Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Did President Bush Go to War in Iraq Because God Told Him to?

August 24, 2008

  How can President Bush justify preemptive war? How can he answer those who say Iraq does not meet the definition of a “just war?” He doesn’t worry about such things. He doesn’t have to because he is doing what God has told him to do.

  He may not read the newspapers, but he does read religious tracts every morning, and they are basically of the Calvinist tradition, according to Timothy Renick, Director of Religious Studies at Georgia State University. (Normally, that’s his job, but this year he is serving as provost for the school.) Dr. Renick, speaking to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus, said that it doesn’t matter that the president has been wrong about his reasons for going to war, because he knows that what he is doing was preordained by God. In other words, though hundreds of thousands, more than 4 thousand of them Americans, are killed or wounded, and 500 billion dollars has been spent, it’s really not important because he is doing God’s work.

Timothy Renick, Ph.D, Georgia State University Director of Religious Studies

Timothy Renick, Ph.D, Georgia State University Director of Religious Studies

  Dr. Renick says there is another very great religious figure, St. Thomas Aquinas, whose words refute the Bush rationale. St. Thomas, considered by many as the greatest Catholic theologian,  predated Calvin by a few hundred years. He thought that God gave man the power to reason and, therefore, he should.  He believed Godly decisions come from reason (and evidence), not from God. That goes against the Calvinist tradition, the tradition that President Bush and many Americans follow.

  Former President Jimmy Carter made the statement at the very beginning of the Iraq war that it was not a “just war.” He was basing that on international law which says that just wars are those that are waged to protect a country after it has been attacked. Preemptive war is not a just war. Iraq is a preemptive war.  St. Thomas addressed the subject of just war. He said, ” A just war is to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished for refusing to make amends for wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

  Now, President Bush could claim that even though he was given the wrong information about weapons of mass destruction, and about Saddam Hussein being involved in 9-11, he still did the right thing because he was acting in God’s behalf. Dr. Renick said St. Thomas did not believe we can be excused for our actions because of sincere mistakes. Ignorance does not excuse doing the wrong thing.

  During the discussion session after Dr. Renick’s speech, I asked Dr. Renick if what he was saying boiled down to President Bush getting us into the Iraq mess because he is a Calvinist instead of a Catholic? His answer didn’t surprise me. I have been accused by college professors before of over-simplifying things. In an effort to make it easy for the public to understand an issue, broadcast news people aim for simplification. However, he went on to say that the Calvinist tradition does tend to exercise a great influence over many Americans, including the president. 

  He went on to explain how St. Thomas also addressed the consensus question. President Bush doesn’t give a fig for it. 75 percent of the American public is opposed to the war in Iraq. That doesn’t matter. The president is doing God’s work and that’s all that matters. Ah, but this great Catholic philospher and theologian says consensus does matter. If people agree on a thing then that is evidence that their reasoning is unified and, and since they are using reason, which God gave them to use, they are being Godly.

  I guess the big question for a lot of us is, how does president Bush know what God wants? I know, I know, if mess happens, then it was preordained  by God and therefore the president was following God’s wishes. After all, didn’t Calvin teach that everything is preordained?  How can you argue with such illogical logic?

This is IT!

July 14, 2008


  My former WTVM newsroom co-worker and still friend Cyndy Cerbin took me on a fascinating tour of the new National Infantry Museum recently.





Cyndy Cerbin



 Cyndy is now Director of Communications for the Infantry Foundation. She said, “Dick, this is the ‘It’ they were talking about when they said Columbus needs an ‘It’ to attract lots of tourists.” Since this baby could bring in between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors a year, I think she’s right.





 National Infantry Museum Panorama

 National Infantry Museum Under Construction



   Fort Benning is already supplying 3,000 visitors a week to eat in the city’s restaurants, stay in its hotels and visit tourist attractions.  With the original National Infantry Museum still operating on post, and, in town, add the Coca-Cola Space and Science Center, the National Civil War Naval Museum, the Columbus Museum, and an attractive softball complex at South Commons, and you can see they already have a lot to do.


  Those 3,000 visitors come from all over the country to Fort Benning each week to attend a loved one’s graduation ceremony. That ceremony is going to move to the new National Infantry Museum’s “back yard.” The field is ready now, but the stands have to be added.





National Infantry Museum Graduation Field




  Either before or after the ceremony they’ll be able to stroll through the World War II barracks area, which not only boasts real WW II barracks, but General Patton’s headquarters building and the cabin near it where he slept. They’ll also see a WWII Patton tank, and a smaller tank of the type Patton used during Fort Benning exercizes.




WWII Barracks

World War II Barracks





Patton Shack and Tanks

Gen. Patton’s Sleeping Quarters and Patton Tank




   Once inside the !00 million dollar museum, they’ll walk along the Last One Hundred Yards Ramp, It’s called that because of the famous saying that, “the infantry owns the last one hundred yards of battle.”  This one hundred yards will contain exhibits that graphically depict, with virtual high-tech aids, seven major battles fought by the infantry, ranging all the way from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.




NIM Lst. 100 Yrds.

Last 100 Yards Ramp 


   A couple of standouts will be a real Bradley Fighting Vehicle that saw action in Iraq and Vietnam era Huey Helicopter. Both will hang over the side of the ramp where they will also be seen from the Grand Hall on the Gallery level. The Bradley is already there. Cyndy said that it’s so heavy it had to brought in during the early stages of construction, that the museum is being built around it. 




NIM Brad Ft. Vehicle

 Bradley Fighting Vehicle






Bradley Fighting Vehicle seen from Grand Hall on Gallery Level




  At the end of the ramp is the  Fort Benning area, where they will see and experience how young civilians are transformed into soldiers. There will be a jump tower. Also, a virtual firing range will allow visitors to experience the same virtual firing training that our soldiers receive. There will also be a section dedicated to the relationship with Columbus over the years.





Fort Benning Section




Because of the Department of the Army’s sanctioning of the museum, it cannot charge admission. However, it can charge admission to the 300 seat IMAX Theater and adventure simulators. Income will also be generated by the full service restaurant and gift shop.






IMAX Theater Entrance



The galleries on the lower level will feature large exhibits of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam together, and the desert wars.




Desert Wars Exhibit




 The Vietnam exhibit will feature another Huey that is already in place. Part of the Vietnam exhibit will recreate the jungle atmosphere of Vietnam, including the tropical weather that soldiers had to endure while fighting in that country. 




Covered Huey Helicopter in Vietnam War Exhibit



 You’ll be able to see the finished product on March 20, 2009.  That’s the target date to open the museum. As the late Arthur Godfrey used to say on CBS Radio, “If the good Lord be willing and the creek don’t rise,” I’ll see you there.