In what can only be described as a blatant and ridiculous display of moral equivalence, Anthony Stevens Arroyo of WaPo’s On Faith blog compares Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood Killer with Gen. George S. Patton and Medal of Honor winner Alvin York.
In writing about what he considers “bad prayers” Arroyo writes:
But the granddaddy of bad prayers is, “Allahu Akbar!” uttered before shooting innocent people or setting off bombs to slaughter innocents to advance your own salvation. Such abuse by violence of God’s will was not invented at Fort Hood. After all, General Patton ordered the composition of a prayer for good weather so that thousands of Germans could be bombed. Army sharpshooters – like the famous Alvin York of the First World War – prayed to God for a good aim to kill people.
So Patton praying for good weather to aid the allies’ cause against Nazis was similar to Nidal Hasan’s shouting of “Allahu Akhbar” before opening fire on his fellow American soldiers?
The prayer Arroyo is referring to which Patton disseminated was actually written by by Catholic chaplain James H. O’Neill who wrote:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
So according to Arroyo, General Patton asking for God’s help in defeating the scourge of Nazism was similar to Nidal Hasan taking out his fellow American soldiers with a prayer to Allah.
Maybe Mr. Arroyo isn’t aware but war is different than murder.
Nidal presumed to know God’s will and to kill in his name. Patton’s prayer is a prayer for assistance, leaving the response to God.
One is a request, the other a statement.
And impugning Alvin York is outrageous as well. York was a war hero who, at first, was a conscientious objector but finally (after much prayer) saw fit to fight in World War I after praying on a mountainside for two nights.
York was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 others. He described the scene of the incident where he earned the Medal of Honor:
And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.
That day, York and seven other Americans took 132 German prisoners.
I’ll ask Mr. Arroyo, how many prisoners did Nidal Hasan take?