"God" Vs. "Country"

Let me play the Devil’s Advocate and defend a man of God.

The Irreverend Pat Robertson has predictably caught a lot of flak from a lot of quarters for suggesting that the U.S. assassinate Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, a leading critic of the war in Iraq and a vocal opponent of market “reforms” in developing nations.

From the State Department to the Defense Department, the Bush Administration quickly distanced itself from such sentiments. Why, no less than Donald Rumsfeld weighed in with the following:

“Certainly it’s against the law. Our department doesn’t do that type of thing.”

Heaven forbid! Although…in April, 2002, the White House did do everything but break out Geo. Dubya’s old Yale cheerleading outfit when there was a coup against President Chavez — democratically elected President Chavez.

But aren’t we killing and dying by the thousands in Iraq to spread demo… My mistake.

And from my warped perspective, dear readers, it gets even juicier than that.

While it’s all too easy to simply condemn the assassin-mongering Reverend Robertson out of hand, just listen carefully to all he said.

“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”

OK, so the Gospel according to St. Pat doesn’t exactly jibe with the King James version — then again, to be perfectly frank, Jesus didn’t explicitly sanction any war or killing, justified or not (when it comes to twisting our ethics to suit our purpose, we’re all contortionists at some point or another) — but just listen to the follow-through.

“It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war,” Robertson continued, “and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

Ah, I almost forgot — Venezuela’s got more oil than anybody else this side of the Sahara. A little piece of heaven in our very own hemisphere. How deliciously tempting! You know, the more I think about it, the more that Chavez character sounds like a communist or a terrorist or some sorta Godless -ist!

But hold the phone, Holy Rollers! Did I detect a little “jab” at the President? A man charged by the Almighty Himself to wage a crusade against the infidels? What was that bit about “a whole lot cheaper than starting a war”? Just a slip of the well-oiled tongue? Or is the Coalition of the Willing becoming somewhat less willing?

Robertson expounded and expanded:

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion dollar war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.”

One, you know, strong-arm dictator like the guy in his underwear we pulled out of the spiderhole?

Hey, now, Pat — it’s one thing to call for the assassination of a duly elected head of state (although guess whose President would be at the top of the hit parade if we encouraged such means of “diplomacy”?) but it’s quite another to criticize the President’s war of choice while we still have troops in the field!

Pat, just listen to what Thomas Cadmus, National Commander of the American Legion, had to say the other day at the Legion’s National Convention, in Honolulu (and it’s quite a lulu):

“For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched in our memories. We must never let that happen again…

“We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies.”

You listening, Pat? Sounds pretty much like the Constitutional definition of “treason” to me. Now, don’t you feel just plain petty and ashamed of yourself, crying about the price tag of the war in Iraq? How can you put a price on freedom, Reverend? (Hmm, shouldn’t a man of God be a tad more concerned about the price of the war in terms of human lives and limbs than in terms of the Almighty Dollar, as costly as that truly is? But I digress)

Pat, just listen to what else Commander Cadmus had to say:

“The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples.”

You hear that, Reverend? Maybe it wasn’t all those goddamned homosexuals and feminists and evolutionists who brought fire and damnation down on New York on 9/11 but rather ye of little faith in our Crusader in Chief.

Commander Cadmus concluded his sermon:

“No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies.”

Amen. So there you have it, Pat. Just sit down, shut up, and make like those three little monkeys: You know — See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

I suppose if you must criticize the Prez, just send him an e-mail or a Candygram (R) or something. But why must you make waves, Pat? Didn’t Geo. Dubya get permission from his Father in Heaven to go to war (even though his wussy listen-to-Colin Powell-and-the-U.N.-and-not-finish-business-in-the-first-Gulf War poppa counseled against it)?

Just who the heck do you think you are, Reverend Robertson? Cindy Sheehan?!

Not quite. Ms. Sheehan mourns the dead.

Doug Drenkow

(Hat Tip to Scott Levison, loyal Barry Gordon fan, for the American Legion link)

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