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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Onward Christian Soldiers

Whiskey Bar blog on Baptists looking for martyrdome in Iraq. Money quote:

For the Bush White House, this is simply an extension of the 'faith-based" pork barrel to foreign shores -- yet another way to cultivate the Christian conservatives. And it appears the short-term political advantages of pandering to the base outweigh the long-term damage the missionaries are doing to the administration's alleged goal of stabilizing and pacifying Iraq. By their works ye shall know them.

But this raises an interesting question: What will the administration do when the formal occupation ends at mid year? Presumably, the new Iraqi government (whoever it might be) isn't going to want a bunch of Christian zealots running around the country, stirring up trouble and getting themselves shot. Will the Rovians try to buy a little breathing room -- a grace period, so to speak -- for the missionaries to remain in Iraq until after the election is over? And what will they offer the Iraqis in return?

This could result in some elaborate negotiations. But if I were the Baptist high command, I wouldn't plan on sending any more foot soldiers to Iraq after November 2. Which is probably just as well -- the world doesn't need any more religious martyrs.