Crosswinds Foundation Newsletter
Cultures - Connecting People"
It seems there
is a lot of discussion these days about religious terrorism
particularly as it relates to ISIS. Everyone has an opinion about what
should be done. Yet those who lead cannot come to a consensus about
what response should be made.
We will not try
to sort this out but in this issue of CrossingCurrents but we do
address an important part of the debate that is missing. Take a look at
our article Ready, Aim, Fire - The War on Terror
and find out what is missing. Let me know if you agree or not.
Finally, if you
think religious terrorism is only related to one group, we've included
a few examples of terrorist acts related to a variety of religious
beliefs. I think you will find these of interest. Acts of
In closing, let
me thank all who support our efforts with your financial investments.
You are enabling us to help many others who are in need. Such as the
continuing growth of our work to help veterans who struggle with PTSD
and/or Moral Injury. For example, we were able to provide 1,000 free
copies of Invisible Scars distributed at Veterans Day events.
If you would like to support our efforts you can give
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One presidential candidate has significant support from the Evangelical
community, but how does his Church's doctrine fit with that of
historical Christianity? Watch for the December issue of CrossingCurrents.
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READY, AIM, FIRE - THE WAR
by Bob Waldrep and Linwood Bragan
13, 2015 Paris suffered one of the most devastating terrorist attacks
in recent years. Seven separate attacks were carried out by at least
ten terrorists, killing 129 people and injuring 352. Although
immediately believed to be an attack by radical Islamists, due to the
planning and sophistication of the attacks, it was not believed
to be associated with ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also
referred to as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and
considered by many to be a Islamic terrorist organization and/or cult
of Islam). However, within hours of the attack ISIS
There was once a time when people were shocked by acts of religious
terrorism, finding it difficult to reconcile a religious group with
killing in the name of its religion/god (See sidebar for other
notable acts of terrorism with religious ties). Now such acts have
become so commonplace that, as shocking as they may be, they no
longer surprise us - we expect them to occur - it's just a matter of
where and when.
hasn't been a major act of terrorism in the United States compared to
that of 9-11, we are not immune to such activity. As recently as
April 2013 two admittedly "self-radicalized" Muslims set
off bombs at the Boston Marathon. And even though we have experienced
few such incidents in our nation, acts of terrorism are commonplace
in other parts of the world.
during the same year of the Boston Marathon bombing, the U.S State
Department reported there were some 7,967 acts of terrorism,
resulting in the deaths of 16,209 persons (an average death rate of
2.03 persons per event) and 28,488 wounded, carried out in nations
with high Muslim populations. The following countries are included
among those with the highest death rate:
- Iraq with 2,495 total attacks resulting
in the deaths of 6,378 persons (2.56 per event)
- Afghanistan with 1,144 total attacks
resulting in the deaths of 3,111 persons (2.72 per event)
- Syria with 212 total attacks resulting
in the deaths of 1,074 persons (5.07 per event - highest kill
rate among Middle Eastern nations)
only 20% of the Muslim population lives in the Middle East, yet over
72% of the deaths and injuries related to terrorist acts occur there.
And while it can be debated as to whether or not those who order or
carry out such acts are "truly" Muslims or represent
"true" Islam, they are very vocal in their claims to be
Muslims and to be representing and/or obeying the teachings of Islam.
fact that acts of terrorism are occurring somewhere in the Middle
East practically every day, it is not until an attack occurs in the
West, such as in Paris, that those in the West suddenly seem to
remember that groups like this exist. This is especially strange
considering that it has been only ten months since the last terrorist
attack in Paris at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie
Hebdo. During the assault radical Islamists murdered eleven
attack the world again awoke to the dangers of Islamic terrorism and
held demonstrations in support of the paper. These included a large
rally attended by some forty world leaders who marched in support of
the paper and the French people. Notably missing from the group was
any ranking official from the U.S. - the administration opting to
send the U.S. Ambassador to France.
Yet, here we
are again. Typically, when such attacks occur, our response is to
express great outrage with little action. Instead, we debate the
issues - who are they, are they truly Muslims, is Islam a religion of
terror, how should we best deal with such groups - should we put
troops on the ground, just bomb them, arm other groups in the area
and let them fight it out, etc. At some point the discussion even
turns to the past, and we rehash the debate as to whether or not we
should have gone into Iraq in the first place. Within a matter of
weeks the debate ends. Little or no action is taken. All returns to
"normal" as we go back to our lives and put this behind us
- at least until the next attack is carried out on us or one of our
allies in the West.
talk, Americans across all spectrums recognize an effective plan to
actually get rid of the problem is never given serious discussion,
much less implemented. Perhaps this is due to the long wars
previously waged in the Middle East and the cost paid with the blood
of our sons and daughters. In addition, many Americans believe our
leaders have given up all that was gained by such great cost. As
such, there isn't much of an appetite for another such war.
to the scope of this most recent attack in Paris, the current
discussion might actually lead to some viable response. The French
President is certainly taking it seriously when two days after the
attacks he launched an air attack bombing Raqqa, the Syrian
stronghold of ISIS. But will more action be taken and, if so, what
will it look like?
figures and pundits alike are putting forth their opinions and these
vary greatly. Here are just a few that indicate how diverse the
opinions are and how far apart we are in reaching any agreed upon
During a press conference on
November 16, following the G20 Meeting, President Obama argued
against adding "boots on the ground" and for continuing the
administration's policy to maintain airstrikes stating, "As I
listen to those who suggest something else needs to be done,
typically the things they suggest need to be done are things that we
are already doing. The one exception is that there had been a few who
suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the
ground. And it is not just my view, but the view of my closest
military and civilian advisers, that that would be a mistake."
Secretary of State and leading Democratic presidential candidate,
Hillary Clinton seems to agree when stating at the recent Democratic
debate, "It cannot be an American fight." The following day
she clarified this further stating, "We have to be rallying our
partners and allies, pulling countries off the sidelines."
Paul has repeatedly expressed a lack of interest in any involvement
in the Middle East but regarding the President's policy has stated, "I think if you're going to war,
sending 50 people to war at a time is sort of a recipe for being
surrounded and somehow having a disaster on their hands."
away from involvement, Presidential candidate Donald Trump has
expressed, "I would just bomb
those suckers. That's right. I'd blow up the [oil] pipes," Trump
said. "I'd blow up every single inch. There would be nothing
similarly strong language, former Senator Rick Santorum has stated, "If these folks want to return to a 7th
Century version of Islam, then let's load up our bombers and bomb
them back to the 7th Century."
Fiorina, another Republican Presidential candidate, seems to favor
having a summit: "King Abdullah of Jordan has been asking for
bombs and materiel. We have not provided them. He has gone to China.
The Kurds have been asking us to arm them for three years. We haven't
done so. The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence. We're not
doing it. We have Arab allies. They are not perfect. But they need to
see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of
America, and we can help them defeat ISIS."
arguing for ground forces, Senator Ted Cruz said, "We need boots
on the ground, but they don't necessarily need to be American boots.
The Kurds are our boots on the ground."
Lindsey Graham takes it much farther as he believes, "It is just
a matter of time that they will hit us or hit Europe if we don't go
in on the ground in Syria." Graham has said there needs to be an
American troop presence in the Middle East of as many as 20,000 U.S.
ground troops and advisors in Iraq and Syria.
have a summit, arm and/or support ground forces from other countries,
send in our own ground troops - all have been presented as options.
Whether we do any or none of these, whether we stay the course or end
up putting boots on the ground, what is missing from the debate is
the effect it will have on our men and women who serve and their
families. Where is the debate about how we can help those who have
call for action to be taken in the Middle East, should we not also call
for action to help those who have already fought the war against
terrorism and fought the battle for freedom - be it in the Middle
East, Vietnam, Korea, or the battlefields of Europe and Asia? Should
we not also be discussing how we will care for our sons and daughters
who will return from a war against ISIS? For we will pay a cost -
freedom never comes without a price.
to those who were physically injured, we have hundreds of thousands
of combat veterans from previous wars that suffer the effects of PTSD
and Moral Injury. Each day more than twenty-two of our veterans
commit suicide. This is a debt of war that is not being properly
considered, much less being paid and without a proper response will
only increase as we enter into new conflicts.
Even the President recognized
this - even if unknowingly - in his press conference when he said,
"When we send troops in, those troops get injured, they get
killed, they're away from their families. Our country spends hundreds
of billions of dollars. And so, given the fact that there are
enormous sacrifices involved in any military action, it's best that
we don't, you know, shoot first and aim later."
think any would argue with his point that one should aim, have a
plan, before they shoot. However, one cannot take aim without having
selected a weapon that will do the job. In other words, you need to
ready the weapon before taking aim. The call isn't to aim and fire,
it is to "Ready...Aim...Fire." No nation is better prepared
- ready to take aim - than the United States.
is not about whether we should have a plan to deal with ISIS - that
part is obvious. But are we ready and willing to implement an overall
strategy - to do something? If so, whatever our strategy, it must
include caring for those who fight the battles once the war is over,
for the President is right about the injuries and loss of life our
troops will experience.
need a plan to take care of the "sacrifices" made by those
who have already served. From the Vietnam War forward, over 6.5
million men and women have been deployed to combat theaters. If
projections are accurate that a minimum of 20% (current projections
regarding Vietnam are at 30%) of these will experience PTSD or Moral
Injury, more than 1.5 million veterans and their families are in need
of assistance. Any new conflict will only raise these numbers.
If we are
ready to send our troops to war, are we ready to ensure they receive
the care they need when they return? That is an important part of the
debate that can no longer be ignored - it must be addressed. Our
veterans deserve no less.
To learn more about actions needed to address the concerns of PTSD
and Moral Injury read the accompanying article Shock and Awe: A
Response to Combat Trauma by Eugene Cuevas]
NOTABLE EXAMPLES OF
religious terrorist groups associated with Islam get most of the
attention, terrorism has certainly been enacted by others, including
groups associated with religions other than Islam. Following are a
few notable examples that got quite a bit of attention when they
Aum Shinrikyo (Aleph)
Rooted in Buddhism and elements of Hinduism and
Christianity, this group was formed in Japan in the 1980s by Shoko
Asahara. In 1992, Asahara declared himself the Christ. He began to
develop a "doomsday" theology predicting that Armageddon
would come as a result of the United States starting a third World
War. Interestingly, they determined to help matters along through
acts of terrorism. In March of 1995 members of the group carried out
five simultaneous attacks on the Tokyo subway system by releasing
poisonous sarin gas on commuter trains. Thirteen were killed with
over one thousand more injured. This was the first large scale
terrorist chemical attack.
Catholics and Protestants in Ireland
those related to Islam, perhaps some of the most well-known acts of
terrorism related to religion are those that occurred in the struggle
for Ireland that boiled down to a conflict between Catholics and
Protestants. Between the years of 1969-2001 over 3,500 lives were
lost. Many of these were due to acts that could only be described as
interesting twist, this Norwegian terrorist carried out a series of
attacks in Oslo that he said were intended to prevent Muslims from
taking over Norway and Western Europe. Though not a religious person,
Breivik was a member of the Church of Norway. In July of 2011 he
killed 77 people (many of whom were teens at a youth camp). He
surrendered to authorities and was sentenced to twenty one years in
prison, the maximum allowed in Norway.
of Hindusim, this group was founded by Bhagwan Shreee Rajneesh and
located in Oregon. This group had taken over the city of Antelope, OR
by electing their members to political office. In 1984 they planned
to do the same with the county elections. To ensure they outnumbered
other voters they devised a plan to introduce salmonella poisoning among
the populace. Their method of delivery was to introduce salmonella on
the vegetables and dressing at salad bars. A trial run produced 751
case of salmonella poisoning. It also attracted the attention of the
Centers for Disease Control and other government authorities who
discovered their larger plot.
which associates itself with Christianity, has been labeled and
underground network of terrorists who use violence to fight abortion.
During the 1980s they claimed responsibility for the bombing of seven
abortion clinics in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Perhaps
the most famous or well-known person associated with them is Eric
Rudolph who was responsible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing
in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics in which one person was
killed and 111 injured. He is also responsible for the 1997 bombing
of a Birmingham, AL abortion clinic in which a security guard was
killed. Rudolph was arrested in May of 2003 and was sentenced to four
with white supremacists as part of the Aryan Nation, a Christian
separatist group associated with the Christian Identity Movement. In
August of 1999, Furrow entered a Jewish Community Center in Los
Angeles with the expressed purpose of killing Jews. Once inside he
began firing and killed injured five people, including three
children. Fleeing the building he later came upon a Filipino-American
postal worker who he killed because of his dark skin. Furrow later
surrendered to authorities and remains incarcerated.
SHOCK AND AWE: A RESPONSE
TO COMBAT TRAUMA
Back in 2003 news
coverage of the invasion of Iraq introduced us to the term
"shock and awe" as a "term for a military strategy
based on achieving rapid dominance over an adversary by the initial
imposition of overwhelming force and firepower" (Oxford
Reference "shock and awe"). I remember
watching through the safe portal of my television screen as the
incredible proficiency and sheer dominance of American military
forces rolled through Saddam's army. I admit a certain amount
of visceral glee characterized my response, much like the excitement
I felt as a kid watching Rambo devastate his enemies in a Vietnamese
prison camp. As a civilian, this is how I saw those brave
warriors taking the fight to the enemy. I imagined the terror
and cacophony of impact they would deliver. Like most who
watched, what I missed was the impact war leaves on even the victor.
later, I found myself working on a documentary film about PTSD,
called Invisible Scars: Hope for Warriors with Hidden
Wounds. As we began interviewing veterans for the first
installment of the Invisible Scars project, I began to grasp
the emotional shock and mental awe war leaves on all warriors.
Now, as we press through the post-production phase of installment #2,
Honoring the Code: Warriors and Moral Injury, I view the
potential deployment of more soldiers into the battlefield with a
more sobered perspective. I've also learned that most warriors
don't have personal political agendas but have adopted what General
"Jerry" Boykin calls "a transcendent cause," that
drives them toward more idealistic goals and commitments most of us
have never considered. And as more soldiers return from the
battle and others sit by anxiously awaiting the call, we as a community
must prepare for what will follow.
commanders consider certain costs of war as they draft battle plans
and execute orders. World War II veteran Horace Lee said in his
interview with us that when he heard the bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki in 1945, he and his fellow Marines were overjoyed, not
because they hated the Japanese as a people, not because they desired
to see so many lives lost, but because they understood the value of
life. His unit had been briefed on their next mission, a larger
assault than what he'd already been a part of at Iwo Jima. The
expectation was that so many more lives, both American and Japanese,
would be lost. Another type of "shock and awe" was
the only hope in sight. Now, seventy years later, Mr. Lee says
he still recalls the horrors of combat and the sight of devastation
he witnessed. He says he battles those memories at night, and
he "has to ask the Lord to help [him] flip the page over and get
off the memories." Even with two purple hearts awarded
him, the emotional wounds were the more distressing.
prepare for the invisible wounds of war. Many warriors that
survive the battle may return with physical injuries, but even more
will face the shock of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the
awe of Moral Injury. Horace Lee's generation may have referred
to these phenomena as "soldier's heart" or "shell
shock," but both history and science have studied war and
psychology to give us sharper, modern insights on these conditions
that are actually as old as humanity itself. In 1980
"PTSD" became the formal, medical term to classify the
mental and emotional anguish many warriors suffer post-war; however,
in 2009 further understanding and divisions of trauma introduced us
to the term "moral injury" as a distinction for particular
PTSD can be
best understood as an emotional and mental response to a specific
traumatic incident, characterized by fear, whether fearing for one's
own life or others around you. Moral Injury, on the other hand,
classifies a soul-searching inspection of one's own involvement in
the trauma. For many veterans, the fearful dangers of the
battle may not haunt them as much as the choices they had to make or
the things they witnessed in the warzone
political leaders debate and commanders strategize, the rest of
America has responsibility we must also consider. Through over
sixty interviews for two documentary films, a series of
calls-to-action has emerged, prompting all of us with certain
accountability. That responsibility can be broken into four
Federal-level, we must take responsibility for the full care and
treatment of veterans, providing adequate supply and access to the
medical attention they may need not only for the physical wounds of
war, but for the invisible scars as well. This means
re-enforcing VA hospitals with staff and training to serve the
numbers of wounded in addition to expanding satellite clinics to
reach veterans in rural communities far flung from the access to
major-city hospitals. There must be an option for new avenues
of treatment outside those traditional VA programs.
cannot rest on assuming hospitals and government programs will meet
all needs. Even if fully supplied the shock waves of invisible
wounds extend further than political and medical reach and therefore
into our local duties. At the Social-level we must consider the
needs of veterans re-integrating into civilian life. The big
boom of post-war 1945 was that a growing economy presented great job
opportunities for veterans to find a new place in society and apply
themselves to a productive livelihood. The recent downturn of
our economy leaves many veterans without such opportunity. Both
businesses and educational institutions must think creatively to
develop job opportunities for veterans. An example of this kind
of forward thinking is found in Samford University's new veteran,
nursing program, which take those who have some medical experience in
warzones and helps them develop as licensed nurses. This kind
of social action will help those veterans make healthy adaptation of
their skills and transition into productive civilian roles.
Educational-level, we must develop public education that helps
communities understand the military experience and the challenges
faced. This is where the documentary series from Crosswinds
Foundation and Front Porch Media excels. One of the key
applications of our first film has been as a tool, helping veterans
explain to their families what they've been through. The better
we understand the hidden impact of war and are able to communicate
that to others, the greater the hope for healing.
Spiritual-level we find our greatest calling. The only power
abundant enough to fully overcome the shock of moral injuries is the
awe of saving grace. As believers in Christ, we have been
commissioned to deliver the message of salvation through Jesus
Christ. In His salvation we find forgiveness and grace that
cover all guilt and shame.
If we hope
to combat the swelling numbers of military suicide, we must fully
accept our responsibility to spread the gospel and make
disciples. This means we must embrace and serve veterans,
understanding the unique brokenness and challenges they face.
We must equip other veterans to minister to fellow soldiers. We
must see military families, especially the veterans themselves, not
just has heroes to be thanked on two holidays a year, but as
invaluable parts of our community, worthy of inclusion, mercy, and
purpose. For it is in the mighty work of the Church that veterans
can find a new mission that becomes the ultimate transcendent cause.
response is to thank a veteran for his/her service; however, as Dr.
Rita Nakashima Brock explained to us, many veterans find such
platitudes empty. The greater response is to consider where we
each have influence at one or more of these levels. Let's put our
gratefulness into notable action. Let every veteran be shocked
by the quality of our care. Let them be awed by love of our
Eugene Cuevas serves as the Director of Front Porch
Media. He is the Director of Invisible
Scars and the upcoming film, Honoring the Code.
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