A Point of Personal Privilege

Now that a select committee has been appointed to look into Benghazi — and about time — I thought I would raise a point of personal privilege. This is something I want conservatives to quit saying, and I will explain why in a moment. I want everybody to stop saying “four Americans died.”

Because of all the stonewalling, we don’t know what will come out of the investigation, but the chances are decent it could easily be pretty ripe. What were our people doing in Benghazi in the first place? If they were brokering an arms deal with Al-Qaeda for use in Syria, just say, then the stonewalling just weeks before a presidential election makes some kind of sense. If when you start stonewalling, when you are all done, you have a stone wall, and a select committee can ask you questions at their leisure about how it got there.

But that’s not the point either.

Let me appear to change the subject for a moment, but not really. When I was in the Navy, when the captain of our submarine was arriving or departing, that fact would be announced over the loudspeaker. “Ray arriving.” His name wasn’t Ray, our ship was the U.S.S. Ray. This is a vestige of an older, covenantal understanding. Covenants have covenant heads, and when you speak, you speak to the head.

Our federal government used to function in covenantal terms. The Latin word foedus, from which we get federal, is the word for covenant. There is also a homograph in Latin which means foul or putrid, but that would take us down another line of reasoning altogether. The federal government is the entity, and the federal head is President Obama.

So when it comes to our dealings with other nations, an ambassador is the covenant representative of our nation. This is why we have such practices as diplomatic immunity — yet another vestige of an older, covenantal time. Killing the ambassador is tantamount to blowing up the White House. It is a declaration of war. That is what it means.

It really is unfortunate that four Americans died. The personal tragedy is not erased by the larger issues. But the larger issues remain the larger issues. Four Americans could have died in a mugging in Berlin, and it would not mean what this event meant.
The real irony is that those who perpetrated the attack knew precisely what it meant, and those on the American right, who have kept this issue alive, still don’t have a clue.

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22 thoughts on “A Point of Personal Privilege

  1. In 2 Sam 10-11, David’s delegates were rejected and publicly humiliated. The action by the Ammonites toward the Hebrew ambassadors was sufficient cause for King David to go to war. An attack on the ambassador was tantamount to an attack on the nation itself.

  2. Doug,

    I agree that this is potentially very big. I mean smuggling arms out of Libya via Turkey into Syria for the use of radical Islamists ought to be pretty big, didn’t it?

    But I’m sitting here over here in England wondering why there doesn’t seem to be anything like the same whiff of scandal about the Obama administration’s role in creating the Ukraine crisis, which is at least as big a deal as Benghazi.

    That the US government deliberately helped bring about the downfall of a legitimately elected government in Ukraine and is now supporting known neo-Nazis in an illegitimate junta is well documented (no this is not Russian propaganda — the names of those in the Kiev government can easily be found out online, as can their associations with neo-Nazi groups. See this for example: http://www.channel4.com/news/svoboda-ministers-ukraine-new-government-far-right).

    Why is there no scandal surrounding this? Why is there no scandal that this far right, illegitimate government is now massacring unarmed civilians in the East and South of Ukraine with the full support of the US government?

    I may be wrong, sitting as I am at a distance of several thousand miles, but from what I can tell, with the exception of people like Ron Paul, most Americans seem to be swallowing the palpably false line that the media is constantly putting out that Russia started all this. No it didn’t. The US and EU started all this and it is a scandal that hardly anyone seems to be willing to hold these wicked regimes to account for their actions in deliberately destabilising a country and bringing it to the point of civil war.

  3. Rob, some good points, but I would caution against using the N-word so freely. “Nazi” is just short for “Nationalist,” and discussions would be more helpful if that latter term were used rather than the former, so that a rhetorical totality-transfer of meaning does not occur, clouding the issue.

  4. Tim,

    Thanks for engaging in this. I totally agree that terminology is important and that words like neo-Nazi can get bandied about far too often. However, the reason I use the term in this case is that Svoboda, who now have, I believe, five members in the current Kiev government, are self-consciously modelled on Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, being originally named the Social-National Party of Ukraine. In addition to this, the Pravy Sektor (whose leader, Dmytro Yarosh is now Deputy Secretary of Ukranian National Security) are unmistakably Hitlerite, it’s members often openly wearing Nazi symbols such as the Wolfsangel.

    So these are not your average run-of-the-mill far-right parties — they really do contain people who are self-consciously Hitlerite and who practically idolise men such as the Nazi collaborator and mass murderer of Jews, Russians and Poles, Stepan Bandera.

  5. And our Ukrainian Nazis overthrew angels? The Russians kept their promise to leave Ukraine’s borders alone? Should we give Ukraine the nukes they gave up for that promise, or equivalent nukes? All have sinned–none are libertarian Christians. Yet.

  6. Rob, your link is interesting but difficult to follow what positions people actually hold. They keep making reference to the far right then identify them with Nazis. I can agree that a pro-nationalist (as to a pro-interanationist) position is more favoured by the right currently (though not always), but other than nationalism the Nazis were left, as were fascists. They were labelled right by the communists of the time as they were not as left as them, but Nazi and Fascist policies were not particularly right leaning at all, let alone far-right. Nazis were the national socialist party after all.

    So are these modern parties right and nationalist in which case they are not like Nazis (save nationalism) or left and nationalist, in which case they are like Nazis but can’t be described as right.

  7. Andrew Lohr,

    You miss the point. No one is claiming that the Yanukovyvh government were angels. But it was a legitimately elected government in a sovereign nation. The US, together with the EU, deliberately funded the overthrow of this corrupt, but legitimate government, replacing it with a more corrupt, unelected and totally illegitimate government precisely so that they could move NATO right up to the borders of Russia (Google Victoria Nuland $5 billion Geoffrey Pyatt if you are in any doubt as to the US governments part in funding the overthrow and hand picking the new leaders). Sovereign countries should not do this to other sovereign countries and by the way there is no evidence that Russia was remotely interested in doing anything in Crimea before the US and EU did what they did. Russian actions since February are a RESPONSE to this meddling.

  8. I don’t think the whole Bengazi issue will amount to anything. Might keep Hilary out of the WH, but maybe not. Dens will play race ad nauseaum. Seems to be working for them.

  9. Bethyada,

    The important thing is that they have strongly anti-Semite sentiments and that their tactics are eerily reminiscent of the Brownshirts. The Odessa massacre, which some are calling another Katyn, has been shamefully hushed up by the mainstream western media. Yet it was clearly carried out by members of the Pravy Sektor. How much the Kiev government knew about this beforehand remains to be seen, but they have not exactly been unequivocal in their condemnation and neither have the US and EU.

  10. Rob the brownshirts were a citizen militia that rose up to oppose a Communist takeover at the street level. There were many Reformed and other Christians in the movement. This type of resistance is exactly the sort that we need and perhaps they need there too.

    I’d like to hear more about this Odessa massacre, but to be comparable to Katyn, it would need to be 10′s of thousands of victims, and the blame pinned on someone else, e.g. the Russians in this case. The comparison sounds extreme, though I’m open to learning more.

  11. Thanks Rob, though if they are anti-Semitic, that is also often descriptive of left leaning in the current environment. While right tends to be more nationalistic and the left less so (currently), the exception: “Israel is evil and Palestinians are good” motif is much more common on the left.

    I suspect both (secular) left and right will become more anti-Semitic in the coming years though.

  12. Tim H, I find your last post kind of troubling. Do you think anti-Semitism is an acceptable position for Christians to hold? Have you had such negative experiences with Jewish people that, for you, observing Jewish behavior provokes your hostility, or is your opposition more philosophical?

  13. Jill, a discussion about the Jews would derail this thread and depend not a little on one’s eschatology.

    I guess Tim’s comment (from reading other Americans) just means that Jews at times appear to privilege themselves, or act in ways that are not conducive to sympathy. It seems that in the international media’s eyes Israel can no right, and the UN is similar, and much opposition is Satanic; nevertheless, some Jewish (public) behaviour perhaps makes things worse than they need to be.

  14. Tim,
    Observe the behavior of anyone long enough and they will give you a reason to be anti-whatever group to which they belong. The problem is that of overgeneralization. That pesky logical fallacy of applying to the group what describes an individual (even numerous individuals). Basic reasoning skills are required here.

  15. Tim H,

    Sorry, when I said that some have compared it to Katyn, I should have made it clear that the comparisons are not to do with the scale of it — which clearly is incomparable — but rather some of the tactics used.

  16. What are the characteristics of covenantal government in both its proper and decaying states?

    The mind (my meager mind, anyway) first runs to the fruits of the spirit vs the fruits of the flesh and to the attributes of God (Justice, Mercy, Peace) vs the attributes of Satan (Lies…).

    I see these clowns attempting to up-end what our founders entered into, and I can describe what I see, but my description is “x is like..” vs “x is ”

    Here is another point. God gave Israel a covenant–God approached the Jews; in America, our Founders approached God. The initiators of the covenant were our Founders and not God. Can God honor such a thing? Is there really a covenant there?

    To summarize:

    What are the attributes of a functioning covenantal relationship?
    What are the attributes of men rejecting/disowning that covenant? (<—America Ruling Class is here)
    Does God only honor covenants that He initiates?
    Or, is it proper for Christians to initiate a covenantal relationship?

  17. Jill —
    It has been a combination of historical study and personal observation.
    The very term “anti-Semitism” is ambiguous and casts a lie over the discussion, since goyish complaints about jewish behavior typically have nothing to do with their being Semitic. Indeed, the Ashkenazi may not even be Semitic. So it’s a red herring that confuses the discourse. I use it with implied scare-quotes.

  18. Back to the topic, agreed fully that what can be learned about Obama’s foreign policy is far greater than the issue of one evening’s atrocities. What I see, as far as I can determine, is that (as Obama himself admitted a few times) he’s been purposely standing to the side with notable exceptions like pushing a new Kenyan constitution that would allow abortion, and the end result is Islamist government in Libya, a temporary Islamist government in Egypt, a nearly successful Islamist revolt in Syria, Shari’a in Brunei, and now Russian incursions in the Ukraine.

    But if you really want to dig deeply and see what is wrong with our current foreign policy, we can look again to the Ukraine and ask ourselves why we have apparently not been working to help them have a viable country. As far as I can tell, you have one set of filthy rich autocrats opposing another while the rest of the country suffers–the conflict today is for me like watching the Notre Dame-USC game and trying to discipline myself not to root for injuries. Why has State apparently looked aside as the situation got worse and worse?

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