But to Render, Spontaneously, Good for Evil – Such Belongs to a Perfect Spiritual Love

“To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil – such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.” – St. Maximus the Confessor

Today, our nation continues to return only more evil for the evil wrought unto us: we are still in Afghanistan even though we have no clear mission there, Guantanamo Bay is still open, we impose sanctions that serve only to strengthen the very national regimes we oppose while weakening private industry and uniting the people against us, we use lethal drone strikes indiscriminately to kill and terrorize our enemies, we avoid the guilt of killing civilians by defining any military age male killed by a drone strike as a combatant unless categorically proven otherwise postmortem or by making unsubstantiated claims refuted by our own military intelligence that Iranian scientists are making nuclear bombs to kill us, with overwhelming bipartisan support our congress granted the executive branch the power to indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, without trial based on nothing more than “suspicion,” and our president unilaterally decides who we kill and who gets to live.

If are to truly honor the victims of 9/11 then we can do so by eliminating the draconian foreign policies that caused that tragedy in the first place. We can start by bringing our troops home out of the Middle East and by establishing policies that respect human dignity and ensure due process to everyone. Revenge and hate does not honor their memories even when we phrase it nicely by saying we want to “bring democracy to the rest of the world” and that we will “not apologize for who we are and what we stand for.” Charity and forgiveness, however, do honor their memories and perhaps the honorable thing to do is indeed to apologize for what we have stood for when we stand here with blood on our hands. Because many of our actions over the last couple of decades don’t stand for “liberty and justice for all” in the least. Continuing to stubbornly refuse to apologize for the wrongs we have committed and to refuse to change undermines the good that we have also done. We do violence to the ideals of liberty and justice when we shout them at the top of our lungs and then blatantly contradict them with our actions, and we also do violence to the memories of everyone who lost their lives in this bitter war against terror.

For ourselves, for our fellow man around the world and for the loved ones we have lost it is imperative that we terminate once and for all our vengeful tactics of rendering evil for evil and instead start rendering some good in the world.


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Unacceptable Position

“I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Day. In our present day, Martin Luther King Jr. has become an icon for racial harmony and today we hold parades for him, we’ve named our streets after him, but we also censor him. While King has been accepted into American culture as a great pioneer for civil rights here at home what we so quickly overlook is the fact that he was a steadfast proponent for the rights of those outside our own borders as well.

What the mainstream media and the flock of political leaders who “honor” him today conveniently forget to mention is King’s staunch criticism of US foreign policy, condemning it as militaristic. In his own words, King declared the United States government the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and went on to declare, “It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries.” Replace communism with “terrorism” or “radical Islamism” and you have an accurate statement of today’s times.

While our foreign policy at the time of the Vietnam War was aggressive, it pales in comparison to today. We have over 1,000 military bases worldwide in 116 countries, are only just now ending two decade-long foreign wars, we are on the verge of another, and we give billions in “foreign aid” to tin pot dictators around the globe. If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today he would be ashamed at the state of our nation – and rightly so.

The Neo-Nuremberg Law

In 1935 Adolf Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws, antisemitic laws that revoked citizenship based on race, bloodline, and opposition directed towards the Nazi regime or Hitler himself. Today, in 2012 we have a similar piece of legislation being presented to our very own house and senate here in the United States of America. This “neo-nuremberg” law, known as the Enemy Expatriation Act, seeks to grant our federal government unprecedented powers with no foundation in the constitution, namely, the ability to revoke citizenship of any US citizen based on “engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.” By stripping away US citizenship, our government effectively removes all protection under the law, thus flinging wide the door to unfettered human rights violations completely divorced from the checks and balances of true democracy meant to protect us from this very type of despotism.

At present it is unclear whether, under this new bill, a trial and conviction in court is even necessary to revoke citizenship on the grounds mentioned above as the bill makes no qualifications on how or on what authority a decision to revoke citizenship can be made. However, according to sources such as InfoWars.com  “This bill would give the US government the power to strip Americans of their citizenship without being convicted of being ‘hostile’ against the United States. In other words, you can be stripped of your nationality for ‘engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.’ Legally, the term ‘hostilities’ means any conflict subject to the laws of war but considering the fact that the War on Terror is a little ambiguous and encompassing, any action could be labeled as supporting terrorism.” (emphasis added)

That our ruling class elites seem to think that its a good idea to model our justice system off of Hitler’s fascist Nazi regime speaks to just how out of touch they are with the American people, the constitution, and the inviolability and sanctity of human rights.

The full text of the Enemy Expatriation Act can be found here.

War on Terror Proponents . . . Promote Terrorist Attack?

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's funeral

By now it has been all over the news that yet another Iranian scientist linked to Iran’s nuclear program has been assassinated last Wednesday. The story can be found here. Many US politicians have endorsed the bombing, including Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum who stated, “On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.” Santorum went so far as to say that we should treat nuclear scientists working for the Iranians like enemy combatants. While no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, Iran blames Israel and the United States and, while the US denies involvement, Israel has made numerous implicit statements regarding covert operations in Iran, stating that 2012 would be critical for Iran — in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.”

While I am no fan of Iran or the increasingly tumultuous relationship between Iran and the United States these tactics are intrinsically evil under just war theory and their approval by US leaders is disgraceful. The rationale that assassination of Iranian scientists is licit because 1: Iran is developing nuclear weapons and intends to use them against the US and Israel, and 2: anyone involved in Iran’s nuclear program is an enemy combatant is categorically wrong on both counts.

A recent report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran offers intelligence that according to the IAEA “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device.” This highly-anticipated report has been politically abused to “prove” that Iran is building nuclear weapons and to justify acts of war against Iran like the assassination of scientists and international sanctions. GOP nominee hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have both stated that they would not rule out preemptive missile strikes against Iran based on the premise of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. However, according to a statement made by an Obama senior administration official, “The IAEA does not assert that Iran has resumed a full scale nuclear weapons program nor does it have a program [sic] about how advanced the programs really are.” Apparently, the new report does not necessarily contradict US intelligence that has thus far found zero evidence of nuclear weaponization in Iran.

Furthermore, the report’s authenticity has been called into question. Robert Kelley, a former director at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made the following statement regarding the new IAEA report.

“In 2009, the IAEA received a two-page document, purporting to come from Iran, describing this same alleged work. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity. What’s more, the document contained style errors, suggesting the author was not a native Farsi speaker. It appeared to have been typed using an Arabic, rather than a Farsi, word-processing program. When ElBaradei put the document in the trash heap, the UK’s Times newspaper published it.”

Kelley added that “the new team under the new director general, Yukiya Amano, also, in effect, fished the discarded document out of the trash heap”. In contrast, there is a wealth of investigations and intelligence to counter this solitary report, affirming time and again Iran’s assertions that they are not pursuing nuclear weaponization. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, the man at the top of the US intelligence food chain, stated that Iran is NOT building a nuclear weapon. Furthermore, if the faulty evidence of the November IAEA report is excluded, every single investigation of Iran’s nuclear program has yielded zero evidence of any attempt at weaponization since 2003. Iran’s clean record is even more impressive when considering that Iran has one of the most transparent nuclear programs in the world, allowing additional protocol in IAEA investigations, including surprise investigations, that countries such as the US have never allowed.

The IAEA’s November report reeks of the same kind of “report” that claimed that we had evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That was our pretext for war with Iraq and it turned out that the paper was a sham. A decade after we went to war with Iraq and still the “evidence” of the report remains unverified and no WMDs have been found. We cannot justify assassinations and other acts of war, risking war with Iran that would lead to thousands of American deaths and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iranian deaths, on such faulty evidence.

Secondly, the rationale that scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program are “enemy combatants” and therefore “fair game” is erroneous. Assassination of Iran’s scientists breaks the following laws of war:

Rule 1. the parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians.

Rule 2. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

Rule 4. The armed forces of a party to the conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates.

Rule 5. Civilians are persons who are not members of the armed forces. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians.

Rule 6. Civilians are protected against attack, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

As well as the following principles of Catholic just war doctrine:

Just cause:  innocent life must be in imminent danger and intervention must be to protect life.

Last resort: Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted or are clearly not practical.

Distinction: Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of distinction. The acts of war should be directed towards enemy combatants, and not towards non-combatants caught in circumstances they did not create. The prohibited acts include bombing civilian residential areas that include no military target and committing acts of terrorism or reprisal against civilians.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan with his son.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was not a soldier, not a terrorist and in no way was part of Iran’s military complex. He was a scientist working towards advancing Iran’s nuclear technology and therefore a civilian. Thus, his death, no matter how advantageous politicians like Santorum may claim it to be, is murder and a grave evil both according to Catholic moral teaching and the secular laws of war. It is the responsibility of the United States to defy such tactics and publicly denounce their use. The targeting of civilians for lethal attack is an act of terrorism regardless of whether such attacks are directed towards Americans as was the case on 9/11 or if it is against our enemies such as the car-bombing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. There is no fundamental difference.

– Christian Ohnimus