already happening.

The Arkwelder said...

Hi, Alan.

"I would welcome evidence to prove that the only consistent champion of the Constitution in the room is a blatant sociopath."

I'm sure he's not a sociopath. Political life merely transforms otherwise good people into sociopaths. A compromise here, a compromise there, and viola: the torso is completely slung over because there's no no backbone to speak of anymore. Ron Paul does seem to have principles, and it would be interesting to see how long he managed to hold onto those principles if he actually became the US President (I mean, you know he'd be assassinated, right?). Nevertheless, I won't (or couldn't, I'm a Canadian) support a government that doesn't support socialized health care and education. That's like saying you should privatize your fire department and police department, too. It's absurd. Ron Paul isn't a sociopath, but the notion of privatized health care and education IS sociopathic. Really just godawful.

If the American Dream is to be anything other than a mere farce (well, it is a farce when coupled with Capitalism), you've got to try to put people on some kind of equal footing. If you can't even supply children an honest chance at success from the time they are five or six years old, then it's a very mockery of the American Dream, imo.

If you don't have your health, an education, and, (sorry to make you heartless Republicans rage) the basic necessities of life, then you simply can't realistically succeed.

I was raised on government cheese. It's a highly dysfunctional, ruinous system that needs to change (nay, be overthrown). There is much to loathe. But you don't just forget about the poor, and you don't let them fall through the cracks. When was that ever Jesus' advice?

Ron Madson said...

Thanks Rock for another great post. I cheer Ron Paul in every debate--especially when he addresses foreign policy. I believe the next debate will be on foreign policy and unfortunately Ron Paul will stand alone as the only true conservative on the stage--the rest will show "I am more willing to be militant than thou.."
Maybe a continuing financial decline or collapse of our nation is for the best. One of first casualties (or should be) would be inability to fund our international imperialism.
It is interesting to note how the GOP keeps looking for "anyone but Romney" as they rally around others--Bachman, Perry, Cain and now Gingrich. Why not Ron Paul? Is it the foreign policy issues?

Isaac said...

Oh boy Mr The Arkwelder. I guess the "free" education up there in the Great White North does not include anything on economics. Don't worry, we don't get it down here either. It feels so good to say "we" should help the poor, and "we" should provide health care (whatever that is) to those who need it, but it feels even better when you volunteer other people's money to pay for it all.

And then you have the problem of government mandated and funded education. What in the world do you think the victims of such schooling will learn? Critical thinking skills? Or maybe they'll learn dependence on an all-knowing and providential entity called The Government. Do you think there is any chance they'll learn anything but humanist tripe, drivel, and violence? Since when is such an education one of "the basic necessities of life"? Since never, actually. You've probably already pegged me as a heartless Republican, although if anyone called me that to my face they'd get a quick bloody nose. Even if they called me just a regular Republican. But isn't it kind of heartless to give away education and medical care at the expense of someone else? Socialized medicine is only heartlessness in another direction. Presuming to volunteer my money for the use of someone else is the same as volunteering my sons for war. If you believe in it, go for it. Leave me out of it.

I don't suppose you've ever wondered why being put on equal footing was such a good thing, or whether it is even possible. You should.

non american said...

Thought you might be interested in this.

Steven Lester said...

And if you bloodied my nose, you'd be arrested and put in jail for as long as I could get the judge to give. We are all such apes.

Isaac said...

They would never take me alive.

Rico said...

Hi Rock,

In your last post about ancient civilizations in North America, you mentioned about Daniel Peterson as your favorite FARMS scholar. But it seems like this was long ago. I don't know if you still do today. Anyway...

I stumbled upon a letter from a blogger "LDS Patriot" asking about Peterson's opinion on Daniel Pipes, a neoconservative. This was posted in Feb 10, 2006:

Daniel Pipes is a prominent scholar on Radical Islamism. He is a member of the Project for the New American Century, that cabal of neoconservatives which has been lusting for an Iraq war since 1996:

Daniel Peterson has nothing but praises for Daniel Pipes. He notes to "LDS Patriot" that among his colleagues in FARMS, only one despises Pipes. If that is how popular Pipes is in FARMS, that should clue us on why the corporate Church is so pro-war against any nation that Israel hates.

PS: Btw, that Peterson colleague who despises Daniel Pipes is probably a Ron Paul nut...:-)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

That is indeed sad news about Daniel Peterson's support of neocon Daniel Pipes, particularly since Peterson's book "Mohammed" appears to be a sympathetic treatment of Islam. (I bought the book but have yet to read it).

That is puzzling to me indeed. But I agree with your assessment about the corporate Church being against any nation that Israel hates.

Too many Christians -Mormons included- mistake the STATE of Israel as having something in common with the HOUSE of Israel. Like the United States government, the government of Israel is a godless fraud that only pays lip service to the Creator. The State of Israel, in fact, was largely founded by atheistic Jews. They7 were Jewish by birth, yes, but they had more in common with terrorists then Rabbis.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Non American,
It was indeed a farce that CBS devoted Saturday Night's debate to the subject of foreign policy, then completely snubbed the only foreign policy expert on the stage.

They gave Ron Paul exactly 89 seconds. 89 seconds! Even other mainstream media outlets are jumping on CBS for that blatant disregard.

Steven Lester said...

Which is exactly why Ron Paul will never be elected. Without media attention, not even Jesus could be elected, despite the hundreds of miracles He might have produced. The media is everything these days. Doesn't Ron get that? Who is his media guru? Whoever it is, he really needs to fire the guy and find somebody that will do the job. Does he really WANT to be President, or is he just looking for another pulpit?

Rico said...

Democracy is the system that allowed Barabbas to go scot free. And there wasn't even mass media in those days.

So yes, even in his day, Jesus the miracle-worker could not get himself voted out from being nailed to a tree.

Democracy is a god that failed. The Greeks before Jesus already knew this from tragic experience.

All democracies eventually commit suicide. We are witnessing that now.

SUNNofaB.C.Rich said...

so....... you a vet, there Ron?

Isaac said...

Yes, because the only way to have a valid opinion is to first join the military.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yes, Ron Paul is a military veteran, unlike the other Republican warmongers on the stage with him at those debates.

SUNNofaB.C.Rich said...

I must have substituted Ron for Rock offhand. Although it does seem fitting when I think about it. More in terms of mental capacity than anything.. In any case i've seen your drivel before "rocky" it's in line with Laurence Vance in terms of pettiness. I've got no beef with Ron Paul, in fact i'm with him but your petty, insulting embellishments on what he has to say do nothing for his message. Ron Paul says it right, you fuck it up. That's the difference between a vet and you. That about sums it up huh?

Steven Lester said...

Details, Mr. Rich. Examples of what you are basing your insults upon. Otherwise, you just sound like a bigot.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I was one of those classic chicken hawk hypocrites during the Vietnam war; a putz who believed strongly that America had the right and the duty to interfere in the sovereignty of foreign people for their own good. It was my firm belief that planting the American flag by force around the world was our divine destiny and God's fervent will for us.

I was secretly relieved, however, when I turned eighteen in 1970 and my number in the draft lottery was well into the 300's, making it a cinch I would never be called to back up all that chutzpah by actually going to war. Like modern day warmongers Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, I had other priorities for my own life, but was fine with letting others fight, kill, and die in my place.

I have since repented for my hubristic beliefs regarding American military empire. But I have no regrets for not having served in the military at a time when it was being subverted into a tool for globalist ambitions.

My two younger brothers did join the navy, but you will have to ask them if they feel it was time well spent.

Steven Lester said...

I can understand where Mr. Rich's ire might be coming from. When one joins the military, in order to get the troops to be willing, even eager, to die and kill for a mere cause, the leaders will use well-proven techniques, as old as war itself, to warp the "soft" parts of a person's soul into a black and white cave of patriotic hate. The marines are the best at doing this successfully, as are any of the special ops programs. "America, wrong or right!" is the basic tone of the thing. Mind control to the max. Mr. Rich is suffering from this, and so he wrote what he wrote. He doesn't realize this about himself, but it is plain to anyone else not so afflicted. Hoora!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As the son of a career Sargeant in the Marines, I find your analysis spot on. I was infected with the brainwashing just by dint of living on base as a child and being immersed in the culture.

non american said...

Well, as my name implies, I am not American. I am European and I'm sorry but I have to be honest and say that most people I speak to HATE the way the Americans (not individuals, but the men / women in charge) rush in and stick their noses in where it's not wanted. And believe me, most of the time it's really not wanted. Sometimes it's hard to see yourself as others see you . America has a bad name here . It's just simply annoying .

non american said...

Rock, have you seen this? Whether you believe it or not, ist's still worth a look.

Steven Lester said...

It is interesting, the feeling of disgust that I felt watching the beginning of your suggested program, even now, so many years later. The human race sucks. Is there not a sufficiently large asteroid somewhere out there that can actually hit our planet for once and wipe out all life on earth in an instant, except for penguins and worms...and maybe a few fish here and there? I, for one, really want to get off this particle called earth, which is lost in a boundless ocean of being, so tiny and worthless. Darn it, they all seem to miss us! There might be a backup in the line to see Jesus on the other side when billions all arrive at the same time, but I can wait. Why does government work up there and not down here? I think it is because everybody is so drugged up on beauty and love, that there is no room for thoughts of domination and death. If God thinks that I am ever coming back here, He isn't as perfect as He claims. I hate it here. I will never leave heaven again...EVER.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm not too many months behind on this one. This is the old(*ahem*er) lady who is a DPer . . .

who got the link to 'pure' from DP a few months ago and has been happily reading since--

Thank you, "Rock", for posting about those courageous veterans who are 'just saying "no"'--

these people are heroes, in *my* eyes--

to stand up, after having swallowed the military/war pill, and renounce it as they have done.

Have any of the rest of *you* seen the inspiring footage (thanks to Adam Kokesh, crazy man whom some of *us* like) of the Veterans for Ron Paul in D.C. a month or so ago?

These people are the real deal. I was very anti-military and shamefully black and white about the whole thing until I saw these young (and some probably as old as I am, some of the old Nam vets) people standing up--

I changed my mind and realized that I needed to re-think my "everyone who ever joins the military is bad and will always be bad" stance, and it's been liberating.

So, thank you for another excellent post on the 'pure' blog--

see you on DP with the agnostics/non-Zionist Christians/interesting other people--


Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for weighing in. I received a lot of new Mormon readers who came here from the link at the Daily Paul.

As a former military brat, I can attest to how easy it is to blame the soldier who enlisted thinking he was joining a noble endeavor. Sadly, recruits today have been duped, and as they awaken they are facing persecution from the government that duped them because these are becoming the vanguard in the fight to restore liberty. They deserve our support.

Anonymous said...

Joining this late again having only just discovered this blog a few days ago.
I must say I agree with much of the sentiment of this article. I am not from the US but worship of the military is rampant in my country too. It turns my stomach at times. It appears to me that nowadays all one has to do in order to be labelled a hero is to join the army!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Just out of curiosity, what country are you from?