Popular Christian pacifist Shane Claiborne is planing an event titled “Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream” on the eve of the 10th anniversary of September 11th. This event is intended to raise “questions of violence and militarism.” One might expect them to focus on North Korea, Iran, Syria, or Burma. But as usual, they will focus on the US Military. Claiborne is partnering with Ben Cohen of “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.” Cohen is a prominent leftist who’s foundation financially supports, among others, the “Young Women United” group that actively promotes abortions for young women. This event will both be a stage to denounce the US Military, but also to promote Claiborne’s theology, which is redundant. Claiborne recently wrote about the upcoming event and explained some of his experiences as a “Human Shield” during the bombing of Baghdad.
“I was in Baghdad in March 2003, where I lived as a Christian and as a peacemaker during the ‘shock-and-awe’ bombing. I spent time with families, volunteered in hospitals, and learned to sing ‘Amazing Grace’… in Arabic. There is one image of the time in Baghdad that will never leave me. As the bombs fell from the sky and smoke filled the air, one of the doctors in the hospital held a little girl whose body was riddled with missile fragments. He threw his hands in the air and said, ‘This violence is for a world that has lost its imagination.’ Then he looked square into my eyes, with tears pouring from his, and said, ‘Has your country lost its imagination?’”
He has written proudly about an experience like this for years, and is seen as a darling among the Christian left. The problem is that being a “Human Shield” is against the Geneva convention (Article 51.7, not that Claiborne would care), and for good reason, if one impedes the military operations of a nation they inevitably aide the opposing military’s operations. Claiborne’s “peacemaking” was anything but. Saddam’s regime naturally encouraged and facilitated the use of humans shields, it being both a propaganda tool and an operational advantage. This seems secondary to the need to publicly denounce the US Military as opposed to Saddam’s regime.
Where exactly was Claiborne the previous 30 years of Saddam’s regime? Did he visit the mass graves, the torture chambers, the Kurdistan killing fields? No. On the contrary, the endless violence and persecution of the Iraqi’s for decades was met by sanctions by the international community, even these sanctions where opposed by Claiborne’s human shield group.
Claiborne writes that he now hopes to go back to Iraq:
“I hope to go back to Iraq in a year or two, find that doctor again — and tell him: ‘We have not lost our imagination.’”
If Claiborne does go back to Iraq to find that doctor, he will do so in a nation that now governs itself, rather than the tyranny he went out of his way to aid. He can now speak to many little girls about their future in a democracy, rather than in the tyranny he actively sought to prolong. Claiborne’s goal of “a world with fewer bombs and more ice cream” is actually now possible in Iraq where ice cream is now extremely popular as opposed to before the liberation, when ice cream trucks were used to deliver innocent people to torture chambers and death camps.
Claiborne instructs us to “Find a way to interrupt injustice and to build the kind of world we are proud to pass on to our kids[...]” This vague self-gratifying position can only exist in the mind of a pacifist who has neither accountability nor an actual plan. Besides, the job of interrupting injustice and passing on a world to our kids free of tyranny has been and will continue to be filled by the US Military, even in spite of Shane Claiborne.