SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Social Sciences, Moral, and Religious

Social Sciences, Moral, and Religious Applying the soft sciences and higher laws.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-08-2008   #21
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Question There is a lot to be said,

I have had the opportunity to be a part of several of the discussions on this in which CavGuys MSG was a large part and there are a host of points to be made. I am however going to wait until he gets to post before jumping in.

In the meantime I will simply ask two questions.

If the responsibility of a chaplain is the mental, emotional, spiritual well being of the soldier, wouldn't helping to keep them alive fullfill that obligation correctly?

If so who within a unit is most competent and experienced in understanding the nuances of faith and its effects on people?
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #22
Gian P Gentile
Council Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Point New York
Posts: 268
Default

Well I guess i will have to agree to disagree with most of the postings on this issue; to restate my position I donít think chaplains have any business other than the spiritual and moral welfare of their units and the soldiers within them. I think it morally and ethically wrong to place a chaplain in the position of being used by a commander to "engage" a local religious leader like an imam to establish a relationship with him simply because he is a man of the cloth. In the first place commanders and junior leaders who patrol and op everyday in coin are much more able to relate to an imam than a chaplain simply because they know the ground and the people better. Moreover if a commander puts a chaplain in a position to help with engagements in subtle and indirect but still relevant ways the chaplain has become an operator and that to me has crossed a line we should not cross.



gg
Gian P Gentile is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #23
Cavguy
Council Member
 
Cavguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 1,127
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
Well I guess i will have to agree to disagree with most of the postings on this issue; to restate my position I donít think chaplains have any business other than the spiritual and moral welfare of their units and the soldiers within them. I think it morally and ethically wrong to place a chaplain in the position of being used by a commander to "engage" a local religious leader like an imam to establish a relationship with him simply because he is a man of the cloth. In the first place commanders and junior leaders who patrol and op everyday in coin are much more able to relate to an imam than a chaplain simply because they know the ground and the people better. Moreover if a commander puts a chaplain in a position to help with engagements in subtle and indirect but still relevant ways the chaplain has become an operator and that to me has crossed a line we should not cross.



gg
Sir,

Great points. Agree with many. Mainly trying to fill in the other viewpoint.
__________________
"A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
Who is Cavguy?
Cavguy is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #24
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default I agree with Gian and Wilf.

Chaplains should stick to their job -- get them involved elsewhere and the potential for regret is high.

Not least because the Chaplain should not and cannot negotiate for the command yet he will be presumed by those in the ME to be doing so. Dangerous road, IMO.

Sponsoring an orphanage in Korea or Viet Nam is one thing, a Chaplain other than a Muslim doing that in a Muslim nation is a whole different ball game and anything more than that will be hazardous. There may be minor exceptions on rare occasions but that's what they should be -- exceptional.
Ken White is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #25
Cavguy
Council Member
 
Cavguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 1,127
Default

For those with CALL access, here is the document behind the discussion - lesson came from an army infantry BN attached to a USMC regiment and the employment of its chaplain by the commander in the town of Hit to affect the battlespace.

Link Here - Section 7

I wish I could quote it here but it is FOUO. Topic 7.1 directly addresses the above discussion.
__________________
"A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
Who is Cavguy?

Last edited by Cavguy; 02-08-2008 at 06:04 AM.
Cavguy is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #26
wm
Council Member
 
wm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: On the Lunatic Fringe
Posts: 1,237
Default Would you ask your medic to be

an assistant gunner on your Ma Deuce? I don't think so.

Asking your chaplain to do anything other than minister to units' faith needs, or as Gian noted, their spiritual and moral welfare, is tantamount to using an ambulance as an ammunition resupply vehicle IMHO.
wm is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #27
Gian P Gentile
Council Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Point New York
Posts: 268
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wm View Post
an assistant gunner on your Ma Deuce? I don't think so.

Asking your chaplain to do anything other than minister to units' faith needs, or as Gian noted, their spiritual and moral welfare, is tantamount to using an ambulance as an ammunition resupply vehicle IMHO.
Well said and exactly my point; unfortunately many in the Army do not see it that way and they blur the line that a Chaplain (in my mind) must stay on the right side of by an indulgence with counterinsurgency theory and doctrine that focusses on the people to the point where we justify the use of Chaplains in an operational mode. So your MCO analogy although in the extreme is very fitting for driving this point home.
Gian P Gentile is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #28
wm
Council Member
 
wm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: On the Lunatic Fringe
Posts: 1,237
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
Well said and exactly my point; unfortunately many in the Army do not see it that way and they blur the line that a Chaplain (in my mind) must stay on the right side of by an indulgence with counterinsurgency theory and doctrine that focusses on the people to the point where we justify the use of Chaplains in an operational mode. So your MCO analogy although in the extreme is very fitting for driving this point home.
In our current use of chaplains, they are force multipliers (Didn't Napoleon said the moral is to the physical as 3 is to 1?) but they are not weapons systems. We need to be able to keep a clear distinction between the pastoral duties of the military's clergy and any other role that someone might think is applicable to them because of their specialized background, education, and training. It may very well be the case that we could have someone in the Chaplains Corps who is not filling a position as a staff chaplain. (I once worked with an Army chaplain whose primary function was acquisition duties--developing the prototype "chapel in a box"--just add holy water ). Were a chaplain assigned to something like a CA team to do direct coordination with local religious leaders as a CA outreach effort, that would be a very different thing than the prohibition we seem to agree on. I would strongly urge against such a use of military chaplains however. Were one to pursue this option, I would prefer that it follow along the lines of the HTT model, using civilian, rather than military, clergy as the SME.
wm is offline  
Old 02-08-2008   #29
Tom Odom
Council Member
 
Tom Odom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DeRidder LA
Posts: 3,949
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
Chaplains should stick to their job -- get them involved elsewhere and the potential for regret is high.

Not least because the Chaplain should not and cannot negotiate for the command yet he will be presumed by those in the ME to be doing so. Dangerous road, IMO.

Sponsoring an orphanage in Korea or Viet Nam is one thing, a Chaplain other than a Muslim doing that in a Muslim nation is a whole different ball game and anything more than that will be hazardous. There may be minor exceptions on rare occasions but that's what they should be -- exceptional.
I have been an onlooker and participant in the evolution of this idea and I strongly agree with Gian, Ken, and Wilf. The risk of things going wrong in a region like the Middle East is so much larger than the gain. We have intelligence officers, FAOs, and leaders for this sort of thing. As a FAO for this region as well as AFrica, I did not feel qualified to "engage: local religious leaders directly. I would further say that indirect through HN contacts is the way to go.

Best

Tom
Tom Odom is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #30
120mm
Council Member
 
120mm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Wonderland
Posts: 1,284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
3. If religion is a factor in the conflict, then you will find extremists in the forefront. Historically religion only creates atrocity and blood shed. Nearly all peace making is done by secular and thus generally rational people.
And that's a patently false stereotype. Which is taught as dogma in modern schools.

http://www.army.mil/prof_writing/vol...3/12_03_2.html

War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame? MAJ John P. Conway
It has often been commonly stated, "People have been killing each other in the name of religion for centuries." There is more than enough superficial evidence to support this assertion. After all, personal values, culture and belief systems are great motivators for an individual and a group. A key aspect of waging war is "justification" in the mind of the population.1 Religion is often introduced to justify actions and motivate the masses. While this may be truly endemic of a misguided worldview of one's religion, it is never the less a true statement regarding the human condition. Justifiable or not, religion motivates. Religion, as a motivator and catalyst to garner popular support for waging war, may or may not be rooted in justifiable purpose. Most times, it can be argued that religion may play a key and significant role in the conduct of warfare on a psychological and cultural level, but is it the cause of warfare? Do nations, states and kingdoms wage war over religion? Is religion a primary cause of conflict between governments? Many have argued that it is. Another popular statement is, "Religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor throughout history." This is commonly accompanied by "people have been killing each other in the name of God for centuries." Upon closer examination, these statements exude an element of mythology versus fact. The point of this essay is not to announce that religion has never been the cause of war, but rather to highlight the necessity for close study and thorough scrutiny when assigning religion as the actual cause. A fundamental analysis of past wars commonly attributed to "religion," as the causal factor, may reveal an uninformed and reactionary misjudgment. Throughout the course of history, the cause of warfare between sovereign states, kingdoms, and governments is attributable to many factors, but can rarely be attributed to "religion" as is so often the assertion.

More at the link...

Last edited by 120mm; 02-10-2008 at 12:13 PM.
120mm is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #31
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
And that's a patently false stereotype. Which is taught as dogma in modern schools.
.
I disagree and stereotypes exist for a reason. I am very aware of the difference between, teaching, doctrine, and dogma, as well a concepts such as discourse.

I did not say religion starts wars. I said, that wars are made worse by religion, in the same way war makes politics extreme. If you can show me a conflict that peacefully resolved, or ameliorated by religious extremists, I would certainly learn something.
__________________
Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition
William F. Owen is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #32
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Post

Quote:
Inherent to Chaplains Corp is an understanding of Human Terrain which allows for understanding beyond that which can be seen. I speak not of magical powers but simply of the sixth sense of sorts which comes with the territory.

This has become more and more necessary as the environments in which our forces operate become
more urban terrain oriented and is a key capability on which our defenses must call.

The " fear " as it has been called may come in many different forms and may or may not always be understandable but the truth is that it is time to press forward in this area regardless.

The battles we fight now are not only regional
but ideological and for this it requires both physical forces but even more importantly those whose specialty lies in the realm of Ideas/Faith.

It is no longer a question of what to do but more what not to. This is the arena in which leaders of faith answer their calling.
I posted this in July of 2007 as part of an ongoing discussion on this very thing.

The concerns expressed here by others are more than just valid they are key considerations in how or when the chaplains corps should or might be involved in the overall operations. That said we can grab all the anthropologists, sociologists, and whomever else you like and still have HTT teams which are short one key component. The people person. Yes Psychologists might fill the role somewhat but I would think we would see that just as logical understanding between men and women, or one lifestyle and another can completely change the logic depending on which your are and where you are from, so is the difference among cultures.

The learning curve for someone who from a completely secular, non religious, non-partisan perspective wish to understand and work with humans who are in their most basic being the exact opposite of all the aforementioned is so great that one would expect to fail far more often than to succeed. This is where understanding of people in the environment which is quite often more similar throughout the spectrum would seem to offer its benefits.

A Chaplain doesn't carry a weapon for a reason, the underlying premise is they are there to tend to and care for the souls of their charges.

I guess the real question may be from a faith perspective who are their charges and what is their mission. EBO, Targeting, Operational analysis, information collection, I think we all generally agree are outside of their charter and should remain so. They can however help establish better communication amongst their soldiers and the populous within which they are serving.

Not sure I did a good job of presenting the opposing position to many of those presented here but I tried
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #33
Gian P Gentile
Council Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Point New York
Posts: 268
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
They can however help establish better communication amongst their soldiers and the populous within which they are serving.
Ron:

I disagree with the notion that chaplains, because they are men/women of the cloth will have a natural ability to bond with imams in places like Iraq. What enables leaders to bond and establish relationships with religious leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan is deep knowledge of the terrain, human terrain, the culture, and the enemy. A chaplain by nature canít even come close to the knowledge that a good nco who has been operating in the battlespace for a couple of months will have. I hate to harp on this point but i think the fascination of having chaplains become operators by being used to conduct engagements with local religious leaders comes from the hyper-dominance of coin thinking and its population centric approach in the American army. Since our doctrine tells us that the people are everything in Coin and we must protect them we then end up with these kooky ideas like putting Chaplains on patrol to engage with the local imams; in my mind not smart and ethically and morally wrong too.

gian
Gian P Gentile is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #34
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Question Understood

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
Ron:

I disagree with the notion that chaplains, because they are men/women of the cloth will have a natural ability to bond with imams in places like Iraq. What enables leaders to bond and establish relationships with religious leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan is deep knowledge of the terrain, human terrain, the culture, and the enemy. A chaplain by nature canít even come close to the knowledge that a good nco who has been operating in the battlespace for a couple of months will have. I hate to harp on this point but i think the fascination of having chaplains become operators by being used to conduct engagements with local religious leaders comes from the hyper-dominance of coin thinking and its population centric approach in the American army. Since our doctrine tells us that the people are everything in Coin and we must protect them we then end up with these kooky ideas like putting Chaplains on patrol to engage with the local imams; in my mind not smart and ethically and morally wrong too.

gian
I don't disagree with you on the point of on patrols / operator I think however that the conversation in this area may be talking past itself. In any given environment there is a certain way things are done or run. In Iraq in particular we a talking about a populous who by a large recieve most if not all of their information, direction, and guidance from the local religious leaders. The key to successfully interacting with those leaders is that they must respect / accept the interaction from our end. I remember reading about something a while back and it kind of stuck with me. When those in Muslim countries watch TV they see speeches from politicians and from religious leaders. Which one do you suppose they are most likely to see as telling the truth in their eyes. For a majority politics are inherently filled with lies and propoganda. They will see it as such and in the end you may end up with the enemy being able to use some religious leaders ferver to prove to the populous that it is a war against Islam rather than for liberty. This is regardless what talking heads say.

By allowing our chaplains to be a communications value-add through interactions with religious leaders you allow for what is a standard in that society to be utilized to the benefit of all. They don't and shouldn't be on patrol, they don't and shouldn't plan or be a part of operations in the physical sense. They are already the one person in your group an Imam might see as trustworthy until they prove themselves otherwise. That's a bonus considering how long it may take that NCO or officer to develop even a semblence of that same respect quotient.

The Imam generally doesn't order the protection / wars forces to take actions he recommends to those in power what they should do. Why does it make any less sense that our chaplains who fulfill basically the same role within our force be just as important to the process when it comes to non-lethal interactions.?
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #35
Norfolk
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 716
Default

By and large, having Chaplains go out to meet with local religious leaders is an extremely bad idea. It's one thing for a unit Catholic Chaplain to go visit his counterpart in the local Catholic Parish or Mission if time and circumstances permit or make it advisable; it is both a moral and a practical no-no under almost any circumstances for said Chaplain to attempt the same with a local imam. In the social and cultural environment of places like Asia and North Africa, that's very likely just going provoke sectarian tensions and even an outright explosion. And that's not even addressing the morality of sending said Chaplain out on said endeavour in the first place. The Chaplains are there to perform their Ministry, not to participate in the war effort itself, even if in a non-combatant role. This is something that should not even be questioned, let alone raised in the first place. The moral and political matter and consequences are exceptionally grave.
Norfolk is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #36
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Hi Norfolk,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
The Chaplains are there to perform their Ministry, not to participate in the war effort itself, even if in a non-combatant role. This is something that should not even be questioned, let alone raised in the first place. The moral and political matter and consequences are exceptionally grave.
This is where I completely disagree with you - it must be questioned, even if no changes are made. You are quite correct when you say that "[t]he moral and political matter and consequences are exceptionally grave" and that is exactly why their role must be questioned.

On another note, Ron mentioned earlier that

Quote:
A Chaplain doesn't carry a weapon for a reason, the underlying premise is they are there to tend to and care for the souls of their charges.
and this is actually incorrect. Chaplains don't carry weapons because priests weren't allowed to carry weapons during the middle ages. It was a major sin to kill a priest and the act of doing so put people in a real quandary when the priest was trying to kill them. Originally, the prohibition was on Priests using edged weapons (which is when Gary G. got the idea for D&D), but that was latter extended to all weapons. The modern prohibition comes from that. It has absolutely nothing to so with priests being there "to tend to and care for the souls of their charges" and everything to do with ritual impurity after killing a priest.

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #37
Ron Humphrey
Council Member
 
Ron Humphrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,099
Question On that note

First I must thank Marc for informing my ignorance thereby allowing this to be yet another fruitful endeavor for myself

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
By and large, having Chaplains go out to meet with local religious leaders is an extremely bad idea. It's one thing for a unit Catholic Chaplain to go visit his counterpart in the local Catholic Parish or Mission if time and circumstances permit or make it advisable; it is both a moral and a practical no-no under almost any circumstances for said Chaplain to attempt the same with a local imam. In the social and cultural environment of places like Asia and North Africa, that's very likely just going provoke sectarian tensions and even an outright explosion. And that's not even addressing the morality of sending said Chaplain out on said endeavour in the first place. The Chaplains are there to perform their Ministry, not to participate in the war effort itself, even if in a non-combatant role. This is something that should not even be questioned, let alone raised in the first place. The moral and political matter and consequences are exceptionally grave.
I see what your saying but I actually don't see that being the format in which our chaplains are used within the force already. If PC considerations are allowed to inform a chaplain as to what they say and how they say it, if it is expected that they follow the rules in the forces regardless of what their own faith teaches than why would it be any different to expect them to use their skill set for purposes which benefit the mission. We can and do expect a christian chaplain to minister to the needs of various faiths within their command, (fill in the blank) and I don't see anyone saying thats not acceptable or illogical, or at undooable.

If a Chaplain with all their training and background cannot effectively work with someone of another faith then how exactly is it that so many of our soldiers who have verrry strong faiths of their own have to or are supposed to.

That particular argument to me just seems to be somewhat off the mark.
Ron Humphrey is offline  
Old 02-10-2008   #38
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
First I must thank Marc for informing my ignorance thereby allowing this to be yet another fruitful endeavor for myself
To quote my mother, my mind is a cesspool of useless trivia .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
If a Chaplain with all their training and background cannot effectively work with someone of another faith then how exactly is it that so many of our soldiers who have verrry strong faiths of their own have to or are supposed to.

That particular argument to me just seems to be somewhat off the mark.
I agree with you on this, Ron. I do see the other side, represented by Gian et al., but I have great difficulty with the idea that chaplains qua chaplains must be considered as incapable of engaging in a dialog with other local religious leaders. There is certainly sufficient evidence from a number of cases that an interfaith dialog can form the basis of a peace building effort. For example, a number of imams in Baghdad recently showed up at a local church in support of their community.

I do not advocate that chaplains should be used in such a manner, only that they should be allowed to conduct such a dialog if they believe they are called to do so.

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #39
Norfolk
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 716
Default

Chaplains, or at least Christian ones, are there for the needs of whoever comes to them - whether they are Christian or not, Catholic or not. And it should go without saying that dealing with the sick, wounded, dispossessed, and the like is a moral obligation for everyone, clergy or not. But to expect them to go against their own consciences in deference to orders that, if they are thereupon required to violate their moral obligations, is to go beyond the pale.

It also has to be born in mind that sending a Christian clergyman to visit a local imam when local Christians (and especially clergy, if they even exist in the locality) are themselves the object of local sectarian hatreds, may have the effect of tossing a hand grenade into an ammo dump. If, on the other hand, there is a deliberate effort by local religious figures to reach out to our Chaplains, then within discrete limits, that's fine. But you must not go looking for trouble if no-one is reciprocating.

In the Balkans, where sectarianism between Catholic and Orthodox Christians, not to mention Muslims, went very deep, even the false rumour, let alone the appearance, of fraternization between individuals or small groups from opposing sides could provide the pretext for unrest and violence. The ME is no more tolerant. In the West, most Christian, and even many non-Christian, clergy, can have personal contacts and even close friendships with those of other religions. In much of the East, that is often either possible only with the utmost discretion, even secrecy, or not at all.

This also supposes that there is a basis for commonality and compromise between clergy of different religions in places such as the ME. Much more often than not, the reality is a zero-sum game; members of one religion openly and often with impunity persecute, or worse, members of other religions. It took the West centuries to more or less get past that, but in the East, it is still the order of the day. We are not going to change that by sending Chaplains to seek out imams and ayatollahs, particularly when some of them actively promote the persecution of other religions, or Muslims of other sects, and while many others remain silent about the same. The conditions for inter-faith dialogue in many places like Iraq and Afghanistan are effectively non-existent in many, even most, places.

And sending unit Chaplains, especially if they are Christian, to treat with their Muslim counterparts is to assume commonalities and bases for mutual exchange that simply do not exist. And it is all the worse when such attempts would likely be seen as an attempt to insinuate Western religious influence into their societies. The conditions that are more or less operative in the West that may allow for inter-faith dialogue are not, for the most part, generally operative in places like the ME. What would be considered something like paranoia in the West is often, practically speaking, not just the "norm" but a means of survival in the East. The Balkans is like that, and many people believed what seem to Westerners the most outrageous things; but countless outrageous things did occur there that were completely beyond the expectations of Westerners. You're not paranoid if people really are out to get you, and in the ME, just as in the Balkans, there's no shortage of those.

The Chaplains, especially if they are Christian should not and must not be expected or required to seek to establish things like inter-faith dialogue with religious figures who cannot, or will not, meet them even part way. The chaplains will simply become targets for abuse and assassination, and it may only seem to confirm local suspicions that the West really is engaged in an attempt to impose Christianity upon Islam. Not true of course, but from the ME perspective the burden of proof would lie upon us, and they are not willing to grant us the benefit of the doubt in particular.

Last edited by Norfolk; 02-11-2008 at 12:27 AM.
Norfolk is offline  
Old 02-11-2008   #40
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Norfolk's correct. I think some are missing a few

points here. First, in the ME Christian clergymen are bogeymen to a good many. That is not to say they cannot ever be used to facilitate dialog, it just means one has to be extremely careful and that is particularly true in any Muslim nation and even more so in the ME where a more rigid version of Islam exists.

Second, the Chaplain has his principal duty to his faith; then to his flock. Is it right to take him away from those responsibilities to put him in the minor diplomat role? I suggest the answer is rarely.

Thirdly, that 'flock' may look at THEIR Chaplain treating with potential bad guys in an unfavorable light and that may affect his ability to deal with said flock (and let me assure you, that has occurred in less volatile regions over less important things than we're discussing here). The question arises are you perhaps compromising your Chaplains ability to do his primary job -- to the detriment of your unit?

Lastly, you are involving a religious entity in a military matter -- and make no mistake, if the Army or Marines are there, it is a military matter. Some of the organized religions have difficulties with that and you may put your Chaplain in a bad position.

Hate to state the obvious but I think the philosophy is starting to obscure reality.

Edited to add:
That doesn't even address the fact that all Chaplains are not equal. I can recall a couple who would do well, many more who might and a couple; one a hard core Jesuit who'd argue with a Lamp post and another who was so conciliatory and afraid of offending that he'd be dangerous.

Consider also that Chaplains are protected under the Geneva Conventions (plural). use them for non-pastoral duties and you run the risk of that protection being discounted.

US Chaplains are not armed by regulation, not by tradition or the Geneva Convention. It is a matter of policy, not of law and it has been known to be disregarded. The guy in WW II who served as a Tank Gunner was a bit much and he was released from the service.

All in all, using Chaplains as negotiators has far more potential adverse impacts than beneficial ones.

Last edited by Ken White; 02-11-2008 at 04:21 AM. Reason: Add note
Ken White is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation