Friday, November 6, 2009

Last God Standing

Reading about the Fort Hood killings, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly yelled "Allahu Akbar!" before firing, I thought of two things. One, the obvious reactionary freak out that I'm sure is in full swing (I haven't the stomach to check, and would love to be proven wrong); and two, the idea of slaughtering sinners for one's god runs throughout the U.S. military. As Jeff Sharlet, who wrote about this for Harper's, put it last May on Democracy Now:

"Well, after about a year of interviewing military personnel, this was, in some ways, the most frightening story that I encountered. A man named Staff Sergeant Jeffery Humphrey, one of the very few soldiers who, in this military climate, had the courage to come forward and speak out about what he had seen, he had been stationed in Samarra. It was Easter. The day began calmly. A chaplain brought around a copy of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic film 'Passion of the Christ,' which they then put on constant play throughout the day.

"When they came under attack, the Special Forces, Army Special Forces to whom he was assigned, had their Iraqi translator, an Iraqi American Christian, paint in giant red Arabic letters on the side of a Bradley fighting vehicle the words 'Jesus killed Mohammed.' Then, while they put the translator on the roof with a bullhorn, shouting in Arabic, 'Jesus killed Mohammed,' and then training their guns, training American guns on anybody who responded, the Bradley fighting vehicle rolled out into the city of Samarra and drawing fire everywhere it went, leading the Special Forces to conclude that every single Iraqi who took offense at these words, 'Jesus killed Mohammed,' was part of the enemy and therefore needed to be destroyed.

"And I spoke to the man who drove that Bradley, Lieutenant John DeGiulio, now Captain John DeGiulio, promoted since. And he describes wreaking almost biblical destruction on one whole block, blowing up every single thing he saw. And he said he was able to do this, because God was on his side and because he had been spiritually armored by watching Mel Gibson’s 'Passion of the Christ'. And then he thanked his chaplain for preparing him for that kind of spiritual battle on the streets of Iraq."

What's God telling you today?