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Praise The Lord, and Irradiate the Population

Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006 3:42 PM

President Bush thinks we're in the midst of the Third Awakening, a new era of religious devotion coinciding with the war on terrorism.

Aides were quick to point out that Bush is not framing the war as a religious struggle, but describing a change within American culture.

"He's drawing a parallel in terms of resurgence, in dangerous times, of people going back to their religion," said one aide, speaking anonymously.

The war on terror doesn't even meet Vatican standards for a just war. If we're entering a pinnacle of religious devotion, if our leaders think that this somehow sanctifies or elevates their cause, people of faith should be ashamed. Faith must rise up against the dry rot of our petty hatreds and vices, before it crumbles from within.

Because war is not a test of history or calling of the faithful. It is not a requirement of God that we spill one another's blood to honor whatever gift we perceive in freedom and a free society. It is a choice, made by men, to inflict harm - justly or not - upon other men in pursuit of both secular and sacred ends.

Still, it's comforting to know our military doesn't want to use next-generation weaponry against the enemy without testing it.

On us.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

It's no secret that such weapons are being researched, or that they could ultimately be deployed on the domestic front against those pesky protesters, but it's quite disturbing to hear a military official talk of actually using a battlefield weapon on the domestic civilian populace.

When agreements like the Geneva Conventions are styled as quaint and outmoded, when strictures against torture are considered in need of clarification, it's clear that there are failings - ethical, moral, and philosophical - at the highest levels of government.

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