Challenged...but still not Convinced! : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I posed a question a few days ago concerning Secretary of State Powell's presentation of evidence before the UN Security Council. We were challenged...but still some are not convinced! After much debate, especially among the members of this board, there still seems to be a bit of uncertainty upon the motive of open warfare against Iraq. It seems as if France, Germany and Belgium agree that something should be done, but let us continue to negotiate. I was wondering what others may feel to be the better of the two options: Negotiations at the table, or Negotiations on the Battlefield? Has your church or your pastor spoken up or out concerning the present approach of our present administration? Does the church, in light of faith based govenrment funding, still have a "prophetic voice?" What is your opinion?

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003


My opinion is unchanged. Just like his boss and his colleague Dr. Rice, Secretary Powell's indictment against Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was based on irrefutable evidence. The only reason why most black folks reject Powell or Rice is due to their GOP affiliation. It has absolutely nothing to do with the esoteric design of war planning. If both were working in a Gore Presidential Administration and offering the same advice the black church and most of black America (pacifists notwithstanding) would cheer their statements. But, because they work for President Bush, most black folks feel it is open seson to criticize the policy. Look at the regrettable booing crowd in Detroit last weekend when Carlton Pearson suggested at the Black Church Summitt that blacks should be supporting Powell & Rice.

Doubters such as France, Germany & Belgioum are only sowing the seeds for the future demise of NATO, which ironically was created to ensure European security. This latest act of international appeasement by the above named countries will further erode confidence in the UN and the lofty goal of "coalition building". What is not emphasized in the press is the cooperation of 18 European nations including Turkey and Hungary. So while 3 reject providing NATO assistance to Turkey, 17 other nations have pledged support. If Israel is attacked with nerve gas elements by Iraq should the response remain non-involvement? As I mentioned last week before some unsrupulous person sabotaged Parson Ray's thread, Is Powell a liar? QED

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003

Last week PBS showed a documentary about gazelles crossing a dangerous river infested with crocodiles. The leader of the gazelles was young, sleek and beautiful. She was also a novice at crossing dangerous rivers, never having done it before. She very carefully entered the waters and began to swim across. The remaining gazelles, believing all was well, followed the beautiful leader. As soon as the entire heard was mid-stream a terrible feeding frenzy took place. Many lives lost because the leader had no clue on how and where to cross a river safely. The leader meant well for the heard, but just didn't know any better.

I do not believe President Bush is a racist but I do believe he is a hypocrite. I do believe that he does not have the training, education, sophistication or background to be the leader of the United States. He spoke to us of his intent to repeal affirmative action, when he never had the grades to enter Yale. It was a call from his "daddy", a Yale grad who got him in. He was not a successful businessman during his private life, and has not been held to task on this fact. During the Viet Nam war her served in the National Guard in Texas, due to a call from his father, again, but now I hear him say how "sick and tired" he is with Saddam Hussein. Now, he is technically, the leader of our country, but not elected by its citizens. He came to prominence only because of 09/11. While I have the utmost respect for Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, they are merely pawns at the behest of the president as are the rest of his staff. Our president is handsome, sleek and beautiful, and has never led a heard across a dangerously crocodile infested river. It does not make sense now any American to play a race card. I remember past rivers crossed where our young men and women were killed needlessly. So I am not impressed with Condy or Colin's color now. I am concerned for all young people, and whether their lives will be needlessly lost.

I remember December 1998 when the US dropped 600 bombs on Iraq and 30 cruise missiles, and General Zinni stating most of the threat had been eliminated. I also remember the head of the UN Inspectors, Scott Ritter stating Iraq poses no threat.

I am an old gazelle with a memory. I know where the crocs are and am not anxious to run in with the lead gazelle, whether that gazelle looks like me or not.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003

Like Bill my position remains unchanged. "In God We Trust" However, since it all began in a cloud of deceit and lies --where we will never know who the elected official should be--we neither trust nor believe what this present Administration proposes or endeavors to do.

Like Mary, I am also an old gazelle with a long memory. We set up Saddam Hussein when we believed he would take out Iran, just as we did Castro, whom I remember being an honored guest on the Ed Sullivan Show. Now we want them both to get lost.

"Faith Based Initiate" undermines our sacred Constitutional right of Separation of Church and State, a right for which men suffered persecution and death. We can shout from the rooftops that Jesus is Lord, but until it is evident that He rules and controls our lives our shouting is in vain--"A sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal."

At no point have I read that Jesus advocated war. It is more fittingly said that He is the Prince of Peace. I believe this passage will bear me out:

"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. --Luke 4: 17-21.

Neither do I believe that Jesus or the Apostles taught us to hate or put down any person on earth regardless to what race, nationality or creed that person might belong. "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." -- Colossians 3: 11.

Mother Teresa once said, "Let nothing frighten you; Let nothing disturb you: Everything passes away but God; God, alone, is sufficient." To this end I am neither frightened nor disturbed by the threat of terrorism or war. "Just like a tree that's planted by the water, I shall not be moved." Thus, I can say in the words of the old Gospel song based on the words of Esther which say, "If I perish, let me perish; I am going to see the King."

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2003

The charming metaphor about the misguided gazelles serves as an effective rhetorical aid in the debate about war with Iraq but it misses the basic point about the responsibility of leaders and leadership. The fact that Bush was not elected by the popular vote in the November 2000 elections nor scored high enough on entrance exams to enter Yale nor duplicated the business prowess of his fellow Texan Ross Perot is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Bush is the legal and legitimate President by virtue of the Electoral College and the authority of the US Supreme Court. Rehashing old canards about the Florida fiasco, where I happen to live, is pointless because both sides exercised the process of due process and the conclusions favored the GOP. Political revenge was the tone of the 2002 mid-term elections but based on the turnout and results it was clearly insufficient to send the President a "message". In addition, like his Presidential predecessor, Bush was a twice elected Governor of the 3rd largest state in the union. Clinton in contrast was only a Governor yet this was not seen as a liability or demerit about his unfitness to serve even though he disdained military service, lied under oath and dishonored the Oval Office through his sordid extra-marital sexual adventures. The only reason Clinton won in 1992 was due to Mr. Perot's strong 3rd party popularity. He won by plurality not majority, a big difference.

I concede the argument that my support of war is problematic for me as a Christian. But, I am hardly like Elijah thinking that I am alone on this issue. The fact that the Bible, both the O.T. and N.T. sanctions war makes the case for pacifism just as problematic. The nation of Israel is literally the result of "just war" campaigns from Exodus through II Chronicles. Nearly every Judge mentioned in the Book of Judges was a military leader. The Book of Revelations functions as an eschatological guide about the future culminating in the Final War of Good v. Evil. Jesus indeed taught us all to love our brother (enemies too) as ourselves. This is the 2nd and Great Commandment. Yet this admonition to love our enemies did not restrict Jesus to tone down His own criticism of members of the Sandhedrin Council when He often refered to them as vipers and purveyors of evil. Nor did Jesus show restraint towards the money changers in the Temple who clearly desecrated the Holy edifice by participating in financial arbitrage (buying and selling of scarificial animals for profit). You may recall Jesus responded by creating a whip (weapon used to inflict pain) and chased the rascals out of the Temple. I too, as the Negro spiritual lamented, ..."dont wanna study war no more". My eschatology can be criticised as being primitive and myopic but this is how I base my conclusions. Despots like Saddam and Kim Il-Jung however don't make this goal easy. QED

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2003

Hmmm!!! Twice elected governor of the state of Texas. Now let's think back. Enron....Hmmm... the Bush family connections.....The state of Florida......Bush family.......not the first time for voter fraud.....goes way back.....Governor did nothing to alleviate the problem....Hmmmm....where is that small town in Texas heavily populated with the poor wherein the sirens ring approximately three times a week because of pollution......Hmmmm...think back.... the savings and loan many in the Bush family involved in that? many books did the president pick up to read (not just carry) prior to his know some people are not partial to a lot of "book larnin."

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2003

It appears that the troops are heading in the wrong direction! North Korea has blatantly disregarded all treaties...and has admitted to continue with its nuclear program. But then again, there is no vast supply of oil in North Korea! There is still room for negotiations with Iraq and it appears that some concessions are being offered by Iraq. Let us remember that Bin Laden is still unaccounted for...and on the loose! We can ill afford to lose any allies within the coalition against terror. There are just too many irons in the political fire. More importantly, what about the economy?

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2003

On the surface I agree with Bro. Allen that North Korea’s belligerence and advanced state of weaponry merits greater attention. But it would seem the superpower equation does not favor our outright and immediate attention in that theater.

The geography of the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO) bears inspection. To their northwest is the border with China. To inflict an invasion from hat direction would require a rearrangement with a government that we still hold up as a "less than perfect" example of Human Rights. To come from the immediate west would be the Yellow Sea. While we might try to operate some of our carriers there, the presence of such immense American firepower so close to their shores and in their extended waters would probably provoke a response, even if only defensive.

To the east is another sea, where our carriers may operate a little more freely, except for one small problem: they would have to cross Russian territorial waters to get there. And while we have cozied up very nicely to Pres. Putin, 43’s second closest friend (behind Tony Blair), again it may well be considered provocative.

To the southeast are the 38th parallel, and the strong alliance with ROK. But that nation is anxious to be made whole with their brethren to the north, and would be reluctant to initiate a preemptive strike. Finally, to the distant east is Japan, a nation that absolutely abhors nuclear war, having been its only victim. While they may offer forward bases, such as the homeport for the Seventh Fleet, they would not want to see any kid of nuclear strike launched from heir soil, probably not even in retaliation.

The calculus of the world today is very different from the bilateral and trilateral Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine of the Cold War. We knew then who the enemy was, where their airfields were, their missiles, their naval bases, and could hear their submarines. By a clear assignment of highly destructive response to each of their potential first strike weapons, we assured them that unless they got them all off; they’d be in a world of hurt. And they did the same to us (except they couldn’t hear our most recent submarines, the beginning of the tilt in the equation).

Today’s equations do not balance. When an enemy gives no thought to his own destruction, and even goes so far to view it as a ticket to Paradise; the power of the threat is lost. If we then move from threat to action, we are then judged by the world as a whole, and we are seen as provocateurs, war-mongers, "the great Satan", hegemonists, proponents of the "New American Century", and anti-globalists (because we exercise our own will, and not the will of the unelected United Nations).

This is the dilemma confronting us over the next 24 days. We must decide how to act: to accept and dance with Saddam in such a way that neither side loses face with its constituency, to get North Korea back in the box without massive loss of life, or unchecked, unbalanced response, to drive the remains of the terrorist movement from the front pages of our lives to the back pages of our history books.

Therefore, let us pray.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2003

Amen Bill, if we could exercise some independent thought apart from the liberal media's daily 'give peace a chance' regurgitations, we'd all be better off as an electorate. IMO, there are times when need to think outside the box and consider the possibility of our, and I do mean our President may be as forthcoming as he can be, considering the delicate balance between public disclosure and not compromising intelligence? As a professing believer in Christ, should we not show our Commander-in-Chief more support on that alone, or at least until we have some tangible, lucid reason not to?

In Excellence,

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2003


If you have misunderstood the obvious and valid points we make, perhaps you will understand guilt and the need for justification, which C. S. Lewis describes in "Mere Christianity as common to all mankind.

It is almost certain, as the press has told us, that the US Government through the CDC provided Saddam Hussein with the chemical and biological arsenal we now claim he still has and intends to use. This fact was also documented in "GERMS....Biological Weapons and America's Secret War" by....Judith Miller, Stephen.

Is the knowledge we claim to have solely based on the wrong, which we have done or our wish to destroy it, based on the guilt and remorse, which we now feel?

As to the process of election thank God it will come again. In the previously deleted string I mentioned the revival of the Broadway Musical "Annie," which I just saw in Atlanta last month. More fittingly these plays are known as political as social satires and they are artistic reflection of what people really feel. You might also read the posts on AOL which followed the shuttle crash to see how many Americans think and feel. One is these is entitled, "Why do all bad things happen in Texas?"

To add insult to injury, this week we were further informed that a "white only" sign still remains etched in the walls over a drinking fountain in the Dallas County Court House. Despite repeated suggestions since 1983 that it be covered or removed, in 2003, 20 years later, this has not been done.

Artistic expression is the first indication and refection of what the public feels and thinks. What you might have missed about the gazelles is that is exactly how these artistic expressions are made. Although skillfully disguised, the greatest examples of these probably include such works as "Julius Caesar, "Twelfth Night," "Anthony and Cleopatra," and "King Lear"-- which some of us have actually read in their original texts.

As I have voted in General Conferences to correct obvious errors which have been made--none of which were the ignoring of "Robert's Rules"-- I shall do the same in my country and state. I will certainly do all within my power to make sure what now exists does not remain and I shall solicit the strength of countless others who feel as I.

Based on the repeated and consistent record of the Republican Party for the past 140 years, as even my favorite Republican, Bishop Turner would attest, I am almost assured that the vote I cast will be neither for a Republican agenda, candidate, nor post.

So in the words of "Annie, " my motto, shall continue to be.

"We want to thank you Hubert Hoover for really showing us the way-- We're getting a 'New Deal' for Christmas this year. "

Thanks be to God, "The sun will come out tomorrow." Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're only a day a way!"

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

One of the more interesting features of spirited debate is witnessing the different twists and forms used by discussants. Mary's deployment of the benign gazelles, Robert's reference to the power of parody and satire captured in theater and Parson Ray's temporary diversion about the North Korean threat are all wonderful examples of the art of rhetoric. I have the highest respect for each of my dissenting friends and have attempted to address their concerns and issues. I acknowledge that my principled stand on war with Iraq is problematic. I know from N.T. theology the model Jesus provides regarding the relationship between friends and sworn enemies. My Weltanschauung (i.e. world view) is not perfect, but given the alternatives the least risky choice. President Bush (43) is not the most cerebral President ever elected but neither was Truman. The President's short-comings in race relations are neither new are unique. Democratic stalwart mayors like Richard Daley in Chicago, Frank Rizzo in Philly or Sam Yorty in LA weren't exactly paragons of virtue either in promoting a climate of healthy race relations in those important cities.

Nonetheless, I am a bit puzzled at why some of my questions have not been addressed by my dissenters. I have asked repeatedly, "Is Powell a liar?" The response to date is ambiguous. I believe in the credibility of Powell more so than retired General Anthony Zinni or discredited ex-UN inspector Scott Ritter. I have asked what should the reaction be if Israel is attacked by Iraqi missles filled with germ chemicals? The response is mute. I responded to the metaphor of the gazelles and fully understand the implications. I simply do not concur with the interpretation. C.S.Lewis ranks as one of the most brilliant minds of the last century but his Screwtape Letters reveal a different picture of the Oxford don. Theater (Broadway) as a pedagogical device is important but what is more important is understanding the complexities of the theater of war. The end of the Cold War, thanks largely to Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush Sr. & George Schultz, reduced the threat of nuclear attack by the USSR, not belligerent/rouge regimes. The Wall Street Journal published a remarkable op-ed column this week by the former Director of Iraq's Nuclear Weapons Program, Khidir Hamza. Mr. Hamza's column describes not only the web of conceit created by Hussein but also implicates France and Germany because of their financial interests with the Iraqi weapons programs. I would encourage everyone person to read this column and after completion answer the question: Is Mr. Hamza lying? Lord Chamberlain acquiesed to Hitler and the results were disatorous for Europe. I pray, as J. Payne exhorts, that we avoid the Chamberlain mistake. Happy Birthday to our AME Founder and great American patriot Richard Allen. Allen's musket (used to defend against British invasion after they burned the US Capitol) is on display at Mother Bethel. I always thought Allen's musket was used to keep disgruntled AME members from disrupting church meetings:-) QED

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

Since I have spent a lifetime in the instruction of youths, please allow me to make one correction, which spell check changed and I failed to catch. The title of the literary work which I cited above should have read "Antony and Cleopatra," rather that Anthony with an 'h".

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

You are correct...your question remains unanswered. I do not believe that the issue pertain solely with the character of Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is merely a member of the cabinet, an ambassador for the United States Government, representing the government on the stage of foreign affairs. No, I do not think the Colin Powell is a liar, however, his information may be suspect! The present administration has a member believed to have selfish motives! Is it ignorance or arrogance when one is determined to start something which could cause grave ramifications around the globe? Colin Powell was merely regurgitating what he was informed. He does not set the policy, he merely relays it. This is the same group that had an idea upon the 911 tragedy...but ignored it. We have a common foe...Bin Laden, who we trained and helped in his crusade against the Russians occupying Afghanistan (Reagan: The one who meddled within the negotiations during the Iranian Hostage affair...who had yet to be sworn in as president!) In our fight against terrorism, let us get the one responsible for the ushering in the terrible act, preaching and encouraging others to do likewise, regardless of geographical boundaries! No Secretary Powell is a man of integrity, however, it may have been compromised due to the company he now keeps!

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

The problem I have with Powell's evidence is as follows:

(1) Germ warfare factories are supposed to be on 18 or so trucks and rail cars. Biowar experts state that the required ventilation systems would make them instantly recognizable from above. US telligence has never been able to find one.

(2) Powell sited large chemical weapon stockpiles; however, UN Inspectors have verified the destruction of all Iraqui chemical weapons and ingredients after Desert Storm. The UN inspectors have not been able to locate evidence of toxic munitions at the alleged chemical warfare facilities as directed by US and British intelligence.

(3) Powell said Iraq kept around a dozen scud missiles, but UN inspectors have accunted for 817 out of 819.

(4) CIA officials have disputed claims of Baghdad's support of Al Qaeda.

(5) George Bush used Colin Powell to press his point because Powell is the most respected and popular member of his cabinet.

(6) CIA Director, Tenet, was there for visual effect. The agency's support is not as was suggested.

Finally, assume the US goes into Iraq. Who is going to pay to rebuild it? As they say, you may be able to win the war, but winning the peace is a lot more difficult.

I do believe there is a time for war. But I also believe this is not the time. Long range goals have not been thought out in enough detail and presented to the American public.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

Regarding Mary's point 6, I would say that the US-managed oil revenues will be the source of payment for rebvuilding. Consider that over the last 12 years, much has been invested in "Presidential Palaces", some would vuew a redirection of wealth to the Iraqi masses as an appropriate punishment.

What I am enjoying in the discussion is the lively engagement and mutual respect of the participants. I can see us all having this conversation at GenCon, only to adjourn to our chosen restaurant for the next round. Thank you all for your insights.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2003

Thank you Parson Ray, Robert and Sister Brooks for your replies. While the good Parson answers my question about Powell's veracity I am still unclear how Mary's response sheds insight on whether or not the Secretary is engaging in an elaborate lie about Iraq. Getting a direct answer on this question is becoming more difficult than "pulling teeth". I wonder why???

A careful reading of Mr. Hamza's op-ed column in the February 11, 2003 edition of the Wall Street Journal clarifies Mary's concerns of points 1-3. I think it is reasonable to infer that a former director of Iraq's weapons programs lends much needed insight and credibility on these issues. In addition I know that UNSCOM, in 1997, repudiated the view that Iraq's chemical weapon stockpiles have all been accounted. Points 4 & 6 are mere innuendo. It is not unusual for internal debate within the Agnecy. Such diversity of thought is encouraged in the messy world of intelligence production adn distribution. But, internal dissent is not incompatible with the fundamental policy goal, Saddam's sinister scheme of geo-political instability. My special security clearance does not allow access to this form of classified data so unless some one holds a higher security clearance it is best to resist the temptation of basing conclusions on conjecture and limit criticism to verifiable information. Director Tenet is a key source of the prosecution against Iraq and stands firm in support of the administration's case.

Point 5 is simply a restatement of the popular view advanced by Harry Belafonte that Powell and Dr. Rice are mere "pawns" of the President. Acceptance of this view effectively questions the character and integrity of both individuals. It suggests that neither are capable of developing an opinion independent of presidential oversight. Unlike Mr. Belafonte, Powell and Rice are like most of us, they report to a boss. As an aside, it sure would've been helpful if Mr. Belafonte's protests about racial justice were exercised back in the early 60s when his beloved Dorothy Dandrige was being "manipulated" by Otto Preminger. Since Robert has introduced art in this discussion I don't feel my digression is totally off-base.

Let me kindly remind all that it was Secretary Powell who was the architect of UN Resolution 1441. All prior UN resolutions (16 in total) pertaining to Iraq have been met with non-compliance. The strong rhetoric used by the Secretary signals his personal disappointment with how the Security Council (France, Germany, China & Russia) has literally betrayed him and boxed him in this unfortunate position. The UN's crediblity is at stake when it does not enforce its own resolutions. The last point about the cost of winning the peace is a legitimate point worthy of debate and scrutiny. I welcome future discussion when more data becomes readily available. QED

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2003

Regardless to what opinion you may have or what side of the debate you may be on, this poem based on the song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, sums up what a growing majority of American really feel. It was first published on December 16, 2002 and featured on a February 14, 2003 broadcast of NPR.

If You're Happy And You Know It Bomb Iraq

-- Anonymous, February 24, 2003

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