On Fighting Militant Fundamentalism

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The LA Times reports:

 Last week, after an investigation spurred by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon abruptly announced that it would not be delivering "freedom packages" to our soldiers in Iraq, as it had originally intended.

What were the packages to contain? Not body armor or home-baked cookies. Rather, they held Bibles, proselytizing material in English and Arabic and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.

We are going to be so screwed when gun-controlling, universal healthcare-providing, abortion-loving globalist feminists take Baghdad.

NEXT: Voodoo Education

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  1. So…if Operation Straight Up is ‘part of the DoD’s “America Supports You” program,’ does that mean they were getting federal money to pay for these care packages? The idea of distributing a shitty computer game to soldiers bothers me somewhat (though not a lot) less than the idea of a taxpayer-funded gift of money and sales figures to the game’s nutcase creators.

  2. Don’t forget about atheists. They wouldn’t want us pulling the Jebus rug out from under our troops.

  3. Right decision by the Pentagon. This would have completely turned around and bitten us in the ass.

    But why aren’t we libertarians demanding that copies of Atlas Shrugged by translated into Iraqi-Arabic and sent over to Baghdad?

  4. Dondero:

    I actually do agree with you on something! BTW, there is absolutely no difference between written Iraqi-Arabic and other kinds of Arabic. The spoken language has a different accent, not the written language.

  5. Dondero,
    I do my own libertarian proselytizing of libertarian beliefs. It is kind of hard though. Some Iraqis get it right away, but to others it is completely foreign.

    Anyways, Christian proselytizing stuff is crap. But the hunting down of UN troops is funny, and I encourage that sort of humor.

  6. iih,
    It seems there is some difference, the Iraqis don’t say kwais, they say zinn. they don’t say mafi, they say maku.

    Do you usually revert to neutral words like Jadeed, and la?

    Some amount of written arabic has to reflect how it is spoken, no?

  7. kwais:

    I remember you saying your are heading to Egypt in a few weeks. If you are doing any libertarian proselytizing there, let me know how it goes. I’d be curious.

    In many ways, I think the people of Alexandria (actually non-Caireans north and East of Cairo in general) would be susceptible to the message. I was thinking about that the other day. I think in many many ways, my Dad is quite a libertarian. Being from Alexandria has something to do with it, I think.

    Promoting libertarianism in the Middle East may difficult in some parts (e.g., Iraq, KSA) and easier in others (e.g., Egypt, Algerian). Good places to start a discussion is freedoms of religion, taxes, and, above all, certainly small government. Nonstarters are sexual freedoms, drugs, the typical taboo issues.

  8. proselytizing material in English and Arabic

    Wow. I didn’t know Ann Coulter was running the Pentagon now.

  9. I don’t think Baghdad needs any libertarian proselytizing. It’s already a libertarian paradise with a weak government and many people exercising their right to bear arms. I bet there is no anti-smoking regulations or nanny-state seatbelt laws in place either.

  10. Some amount of written arabic has to reflect how it is spoken, no?

    No. Zain is the corrct arabic. kwais is Egyptian crap. Egyptian spoken language has a lot of crap. Formal written Arabic, in which Atlas Shrugged or Fountain Head would be written, will probably (I hope) be in proper Arabic. And there is only one proper written Arabic, whether it is in Egypt, Iraq, or Algeria.

    Sort of like writen English. It is the same in the North and the South in this country. The accent is different, but with the North speaking something that more resembles English English than the deep South does.

    While the Iraqi accent is very thick (and scary to me), they are closer to correct Arabic than Egyptians. And Egyptians more so than Lebanese spoken Arabic.

  11. “Wow. I didn’t know Ann Coulter was running the Pentagon now.”

    Is Coulter born again?

  12. I am much more concerned that the troops are forbidden beer. Beer for Chrysler’s sake.

    Things have been going down the toilet since they took the Pall Mall four-packs out of the rations.

  13. I don’t think Baghdad needs any libertarian proselytizing. It’s already a libertarian paradise with a weak government and many people exercising their right to bear arms. I bet there is no anti-smoking regulations or nanny-state seatbelt laws in place either.

    That is very true. In a very sad way of course.

  14. I bet there is no anti-smoking regulations

    No, they have anti-drinking and anti-Christian regulations instead. A real libertarian paradise there.

  15. “Wow. I didn’t know Ann Coulter was running the Pentagon now.”

    She is easily as qualified to run the pentagon as some of Bushes other appointees have been to get their job.

  16. …and the apocalyptic computer game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which “soldiers for Christ” hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.

    Good thing that was stopped. It was a really crappy game (imagine).

  17. Pardon me for piping up, but I’m not so sure but that depriving a deployed soldier of a holy book of his or her choice might not constitute some kind of First Amendment violation.

    And for any of you out there who think that forcing tax payers to provide Bibles to our soldiers is a First Amendment violation, can the religious right count on your support to stop people from teaching evolutionary biology in public schools?

    …’cause, I don’t know if you’ve ever been down in the Bible Belt, but some of the locals down there find evolutionary biology highly offensive.

  18. Baghdad is not a libertarian paradise by any stretch of the imagination.

    There is no respect for civil libeties, but the government, nor the militias nor Al Q propper.

    There is the right to have guns in your home, but not to carry.

    They are a number of stupid ordnances and taxes.

    When I was training the ERU (a police special response unit) I was very dismayed that they were being used to go after people that were trying to get around the government gas regulations, more than they were being used against terrorists.

    Not a fucking libertarian paradise.

  19. But why aren’t we libertarians demanding that copies of Atlas Shrugged by translated into Iraqi-Arabic and sent over to Baghdad?

    Probably because that book sucks. I can’t think of a worse introduction to libertarian thought than that “2,000-page sleeping pill,” to borrow Rev. Lovejoy’s description of the other book being discussed here. Not to mention Objectivism =/= libertarianism.

    And yeah, the book has stimulated a lot of people in a pro-market, pro-individual rights direction, but I wonder how many more would have been helped by a well-written book with similar ideas that didn’t treat its characters and plot as an excuse for Ayn Rand to give a speech.

  20. Dammit,
    Sorry for feeding the troll.

  21. Pardon me for piping up, but I’m not so sure but that depriving a deployed soldier of a holy book of his or her choice might not constitute some kind of First Amendment violation.

    Not buying something for someone is not the same as depriving them of it.

  22. “I just learned to read, and I read ‘Atlas Shrugged’, and now I never want to read again.””

  23. Dammit,
    Sorry for feeding the troll.

    Oh come on, it was just a joke. Sort of.

  24. Is Coulter born again?

    Who knows? But she did advocate converting the Middle East to Christianity.

  25. And for any of you out there who think that forcing tax payers to provide Bibles to our soldiers is a First Amendment violation, can the religious right count on your support to stop people from teaching evolutionary biology in public schools?

    The difference being that evolution is not a religion in any sense of the word, so our government isn’t obligated under the Constitution not to promote it.

  26. Pardon me for piping up, but I’m not so sure but that depriving a deployed soldier of a holy book of his or her choice might not constitute some kind of First Amendment violation.

    So if The Church of Satan was prevented from the unsolicited distribution of their literature to soldiers, that would also be a 1st Amendment violation?

  27. I don’t know if you’ve ever been down in the Bible Belt, but some of the locals down there find evolutionary biology highly offensive.

    Some of the locals down here find indoor plumbing highly offensive, that doesn’t mean we have to cater their needs.

  28. Also, no one is “depriving a deployed soldier of a holy book.” Soldiers are free to receive their holy books from a variety of non-public sources. Though they can reasonably expect to be harassed if they choose to read the wrong holy book.

  29. And for any of you out there who think that forcing tax payers to provide Bibles to our soldiers is a First Amendment violation, can the religious right count on your support to stop people from teaching evolutionary biology in public schools?

    Uhhh, Ken… One is science and the other is religion.

  30. evolutionary science = science.

    equating science with some mystical faith = fucktardedness.

    or those who support ID teaching cuz it “pisses off liberals” = very very big fucktardedness.

    and what Swillfredo said!

  31. “Some of the locals down here find indoor plumbing highly offensive, that doesn’t mean we have to cater their needs.”

    My point precisely–we don’t bend over for the religious right, so why are we kissin’ the Islamic fundamentalists’ ass?

    In a fight between our troops religious beliefs and the sensibilities of local Islamic fundamentalists, I’m with the troops. Aren’t you?

    I mean, you guys aren’t…uh…still tryin’ to win hearts and minds, are you? Even if you are, my two cents says that maybe a little dose of religious tolerance might go farther than letting the fundamentalist sensibilities of our enemies dictate the extent of our troops’ religious freedoms.

  32. evolutionary science = science.

    equating science with some mystical faith = fucktardedness.

    Just for the record, cause the example really is a tangent here, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says once a religious belief is scientifically disproved that it’s no longer covered by the First Amendment.

  33. *opens up Formula 409

    **settles in with Mr. Bubbles, Noam, and the leather-bound copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies” (yes. THAT edition.

  34. “Not buying something for someone is not the same as depriving them of it.”

    For deployed troops, I think it might be.

  35. errr.

    ([…] edition)

  36. “Uhhh, Ken… One is science and the other is religion.”

    So both are okay–teaching evolutionary biology to the children of evangelicals over their parents’ objections and suppressing proselytizing by our troops to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities–because they’re both what, specifically?

    Would you oppose the troops going around giving out an evolution primer for creationists–if that’s what they wanted to do, or is it just because they’re evangelicals and their beliefs are unscientific?

  37. kwais:

    You either got distracted by the “libertarian Baghdad” comment or got offended by my sentence:

    kwais is Egyptian crap.

    I was of course refering the Egyptian word kwais (“good”) not your handle.

    So spreading libertarianism in the Middle East, would do you think of the pointers I gave above?

  38. “On Fighting Militant Fundamentalism”

    Yeah, I get the joke Ms. Howley, but who’s on the side of those who would quash free exercise here?

  39. I mean, you guys aren’t…uh…still tryin’ to win hearts and minds, are you? Even if you are, my two cents says that maybe a little dose of religious tolerance might go farther than letting the fundamentalist sensibilities of our enemies dictate the extent of our troops’ religious freedoms.

    I’m confused. How is adhering to the 1st Amendment dictating the extent of the troops’ religious freedoms? All troops are allowed to worship as they please, but the government is not allowed to officially recognize one religion over the other. It has nothing to do with not wanting to offend Muslims.

  40. suppressing proselytizing by our troops to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities

    I think you’re misattributing the reasons many of us are appalled at the very idea the DoD would be in on this. I don’t give a damn about “Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities.” I do, however, give a damn about the Pentagon providing religious texts and proselytizing materials to the troops. That’s a clear violation of the Constitution.

  41. Ken Shultz
    “On Fighting Militant Fundamentalism”

    Yeah, I get the joke Ms. Howley, but who’s on the side of those who would quash free exercise here?

    No one is opposing the rights of the soldiers to read the bible or try to convert others (so long as it isn’t on “company time”). They’re opposing taxpayer funded proselytizing.

    Do you support taxpayer funded proselytizing?

  42. Why don’t we save ourselves some money and parachute Kirk Cameron into Baghdad? I see that move as solving several problems at once.

  43. So both are okay–teaching evolutionary biology to the children of evangelicals over their parents’ objections and suppressing proselytizing by our troops to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities–because they’re both what, specifically?

    That’s a false choice. No one is “suppressing proselytizing by our troops to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities.” The government is simply not assisting in the proselytizing.

    And obviously fundamentalists should have every right not to have their children taught something they don’t want taught to them. But they also shouldn’t have a right to expect their children to graduate from the same system.

    Would you oppose the troops going around giving out an evolution primer for creationists–if that’s what they wanted to do, or is it just because they’re evangelicals and their beliefs are unscientific?

    As long as the government wasn’t wasting money purchasing the primers and handing them out, the soldiers should be free to do what they want in their free time.

  44. So both are okay–teaching evolutionary biology to the children of evangelicals over their parents’ objections and suppressing proselytizing by our troops to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities–because they’re both what, specifically?

    Would you oppose the troops going around giving out an evolution primer for creationists–if that’s what they wanted to do, or is it just because they’re evangelicals and their beliefs are unscientific?

    Sorry Ken, I must be tired, but I don’t have the first clue what you are talking about.

  45. “Not buying something for someone is not the same as depriving them of it.”

    For deployed troops, I think it might be.

    So we should use Pentagon resources to buy and ship every serving soldier the entire catalog of published human thought?

  46. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that there are ways for US troops to obtain Bibles, at public or private expense, other than as part of a package that includes materials for proselytizing to Iraqis.

    There’s more than one way to get a Bible to a troop in the field. Packaging it with materials for proselytizing to Iraqis, especially at public expense, seems like a bad idea.

  47. “There’s more than one way to get a Bible to a troop in the field. Packaging it with materials for proselytizing to Iraqis, especially at public expense, seems like a bad idea.”

    It’s also unconstitutional.

  48. “Not buying something for someone is not the same as depriving them of it.”

    “For deployed troops, I think it might be.”

    Can’t their parents send them Bibles along with their cookies?

  49. What I’ve heard so far is that as it relates to public schools, science trumps the First Amendment rights of taxpayers, but that somehow, at the same time, as it relates to Iraq, the First Amendment rights of taxpayers trump the free exercise rights of our evangelical troops.

    Something in there doesn’t smell right.

    “So we should use Pentagon resources to buy and ship every serving soldier the entire catalog of published human thought?”

    Of course not.

    “Packaging it with materials for proselytizing to Iraqis, especially at public expense, seems like a bad idea.”

    Absolutely.

  50. OK, I missed a lot, I had to leave to do some stuff

    I am going to have to come out against the first amendment on this one. I think the military has every right to forbid soldiers from proselytizing while in Iraq. Specifically if it is harmful to the mission.

    If a US citizen wants to come over here on his own dime, and risk getting his head chopped off to do that, then the US govt has no right to intervene.

  51. “Would you oppose the troops going around giving out an evolution primer for creationists–if that’s what they wanted to do, or is it just because they’re evangelicals and their beliefs are unscientific?”

    It seems like the issue here is American taxpayers paying taxes to support the teaching of religion. That is unconstitutional, a violation of the separation of church and state.

  52. I also don’t think that sending the troops bibles is any more unconstitutional that teaching kids about evolution or what have you against the parents will.

    I mean I am against both. I am not so much against teaching anything as I am against the forbidding of teaching anything.

    Also in a strange hypothetical world, if sending the troops bibles to proselytize were beneficial to mission accomplishment, I think that would be kind of an iffy subject.

  53. I am in Iraq. There are lots of Bibles available. I have one with a desert Camo cover, and yes I sometimes read it.

    Proselytizing is prohibited by General Order 1, so even if these “religious care packages” were delivered to US troops, using the material would be illegal in Iraq.

  54. iih,

    I got what you were talking about when you said that “kwais is Egyptian crap”. I heard that a lot when I first got here, which was funny because I learned the word in Saudi Arabia not Egypt.

    What did you mean “Arabic accent sounds scary”?

    I have to figure out the language a lot more indepth before I can start saying thins like “the government that governs least is the government that governs best”

    I have tried to explain to some Iraqis that when I a government nationalizes a source of wealth, everyone gets poorer as a result.

    I aim to try to get much more proficient at the language so that I can properly proselytize ‘Freedom’.

  55. “We are going to be so screwed when gun-controlling, universal healthcare-providing, abortion-loving globalist feminists take Baghdad.”

    Their lesbians too.

  56. As a side comment, on the intersection of religion and the military:

    When I was in the Guard, we got a new company commander in when I had just gotten out of basic. We were D Company, 1/278th ACR, the Demons. Well, our new company commander objected to that; since he was a deacon at a local Baptist church, we became the Delta Company Deacons.

    We were also prohibited from drinking at Annual Training. Before that, the equipment racks of the tanks had coolers filled with beer, which was consumed in the field on exercises. Not on his watch, though! Less for the “we need to train” reason than the “drinking is wrong” reason, though.

    Absolutely absurd. One of the reasons I left the Guard as soon as humanly possible.

  57. Wayne,
    Do you get to watch AFN?

    If so, have you seen the commercials from the chaplains office that tell you that God loves you?

    Everytime I see that I think there should be a counter commercial from the atheist side, telling you that there probably isn’t a god.

  58. “If so, have you seen the commercials from the chaplains office that tell you that God loves you?

    Everytime I see that I think there should be a counter commercial from the atheist side, telling you that there probably isn’t a god.”

    Yes, I have seen those commercials, and the “never shake a baby” commercial, and the “Army cares about its soldiers, especially its wounded soldiers”…

    The propaganda is endless.

  59. “”Their lesbians too“”

    The ugly fat ones with the short hair that look like asexual guys that have never worked out?

    Or are they the hot ones that sometimes have a threesome with guys to keep things interesting?

  60. And one more thing. Somebody above said alcohol is banned in Iraq. Not true; alcohol sales are legal in Iraq. US forces are forbidden alcohol by GO #1 though.

  61. Yeah, but objectively, you probably shouldn’t shake a baby.

    It is the ones that are obvious lies, or where there is a valid counter belief that should be stated (like the God ones, or the drug ones) that irritate me. Or amuse me.

  62. The most proficient and professional Twalling in the Green zone was done around the liquor store. (as well it should have been).

    There are a few bars in the Green Zone. And there are many liquor stores in the Kurdish controlled areas of Iraq.

  63. “Yeah, but objectively, you probably shouldn’t shake a baby.”

    Well, yeah, I know that. Those “shake a baby” commercials are shown for the US troops in Europe, because US troops don’t have any babies in Iraq.

  64. I have only been in the IZ briefly a few times, so I have never seen the bars or liquor stores.

  65. “It is the ones that are obvious lies, or where there is a valid counter belief that should be stated (like the God ones, or the drug ones) that irritate me. Or amuse me.”

    Actually, I was very surprised to see the God commercials. I don’t see how that is legal under US law.

  66. The creepiest part of this story seems to have been totally overlooked. Leaving aside snide comments about the quality of the game, that “Left Behind” video game is a singularly poisonous piece of clerical-fascist propaganda, and the fact that the Pentagon even contemplated sending it en mass to our troops chills me to the core. Is Kendrick from A Few Good Men now in charge of the US military?

  67. I think that they get away with the God ones, because they don’t advocate a specific religion, and it is kind of an extension of the Chaplain’s (which is government funded religion actually). Also because the ACLU hasn’t gotten on their case yet.

    When I went through boot camp there were only two choices in the first two phases of boot camp: Catholic and Protestant. And you had to pick one.

  68. I got what you were talking about when you said that “kwais is Egyptian crap”. I heard that a lot when I first got here, which was funny because I learned the word in Saudi Arabia not Egypt.

    But have you chosen this handle inspired by the word or just coincidence?

    What did you mean “Arabic accent sounds scary”?

    Iraqi, Saudi, and some Gulf Arabic accents are very thick (I sometimes have hard time understanding Iraqi accent). This thickness makes their spoken language “scary” (i.e., not attractive). However, Lebanese and Syrian accents are very streamlined, clear, and very romantic (hearing a Lebanese girl speaking is just perfect — very sexy).

    I have to figure out the language a lot more indepth before I can start saying thins like “the government that governs least is the government that governs best”

    Yeah, I guess. But say it in English. If you are in a major city, chances are you will find a lot of English speakers, especially in Cairo.

    I have tried to explain to some Iraqis that when I a government nationalizes a source of wealth, everyone gets poorer as a result.

    I do not think that they view privatization is bad. To many of them it means transferring ownership to rich corrupt business people or, worse, to foreign corporations. It is more of loosing possession to others. In Egypt, for example, there is a lot of talk every now and then about privatizing the Suez Canal Company. I am against that actually. I prefer it be in the hands of government (no matter how corrupt and inefficient they are) than have it in the hands of corrupt/corruptible Egyptian business people. My concern with foreign ownership is that tens of thousands of Egyptians died to dig the canal in the late 19th century. Wars were fought over it (especially 1956). So it is more of a national icon than just a business endeavor to many Egyptians. But I am all for all other privatization moves by the government, even if owned by corrupt or foreign nationals.

    I aim to try to get much more proficient at the language so that I can properly proselytize ‘Freedom’.

    I do not know. The desire for freedom is innate in all humans. May be reviving the flare, yes. So it should not be too hard.

    I think what is in much desperate need is proselytizing a “leave me alone” or “live and let live” attitude. I know this may sound less ambitious, but you can get much more mileage out of it. The “Freedom” thing is already there. And unlike some of the remarks made above, I do not think that libertarianism and Islam are not 100% incompatible. There is an overlap, as I mentioned in the recent discussion about the mall in Mecca, and in other previous threads.

    Make sure to read this article before you start:

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/33315.html

    It highlights many (and not all) of the overlap between Islam and libertarian ideals (still, some may argue that some of the Islamic principles are irreconcilable with libertarianism, but with serious reform things can change).

    I think Sunnis may be more receptive of the libertarian message than Shias, who have a more authoritarian and centralized outlook given their religious hierarchy and all. Sunnis have a highly decentralized perspective.

  69. “the equipment racks of the tanks had coolers filled with beer, which was consumed in the field on exercises.”

    I was in the guard at the wrong time. They didn’t have that when I was in the guard, nor did they have chicks.

  70. Seeingl,

    Yeah we got all that. But it was somewhat counter balanced by the hunting UN troops part.

    Also, encouraging US troops to proselytize in Iraq is way dumber and wronger, that whatever form of fascism that book was about.

  71. …the Pentagon abruptly announced that it would not be delivering “freedom packages” to our soldiers in Iraq, as it had originally intended.

    I would like to highlight a SIGNIFICANT flaw in this story. The Pentagon does not deliver any packages to troops in Iraq, the US postal service does. It is entirely legal for an evangelical group to send “freedom packages” to US troops. We get “care” packages over here quite often and many of them are sent by churches in the states.

    As I said though, it is illegal for US forces (military and civilian) to proselytize in Iraq.

  72. And one more thing. Somebody above said alcohol is banned in Iraq. Not true; alcohol sales are legal in Iraq. US forces are forbidden alcohol by GO #1 though.

    When I once mentioned this (that alcohol is on sale in many Arab nations — probably all except KSA and other Gulf states outside Dubai) in a previous thread, I was called many many bad names (that revolve about me being a liar, a racist, and an apologist for Islamic culture).

    But I was thinking, now that I see some who are either in or will be in Iraq, I think that my previous exchange about Middle Eastern culture and Islam may be helpful to those personnel who are there. And I think that may be good. I recently heard a story on radio about how a military booklet on Middle Eastern cultures distributed to either the British or the US army is being re-used today due to its high effectiveness and due to the fact that there was a lack (not in quantity, but quality content according to the story) of such booklets after 2003 invasion.

  73. iih,
    The three Iraqis that I have totally seen eye to eye with on econimics and freedom have been Shiia.

    Also amongst the coolest guys in the world. Well there was four, now there are three.

  74. “I think that they get away with the God ones, because they don’t advocate a specific religion, and it is kind of an extension of the Chaplain’s (which is government funded religion actually). Also because the ACLU hasn’t gotten on their case yet.”

    The father of our Constitution, James Madison was opposed to military chaplains. He said, “Better also to disarm in the same way, the precedent of Chaplainships for the army and navy, than erect them into a political authority in matters of religion.” He went on to say, “Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed Chaplain? To say that his principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the veil at once and exhibit in its native deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers, or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor.”

  75. The three Iraqis that I have totally seen eye to eye with on econimics and freedom have been Shiia.

    Where they observant Shias? Philosophically, coming from a well-educated (phd and all), well-informed Sunni, it is almost established fact that the Shia outlook on life (especially since the Iranian revolution) is more “authoritarian” than the Sunni version of Islam. Many of my Persian American friends probably agree.

    Sunnis on the other hand are so off balance that they do not see the advantages of not having a centralized religious outlook (i.e., no Ayatollah or a religious priesthood hierarchy).

  76. “I think that my previous exchange about Middle Eastern culture and Islam may be helpful to those personnel who are there. And I think that may be good…”

    This is very interesting to me. Unfortunately, it is late and I am tired so perhaps another time. I am certain there will be lots of threads about Iraq on H&R.

  77. The Pentagon does not deliver any packages to troops in Iraq, the US postal service does.

    Well now, postal clerk is an MOS. The guys who get to search the packages I send home and the guys who work in the military post office work for the military not the postal service.

    The dudes who won’t let me send home any military equipment that I purchased because I might have stolen it.

    The rates for sending stuff don’t reflect the market at all.

  78. “The ugly fat ones with the short hair that look like asexual guys that have never worked out?

    Or are they the hot ones that sometimes have a threesome with guys to keep things interesting?”

    One of each.

  79. Among the Sunnis, this decentralized religious structure is actually to blame for the chaos, not only in Iraq, but will Sunni Al-Qaeda and all. There is not central figure (kind of Ayatollah or Pope) who can tell them to, say, stop the violence and all and they would obey. Unfortunately for the Shias, Ayatollah Khomeiny is Iranian (with the implications vis-a-vis US-Iranian relations). So we can’t tell him to order the Shias to behave well and all.

  80. wayne,

    Stay safe and come home in one piece.

  81. “Well now, postal clerk is an MOS. The guys who get to search the packages I send home and the guys who work in the military post office work for the military not the postal service. ”

    True, but it is all still US mail. You can send and receive anything that is legal and not prohibited by GO #1. There is nothing that prohibits an evangelical group from sending bibles, video games, etc.

  82. “I would like to highlight a SIGNIFICANT flaw in this story. The Pentagon does not deliver any packages to troops in Iraq, the US postal service does. It is entirely legal for an evangelical group to send “freedom packages” to US troops. We get “care” packages over here quite often and many of them are sent by churches in the states.”

    That’s an important point. If it’s an evangelical organization sending the packages and paying for the materials, then that’s a different story, right?

    “The packages were put together by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up, or OSU. Headed by former kickboxer Jonathan Spinks, OSU is an official member of the Defense Department’s “America Supports You” program.”

    —From the LA Times Article

    So I dunno. Does participating in “America Supports You” make you a part of the Pentagon?

    I don’t know anything about the program but at first glance, I don’t think it does.

  83. This is very interesting to me. Unfortunately, it is late and I am tired so perhaps another time. I am certain there will be lots of threads about Iraq on H&R. I am sure there will be other chances. In the meantime, have you seen this discussion:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/122067.html

    That was one overwhelming thread for me. But it was my fault — I was the one to instigate much of the debate and (very good) questions.

  84. iih,
    It has been my observations that the Shia are more religious generally than the Sunni (although I am told that these observations are faulty)

    The three Shia that I speak of were all religious, the didn’t go with women where forbidden, and they prayed, and they fasted, and they didn’t drink alcohol. None of the Sunnis that I have worked with that were educated followed any of those rules, except to appear to follow them.

    Islam it appeared to me did not have any conflicts with libertarianism in their minds.

    Except for the fact that all of them, Sunni, Shia and orthodox Christian seem to find nothing wrong with killing their sisters if they were to have a boyfriend (the sunni guys had boyfriends and still felt that way).

  85. “Pardon me for piping up, but I’m not so sure but that depriving a deployed soldier of a holy book of his or her choice might not constitute some kind of First Amendment violation.”

    I’m not going over there and prying any “holy book” out of a soldier’s hands, and I’m sure there are opportunities for any soldier who wants a particular holy book to ask for one. I’m sure plenty of churches and religious organizations need only a list of names, and they will gladly ship them off.

    That’s far different from the Pentagon being involved in the (uninvited) dispersal of one specific (unrequested) holy book – it’s entirely inappropriate for the Pentagon to basically say to the troops that this is the “correct” or “government-sanctioned” holy book.

    And for any of you out there who think that forcing tax payers to provide Bibles to our soldiers is a First Amendment violation, can the religious right count on your support to stop people from teaching evolutionary biology in public schools?
    Not only is evolutionary biology not religion, but parents who don’t want their children to be exposed to that type of science can home-school their kids or send them to church-run schools. Children who are exposed to evolutionary biology in school can absorb the information, can argue about it, can discuss it with their teachers and parents, can decide they don’t beleive it.

    A soldier who receives this “government-approved” holy book can choose not to believe it, but that doesn’t change the fact that his government has sanctioned this book (and only this book) as the appropriate holy book to distribute to soldiers. The Wiccan, Muslim, or atheist who receives this package is being told that his religion is inappropriate and wrong, and he or she doesn’t even have any way to argue about it.

  86. None of the Sunnis that I have worked with that were educated followed any of those rules, except to appear to follow them.

    Goes back, I think, to the fact that Sunnis are generally not pressured to follow religion by a leading religious as strongly as say a Shia is by their religious leaders.

  87. Wayne,
    you can’t send tactical stuff from Iraq, and you can send that to and from anywhere in the States.

  88. I went to OSU’s website–it lists some of the other horrible atrocities they’re committing:

    5th) Deployed Gift Packages – “Freedom Packets”

    We send care packages to soldiers on the front lines of the war in Iraq. We call them “Freedom Packets” because the truth will set you free. Included in each “Freedom Packet” is:

    * Greeting card
    * 75 Minute Phone Card
    * White Socks
    * Baby Wipes (suggested by Col Oliver North)
    * Gideon’s pocket size New Testament
    * Extreme Sports “Livin It” DVD
    * and an assortment of snacks.

    We ship them to Iraq free of charge to soldiers. The approximate cost per package is $50. Two items – phone cards and shipping cost – account for approximately half that total amount. Most of the items were donated at no cost to support our troops. Your donation helps us send a clear message that God cares, including their mind, body and soul.

    http://www.osutour.org/new.html

    Looks like they’re sending it all at OSU’s expense.

  89. Except for the fact that all of them, Sunni, Shia and orthodox Christian seem to find nothing wrong with killing their sisters if they were to have a boyfriend (the sunni guys had boyfriends and still felt that way).

    This is one of the greatest and worst hypocrisies among Muslims. Islam advices exactly the same penalty for adulterers regardless of female or male (and yes it is a harsh one). As in many other cultures (Islamic or Christian or otherwise), it is taboo that a woman has extra-marital sex (as a consequence of the fact that it is easily found out via pregnancy, lack of virginity, etc).

  90. iih,

    It really is late and I am beat, but I just want to say that I am quite interested in Islam with respect to terrorism and authoriatianism. I will read the H&R link you listed; maybe my questions are there.

    I am tired so I might have phrased that statement in a way that seems insulting; I do not mean it that way, so accept my apologies in advance if it seems so.

  91. “you can’t send tactical stuff from Iraq, and you can send that to and from anywhere in the States.”

    I have sent DCUs home in the mail. What kind of tactical gear are you talking about?

  92. wayne:

    I am tired so I might have phrased that statement in a way that seems insulting; I do not mean it that way, so accept my apologies in advance if it seems so.

    Not at all. I fully understand what you mean. I, too, am disturbed by the authoritarianism of extremist Islamists and terrorism.

    Just a disclaimer that I am not of Iraqi origin and what I say is based one my understanding of the situation there. So “apply with care” 🙂 But I have interacted a lot with Iraqi immigrants here and I think that overall what I say regarding the Arab/Muslim world is more on the right side.

  93. “Not only is evolutionary biology not religion, but parents who don’t want their children to be exposed to that type of science can home-school their kids or send them to church-run schools.”

    Can evangelicals decide not to pay taxes used to teach other people’s children something that violates their religious convictions? …or is it just too bad for them?

    As we all know from the comments above, the government can’t do anything with your tax money that would offend your religious sensibilities–that would be against the First Amendment.

    P.S. That was just an example, can we let that one go now?

    “A soldier who receives this “government-approved” holy book can choose not to believe it, but that doesn’t change the fact that his government has sanctioned this book (and only this book) as the appropriate holy book to distribute to soldiers. The Wiccan, Muslim, or atheist who receives this package is being told that his religion is inappropriate and wrong, and he or she doesn’t even have any way to argue about it.”

    Once again, it isn’t clear to me that the Pentagon or the taxpayers are paying for what’s inside the packages or for the shipping of the packages. …it looks to me like the Pentagon is simply refusing to distribute this stuff.

  94. So Ken: if a bunch of neo-pagan Greeks decide to start worshiping Zeus again, would you think it’s wrong for government-funded public-school geography teachers to tell their students that Mount Olympus is topped by nothing but rock, ice and snow? That will offend evangelicals who believe the palaces of the gods are there.

    Granted, in libertopia there won’t be public schools. But here, since there are, I fail to see how holding facts hostage to superstition would be a victory for libertarianism, nor how teaching facts is considered religious discrimination.

  95. I didn’t want to make this thread about that, and I keep tryin’ to nip it.

    “So Ken: if a bunch of neo-pagan Greeks decide to start worshiping Zeus again, would you think it’s wrong for government-funded public-school geography teachers to tell their students that Mount Olympus is topped by nothing but rock, ice and snow? That will offend evangelicals who believe the palaces of the gods are there.”

    Actually, I think that forcing evangelical parents to pay for the teaching of evolutionary biology, even if they choose not to send their kids to public schools, is among the better of some bad options.

    …but I also hold this up as yet another example of why we should move away from public schools. It isn’t fair to evangelicals or Greek pagans, for all I know, et. al. If we can make common cause with the ACLU and others on fair treatment for accused terrorists, we should be able to make common cause with Evangelicals on this.

    …in the meantime, per the comments above, there seemed to be a general argument out there that the establishment rights of tax payers necessarily and always trumps the free exercise rights of others. …and the example of people paying taxes to support the teaching of evolution is an excellent example of that not necessarily being the case. Don’t you agree?

    I was just using it as an example. I’m not so sure the government shouldn’t be able to send a Bible to a deployed soldier who wants one, just because the taxpayers are paying for it–not that the taxpayers were paying for it in this case.

    “Granted, in libertopia there won’t be public schools. But here, since there are, I fail to see how holding facts hostage to superstition would be a victory for libertarianism, nor how teaching facts is considered religious discrimination.”

    I agree.

    …and until we achieve Libertopia, maybe private school tuition should be tax deductible. And I think deployed soldiers should get a lot of things they may not necessarily need for combat–and I’m not sure anybody should get a tax deduction for that.

  96. “But why aren’t we libertarians demanding that copies of Atlas Shrugged by translated into Iraqi-Arabic and sent over to Baghdad?”

    I do not know about “Atlas Shrugged” but we must not forget about the “Lamp of Liberty” found at http://www.misbahalhurriyya.org/

  97. PIRS:

    I do not know about “Atlas Shrugged” but we must not forget about the “Lamp of Liberty” found at http://www.misbahalhurriyya.org/

    Didn’t know such a website existed. Looks quite interesting after a quick look.

  98. PIRS:

    http://www.misbahalhurriyya.org/

    I was wondering whose behind it. Apparently Cato Institute. Excellent!

  99. iih, are you fluent in Arabic? I am not but I found out about it via CATO. I trust CATO but not knowing Arabic I really do not know anthing of it’s contents other than what I can gather from the pictures. Can you tell us what you think of it?

  100. PIRS:

    Yep, I do. It has a few opinion articles on the typical libertarian topics (taxes, small government, freedoms, liberty, etc), introducing the Arab reader to key books valued by libertarians (Friedman, Hayek, etc).

    What I found exceptionally exciting is that they cite Ibn Khaldun’s (died 1406):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Khaldun

    work on “big-government” and taxes. I am a great fan of Khaldun, but was not aware of the book mentioned on that website regarding government size. Khaldun is most famous for his book Al-Muqadema on social evolution. Some claim that Darwin was partly inspired by Khaldun’s work on social evolution by extending it to biological evolution.

    I came across this quote attributed to Khaldun:

    Khaldun’s definition of government:
    an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself.

    I am trying to verify the quote from other (non-internet) sources.

  101. Thank you, I did not know about Khaldun. I will have to look him up. 🙂

  102. PIRS:

    Glad to be of some help. But, really, thank you!

  103. We are going to be so screwed when gun-controlling, universal healthcare-providing, abortion-loving globalist feminists take Baghdad.

    I’d rather rather fight them over there.

  104. You know this thread brings up a very interesting question.

    Remember in the 1970s and ’80s, Libertarians were real big on spreading libertarianism overseas? Remember the ISIL?

    Are there any efforts to establish a “Libertarian Party” in Iraq? And if not, why not?

    (BTW, for the record Iraqi Arabic, of course, uses the same script as other dialects. However, it uses many different phrases and words than, for example, Egyptian Arabic.)

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