As the long war continues, I become more convinced that all who claim to follow the way of Jesus must increasingly confront the empty morality of the military establishment. There is, I believe, a moral argument for force. I affirm that the military, to the extent that they use limited violence, is a moral necessity given the lawlessness, greed and brutality of the real world in which we live. Essentially, I affirm the traditional case for the right of self-defense and defense of the neighbor. I can certainly understand how military usage can stop genocides, preventing the bursting forth of the demons of revenge and bloodlust. I can grasp that the military response to Nazi Germany had moral foundations.
But we no longer live in a world where we are even pretending to abide by the constraints of a just war tradition, or where we offer the pretense of defending ourselves or our neighbors against imminent danger. Our invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are no different than any other imperial quest for dominance. We are there for the oil, gas and water. We are there for the same reason that we now have well over 800 military franchises spread throughout the earth. Our military is the muscle behind the immorality of corporate pillage. It's plain and simple. Our wars are market wars. Those who participate in the military are now servants of no greater cause than the financial benefit of a sliver-like, snake infested, tiny elite of stratospherically wealthy whores of hell. The nobility of being over there for the advance of democracy, liberty and justice, the nobility of standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, themselves: these are simply the puffs of publicly spun propaganda. Follow the money and the dots get connected. I say this not out of cynicism but as a religious observation. The god of our nation, the only thing holding us together, is our allegiance to the almighty dollar. Our troops serve the interest and fight under the banner of this god.
It is in this context of religious symbols, loyalty to the God of Jesus versus loyalty to the Almighty Dollar, that I have come to the growing conviction that the church has a moral responsibility to confront the deceptions of our military expansion. Politically, what this means is advocacy for military budget reductions along with the dismantling of our global bases. Ecclesiastically, the church should increase its therapeutic care for veterans even as it increases its commitment to counter-recruiting. But on a deeper, more intimate level, the church must begin to withdraw its support of the military through an insistence that Christians no longer serve in the armed forces. We must insist that it is not acceptable to offer bread and wine with one hand, while killing for corporate profit with the other. That would be step one.