Chaplain (Cmdr) Gordon Ritchie addresses an infrequently discussed but increasingly important subject in today’s military: the moral wounds of war.
In a time in which suicides are on the rise and the military is seeking moral leadership, something that often gets left out is the “moral injury” to those who must wage war at the call of their country.
The character of man recognizes, even if unconsciously, the incongruity of the value of life and the necessity of death in war. Solace is found in knowing that one’s Read more
Religious freedom in the armed forces — something the US military takes very seriously — sometimes goes beyond the servicemembers that most are apt to think of. In the case of Fort Hood, Texas, it also applied to the children. As noted by the Army news release:
Students and staff from Fort Hood’s Smith Middle School took part…in an event known as “See You at the Pole” Sept. 22.
SYATP is an annual, student-led global day event that draws students from across the world to their school’s flagpoles to pray for their nation, schools, students and teachers, according to the website.
More than 20 students and faculty members took part bringing their own prayers and a group prayer. Read more
SPC Zachari Klawonn, who has previously voiced vague complaints of mistreatment in the military because of his Islamic faith, recently gave an interview to the Arabic language channel of al Jazeera. The segment was reportedly titled “The Right In America Declared War On Islam Inside and Outside America.” In the interview, Klawonn has nothing positive to say about the US military — even as he wore the uniform on-screen:
Interviewer: …How can you be talking about suffering when the military establishment claims that it is the most open toward minorities toward women, and toward all those who suffer in society in general?
Zachari Klawonn: …The reality is that there is a sense of Islamophobia and there is a big misunderstanding of the Islamic faith and that contributes to people’s negative notions coming into the military. Also the training we get and the information we are subject to constitutes propaganda against Islam.
He also demurred, again, when asked to specify how he had been mistreated:
Interviewer: …Can you give us some examples of the harassment you are talking about, which you experienced personally?
Zachari Klawonn: Sure, I received numerous disrespectful comments and even harassment to my personal property from an array of soldiers, even in some instances from the command itself.
Interestingly, according to CNSNews, Klawonn “informed” his commander Read more
Anwar al-Awlaki, the Muslim cleric associated with Maj Nidal Malik Hasan and the massacre at Fort Hood, has apparently called on US military Muslims to “follow the example” of Hasan.
“What Nidal Hassan did was heroic…and I call on all Muslims serving in the US army to follow his path.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the US is actively hunting Awlaki; he is reportedly on a “capture or kill” list.
Maj Nidal Malik Hasan’s attorney, John Galligan, has told the press he has received notice the military plans to present evidence of “aggravating factors” to the Article 32 hearing which will determine the judicial course of the case. According to Galligan and others, the only reason to include such factors would be to support a capital sentence.
Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder, among other charges.
The Department of Defense announced yesterday that 26 recommendations from the investigation of the Fort Hood massacre would be implemented in the “near term.” Some articles have focused on the decision to implement a DoD-wide privately owned weapon policy, but a more interesting policy change is about Chaplains (as was the related portion of the original report).
The DoD will implement a policy Read more
The Washington Post has an interesting article on a Muslim American Soldier who is engaged in “battles on friendly ground.” The article is essentially a superficial re-telling of US Army Spc Zachari Klawonn’s story, even to the point of being dismissive toward two other Muslim Soldiers (Capt. Rhana Kurdi and Sgt. Fahad Kamal) who gave statements supportive of the Army with regard to their faith.
According to the article, Klawonn has filed “complaint after complaint with his commanders.” (It is unclear if this is inclusive of the “20 complaints” he has filed with the equal opportunity office.) He believes he has mild depression and has seen a psychologist a half dozen times since joining the Army. When he enlisted, he was “grilled” by those at his mosque who wanted to know how he could kill Muslims, which was “forbidden.”
Klawonn was allegedly told by superiors that he needed to be careful, because he fit the same profile as Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan–a Muslim soldier disgruntled with the Army, complete with a psychological history and close associates who seem to believe his military service is incompatible with Islam. While Klawonn may have been understandably Read more
When criticizing para-church organizations that ministered to servicemembers, MRFF creator Michael Weinstein used to cite the number of US military bases around the globe, as if the number somehow made the existence of the organizations more insidious. But as someone very recently said, the presence of groups of religious adherents at military bases arises from a far more basic human need: fellowship.
“If there’s one thing church groups get right is fellowship [sic],” Johnson said. “Everyone wants to be around people who are like them.”
The person quoted is supporting the existence of such groups, but she isn’t at all religious. She is Kathleen Johnson, founder of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and currently Vice President and Military Director of American Atheists. She is reportedly a former Army first sergeant, retired after 21 years of service. (Her organizational profile pictures continue to show her in a military Read more