Monday, April 27, 2015


As indicated last week, these are proposed means, some initiated incompletely in the past, toward practical world peacemaking.
To resume a share in the moral leadership of the world community, the United States President and Congress must become truly “exceptional” among nations, and admit that we have made a serious mistake: our invasion of Iraq.    By so declaring this openly, we begin the process of turning back the chaos of war and terrorism that has since spread to Syria, Libya, Gaza, and Yemen, has been reigniting terribly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the repression in Egypt, Bahrain, even Ukraine.   It should be eminently apparent by now that relying on pre-emptive war and weapons proliferation to solve our resource security, or their internecine conflicts, is bankrupt policy.   A straightforward approach to this sets the stage for regaining the honor driven mutual respect necessary for steps two and three below.

4-17-15  Displaced Sunnis- -outskirts of Baghdad  fled fighting in Ramadi between government-backed forces and ISIS, right after ISIS kicked out of  Tikrit--Reuters photo

The United States should become a full participant and respecter of the International Criminal Court. This court should begin with a mission that involves all nations in an investigation as who have been the most significant violators of international laws dating from the attacks of 911 onward, with the highest standards of jurisprudence, adequate resources, and the respect of every country.   A docket should be created which focuses on the most terrible outbreaks of violence, names those responsible, and enforces creative nonviolent forms of correction and restitution.
Building upon the above restatements of the real interdependent nature of the international community, the United Nations would unite to create a full arms moratorium to be actively enforced by all on all the Middle East nations.   A ceasefire for all factions of Arab nations, and with Israel and Iran included.  A slow but sure diminution of guns and bullets, to lead to an inevitable engagement in productive negotiations.   The sophisticated military surveillance and interdiction apparatus that has been created by many nations, notably the U.S., E.U., China, and Russia {who’d also first renounce their own major role in the sale and support of weapons to the Middle East} would be employed to stop weapons delivery and assisted manufacture in the Middle East.

These steps may seem ambitious, yet have had some practical implementations in the past. The current escalations of violence worldwide lead only to physical and spiritual disaster.  We have set before us death and life--choose life.

Experience in negotiations would grow in tandem with experience in disarmament, to spread out from there to all nations big and small.   The standard for militaries and internal police forces, should be the minimum necessary for defense, with budget resources so achieved, dedicated to creative ecological employment, education and human needs.

One small example {See references below} -- A recent U.S. naval interdiction [just sending an aircraft carrier to the area] led to a probable Iranian decision reverse their flotilla’s delivery of weapons to Yemen.  If this were coupled to a ban on our delivery of military supplies to Saudi Arabia and other actors in Yemen, plus an interdiction of all weapons supply to Yemen, the factions might be put on a path to decreased violence, and an increase in creative co-existence.

Art by Kathy Brahney


A personal examination of conscience and pocketbook while we work and pray for international solutions. {front of Port Huron County Courthouse, July 3, 2013}

                                                   PRAY FOR PEACE + DON’T PAY FOR WAR

Monday, April 20, 2015


“Give us Barabbas!", from The Bible and its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons, 1910

“You denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a murderer be released to you.  The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”  Act 3:14-15   In a recent scripture reading at mass, Peter is giving testimony to a healing in the name of Jesus, to the people gathered in the Temple.  He upbraids the people for having chosen the violence of a murderer, Barabbas, over the nonviolent healing death-conquering mercy of Jesus whom they sent to be crucified.

The Jewish people of that day are no different in this, from people of our society today.   They chose the violence of Barabbas, a revolutionary who worked for the freedom of their people, by any means necessary.   We choose to rely on the most powerful weaponry and military ever devised, to protect our freedom and lifestyle.   Despite our military machine’s sophistication, murder of innocents occurs in uncounted numbers daily, in one part of the world or another, at our behest.   In the bargain, violent evil re-invests itself.   Our very protection becomes evil’s force multiplier.

One recent example from one of our highly touted drones war theaters, to illustrate how insidious this becomes.  
In the most recent strike analyzed by the Open Society report, in April 2014, two drones fired on a Toyota Land Cruiser outside the town of Bayda. The report concludes that the men in the Land Cruiser, all of whom were killed, were indeed Qaeda fighters.
But shrapnel from the strike hit 12 laborers in a Toyota Hilux just ahead of the Land Cruiser. Four of them were killed and five more injured, the report found, based on interviews with survivors. Based on negotiations between tribal leaders and the Yemeni government, the government paid about $55,000 in compensation and 30 Kalashnikov rifles, costs that Yemeni officials have said are generally covered by the United States.   The policy in our proxy wars is to compensate the victims with dollars, and by passing out more guns {made in Russia, no problem—it’s all the same ballgame}. 

Wars big and small are all about killing and murder.   Weapons have become our major currency of foreign policy.  These are the tools and the way of Barabbas.   This Easter there can be no hope in continuing to choose him over Jesus.   Our guns and bombs fuse into a giant millstone around our neck.  Jesus conquers evil and death by courageous merciful engagement with the enemy. 

This is done by purposefully rejecting the enemy’s killing method—replacing the sword of power with the cross of forgiveness.  How can this be practical?   If the Son of God says and does so, making this God’s way, who can credibly argue otherwise?   

Next week I’ll try to outline practical steps towards Middle East peace that follow this path away from the drones of Pax Romana, towards Pax Christi.

Reference {worth reading & following links}

The Saudis are doing no better in Yemen with their airstrikes, using jets made in USA.
Photo from this article --
Explosion Rips Through Homes in Yemen’s Capital After Airstrike

Art & Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, April 13, 2015


Praying for a slain relative at the platform on the Tigris River where Islamic State fighters are believed to have killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers last June. Credit Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

Once again we count the chickens of war before they’re hatched in Iraq.  Tikrit has fallen.  Most recently this was announced three times during the past month.  ISIS did finally leave, but now the fight breaks out in many other sites in the region.
Maybe Tikrit will stay in Iraqi government U.S. supported control a little longer now, with Shiite [backed by our enemy Iran?] Iraqi troops in place to occupy for us what we took from Saddam in his Sunni stronghold once before in 2003, with our invading soldiers.  But much more likely Sunni forces, in the person of ISIS or some other guise, will eventually prevail.  Tikrit has been Sunni for centuries.  What always hatches from war is an insatiable rapacious disfigured bird of prey, and not the iconic democratic benevolent American [nor Roman, nor any other empire’s] eagle.
Shiite fighters near a suicide bomb attack Thursday on the southern edge of Tikrit, site of an offensive by Iraqi government forces. Credit Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters   March 12, 2015

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is a by-product of our invasion of Iraq.  ISIS would not exist if not for hatreds en-kindled by our avarice and quest for god-like war powers in Iraq, and then Syria. 
Once again we win a small foot-hold battle in the Middle East, as we further lose our souls to the gods of war, and their empty promises.  Soon most of us without thinking will offer up the first fruits of our labor [one half of our income taxes] on April 15, 2015, to the biggest war machine ever assembled.   We place the most trust in these weapons and armies to save and protect us, as we contribute much less to our faith communities and churches.

We will never be on the path to the heavenly kingdom promised by Christ’s Resurrection, if we constantly pursue the present path of permanent pre-emptive wars on other peoples, launched to protect our worldly kingdom since the attack of Sept. 11, 2001.   This is not Christian response.
 This Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, has been designated Divine Mercy Sunday
A deacon at our Port Huron church has named what we need to be working and praying for—Jesus’ pre-emptive mercy.   This is what Jesus calls us to, the answer to all threats of personal, community, and international evils.  This is spiritual social and political science—the Easter promise.  The only thing that works on the level of our souls.   Pre-emptive mercy, not war.

he whole nation will soon render monetary tribute to an ultimately impotent Caesar.  April 15th is a good day to reflect on the truth of the nonviolent all-merciful God, revealed by the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus.  What would Jesus do with our contributions?  How can we more perfectly follow?

There are many places in Iraq and the Middle East where the futility of our violent battles for back and forth control can be documented. See this link for one of them.


A U.S. Concession to Reality in the Battle Against Islamic State

Art and Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, April 6, 2015

HE IS RISEN! - the word for "Sunday" in Russian, Воскресенье, comes from this root.

White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall

The Resurrection of Christ - Orthodox icon type

Happy Easter!  Christ has conquered all violence, brings us with Him away from death, Hades and the tools of war.  Pray and live the Gospel.