Some rifle sights used by the U.S. military are marked with references to Bible verses. Whether or not military leaders were aware of the decoration--and some sources are skeptical of their denial--bloggers broadly think it's a snafu, though for different reasons. Some are troubled by the blend of church and state, others by the impact on the Muslim world, and still others by the conflict with peaceful Christian doctrine.
- Bad for the War on Terror "Here's one that will play well in the Muslim world," groans Talking Points Memo's Justin Elliott. "Trijicon is doing the Taliban's work," says blogger Lindsay Beyerstein, " by reinforcing the perception that the U.S. is waging a Christianist crusade against Muslims." At ScienceBlogs, Ed Brayton agrees. "It sends the message that this is a religious war of Christianity vs Islam," which just helps Al Qaeda recruit. "That's why Gen. Tommy Franks banned all proselytizing during the wars in the region."
- Bad for the Separation of Church and State At Informed Comment, history professor Juan Cole calls the idea of "a Military-Evangelical Complex ... truly frightening." Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money isn't any more enthusiastic: "The company claims that the inscriptions are about American values and the defense of individual freedom, which would be more plausible if the inscriptions referred to, say, constitutional amendments."
- Reflects Pretty Poor Oversight "If Trijicon didn't have enough sense to tell the Pentagon that it was inscribing Christian codes on equipment bound for wars in Muslim countries," argues Beyerstein, "it doesn't deserve our trust." Mourns blogger Armed Liberal, "there's no good answer here, except to give a solid attention slap to the procurement officers who had to know about this and let it pass."
- How Is This Christian? At the Lew Rockwell blog, Bill Anderson thinks the bigger question has little to do with the American government: "Just how does a Christian message fit with an army waging aggressive war and invading countries that were not at war with us?" Meanwhile, Ed Brayton adds, "It's also absolutely bizarre to me that someone would use Jesus--a man who told his followers to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies and to beat their swords into plowshares--as their wingman when trying to kill people."
- The Weapons May Be Recalled--And They're Good Weapons Armed Liberal is most worked up about the implications for soldiers abroad. "The sights are really good ones ... I really will hate to see some kind of fire drill resulting from this that will put our troops at risk. And I'll say that acknowledging that the real reason I'm annoyed at Trijicon (and the reason I may have just switched my purchase decision on an optic for my M1A to Aimpoint) is that by doing this, they have put US troops at risk."