From Habakkuk 2:25-27

Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,
pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.

The “drink” here is pretty obviously not related to grapes. It is the intoxicating brew of ideology / nationalism / militarism. Those were in fact primary characteristics of the brutal, destructive imperialisms of the ancient world just as much as they are today.

The “naked bodies” no doubt included
a) those killed in the various battles and conquests,
b) and those captives who were abused and tortured, either for “sport” or as a means of execution.

Have you seen any of the newly released pictures of torture activites we have performed in Iraq? Have you noticed how much nakedness is involved? I suspect these ancient prophets had some profound insights into human nature, and into the behavior patterns of unrestrained power. There are some legitimate reasons why they are still being read after all these centuries.

And our current saying, “what goes around comes around” also has some real connection to the moral realities of the human part of the universe.

You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed!
The cup from the LORD’s right hand is coming around to you,
and disgrace will cover your glory.

The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed man’s blood;
you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

There is a cycle here. We must keep reminding each other that:

  1. Torture does not elicit reliable, useful information; that has been proven over and over.
  2. When we torture others, we open ourselves up to an increasing spiral of such treatment. “They” will do more to us; we will do more to them, etc. etc.

This is not a cycle we want to go any further into. We need to intervene, to hold accountable those who are promoting, practicing and defending such activities, and to see that such things are no longer done in our name and under our authority as American citizens.