Last week, I pointed out that a quote attributed to General David Petraeus, along with a photo of Petraeus in uniform, was being used as promotional material on the website of Eric Horner Ministries. Horner espouses a militant, nationalist strain of fundamentalist Christianity in popular country western songs such as "United We'll Stand When Together We Kneel." His use of the Petraeus photo has been called inappropriate by some military law experts, but, so far, Horner has not removed it. He has, however, changed the quote attributed to Petraeus to read: "I appreciate your patriotic performances for our soldiers and their families." (Is this meant to blunt the impression that Petraeus is endorsing a religion? I'm not sure). Whatever Horner's motives, the change either means that he is (or was) misquoting Petraeus, or that the general gave him permission to run the photo and quotes with the changes. I've sent Horner an email asking him to explain. Either way, the response does not inspire confidence.
Chris Rodda, a researcher with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has uncovered more information about Horner. In this online "praise report," Horner recounts a November 2nd meeting with President Bush that he claims was arranged by Fort Jackson's general. "The General then spoke up and explained to him (Bush) that we came as a ministry to the troops," Horner writes. "The President seemed to get excited about that and thanked us several times. Again, I'm not looking for Glory in what we do, but it was pretty cool to hear those words from the President."
For more of Rodda's findings on Horner and the military, and the changes to his website, see the comments thread here.
Update: The Petraeus quote on Horner's site now shows the word "patriotic" in brackets.
When I read this very well-documented story in the Lone Star Times about the $500 donation to Ron Paul from well-known white supremacist Don Black, I didn't really blame Paul for taking the money. After all, it's hard to screen out every kook in advance. I assumed Paul would immediately return the money (or donate it to a group like the Holocaust Museum), prevent a link on Black's Neo-Nazi website, Stormfront, from connecting to the campaign's donation page, and announce these moves on the official Ron Paul website. I assumed wrong.
Five days after the Lone Star Times story appeared, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told the paper he was still unsure whether the campaign would return Black's money. "At this time, I cannot say that we will be rejecting Mr. Black's contribution," he said, "but I will bring the matter to the attention of our campaign director again, and expect some sort of decision to be made in coming days." Would the campaign at least block fundraising links from Stormfront's IP address? Again, Benton said, he'd have to bring up the idea with the campaign director.
Since then, more than two weeks have passed without an update from the Paul campaign, so I sent Benton and email today asking what the campaign manager had decided. Would Paul be returning Black's money and blocking further donations from Stormfront? A few minutes later he wrote back, and this is what he said:
Mother Jones: How soon should U.S. troops leave Iraq?
Rabbi Michael Lerner: They should be out as soon as we can take the steps necessary to make sure there is a safe withdrawal. But there are some things that we're saying that are somewhat different than what the rest of our peace brothers are saying. We're saying that there are steps that will make for safety for our troops and the United States:
Number one, that the United States go to the United Nations and apologize, repent for what we have done. And acknowledge that we should not have done what we did and that we were wrong. Because this is a tremendous change in the way that an empire works if an empire says, "Hey, we shouldn't have been trying to dominate there."
Mother Jones: How soon should the U.S. leave Iraq?
Medea Benjamin: I would say, just to pick a time, by the end of the year. We have been saying troops home by the holidays, but we’ve been saying that for the last four years. And then in terms of when we would leave, that’s a very different story. I think if we left a year from now, that would be not my ideal, but it would certainly be positive. I doubt even that is going to happen.
MJ: When you say, “by the end of the year,” do you mean you want to pull out every last U.S. soldier by then?
Mother Jones: After American troops withdraw, will the violence in Iraq escalate?
Kevin Martin: I don't even think it is a fair question. There is no guarantee with anything in life. Anybody who says, "Oh, if we pull out on this timeline or do it exactly this way, Iraq is suddenly going to look like Sweden," is fooling himself.
MJ: Should the peace movement offer a contingency plan for peacekeeping?
KM: That's not our job. Our job is to generate political pressure to get the U.S. out of there and end this nightmare that the U.S. is responsible for. You are trying to hold us to a higher standard of accountability than anyone is holding the Bush administration to, and I'm wondering why. In my organization and the umpteen antiwar coalitions that I am in, this is in no way a priority that we think about or talk about. I'm not saying that we wouldn't care. But, again, that's the job of generals in the Pentagon, of people in the U.N., of others who'd be involved in some sort of interim peacekeeping force. We are not responsible for dreaming up a perfect world. We are responsible for trying to end the damn war and putting the political pressure on our government, which is extremely difficult when you have a feeble Congress and a dictator president.