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Surely You Jest?

Unless you’ve been in hiding recently, you’re probably aware of the flap over Trijicon, the maker of sights for weapons. Apparently, Trijicon has been placing chapter and verse bible citations on their products, right after the serial number. The markings include references like “JN8:12,” and “2COR4:6.” Trijicon, a defense contractor from Michigan, makes what are, perhaps, the finest optical targeting systems around. They are used by military, police, and civilians around the world, and the owners have been putting the inscriptions on for thirty years.

Along comes New Zealand, which has a long-standing practice of preventing U.S. nuclear warships from visiting the country, and decides to remove the inscriptions from their soldiers’ sights. The New Zealand defense force has determined that the inscriptions are “inappropriate.” They will, of course, continue using the sights after the offending numbers are removed, because “they are the best of their kind.” The New Zealanders have about 260 of the devices.

I am embarrassed to repeat the reason the Kiwis gave for this action. Defense Minister Wayne Mapp said with New Zealand soldiers in Muslim countries, the Bible references could be misconstrued. “We all know of the religious tensions around this issue and it’s unwise to do anything that could be seen to raise tensions in an unnecessary way,” he said.

I am almost speechless with the number of responses to such pusillanimous cavilling. The first thing that springs to mind is the excessive sensitivity displayed by the bureaucrats. They have no objection to using a device that makes it easier and more efficient to kill people, but they don’t want to offend anyone, especially the target, while doing so.

The second thing is the exquisite delicacy of the New Zealanders. They are aware of the “religious tensions” around this issue. Do they mean the tensions involved when our enemies blow up buildings here, there, anywhere? Do they mean the tensions involved when our enemies cut off the heads of journalists? Do they mean the tensions when our muslim enemies kill men, women, and children indiscriminately in the name of their god?

I am curious to know if the New Zealanders are aware of the religious tensions attendant in a war against a politico-religious movement that seeks to subdue the world under their vision of a 14th century theocracy?

The Kiwis’ concerns seem, well, a little disproportionate, to say the least. Perhaps they would do well to remember that the purpose of a war is, after all, to kill your enemy. As General George Patton put it, “No-one ever won a war by dying for his country. They won it by making some other sonofabitch die for his country.” It seems a little foolish to say “I’m here to kill you, but please don’t take it personally.”

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