Netroots Equate Religious US Soldiers to Hamas Homicide Bombers

How much do you have to hate your country, Christianity, and the military to actually believe that religious United States soldiers are similar to Hamas homicide bombers?

Regardless of the answer, such was the case made by Truthout Senior Editor Jason Leopold Friday, as well as in a recommended diary at the liberal website Daily Kos Sunday.

*****Update at end of post: Daily Kos FAQ section cautions readers against recommending diaries sourced from Jason Leopold articles!

Readers are warned to proceed with caution, for the following contains pictures and text that will certainly be offensive to many (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Francine):

Bibles and guns. Copies of the Koran and guns...

Could it be any plainer ?

You might call the image, to the right, the ghost of Christmas future. Let me suggest a productive frame for the picture which depicts a parallel that is both real but which has not yet fully emerged as a dominant dynamic.

The dynamic is that of religious war, a phenomenon that has an old and evil history especially in the Middle East.

But, that future - religious war - does not have to prevail. It is a danger as long as there are US troops in Iraq, because US troops in basic training, as detailed in a new Military Religious Freedom Foundation report, are being indoctrinated in the ideology of religious war and the cultivation of the mentality of religious war, between Christianity and Islam, is exactly what many leaders on the American Christian right and Islamic religious extremists including those of Al Qaeda want more than anything - to provoke a full blown religious war between Islam and Christianity.

At least the Kossack gave credit to the source of this detritus:

[ note : credit for the juxtaposition of the two images belongs to Jason Leopold, of Truthout, who used the two pictures to illustrate a Friday, December 21st story entitled Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought

For those recognizing the name Jason Leopold, this is the class act that incorrectly reported at Truthout on May 13, 2006, that Karl Rove had been indicted by the grand jury looking into the Valerie Plame Wilson affair. Of course, he was quite mistaken.

In his most recent piece, Leopold went after "military evangelism" (emphasis added):

For US Army soldiers entering basic training at Fort Jackson Army base in Columbia, South Carolina, accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior appears to be as much a part of the nine-week regimen as the vigorous physical and mental exercises the troops must endure.

That's the message directed at Fort Jackson soldiers, some of whom appear in photographs in government issued fatigues, holding rifles in one hand, and Bibles in their other hand.

[...]

The Christian right has been successful in spreading its fundamentalist agenda at US military installations around the world for decades. But the movement's meteoric rise in the US military came in large part after 9/11 and immediately after the US invaded Iraq in March of 2003. At a time when the United States is encouraging greater religious freedom in Muslim nations, soldiers on the battlefield have told disturbing stories of being force-fed fundamentalist Christianity by highly controversial, apocalyptic "End Times" evangelists, who have infiltrated US military installations throughout the world with the blessing of high-level officials at the Pentagon. Proselytizing among military personnel has been conducted openly, in violation of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution.

[...]

Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the government watchdog organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, whose group has been closely tracking Military Ministry's activities at Fort Jackson and other military bases around the country, said in an interview that using "the machinery of the state" to promote any form of religion is "not only unconstitutional and un-American but it also creates a national security threat of the first order."

[...]

"I've said it before and I will say it again," Weinstein said. "We are in the process of creating a fundamentalist Christian Taliban and somebody has to do something to stop it now."

Although Leopold addressed a lawsuit that Weinstein's organization filed against the Air Force in October 2005, and that it was dismissed, he offered little detail concerning the matter. Citizen magazine reported on this dismissal on October 31, 2006, information that Truthout readers might have found pertinent -- or maybe not (emphasis added):

Evangelical Christians and legal experts applaud a federal judge for tossing out a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force Academy last week -- one which had accused the academy of creating an atmosphere which fostered religious discrimination.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker in New Mexico ruled that Albuquerque-based lawyer Mikey Weinstein and the handful of other former cadets who brought the legal action had provided no proof to their "vague" allegations that the academy was biased in favor of evangelical Christians and improperly allowed Christian cadets to proselytize those of other faiths.

[...]

The U.S. Air Force also applauded Parker's ruling.

[...]

The lawsuit stems from allegations which surfaced in 2005 during the course of a rape and sexual-abuse scandal at the academy, in which Weinstein and other graduates claimed that evangelical officers and cadets routinely imposed their religion on others at the academy.

Cadets were supposedly coerced into prayers at mandatory academy events and pressured to engage in evangelical religious practices, such as Bible study.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Director Barry Lynn demanded an investigation into what he called "these very serious, systematic violations of the Constitution."

But an Air Force panel looking into the charges concluded no overt religious discrimination existed at the academy -- even though some individual cadets and staff may have been insensitive in the way they discussed religious beliefs.

Understand why Leopold spent little time on this lawsuit in his piece? Yet, despite Weinstein's failure in his action against the Air Force, he has recently filed another lawsuit against the military, this time fighting for the religious freedom of an atheist:

In September, MRFF filed a lawsuit in federal court against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US Army Maj. Freddy Welborn, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The complaint filed in US District Court in Kansas City alleges that Jeremy Hall's an Army specialist currently on active duty in Combat Operations Base Speicher, Iraq, First Amendment rights were violated when Welborn threatened to retaliate against Hall and block his reenlistment in the Army because of Hall's atheist beliefs.

Interesting cause for an organization named Military Religious Freedom Foundation to be championing, wouldn't you agree?

Regardless of the paradox, readers are advised to review some of the comments at Daily Kos concerning this matter. I particularly like this exchange between DKos members (vulgarity warning):

because I have both served in uniform, and witnessed a suicide bombing. For you to equate these two pictures is truly obscene.

Fuck you.

"I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."

by dfb1968 on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:44:49 AM PST

§ Because you're a coward (27+ / 0-)

if you're blowing yourself up at the same time you're killing other people?

Not to defend suicide bombing as a tactic, but how is a helicopter gunship not an instrument of terror to those on the receiving end?

With all his noble qualities...man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin--Darwin

by MadScientist on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:52:42 AM PST

      • He never said they were "cowards" (10+ / 0-)

He said it was obscene to compare the two seriously.

Member of the Drexel University College Democrats.

by IntertubeGuy on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:05:02 AM PST

If you don't have weapons superiority, you have to use the tactics that work. If the Iraqis were occupying the U.S. with the aid of American collaborators, you would see American suicide bombers too. And I bet they would have bibles in their hands.

With all his noble qualities...man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin--Darwin

by MadScientist on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:09:23 AM PST

          • § I understand what you're saying (8+ / 0-)

But you need to rethink that.

you have to use the tactics that work

Hamas isn't in Iraq. Hamas is blowing up cafe's and markets in Israel/Palestine.

Not only do i think that suicide bombing of civilian targets doesn't work because it harms your cause, but I think that it's not a legitimate military tactic.

Civilians are off limits. Period.

Member of the Drexel University College Democrats.

by IntertubeGuy on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:14:24 AM PST

§ Civilians are off limits? (19+ / 0-)
Tell that to the people of Iraq.

How many of them have died?

What did Cheney call them, "collateral damage"?

by RAZE on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:34:55 AM PST

Get the point?

*****Update: NBer Chen Zhen commented on a tremendously inconvenient truth found in the FAQ section of Daily Kos (emphasis his):

Recommending diaries

Almost all diaries can be recommended; the exceptions are those that are posted directly to the front page. To recommend a diary, click on it, and then click on the 'Recommend' button on the right side of the window. Diaries can only be recommended in the first 24 hours after posting. When should you recommend a diary? Very simply, recommend a diary if you think other dkos users should read it. That may mean that the diary is covering a breaking news story, or it has an insightful bit of analysis, or even is an extremely funny bit of humor. Note that diaries can have much more content in the comments than in the main text; it is perfectly legitimate to recommend a diary because of an interesting discussion in the comments. Don't recommend a diary simply because of who the author is.

Note: Please use common sense when recommending diaries. Diaries that rely entirely on unreliable sources such as Wayne Madsen, Capitol Hill Blue, Jason Leopold, or Lyndon LaRouche are generally not considered acceptable. Recommending poorly sourced conspiracy theory diaries may result in banning without warning for all recommenders.

Hmmm. So even the Great Kos recognizes how "unreliable" articles from Jason Leopold are.

As this diary was HIGHLY recommended by hundreds of Kossacks, it will be very interesting to see if they all get banned.

Thanks for the great catch, CZ.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.