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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A lethal pacifism: the founder of CPT speaks

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
Here. Anabaptist and Mennonite Ron Sider breathtakingly implies that the Allies engaging in World War II was not a just war, because 20 million people died.

I have just this question:

How many fewer people would have died if the Allies had NOT engaged Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito in World War II?

Would Hitler have stopped, if the Allies had not stopped him?

Ron Sider and his Christian Peacemakers Team engage in a lethal pacifism.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on March 28, 2006 | Permalink


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These CPT guys have had their 15 minutes.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-28 10:08:44 PM

Let me get this straight. The method of a pacifist is to be willing to die for peace. "By the thousands" if necessary. Then why didn't James Loney admit he was gay? That would have brought a swift end to his life.
So obviously, self-preservation tool precedence over his pacifist ideals. He proved nothing to his captors except that he was a liar and a coward.

Posted by: jack | 2006-03-28 10:23:08 PM

One can have religious principles and still be a war hero.


Corporal Desmond Doss, the only conscienceous objector to win the Medal of Honor, died earlier this month. As a Seventh Day Adventist, he refused to touch a weapon. He served as a medic during the Battle of Okinawa, where he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire while saving the lives of dozens of wounded men.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-28 10:41:53 PM

It is people like these ungrateful wretches that have made so many Christian war vets suffer guilt and shame in their later years. My Mom was an Royal Canadian Air Force Woman, in London, in WWII; now thanks to the self righteous condemnation of war by many 'Christians' and 'Christian' organizations; Mom is questioning the justification for killing people in WWII. I hate hearing that unsureness in her voice and I have no use for the people who have made her feel this way. Remembering a line from 'Braveheart' "What good is living life without your Freedom". Peace and Freedom are won with brave hearts and strong minds and armies fighting on the Right side for the right reasons. Anyone can fold up their puny arms and say 'shame on the 'bad guys' but you 'good guys' are just as much to blame for fighting.' They are still in the kindergarten school yard, for Pete's sake, with Liberal-socialist type teachers calling the shots!

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-03-29 12:02:57 AM

Critical analysis time:

"How many fewer people would have died if the Allies had NOT engaged Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito in World War II?"

1) this implies that people were already dying in the war, yet the Allies just made things worse. That's just creepy to relativize the deaths of so many people. Think of it this way: if the Allies had not stopped Hitler from exterminating the Jews, and reached the Nazis' own number of 11 million Jews in Europe (say 10 million to say they didn't get them all), that death toll would have exceeded any other lives saved from the Allied military efforts. Net gain by staying out: zero.

2) It also implies that an option existed about engaging in the war. For the Allies, there was no choice. The Axis were the aggressors, attacking the Allied nations without pity. The option to disengage simply did not exist.

Jema54: right on, but if you are going to get political concepts from movies, I recommend the first scene from "Patton". It works so well, even if that movie implied that Patton was out of touch with reality. He still kicked serious Nazi ass, and God (yes...God) bless him for it.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-29 12:38:10 AM

Pacifism does not exist. Any group of humans that were pacifists were wiped out long ago. Political agendas are alive and well however, and the 'Christian Peacemaker Teams' are milking the hostage thing for all it's worth. While they were hoping for martyrdom in order to make a bigger show, it's nice to see they had to settle for being rescued - the self-righteous lecturing would have been unbearable if their martyrdom operation had succeeded.

Posted by: infidel | 2006-03-29 12:54:32 AM

I find it quite disturbing that anyone would suggest that Word War 2 was not a war simply by quoting approximate body counts. World War 2 and the majority of the wars fought since 1945 have been wars of ideology. For that matter most wars have been fought under the premise of some form of ideology. On the one side we have the ideology of democracy, with all of its inherent benefits, and on the other side totalitarianism, in its various forms and with all of its inherent detriments. Why is it that pacifists find it abhorrent when the western democracies engage in war, usually not a decision undertaken lightly and in consultation with their elected bodies, yet when totalitarian regimes engage in war somehow it is seldom criticized and usually praised as a ‘War of Liberation”. We all owe our freedom to dissent, support and elect our government because young men and women of this country purchased these rights for us so long ago. If history contains one lesson for all of us, it is in the face of aggressive nations we cannot back down. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.

Posted by: not_quite_sure_anymore | 2006-03-29 1:23:45 AM

Ironically, the original anabaptist philosophy was not pacifism, but nonresistance. They are quite different.

The non-resistor refuses to engage in violent acts and accepts the consequence of abuse or persecution. He trusts that God will be his defender, either in this life for the next.

The pacifist rejects violence as well but still expects to control the political agenda. They had some success in leaders like Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

Since this was explained to me, I have lost respect for pacifism. (I still respect and admire non-resistance but can't imagine putting it into action when it is MY life on the line.)

I can't help but think that Ghandi and King did well against the US and Britain but would have been completely ineffective against Stalin or Hussein. Pacifism provides effective resistance only against regimes that don't particularly need to be resisted.

Posted by: pete e | 2006-03-29 2:21:57 AM

With all due respect, I think you've misinterpreted his remarks, and believe me, I have no time for these guys.

What he was trying to say about WW2 was: we pacifists need to be able to willing to die for our beliefs. WW2 is considered a just war, and millions died fighting the Nazis etc. If those who support a war can willingly die fighting it, we too need to be able to do the same and not consider dying part of our failure, but part of the struggle toward victory.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2006-03-29 4:19:08 AM

not_quite_sure_anymore refers to the "ideology of democracy".

Please explain what this "ideology of democracy" is in less than 100 words.

Ideology is defined here as:

The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture (Dictionary.com)

What is an "ideology of democracy"?
Is the practice of democracy an ideology?
Is "pacifism" an ideology?

Posted by: maz2 | 2006-03-29 5:53:47 AM

I'd agree with Kathy. I don't have any respect for these people or their ideology, but I think you have misinterpreted his remarks.

He actually called WWII a 'just war'.

However, his whole outline of the operations of these peace-robots, is unclear. He talks about their role as getting the 'two sides' to interact with and 'understand' each other. How do they do this? Did they mediate between Saddam's tribe-in-power and the people in the other tribes whom Saddam was murdering? Or- is it that the CPT didn't even try?

What were they doing in Iraq?

These people live a fictional lifestyle. They rely on the military for their safety. Then, they put themselves on a higher moral level by denigrating those military.

Frankly, they are no different from any other welfare bum who expects others to pick up, support and nurture them while they do nothing other than spout empty nonsense.

Posted by: ET | 2006-03-29 7:20:59 AM

Jack, please read this slowly, James Looney wasn't there to fight for gay rights - he was there to fight against immoral militarist aggression so therefore the fact that he was gay is besides the point.

Though I do find it interesting that a gay guy has bigger Christian balls theen most of you (though I'm sure your version of Christ would be over there, armed to the (holy) tits, fighting with the Marines).

I guess that's what this all comes down to: would Jesus fight in Iraq or would he try to stop it? Given that you're all pretty bloodthirsty I think I already know what you'll answer.

Oh and Kathy, thanks for the clarification but most people here thrive on their ignorance and don't much care about getting it right.

Posted by: Justin Fossey | 2006-03-29 7:23:37 AM

So, Justin, this member of the CPT was there to fight against 'immoral militarist aggression'. That means, against Hussein's vicious murdering of any and all tribes who opposed his tribe. How were they going about this? Did they stop Hussein's sons from their murders? Did they stop the mass graves, the gas poisonings?

The US-UK-Australian etc coalition went in there to stop this. The CPT certainly didn't!! The US coalition took out a vicious tyrant and now, the Iraqi people are setting up their democracy. They have voted for their government; I'm sure you are aware of that. They have written up a constitution; I'm sure you are aware of that. How did the CPT enable and help them to do this?

As for Looney's homosexuality, I think that it IS a consideration. After all, in the West, Looney doesn't have to fear for his life by his living such a lifestyle.

But in the as-yet undemocratic areas of the ME - - he most certainly would be killed for such behaviour. He'd be killed by members of both sides - Saddam's tribe and the other tribes. Wouldn't that be immoral? Isn't he trying to bring democracy and morality to these areas, to help other people like him?

So- I'm puzzled. What did the CPT do to prevent the 'immoral militarist aggression' of Saddam? What is the CPT doing, now, to prevent equal immoral militarist aggression by Iran, by Syria, by Lebanon. They are sending 'insurgents' into Iraq, to blow up Iraqis, to try to stop them from having a democractic government.

Remember, it is democracy that enables groups such as the CPT to exist, that enables lifestyles such as homosexuality to exist. So, what are the CPT doing to stop the immoral militarist aggression of these ME gov'ts, with their terrorism, their blowing up people in markets, mosques, homes, their desperate attempts to prevent them from having freedom. ..what are the CPT doing?

Posted by: ET | 2006-03-29 7:45:45 AM


When War Must Be The Answer -- from Dec 04 Policy Review.

Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2006-03-29 7:47:49 AM

Interesting isn't it Justin, "Loony" and his family chose to keep his sexual preference hidden till he was released. Why is that?

You can't stop jumping up and down and screaming how repressed gays are around here, and anyone who disagrees with you is a homophobe. Funny when he had to face with a life or death situation, all of a sudden it didn't seem to important to promote his gayness.

As a pointier of gay rights you must be pretty disappointed with him. Balls of steal? How about balls of stupidity, or perhaps arrogance.

It has to stick in your craw, it obviously does in his, that he had to be saved by those immoral soldiers, who put their lives in danger to save his sorry ass.

He has those solders to thank for saving him from an uncertain fate, as do you.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-29 7:55:45 AM

Regardless, consistent pacifism and/or non-resistance is a perfectly ok philosophy.

The CPT should perhaps be criticized for not being consistent, or even naive, but that doesn't take anything away from some (other) people's valid pacifism.

(And I say this as a non-pacifist.)

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-29 8:09:21 AM

Yet again your prose indicates very clearly why the conservative movement in Canada has had, and continue to have, difficulties in "uniting the right". Which is too bad.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-29 8:12:32 AM

Hi Kathy and others--

I understood his point that CPT members' dying does not invalidate the struggle. However, look at the preceding paragraph where he distinguishes between those of the just war tradition who set out to kill, and people like him of his tradition who do not.

Ron Sider thinks that the Allies should not have engaged the enemy by killing in WWII.

To put it a little differently than I did in the post, Ron Sider doesn't believe that saving lives justifies killing.

That is the anabaptist tradition.

And just to push the discussion a little further, the Christian resistance tradition from Luther and Calvin suggests that it is legitimate for public officeholders to resist and, even, overthrow a tyrant -- whether in their own country, or at the head of another.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-03-29 8:17:49 AM

"But in terms of the just-war tradition, World War II is a success. And 20 million or so people got killed. The death of some people in a peacemaking effort certainly doesn't mean that effort is not successful."

As much as I disagree with these people, I have to say that it doesn't sound to me like he's implying that WWII was unjust. In fact, it quite seems the opposite. What am I missing here?

Posted by: Rob R | 2006-03-29 8:53:44 AM

Worth noting here is a wonderful piece of the ritual from the Royal Arch Mason Degree, found in the Symbolical Lecture:

"[N]ext to obedience to lawful authority is a manly and determined resistance against lawless violence."

Recent events show that CPT places no stock in either of those worthy virtues.

Posted by: Paul Canniff | 2006-03-29 9:05:23 AM

Operation Barbarossa(German invasion of the USSR in WWII)

Readers of Hitler's Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") should, however, have expected an invasion of the Soviet Union. In his book, he makes clear his belief that the German people needed Lebensraum ("living space", i.e. land and raw materials), and that it should be looked for in the East. It was the stated policy of the Nazis to kill, deport, or enslave Russian and other Slavic populations, whom they considered inferior, and to repopulate the land with Germanic peoples. The entire urban population was to be exterminated by starvation, thus creating an agricultural surplus to feed Germany and allowing their replacement by a German upper class.

Operation Barbarossa, had it been successful would have liquidated over 200 million people.

Only countries maintaining standing armies and advanced war industries could have prevented Operation Barbarossa.

During World War II, George Orwell said of England's pacifists: "Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively, the pacifist is pro-Nazi."

36 Then said he(Jesus Christ) unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Maybe these guys think Jesus wanted people to buy swords so they could beat them into plowshares. Probably not.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-29 9:19:33 AM


There is no valid pacifism. Pacifists are able to advocate peace because better people than themselves are willing to sacrifice themselves to provide it for them through the violence they disdain.

Pacifism is a delusions of ignorant fools.

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-03-29 9:33:07 AM

"Pacifism is a delusions of ignorant fools."
Posted by: Warwick

I disagree. I think pacifism is an illusion of educated fools.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-29 9:55:00 AM

Hi Rob R--

Sider stands in opposition to the just war tradition he cites. He's an anabaptist. And as one who is consistent with the anabaptist tradtion, Sider is opposed to the just war tradition -- for him and other anabaptists, no war is just.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-03-29 10:20:45 AM

>Yet again your prose indicates very clearly why the conservative movement in Canada has had, and continue to have, difficulties in "uniting the right". Which is too bad.<

Really Johan? I think the right has united quite well, and correct me if I am wrong, but is now the party in power.

What and the hell does that have to do with the hypocrisy that has been pointed out by many posters of these people having the right to act like the fools they are because braver men and women than they have fought and died, and continue their sacrifice so morons like them, and I guess you, give people the freedom to act like they do. Not only at home, but now abroad.

It has been stated many times, the down side of democracy is it allows total fools to exercise their rights, and unfortunately thousands abuse that right every day. As this exercise has clearly proven, when it puts lives in danger, and the real consequences that can occur, that becomes a problem.

This has proven that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is no longer in control, or even in the country, or these people would have lost their heads forthright. Was it the CPT that made him leave or the Allied soldiers?

To ignore that simply puts you in the same fantasy world these people live in.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-29 11:01:55 AM

So now you attack this peaceful religion, which is doing no harm to you, simply because its followers are against war? Disgraceful.

Posted by: Let them speak | 2006-03-29 11:07:57 AM

"So now you attack this peaceful religion, which is doing no harm to you, simply because its followers are against war? Disgraceful."
Posted by: Let them speak

While we do allow them to speak, and this discussion shows we are listening, yet we have the right to be heard as well.

I don't criticize these pacifists as being against war. I think these people are trying to handicap our war effort and to the extent they do, are aiding the enemy.

I criticize them for being against a just peace.

I believe a just peace can only be found on the other side of a war in which my civilization is victorious.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-03-29 11:38:04 AM

If the Allies had not fought back, then Ron and all those like him would not be around. Of course it would be too much to expect these people to consider such facts.

Posted by: Alain | 2006-03-29 11:52:16 AM

As I see it the problem lies in their interpretation of "a just war" being the one waged as a last resort. Well, who's to say when or if the last resort has been reached? These people believe any and all war as unjustifiable. Therefore, their claims are not only misleading but illogical. No wonder they obey the Liberal/NDP party.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-29 12:39:50 PM


So what do you suggest we do with the pacifists among us? Send them to re-education camps? Outlaw them?

Of course there is "valid pacifism". You may not agree with them (I don't), but it is certainly a valid ideology/philosophy.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-29 2:23:55 PM


First, the right got something like 35% of the vote, not a particularly stellar result. I am convinced that a much larger percentage than that agrees with the concepts of limited government, free trade, free enterprise, deregulation, etc. So we can do a lot better.

Second, language like yours (which much resembles what one can find at rabble.ca), with its frequent use of terms such as "morons like you", "total fools", "balls of stupidity", "sorry ass" etc, does conservatism a disservice, in that it scares potential voters away and can be used as ammunition by the other side.

I can only hope you are not an actual CPC representative.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-29 2:48:32 PM

Actually, I find that opinion of the CPT founders a lot more healthy than the question "all except for that one" when the morality of war and WWII comes into play.

(That's the anti-Hitler European Theatre of WWII, not the anti-Hirohito Pacific Theatre, which the leftists lump in the unjustifiable camp)

This is the view that only the battle against Hitler was just, and all other wars (save the Union side in the U.S. Civil War) are null and void (well, maybe except for Che and Castro's revolutionary skirmishes) when it comes to legitimacy. Only that one (maybe three) exceptions hold true (well, and the insurgency in Iraq which they also are in favour of). You see now why I say the "no wars at all" is a refreshing change?

The "anti-war" crowd is a one-sided bunch of loonies, and whenever they toss another exception in (oh, don't forget the October Revolution of 1917!) it just gets more and more pathetic. After all, if they were really anti-war why weren't they in Iraq in 2001-2002 campaigning for Saddam Hussein to surrender? If Saddam had let the Americans in without a fight, there would be no war, correct? After all, in the war against Islamist terrorists the left is quick to recommend WE surrender!

So if you're going to knee-jerk complain about war, complain about all of them. It might make you clearly look the kook when you don't make an exception in this one case, but you end up far less of a kook than you would if you spent your entire life protesting war as totally wrong except for when you agreed with it.

Posted by: Feynman and Coulter's Love Child | 2006-03-29 2:49:26 PM

"I have just this question:
How many fewer people would have died if the Allies had NOT engaged Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito in World War II?"

And an equally, if not more relevant question is: How many fewer people would have died if WWII had been prevented - if pre-1939 pacifists and appeasers had not won the day and Hitler had been engaged and neutralized before he could prepare for all out war??

The Iraq War can certainly be seen as one measure (of many) aimed at preventing wider, more deadly conflict. If the pacifists have their way and the coalition is defeated then worse will surely follow.

Note to all pacifists - be careful what you wish for!

Posted by: JR | 2006-03-29 7:43:46 PM

-Second, language like yours (which much resembles what one can find at rabble.ca), with its frequent use of terms such as "morons like you", "total fools", "balls of stupidity", "sorry ass" etc, does conservatism a disservice, in that it scares potential voters away and can be used as ammunition by the other side.-

Johan, you ever hear the phrase, if the shoe fits wear it? I don't say it, if they don't have it coming. Sorry my language is hard on your "politically correct" ears and sensibilities.

I have a habit of saying what most people are thinking. Like in regards to this statement from you,

-So what do you suggest we do with the pacifists among us? Send them to re-education camps? Outlaw them?-

Easy, let them go to Iraq, in fact sent them to Iraq, or any war torn nation, but no more get out of jail free cards. Why should the military establishment, they so despise risk themselves to save these people.

As was pointed out, funny they weren't there when Saddam was in power preaching about fairness. The truth is, in front of any good pacifist is an equally good army.

Another one from you,

-Loney doesn't see himself as an ally to the terrorists, he sees himself as an enemy to Bush. It might be a simplistic and naive position, but it's his.-

Perhaps you can explain to me, and the other supporters of the war on terror, and there are many, the difference? Considering Bush and his allies are the only ones standing between those maniacs and us, would it not make sense to support him? Is it simple naivety to not see this ridiculous hate Bush campaign not only enables the enemy but puts the rest of free world in danger?

Sorry to break your heart, but I was a card carrying conservative long before you thought being conservative was cool.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-29 8:52:50 PM

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