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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From Brother Jim Boynton

Father Karl Kiser, S.J. uses a BlackBerry.  I do not but will give it a try.  At Christmas I told my friend, Father Jim Williams, that some day I hoped to have a love for the Haitian people that was not based on pity.  This island seemed like a latrine, and the people only to be pitied.  Pity is not bad, but it makes you the superior; it sets up an inequality and puts me at the top.  After what I have seen these last few days, now when it would make most sense to pity these poor people I have none.  My pity has grown to respect and admiration.  Over night I have come to love these people in a way that makes them a model for me, and clearly puts them on a higher plane than I will ever be.

Furthermore you can tell a tree by its fruit.  Over the years some fine students of mine have joined the US military, and I have even encouraged some to do so.  That said I have not been the greatest supporter of our soldiers.  I have even protested our military at Fort Benning.  After seeing how our military has formed the men I am now with my opinion has changed.  I am not ashamed that I have protested, but can say with a great deal of certitude I would never do that again.  The boys I am with are who they are because of their military training.  They are far more prepared to serve than if they had been reading Thomistic philosophy the last 10 years, and quite frankly, I'm glad they haven't.

Br. Jim Boynton, S.J.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


  1. Jimmy,

    Keep up the great work! I actually wish I were with you.

    Thank the entire team! You are all in our prayers. Thank our soldiers too!

    Un abrazo,


  2. Brother Jim, I'm so proud to have served 3 days of medical mission with you a couple of years ago in Guatemala. Thank God for you! God has sent you good people to follow your lead, also, and I'm glad they have you leading them!

    You're ALL in my prayers! Thank you for the great example!

    Translator, Guatemala

  3. Dear Jimmy,
    My brother Jerome is there now...maybe you'll bump into him again.
    You are covered and smeared in prayer especially in my rosaries.
    your sister in hope,

  4. Dear Brother Jim:

    I pray the roasary also. I pray that you will not lose heart or fortitude, that Mary will be with you and the people in her compassion.

    God Bless You,


  5. Brother Jim,

    Thank you for your service. I am relieved that you are there to help our Haiti brethren. Thank you also for your reflections and kind words about our men and women serving in the military.

    I would offer a word of caution, however, regarding your assessment of the 'fruit' of this 'tree'. Yes, the military men who are working with you are providing a great service to humanity and are uniquely trained to excel in that environment. God bless them for that and their willingness to serve now.

    That being said, the protest against the School of the Americas is not about the men and women of the U.S. military or at least it should not be about them. It is a response to the 'fruit' from the very same 'tree' you reference -- the soldiers who were trained at the School of the Americas and who used that training to ruthlessly assassinate the Jesuits in El Salvador alongside thousands of others who were terrorized, tortured, and murdered. There is no way around that. You know their story; that is why you protested. That is why you--and your newfound military brethren--should continue to protest. Except this time make sure you are not protesting the men and women of our military (good people with extensive training), but rather that your protests are appropriately aimed at their leaders and policymakers. Afterall, the leaders and policymakers are the ones who decide whether the soldiers are deployed to act for peace (as in Haiti right now) or to foster instability and unrest (as in El Salvador and countless other places). Remember: any tool is a weapon if you hold it right.

    It is all of the same tree, so be careful when you reference that tree and especially its fruit -- you know that some of the fruit is as poisonous as other pieces are wonderful (and helpful). How then does one judge or know the tree?

    Maybe the tree you should be looking at isn't the military, but the families of the young men and women who impress you or the Jesuit schools they attended.

    Un abrazo, -M.