You may have seen the military video from WikiLeaks, now served up through this site.  I watched the short version, and haven’t seen the long one.  There’s some rough language, and the content is disturbing.  It shows a couple guys employed by Reuters being taken out (along with others) in Baghdad in 2007.

I have some problems with how the military acted – parts of it seem to be stepping past moral boundaries, even for war-time.  I wasn’t there, and I haven’t been through military training, and I didn’t have to make the decisions in real-time.  I am not in a position to judge them.  The portions that Wikileaks added, the introduction and commentary as well as editing and omitted observations, also seems to be stepping beyond the boundary.  They have an agenda, just as the military does.

There are some critiques and commentaries on the pro-military and the anti side, and responses to those writings, and more and more responses.  I can understand why the military didn’t want to release the video.  I can also see why Wikileaks edited it (including removing 20 minutes even from the “long” version).

What bothers me is that there seems to be no middle ground, no room for discussion.  Yes, it’s possible to take the situation and run it through the rules of engagement and determine whether or not the military followed those rules.  And there is definitely a case for allowing Wikileaks to publish this, under the First Amendment right of free speech.  There is no apparent effort for the two sides (either the original military/Wikileaks, or many/any of the downstream folks) to have a discussion about what happened, what it means, and whether or not anything can or should be done about it.  Everybody is yelling too loud, and nobody is listening.

It’s not just this specific issue.  I’m seeing the same thing happen with Obama’s stance on never using nuclear weapons.  And prior, on the health care bill.  Before that (and still ongoing) is Sarah Palin.

I have opinions on all these topics (it’s wrong to pick up a [nuclear] weapon unless you intend to use it, and it’s wrong to remove a major part of our national defenses.  The health care bill scares me because it’s another way for the government to grow and get into my pockets, and I don’t like that.  I like Sarah Palin’s outlook, but don’t know if she’s the best person from a conservative viewpoint [although I’d take her in a heartbeat over any liberal offering].), and am willing to discuss them.  I’m not willing to be yelled at for them.  Some stuff ain’t worth it.

I can hear some people (on both sides of any of these issues) saying “But this is important!!!!”.  Yes, it is, and it should be considered according to its importance.  A long time ago, working for another company in another city, I had a boss who interrupted what I was working on because something else came up that was more important.  Then while I was working on that, he did it again.  And he did it two more times before I made the decision to work on what I wanted to.  If he couldn’t manage the four levels of interruptions and set the priority of the users, I would help the process.  If everything is critically important, then nothing is critically important.

And that’s what I fear we’re getting into in out country.  Each issue, from abortion to immigration to terrorism to finances to global warming to repairing our infrastructure, has become the number one issue facing us.  And that’s demonstrably untrue.  There can only be a single topic in the number one position.  “But what about my issue????”  Yes, it is important, and its importance places it about seventeenth.  Sorry.

There are very few people who have the wisdom to step back and categorize the issues fairly.  The issues with the most noise attached, the ones leading the headlines in the news, those are not necessarily the most important issues.  The health care bill I judge to be important, since it affects so many people in so many ways.  Global warming I rank way down the list – I’m not sure it exists, I don’t think we humans caused it if it does exist, and I doubt strongly that we can do anything about it.  It deserves attention, and deserves a lot more study than action right now.

But who are these wise ones, the ones that might help us see through the noise and help determine what is really important?  I have mentioned wisdom as a qualification.  I think a lot of wisdom comes through age, by being around a long time.  I think it’s critical that they have a sense of right and wrong that’s grounded in reality, not based on wishes and “hope so”s.  They should be able to see and understand the points of view of all the participants, even if they don’t agree with everyone.

And yes, I have a specific person in mind for this “wise one” position.  It’s God.

God has the best grasp of reality ever – He invented it.  He has the age thing sewn up, having existed before time.  Seeing and understanding all points of view?  Yup, including the part of not agreeing with everyone.

And it is by following God and His wishes that all the other things will fall into place.  Will God write the rules of engagement for the military?  Not directly, but Romans 13:3-4 says

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

The health care bill?  James 1:27 has a good start on it:

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit  orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Immigration?  Leviticus 23:22.

When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

And Sarah Palin?  That will require some more research, although I note that Deborah was a judge of Israel.  Judges 4:4-5 says

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.  She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Israel had judges before the people (wrongly) demanded a king.

Of course, for all this to work out well, the people (the world) should be true followers of God.  There will be differences of opinion, still, but if we’re all going one way it should be easier to walk side by side.  I know it won’t happen, but I can hope.  And work towards that goal.  And pray for wisdom and guidance.

“Some see the light; others feel the heat.”

At the end of time, it’s going to be one or the other.  And that is important.

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