Anticipating Apocalypse on the Road to Damascus: Dominionist U.S. Military Superiors Find Common Ground with Islamic Extremists
A trivia question (that’s not so trivial): How many U.S. military senior ranking officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), thrilled to unbridled giddiness with the prospect of America’s “humanitarian” attack against Syria – on a basis of “Biblical” prophecies – does it take to make a national security crisis?
Answer: Only one. But we have well over 250 of them at least. Read the below and weep.
We’ve been down this gloomy road before, my friends. The United States military is once again on the brink of bathing an already war-torn region in the baptismal waters of “regime change.” Even the most casual observer knows that this action will set in motion a vast spectrum of “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns” (to borrow former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s euphemism for “cluster-f***”). The world sits with bated breath anticipating the cataclysmic worst.
Politics make for exceedingly strange bedfellows, and the universally-known Carl von Clausewitz pronouncement that “war is the continuation of politics by other means” remains eternally valid. Thus, we see a bizarre mixture of George W. Bush-era neocons, “hope and change” Obama liberals, Israeli right-wingers, and Christian fundamentalists united behind an incredibly ill-conceived military intervention in Syria. However, this travesty isn’t the only bizarre phenomenon that’s been witnessed along the “Road to Damascus.” There’s also the eschatological aspect, the ebullient anticipations of blood-drenched apocalypse shared by U.S. military personnel and Islamic extremists alike. More on that shortly.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s claims notwithstanding, one of the major components of the Syrian rebel forces (the “good guys” who we’re backing) is an alliance of al-Qaeda style extremists. This sundry group includes such exemplary “democrats” as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar al-Islam, the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and non-Syrian mujahideen spanning the whole of Eurasia from Britain to Chechnya and Pakistan. A veritable rogues’ gallery of enemies of America if there ever was one.
It’s long been an openly acknowledged fact that this international group of supposed “freedom fighters” isn’t fighting the tyrannical Assad “regime” alone, but every supposed “infidel” it can get its bloody hands on. These miscreants aren’t the cartoon terrorists from such films as “The Delta Force,” “True Lies,” or “Behind Enemy Lines.” The targets of their murderous predations aren’t simply American and Israeli stereotypes played by typecast actors from “The Brady Bunch” and ”The Partridge Family.” No, their hatred encompasses just about anyone and everyone who isn’t keen on rolling the clock of human civilization back to the violent conditions of Arabia during the times of the Prophet Muhammad. Their hit-list includes the ancient Aramaic-speaking Christian communities, Shi’ite Muslims, Sufis, and even one another.
For these nefarious extremists, their guiding motivation is a crude eschatology, an “End of Days” Islamic apocalypticism. This dreadful vision foresees the Return of Jesus Christ (an important prophet in the Muslim faith and the Messiah), who will lead the “godly forces” in a battle against the “forces of evil” (the Islamic Anti-Christ, or dajjal, and Satan).” Where will this battle take place? Damascus, Syria.
Thus, it was with severe worry that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the civil rights and constitutional defense foundation of which I’m Founder and President, received the shocking testimonials of over 250 armed servicemember clients regarding the obsessed anticipation of apocalypse emanating from their superiors among the ranks of officers both commissioned and non-commissioned, spanning all four service branches. The Book of Revelation is their blueprint for “success” and they are all too happy to trumpet this “Good News” to their helpless armed forces subordinates. You see, they interpret almost ANYthing that will further inflame the Middle East, and its nexus to bloodshed in Israel, as a divinely prophesied accelerant or lubricant to hasten the End of Days apocalypse wrought by their avenging warrior “flavor” of Jesus Christ. The proposed attack on Syria has these U.S. military superiors licking their chops in delicious delight as an absolutely necessary and foretold event to herald the advent of the Armageddon they pray for endlessly.
To be sure, our very own American Jihadists, the fundamentalist evangelical Christian Dominionists, are just as steeped in the horrendous expectation of “rapture” as our ostensible Islamist foes. How about a good example? Permit me to present to you one Rod Parsley, leader of the enormous World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, and one of the most influential leaders of the fundamentalist dominionist Christian movement in the USA. Parsley’s fire-and-brimstone tinged sermons regularly include promises of a 200-mile long river, four and a half feet deep, filled with nothing but the blood and gruesome remains of those slaughtered by his weaponized version of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. After describing this unimaginable river of endless blood and death, Parsley delivers his rapturous denouement by raising his hands to the ceiling and exhorting his massive thousands of eager-beaver congregants to “Rejoice! Rejoice, for the worst is yet to come!”
According to this past couple of weeks’ batch of new MRFF clients, “Rejoice, rejoice!” is precisely the sentiment of their military superiors, the highest ranking of whom is a 1-star Brigadier General, senior commander. These avid anticipators of “Rapture” are anxiously awaiting the battle of their lives, the battle to end all battles. In their sick minds the fighter jets and bombers of the United States Air Force and the vessels of the United States Navy are simply Jesus’ means for raining fire and brimstone down from heaven.
Yet another Rod Parsley quote, delivered on the National Mall in Washington is most apropos: “Shout overthrow . . . we’ve come to overthrow the forces of darkness. To overthrow the Bible-deniers, the God-haters, and those that desire to get us out of the public square … We’re a force to be reckoned with!”
Indeed, in the warped minds of the hordes of Dominionist Christians in the United States military, up is now down, black is now white and rainy day is now sunny day.
Besides their crisp uniforms, regalia, and clean-cut appearances, how are these seditious Dominionist officers, NCOs, and top brass in our armed forces any different from the psychotic Muslim extremists who spread unspeakable death and destruction among civilian centers in their own cities, towns, and villages? Both are united behind the unholy maxim: “Kill them all, God recognizes his own.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is often completely unjustly accused of being anti-Christian. Paradoxically, many of these accusers now advocate a major American role in support of those who are waging an actual brick-and-mortar, blood-and-sinew genocidal onslaught on the Christians of the Middle East. The supreme irony of this development would be laughable if the real-world implications weren’t so nauseatingly ominous and saturated with the immeasurable gore of shed innocent blood.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today at helpbuildthewall.org.
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq. is founder and president of the five-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He served as a White House counsel in the Reagan Administration and as the Committee Management Officer of the "Iran-Contra" Investigation. He is also the former General Counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. Mikey is an honor graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former J.A.G. in the U.S. Air Force. His two sons, daughter-in-law, son-in law, and brother-in-law are also graduates of USAFA. In December 2012, Mikey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News. He is the author of "With God On Our Side" (2006, St. Martin's Press) and "No Snowflake in an Avalanche" (2012, Vireo).