Slow down, Andrew:
It’s worrying enough that we find that some Christian fundamentalists have undermined the Air Force Academy. It’s bad enough that some extremists seem to think that this is a good way to win a war of ideas against extremist Islam. But when our own military seems to be advertizing an explicitly Christian identity in Iraq, then it’s time the president took action. Whoever in the marines allowed this tank to be defaced in this way needs to be removed from his post. It’s an outrage – to both the New Testament and to our mission in Iraq.
I think that recently I have as fine-tuned a hair trigger regarding theocratic outbursts as any, and in some cases, may be seeing a bogeyman where none exists, but getting upset about this, as Andy and some have, is a bit much for me to swallow:
Having the “New Testament” taped onto the bore evacuator of an M1A1 is most assuredly not a sign of an impending theocracy, and certainly is not a cause to remove a good Marine from his post. Stating otherwise displays nothing more than a propensity towards hysteria that exceeds even mine and a profound lack of knowledge about the military and the sense of gallows humor that soldiers have.
Tank crewmen have all sorts of names for their tanks, ranging from the inside joke to the borderline obscene, and no one thinks anything of it. I am willing to bet that the guys belong to November company/troop, because all the tanks in my unit (Alpha Troop, 1/11), had names that began with A.
Some of those names included, Anthrax, Armageddon, etc., and at one point in time my tank was briefly named Air Franchek, after my CO who could jump about as high as an M1 Abrams. I remember one tank in Bravo Troop that was named the “Benjamin Dover.” Shorten Benjamin to Ben, then say the full name out loud a few times and imagine seeing it on a massive gun barrel.
While this may be extremely culturally stupid, getting exercised about this would be as dumb as the religious right getting livid about the name my tank operated under briefly:
And that link isn’t safe for work, and neither were any of the pin-ups on the inside of the turret.