Friday, June 1, 2007

Deus vult?

"There are a lot of folks doing God's work right here stateside that are invaluable to the people overseas," said Col. Daniel Baggio, an Army spokesman. "The spirit of the Army is really that folks want to do their part ... in any way they can. ... They go where they're told to go."

An explanation of the fact that somewhat over a third of the Army has never been deployed to Iraq.
While Colonel Baggio’s statement makes a lot of sense (after all, there are any number of things that the Army needs people to do that have no place in a combat zone, and haven’t been outsourced), I was under the distinct impression that the Army answered to the President of the United States as its Commander in Chief, and did HIS work. Given the fact that the United States is an overwhelmingly Christian nation, the Colonel isn’t really out of line, in context. But the idea that troops deployed to the Middle East are doing “God’s work” in country can easily be derived from his statement, and I think that it feeds the perception on “the Arab street,” as we tend to call it, that the “War on Terror” is little more than a thin whitewashing of a Tenth Crusade (or a Twelfth, depending on how you number those from antiquity). And while a case could be made that the label of “Crusade” (with a capital “C”) is inappropriate because the President of the United States is not any sort of Prelate or Cleric, it pays to remember that of the original Crusades, the Popes were only involved up to the Sixth.

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