Posts from March 2003

Liberation theology

Liberation theology
: An provocative exchange is beginning on Ibidem, a blog from Spain, regarding liberation theology, a liberal religious cause of the ’60s and since. It usually comes in the context of opression and poverty in Latin America. But a commenter on this blog quotes Irish theologian Seamus Murphy SJ, who brings liberation theology into the context of Iraq and the Vatican’s opposition to the war there:

In Latin America in the 1960s, there emerged a way of doing theology known as the ‘theology of liberation’. Its focus was the poor and the oppressed, its starting-point was their experience, and its inspiration was the God revealed in the story of the people of Israel.

God, the merciful and the compassionate, is a God of justice on the side of the oppressed, and his plan of salvation unfolds in their struggle for liberation….

Liberation theology focuses on the story of the people of Iraq, rather than on abstract philosophical and legal categories….

Since 1968, Iraqis have lived under a brutal dictatorship where the oppression and fear is far worse than any reported from Latin America, as UN and Amnesty International reports show. Since 1979, some 200,000 Iraqis have been murdered in prison. Far more have been tortured….

While liberation theology does not encourage violence, it acknowledges the right of people to defend themselves against murderous repression. Uprisings by Kurds and Shi’ites in 1987-89 and in 1991 were put down in large-scale massacres, sometimes with chemical weapons. If they were to rise again, they would have the world’s sympathy. Liberation theology would say that the Lord, who breaks the rod of the oppressor, was with them. But unaided rebellion would have no prospect of success, and our bystander sympathy, our distant indignation (if we even noticed) would not prevent it being crushed with great slaughter….

But, sadly, Christian solidarity with them is overwhelmed by pacifism, neutralism, and anti-Americanism….

Liberation theology would say: God is with the victims, and failure to stand in solidarity with them is a betrayal of the Gospel.

Ho-Ho-Ho

Ho-Ho-Ho
: I’m listening to Today this morning and here Katie say, Oh, war protestors outside our window.

The “die-in” had begun.

WSNBC has a story and video. Tiny crowd or mere irritants.

Hundreds of chanting anti-war protesters lined Fifth Avenue on Thursday and dozens rushed into the street and lay down at the beginning of a series of civil disobedience actions planned for throughout the day….

Anti-war groups had called for a day of widespread civil disobedience, including blocking busy intersections and a “die-in” to protest media and corporate “profiteering from the war.”

As helicopters hovered overhead, the protesters — chanting “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Bush’s war has to go” and “Peace Now!” — jammed police pens along Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, near St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Sak’s Fifth Avenue store.

Confessions of a war blogger

Confessions of a war blogger
: I wrote a story for the Star-Ledger about war blogging to try to explain the phenom and how it’s done. The story is here; a list of links is here.

I am a warblogger.

If that sounds like the confession of an addiction, it is. For since war in Iraq began, I have been compulsively reading

The Iraqi Vegas

The Iraqi Vegas
: Lt. Smash has a great anecdote from the front, talking to locals about the liberation of Umm Qasr:

Censorship or just bad PR?

Censorship or just bad PR?
: It’s churlish and short-sighted for the two stock exchanges to kick Al-Jazeera off the floor. We’re America. We believe in free speech for all. We should demonstrate that, especially from the very capitals of capitalism.

Just-in-time troops

Just-in-time troops
: The U.S. is calling up 30,000 more troops from Ft. Hood.

I know a Marine who has been sitting in the U.S. waiting to go over (frustrated and with morale drooping).

And so it becomes clear that the Pentagon does not only have a new just-in-time supply chain (as I’ve heard radio reporting) but also a new just-in-time troop train. People have been asking whether we have enough soldiers in Iraq. The Pentagon has been stonewalling (remember that quaint phrase) the question. That’s because they don’t want to have to ship over the supplies for soldiers who will sit and wait; they’d rather just wait to ship them over with their supplies.

50 Most Loathsome…

50 Most Loathsome…
: Gawker is making hay (is that something you can do in New York) with the NY Press 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers list here and here. I’m smelling a meme, folks:

: 50 Most Loathsome Hollywood stars (Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Janine Garofalo…)

: 50 Most Loathsome Frenchmen (Jacques Chirac…)

: 50 Most Loathsome Arab Leaders (over to you, LGF…)

: 50 Most Loathsome Remnants of the Bubble (Tony Perkins…)

Yup, this could be fun.

Oh, General, you’re soooo hot!

Oh, General, you’re soooo hot!
: The Guardian — quoting a Berkeley prof — says that all this talk of military hardware (emphasis on the hard) is war porn:

War porn is everywhere and lots of people, men and women both, have found themselves responding to it.

“As a scholar of porn, I look at this and say ‘these are boys with phallic toys’,” sighs Linda Williams, professor of film studies and rhetoric at UC Berkley. It’s not a new observation, but what is new, is the extent to which it is amplified by technology. “CNN have this special thing they do whenever they introduce a new weapon. It reminds me of the way athletes are introduced in coverage of the Olympics: a little inset comes out with their bio and stats. This weapon they had just now was something called the AC130H-Spectre – some dreadful machine – it came flying out and turned this way and that so that you could see it from all angles.” (A similar thing happens on ITN: “It’s amazing to see the Abrams tank and we’ve put together a little fact file.”) “This,” says Williams, “is the kind of spectacular vision you get in porn – where the point is to see the sex act from every angle. It’s narcissistic; boys getting together admiring their toys. It is about us proudly displaying our weapons and there is something sexual about that.”

Naw. Naw, doesn’t cut it.

I’ll refrain from making mention of particularly attractive TV war babes. That would be wrong. Normal, but wrong.