Thursday, November 1, 2007

War fear & sharia

Discussing his documentary film on World War II, Ken Burns quoted a veteran who said,
No war is good, but some wars are necessary.
Unfortunately, Americans don’t seem to know this yet. I’m afraid even the Burns film left some viewers associating war with glory.

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas criticized “outrageous statements about America’s inability to succeed” in Iraq, and proceeded to his own outrageous statement:
The ability to successfully wage war against America’s enemies trumps everything else.
It scares me. Few Europeans share America’s naïvete about war because their soil was stained with war’s blood. Will it take the same for our country? Peace activists see Americans giving more urgency to shopping than to countering our government’s war-mongering.

Now we’re demonizing Iran’s Ahmadinejad in a campaign eerily similar to the one against Saddam Hussein. In Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria quoted President Bush “invoking the specter of World War III if Iran gained even the knowledge needed to make a nuclear weapon.” And he quoted Norman Podhoretz, neoconservative ideologue who claimed
[Ahmadinejad is] like Hitler . . . a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism.
Zakaria commented,
For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.
In fact, the CIA tells us that Iran won’t have nuclear capability for years, when Ahmadinejad may no longer be president.

James Dobbins, a U.S. diplomat to Iran for the first Bush, found Iranians to be “professional, straightforward, reliable and helpful.” Even after W. Bush’s Axis of Evil speech, they offered to cooperate in Afghanistan. But when Dobbins took their proposal to Washington, he said Donald Rumsfeld “looked down and rustled his papers.” No reply was ever sent back to the Iranians, reported Zakaria.

I wouldn’t be so alarmed if I hadn’t watched in horror while our country swallowed the war propaganda duping us into the Iraq war. Before I watched it happening, I dismissed the ridiculous idea of invading Iraq, thinking Americans could not be so stupid. Here we are now.

One more item from Zakaria. He reported on a Wall Street Journal article written by a close adviser to Bush and Cheney who predicted that Ahmadinejad would end the world on August 22, 2006, the night when Muslims commemorate the
flight of the Prophet Muhammad . . . to ‘the farthest mosque,’ usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back. This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world.
Notice the link between Ahmadinejad and Israel. Apocalyptic belief drives U.S. policy in the Middle East more than we’d like. It derives from the Christian right’s weird linkage of Israel with the Second Coming. After Israel finishes the appropriation of Palestinian land, goes the belief, we can look for “the Lord himself” coming down from heaven “at the sound of the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet” (First Thessalonians 4:16).

Foolish? Yes. But not in the eyes of enough Americans to dispel the danger. What will it take for us to grow in wisdom?

Fear of Sharia
I’m glad there are courageous Muslim women who escape Sharia or Islamic law and, after they’re safe in the West, denounce its inhumane treatment of women, such as stoning victims of rape and enslaving women and girls in marriage. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other Muslim women who speak out do an important service by educating fellow Muslims in the West and in Arabic countries.

But fear of Sharia’s spread in the West is misplaced. Here’s a sample I received in an email:
radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President!
I think everyone in the U.S. should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on! This is your chance to make a difference...!
This kind of fear-mongering foments hatred and mistrust against all Muslims and the same against President Barack Hussein Obama and the ACLU.

The origins of Sharia excess are tribal culture, not the religion of Islam, but ancient habits often take on religious sanction and that happened in Arabic Islam. Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, does not practice these excesses, and the most outrageous incidents take place in rare parts of the world.

Islamic law can never take over America because of the counter-influence. Some American Muslims, for instance, are starting to realize that gays exist and are normal human beings. Unfortunately, less healthy influence also happens, such as adopting the American obsession with sex and money. Some Muslim teenage girls have worn a hijab while dressing provocatively on the rest of their bodies.

I do not fear the influence of Sharia on the West, but I fear right wing Christians, who also support male power over females and who support Israel’s elimination of Palestinians from the land of Zion in the nonsensical hope that this will set off the apocalypse, sending good believers to heaven and the rest of us to commence weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell.

2 comments:

irving said...

All war is hell. If we had a president that had actually been through a hellish conflict, he would not have been so eager to make his mark on history and prove he is better than his daddy. It makes me and most of the world sick what white rich old men will do to prove they are tough (with other young mens lives).

Kathleen said...

You are correct, Jeanette, about the influence of the Israel Lobby, which remains the second most powerful lobby in Washington D.C., after AARP. It has and continues to pressure our elected officials into an ongoing unconditional US Middle Eastern policy based on its relationship with Israel. This unquestioning and stanch support for Israel and President Bush’s need to spread his version of democracy throughout that part of the world has inflamed Arab and Islamic views of the US and, therefore, has put our nation and the rest of the world at greater risk for war. It’s alarming that the Christian right has been convinced that the US interests and Israel interests are linked because of the Apocalyptic belief of the Second Coming.

It’s so frightening to hear President Bush and Vice-President Cheney’s remarks regarding Iran and compare them to their statements, almost word for word, prior to the invasion of Iraq. Our president says it will be important to prevent Iran from gaining “even the knowledge needed to make a nuclear weapon.” With this logic, we certainly should invade Pakistan which already has nuclear weapons. How about India, Russia, North Korea?

I agree with you that Europeans see American views about the war as quite naïve. We are led by a very ignorant man and, I’m afraid, many in our populace do not read and do not do the work to make informed decisions. But as I read your blog, I thought that it’s also true that over 20 million Americans a day only have access to nationally syndicated talk radio that carries the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, the cheerleaders who provide non-stop free advertising for one political party. These two, who have only a few semesters of college, pretend to be experts and convince their faithful audiences how to think. These men are supporters of the Iraq war and they purport to be patriotic, Christian, pro-family, and pro-God. If one pays attention for any length of time, their agendas are certainly pro-one party and pro-president, but not too representative of much else. Their programs, unfortunately, promote hate and bigotry. Limbaugh: “Torture isn’t much different than fraternity hazing.”

If an objective listener, who somehow does not know Hillary or Bill Clinton or the identity of Al Gore or any Democrat, listened --they would question why Limbaugh, Hannity (O’Reilly, or others of similar ilk) are so obsessed with these persons. The listener would soon learn that these shows are limited only to smearing and destroying people of one particular political party. They present similar myopic, simplistic world views as well. It’s unfortunate that other nations, cultures and faiths are also targets for ridicule.

At a time when we need to espouse peace, not war, millions of our citizens hear daily doses of loathing comments about their fellow humans on the planet. Sadly, the ratings indicate this is what goes into the brains of vast numbers of Americans. Those who present opposing points of view do not have the access to the wide reaching audience of the Hannity/Limbaugh/O’Reilly types.

I remember driving and switching stations (because, I admit, I cannot listen to these non-stop attack machines) just as I heard Rush Limbaugh giving one of his loud attacks on Jimmy Carter and why President Carter did not deserve a Noble Peace Prize. My stomach turned as I heard him viciously attack the former president and call him “Human Excrement!”

I’ve also heard outrageous statements about Mexican immigrants trying to feed and clothe their children and how we should treat our poor, our sick and our mentally ill. It is shameful and disgraceful. This isn’t just entertainment; it is the brainwashing of America. It’s unfortunate that the listeners believe what these DJs say as fact and use it as education.


Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly and company are paid multi millions each week to rage sadistic abuse against their fellow brothers and sisters who inhabit the earth and it resonates well with their audiences. But we should listen closely to their words and think of the words attributed to Jesus: “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.”