Since the days of the Sumerians and the Almighty Greeks, kings, generals, and other warring factions have found it prudent to invoke divinity & the supernatural to stir up & inflame murderous passions in times of war: By invoking tribal exclusivity and invoking an imagined reward scheme for those who did martyr for the cause, religion has been an ancient form of propaganda, aimed at providing cohesion amongst the rank and file, as well as an insidious attempt to invoke fearlessness in the face of certain death.
The ultimate aim is to secure ultimate victory,and while rational people may find such cultist nonsense to be irrelevant in modern day warfare, one need not look further than the United States military, which, for the past few years, have shown signs of increased proselytizing amongst it's senior ranking officers.
Chaplains in the US armed forces are not a recent trend (they have been around for at least as long as the Civil Wars, maybe even longer); however, the election of George Bush, and his infamous "God told me to attack Iraq" speech has served to imbue the US military with a fresh impetus to peddle their Christianized dogma to otherwise unwilling recruits.
According to an Oct 19, 2007 article from the Christian Science Monitor, there has been a rather disturbing, sinister campaign by a shadowy Christian group to evangelize recruits through string-pulling & coercion via the rank-and-file system in the military:
1. "At Speicher base in Iraq, U.S. Army Spec. Jeremy Hall got permission from a chaplain in August to post fliers announcing a meeting for atheists and other nonbelievers. When the group gathered, Specialist Hall alleges, his Army major supervisor disrupted the meeting and threatened to retaliate against him, including blocking his reenlistment in the Army."
Months earlier, Hall charges, he had been publicly berated by a staff sergeant for not agreeing to join in a Thanksgiving Day prayer.
2. "On Sept. 17, the soldier and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed suit against Army Maj. Freddy Welborn and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, charging violations of Hall's constitutional rights, including being forced to submit to a religious test to qualify as a soldier."The ruling Zeitgeist in the US military seems to imply that in order for a military man to perform his duties to his utmost, he must, amongst his other more practical duties (e.g bearing arms), include participating in Christian festivities and passing religious exams in order to qualify as a soldier.
Little wonder, then, that the US military is more obsessed with sending shipments of bibles than life-saving armored personnel carriers (Link to my previous article here.)
3. For Mr. Weinstein -- a former Air Force judge advocate and assistant counsel in the Reagan White House -- more is involved than isolated cases of discrimination. He charges that several incidents in recent years -- and more than 5,000 complaints his group has received from active-duty and retired military personnel -- point to a growing willingness inside the military to support a particular brand of Christianity and to permit improper evangelizing in the ranks. More than 95 percent of those complaints come from other Christians, he says.While this may sound a little strange even to the most dogmatic Christian, a huge bulk of the complaints have come from the Christians themselves, who do not fancy being indoctrinated by another brand of Christianity other than their own peculiar denominations.
& if you think that the religious epidemic in the US military is bad, check out what Lt. Gen. William Boykin has to say about a Muslim warlord he was tasked to pursue :"I knew my God was a real God and his was an idol." And our enemies will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus."
Historically, the use of religion and deities are good rallying points, both for bolstering flagging morales, as well as serving a viable moral focus to justify the horrors and dangers of war.
From a military perspective, the US military has had a problem both with recruitment as well as desertion.
According to the Associated Press Writer (Nov 17 2007, "Army Desertion Rate Up 80 Since '03):
"Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003."
And to add to other logistical and manpower woes, recruitment has fell short of the military recruitment target, and mounting casualties and widespread discontentment against extended tours of duties all add to a myriad of problems that the current US military has found almost impossible to cope with.
Adding to this complex brew, wide spread disenchantment against the unpopular Iraq war due to mounting Coalition casualties has fostered an almost cynical view towards the ruling White House incumbent and the US military.
Little wonder, then, that the "God Delusion" has been roped in to harness the drug-like euphoria of religion. Hopefully, the religious drones can provide a surging tide of support for the Bush Administration, which has helped propelled George Bush the chimp into the White House and remained as an incumbent for a second term.
In sum, this may be a last-ditch effort to legitimize an unpopular war which is already in the process of degenerating into a political disaster. & the unfortunate truth is, the powers-that-be are colluding with high-ranking military officials & a shadowy Christian cult into deceiving the American public.