Nikita Khrushchev famously told the West, on behalf of the communists of the world and their regimes and of the Soviet Union, in particular, “We will bury you.”
And he was not half as silly for thinking that as the Iranian mullahs who think history, in the hands of Allah (of course), is on their side.
Nor half as dangerous as their theology of suicidal martyrdom and Jihad makes them.
The nukes of Pakistan are just one or two bad days from falling into the hands of a new government just as frightful as the Iranians, though in a Sunni rather than a Shiite fashion and close to al-Qaeda, in particular.
And what of the nukes the Iranians might make for themselves?
I would have cheered if the American forces in Pakistan had found and destroyed or stolen their nukes back in 2001, I think it was, when they went there to support the impending US attack on Afghanistan.
Or perhaps it was later, during preparations for the invasion of Iraq, that the press published rumors the American forces were planning some such thing that, anyway, never came off.
Nothing like the destruction of a city and certainly not an attempt to overthrown the regime - it would only be followed by worse - but something far more focused like the killing of Osama bin Laden, I mean.
And what of Iran?
Pat Buchanan has argued in the past that the US cannot prevent the Iranians getting nukes at reasonable cost and ought to and can tolerate their having them.
He thinks any attempt with the least chance of success would provoke a war of unacceptable and disproportionate costs that would not, in the end, replace the current regime with a friendlier one and might impose unacceptable costs on the Israelis and others, too.
The Israelis appear not to agree.
Nor do the Germans, the French, the Brits, and perhaps others.
I don't know what the Obama Administration really thinks.
I think we don't need another war in the Middle East, though I must admit stopping the Muslim loons in charge of Iran getting their hands on the Bomb is a much better reason for one than because Saddam Hussein tried to kill Bush pere and paid $25K in bounty to the families of suicide bombers who struck at Israel.
Or because Rummy, Bush fils, and Cheney were stupid enough to honestly believe they could replace the Taliban regime with one much less Islamist and much chummier toward Israel and the US.
There is not the least reason of objective national interest for the US to uphold the cause of Israel in any degree, at all.
In fact, reasons of that kind all militate in favor of the US abandoning Israel to its own devices.
The cards have fallen out that way since 1948, for cryin’ out loud.
Any fool can see it.
There is this matter of oil, and the Israelis have none of it but their Arab enemies have lots.
And then there is the moral argument.
The opponents of Israel point out with perfect justice that “the Zionist entity” is a late-blooming and last vestige of 19th Century European colonialism.
With almost equal justice – well, some, anyway – they tell us Western support for Israel is a re-run of Western support for the crusader-state, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, in the Middle Ages, going awry only so far as no Christian power in those days would have lifted a finger to uphold a state whose job was to provide a safe place for the Jews, and so far as the modern attempt has proved somewhat quixotic.
Should not the mid-20th Century political morality of decolonization that drove much of US policy in the post WWII period have led us, and lead us now, to oppose rather than support Israel?
The claim based on Jewish ancestors having their own kingdom in Palestine 2,000 years ago obviously cut no ice against the claim of the Muslim Arabs living there up to 1948.
The claim based on German guilt for the Holocaust was hardly relevant, since Palestine was not German territory, was not administered by any German ally, and was not Germany’s to give.
The claim of the Jews based on Lord Balfour’s declaration of 1917 – he more or less representing the British Empire, the colonial power then in control of Palestine – was and is surely no better than the claim of the pied-noirs to rightfully hold Algeria as their own country because France, the colonial power controlling that area since 1831, said they did.
The claim of the Jews based on the failure of the Occident as a whole to stop Germany’s horrifically successful attempt to make Europe Judenrein supposes there was a moral duty to do that by whatever means necessary.
There was clearly no legal duty.
And few will accept there was a moral duty beyond those who, today, suppose a like duty making it incumbent upon America to rescue any people, anywhere, not only from genocide in particular but from any horror at the hands of their rulers or any others.
But even our progressive, post-WWII, post-colonialist political morality accepts that countries founded and dominated by settler populations in which not too many indigenous people live on at all or in significant political subjection have as good a right to exist as any other, even if (as was not always the case) the country at the outset was in some measure created by crime against a native population.
Or anyway I would rather it did, given we have to pay attention to such nonsense as morality at all.
So let it pass that despite the claims of those who hate it Israel has as much and as good a right to exist as any other modern state.
That still leaves open the question why America ought to spend a penny or risk the bones of a single Connecticut grenadier to support or protect the Jewish State, though arguments of national interest powerfully urge us not to.
To spite the Muslims does not seem a good enough reason.
Nor that if we don’t they will gloat they shouted in our faces and we backed down.
At least I don’t think so.
Least of all if the grenadier is my own grandchild, say.
I was not, after all, much impressed with the like arguments when conservatives made them in support of the Vietnam War.
And I am not in retrospect.
Though it was a dismal thing to see, all those helicopters carrying people from the US embassy rooftop in Saigon to aircraft carriers not far off shore, fleeing the successful Communists.
Those pictures of sailors pushing empty choppers that would not be able to make a return trip off the decks and into the sea to make room for more choppers, full of refugees, to land were heart-breaking.
All the same, I opposed that war until it ended, demonstrating, writing to newspapers and politicians, and so on.
All the same.
(And though I was cheered when the Vietnamese Communists invaded Cambodia to put an end to the mad reign of Pol Pot and save the Cambodian people, despite the opposition of Henry Kissinger, always a man to meddle stupidly and at great cost to people other than himself in Asia.)
All religions are false, but some are more harmful than others.
Reading “bunk” for “false,” the same is true for moral codes.
And the Christian moral code, especially as it pertains to sex, is far more harmful than the post-Christian, secular morality evolving before our eyes.
Clericalists aiming at pumping creationism into the public schools have long since learned the trick of disguising an idea whose basis is entirely in the mythology of the Bible as a secular, even scientific view in legitimate competition with evolutionism.
They are doing the same sort of thing with their Christian views of sex and, in particular, the sex business.
To the extent that the blowback theory of Muslim ire is true that ire could be expected to recede with an American withdrawal from the region and American abandonment of Israel.
But to the extent that Muslim ire is genuinely religious in inspiration it will not recede solely on that account.
It has rightly been pointed out by many that the Islamic religious mind, broadly speaking, is similar to the Western, Christian mind from the triumph of Christendom in the early Middle Ages through the wars of religion of the 17th Century.
It could be said that, like far too many Muslims today, including their religious scholars and clerical leadership, far too many Christians in those times, including their religious scholars and clerical leadership, were about as bloody-minded as humanly possible about their religion.
Christians then, like Muslims today, adhered to the idea that individuals, groups, institutions public and private, and the state were all permitted and even required to impose acceptance of Christianity on others by violence.
All were permitted and even required to punish heresy and apostasy with death, for example, and to punish atheism with death, and to punish sacrilege and speech or other forms of expression denigrating religion, denying its truth, or otherwise criticizing it with death.
And it is sometimes said that, as what put a stop to all that in the West was partly the development and spread of religion-based, Christian rejection of coercion and violence in religion through the Radical Reformation and partly the Enlightenment, similar developments within Islam will do the same, eventually, for that religion.
But the eventual acceptance of religious peace and toleration by Islam is obstructed, if not in the long run altogether prevented, by the critical difference that while no straightforward reading of the New Testament provides much by way of encouragement, much less justification, for such coercion and violence any straightforward reading of the Koran does a very great deal to justify and even demand both.
Hence, for example, while Christianity was pacifist and non-coercive for centuries after its birth, spreading by preaching and voluntary acceptance, Islam was spread from its earliest times by war, violence, and coercion.
This does not bode well for the future of Islam or of the world.
Romney probably means more war over a wider area in the Muslim world.
If that strikes you as futile and a gross waste of treasure and blood, Obama is certainly the lesser evil of the two.
But the Muslim stampede since 9/11/12 has probably helped Romney even though polls say Americans are sick of the neocon wars and don't want more war because the stampede has made Americans angry.
They get angrier with every day that it continues in the headlines.
And because even Americans (and there are many, especially on the Christian right) who agree speech offensive to religion ought to be prohibited and punished are not happy to see an American president missing the moment when what he is supposed to do is stand up for his country.
No, the administration has not been apologizing.
But the administration's efforts to deflect Muslim wrath from them, from the government, from America, from the American people, and maybe even from Christians onto the schmuck who made that silly movie are a disgraceful spectacle with too much the look of terrified man in a crowd shouting at a gunman, "Hey! I didn't do it! Shoot him!"
Worse, we know that they know it was and is not really about the movie, either in Benghazi where what happened was an al-Qaeda attack or in Cairo where Muslims in a coordinated way chose the 11th anniversary of 9/11 to put on a mass demonstration of their hatred for America, or anywhere else in the wave of hate since.
Though their stupid, global arrogance in making their demands that we bow to Islam and abandon our tradition of free speech is real, and though the demands themselves are quite seriously meant, it is not and has not been all about that one little film for these Muslim masses.
What these outbursts have been saying to us and all the world is this.
“It’s September 11th, America. Many happy returns.”
And yet, despite all that, this disgraceful exercise in blame-shifting is what liberals want Obama to do, it seems, pretty much to a man.
Not just bloggers and pundits but “wise men” of the liberal establishment.
And that will hurt the president and the Democrats, and probably already has, despite the fact that Romney's foreign policy would doubtless be much stupider and certainly more bellicose than his and polls say, as I noted, that Americans are heartily sick of all that.
Romney told the truth.
For the swing voters it's more about emotion and "do they like the guy."
Obama has made them ashamed, at least of him if not of their country, and he continues to make them ashamed every day the administration continues its wave of “It wasn’t us! We didn’t do it!” propaganda addressed to the screaming masses of the Muslim world.
Anger and disgust at Muslim behavior combined with rejection of that shame will together drive people to vote for the guy who is not Obama.
And they will do that even though he is by far the greater evil, even in this matter of dealing with global, psychopathic Islam.
In recent days there has been much in the news about crowds in Benghazi supportive of America demonstrating for us and against the killers of our ambassador.
Also, crowds have been attacking militias suspected of being involved and the people have been demanding the new government disband fundamentalist militias.
The government has arrested several people in connection with the embassy attack.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the new government is seeking international warrants for the arrest of 9 Americans linked to the now infamous though boring You Tube video.
Apparently, no one laughed at the Syrians and pointed out that if the cartoons incited hatred it was among the Muslims and if anything incited the French to hate Muslims it was their own inexcusable behavior.
So, let’s see, responding to a perfectly ordinary, unexciting event - the publication of these cartoons - they fly into an insane rage and then sue you for making them mad?
That’s not what they mean.
At least I don't think it is.
Surely they mean CH has incited hatred of Islam and of Muslims among the non-Muslim French, and perhaps violence (none, anywhere, at this point) by those French against Muslims?
But only by taking all that “hate” and “violence” as referring to the hate felt by and the violence done by the Muslims rather than anything felt among or done by the non-Muslim French can anything in this charge be taken to be even remotely plausible.
And then, of course, it makes no sense at all.
Update 092812 at 1320 hrs EDT.
The French Minister of the Interior, during an inaugural speech at a new mosque in Strasbourg, told auditors in no uncertain terms France would expel those who preach hate, defy the Republic, or challenge its values.
Last week he forbade demonstrations in France against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
While his government was damned by American conservatives for proposing to tax the incomes of the rich at 75% it and the Minister got no credit for resisting Islamism, a favorite cause of the American right.
No doubt it did not help that in the same speech he said construction of additional mosques in France would be permitted.
Once in a while I wonder whether we ought to just suddenly take every single nuke away from every single Muslim country that has one, and wreck all their reactors.
They already hate everybody who isn’t Muslim, especially us, about as much as is humanly possible.
And that’s the problem.
Way back during the initial US attacks on Afghanistan, when a whole lot of US forces moved quickly into Pakistan, The New York Times (as I recall) and then other papers published rumors that some US forces were assigned to find and seize the Pakistani nuclear weapons.
I thought then that the Pentagon and White House, reading the papers, must have been grinding their teeth for lack of a strong legal basis to imprison people for running their mouths about even rumored military operations supposedly planned for the future or then under way.
But not even so much as bitter public criticism of such treasonous irresponsibility was possible without an admission, or coming too close to an admission, in public that such a mission really had been under way.
And that would by no means have helped our relations with the Pakistanis, at the time.
A few days later the papers said the Pakistani government had moved all its nukes to new, secret, and safer locations.
Not for the first time, I hated the invincible, arrogant stupidity of the liberal establishment.
I opposed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq at the time and have opposed them at all times since as stupid, hopeless, and shockingly costly blunders.
But taking the nukes from Pakistan would have made the world a significantly safer place.
It would have been the only really sensible part of an otherwise senseless operation.
Charlie Hebdo is a notoriously unrestrained satiric magazine.
Wikipedia describes the magazine as having a “strongly left wing, anarchist slant.”
What was this supposed to provoke, given not only the current furor in the Muslim world but that the president of France is a Socialist?
This could be a left wing provocation intended to give the president and the government an excuse to change the law in a more Shariah friendly direction.
But it is undeniable that it is likely to aid the right by embarrassing the government and feeding French anti-immigration sentiment.
Hard to tell, sometimes, what the further left could possibly be thinking.
Says the news story,
"We have the impression that it's officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists," said editor Stephane Charbonnier, who drew the front-page cartoon.
"It shows the climate - everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want - to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave," he told Reuters.
. . . .
Charlie Hebdo has a long reputation for being provocative. Its Paris offices were firebombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Mohammad, and Charbonnier has been under police guard ever since.
Nothing in the story about a presidential reaction, though the French state is going to an awful lot of trouble to prepare for Muslim reaction.
I support free speech and expression not because I speak or express very much but because, since childhood, I have cherished the freedom to read what I damn well please, see what movies I please, and so on.
Hence my rejection of authoritarian or totalitarian religion as well as government.
I am not a publisher, an author, or a performer.
I am a person and my reading or viewing choices are nobody's damned business but my own.
I value cultural and political secularism, freedom from religion, for that reason but also because I am damned if I want to be threatened, bullied, or controlled by some idiot, some crackpot, some loon in the name of his silly-assed, unforgivably stupid beliefs.
I am damned if I want the whole power of the state to coerce me and everyone else into living in accordance with the fantasied wishes of those entirely imaginary and malevolent fictions, the gods, Allah, Yahweh, or God.
Stanley Fish is a jackass who would run for his life, like anyone else but the most ardent of believing fools, at the first knock on his door by the Saudi Isalmic police, there to arrest him for derogating from the message of Mohamed and the dignity of Allah.
And here he fundamentally betrays those who understand that safety from that sort of policing has to be cherished and even defended.
It is most certainly not a done deal and, though he may die before any real damage can be done, I may not and my children and their children certainly will not.
Fortunately, a whole lot of Jews and Christians and others, in the West in general and America in particular, also cherish these freedoms, and that is why the Christian right and the Catholic clergy face such an uphill battle here, trying their best to undo American secularism and impose their rules not only on speech and expression in America but on every aspect of our entire sex lives.
And that is why, unlike Stanley, I view the triumphs of Islam over liberty all over the Muslim world as a disaster first and formost, and usually in fact only, for the Muslims, themselves.
A man who lives in a dungeon may kid himself it's a penthouse; it's still a dungeon.
And the stupid bastard has his children in there, too.
Face the fact.
Meine Gedanken sind frei is a delusion that doesn't cut it.
If you want your thoughts to be free your reading had better be free, your listening, your viewing, and your frank conversation had better be free; and others had better have the like freedom.
I was free to read Marx and Neitzsche and Russell as a kid in high school because the state did not and no one else could prevent their publication, their sale, their purchase, or their possession.
Freedom, though an individual good, is inevitably a political good.
Your thoughts are as free as your country is free.
It matters that we understand this.
Update 9/20/12 1415 hrs.
The Weekly Standard says CBS says witnesses say there was no anti-American, anti-movie demonstration in Benghazi.
Only the attack on the consulate that led to the killing of the ambassador.
Also, the ambassador reportedly feared being killed by al-Qaeda for over a year.
Fox News today says intelligence sources tell them they think it was al-Qaeda and they think a prior detainee from Gitmo was involved.
That prisoner was released in 2007 to Ghaddafi in Libya on condition he would be kept in jail, but the dictator released him as part of an effort to conciliate Islamists.
That’s what the movie all the flap is about looks like.
Actual running time 13:51.
I watched it last night on You Tube, in bed, with a new toy I bought about a month ago, a little 7 inch Samsung tablet.
The Mohamed video, I mean.
Internet comments that the fellow playing Mohamed is actually a minor porn star are believable, supposing minor porn stars are pretty poor actors.
Personally, I thought The Life of Brian was far more witty, outrageous, and bitter a send up of Christianity and the life of Jesus as told in the NT than this thing is of the life of Mohamed as related in the Koran.
Their lives and messages, of course, were very different and neither of them, when you get down to it, very funny.
This is why, while in any bio Jesus has to be shown as the victim of a great deal of violence, Mohamed has to be shown as the instigator of near genocidal war and other violence, and a personal participant as well.
While Jesus has to be shown counseling chastity and living an apparently celibate life, Mohamed has to be shown as at least un homme moyen sensuel, eventually a powerful man with many wives, including at least one little girl of about nine years old.
A holy man ripe for mockery, I would say.
If not for fear, I have no doubt SNL would have taken on this fellow, long ago.
Indeed, they'd have made him a favored object of repeated, uproarious ridicule.
And they'd have done a much better job, with much sharper barbs, than this yawn of a video.
Isn’t there a very popular Broadway musical in New York, right now, ripping the heck out of Joseph Smith and the Mormons?
We Americans insist that all religions be treated with respect, you know.
That's a core value.
When I first heard of the fatwa against Rushdie I was furious no Western government had put out an Interpol warrant for the arrest of the Ayatollah for soliciting murder, at least to remind the world what sanity looks like.
When I heard about the cartoon riots I just thought, by no means for the first time, that the Muslim world is a world of psychopaths in whose hands nuclear weapons would be terrifying.
Could be the enduring damage of the events of 9/11/12 will turn out to be a cowardly restriction of free speech in favor of religion and the mainstreaming of a heretofore fringe right idea, if not that Obama is a secret Muslim or was one well into his youth then that he is in some nearly treasonable manner sympathetic to the Islamist cause.
For the more candid anti-Islamist right, the proper policy for the US in the entire region, if not for the whole Muslim world, is ever more clearly about the same as the current Israeli policy in Gaza: destruction and occupation for just as long as it takes for the Muslims to get sick of it and make peace on acceptable terms.
The martyr culture of Islam, the religion of war, pretty much ensures this could go on for centuries with the Muslims never actually giving up.
Anybody remember the Crusades? And how they ended?
Those memories do not deter, but instead actually seem to inspire, the apparently rising wave of neo-Crusaderism among Jewish and other neocons and among the Christian right, the latter being very mindful of the past, indeed, as well as of the terrible truth that the tide of Islamism around the world is also a tide of violent and brutal persecution of Christians.
Fortunately, there is not the least real need for the US to go down so dark and hopeless a path, though the Israelis are certainly stuck, despite the global alarmism of the Islamophobes and the endless “they are our most valuable ally” drivel of The Lobby.
And pretty much anything short of that is a better idea than that for US Middle Eastern policy.
So, again, Obama and the Democrats are clearly by far the less bad choice, no matter how unsatisfying their determined Three Monkeys approach to Islam: See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil.
And the more openly wed to its neo-Crusader outlook the Republican right gets, the more definite and clear is the Democrats’ lesser evil status.
First and most of all, these attacks were planned and
scheduled anniversary greetings from al-Qaeda.
Second, Joe Biden’s repeated brags that GM is alive and Osama
is dead required a riposte.
Third, the West and the Muslim world needed to be told we
have not crushed and cannot crush al-Qaeda in particular or Muslim terrorism in
And we all needed to be reminded forcibly and clearly, once
again, just what the continuing rise to power of Muslim fundamentalism
everywhere there are Muslims involves.
Did that silly video actually provoke all this street
The world in general and Western culture in particular are packed full of material equally or more derogatory to Islam or to Mohamed.
Websites and books and Internet videos abound, worldwide and in
a multitude of languages, all of them doing their level, sometimes angry best to blacken
the name of Mohamed, his book, his religion, and all their works.
And the vast weight of all that popular hatred of Islam grows
constantly – and by leaps and bounds with every such evil outburst of Muslim savagery
as this, that all the world gets to witness.
Hanging all this on just another indiscernible drop in the
ocean of fear and loathing of Islam that the Muslims have produced around
the world in recent decades is absurd.
It would be more accurate to say Joe Biden’s chest-thumping
And every such outburst teaches us again the bitter lesson of
Very nearly all Muslims everywhere, of course, share the view that their own religion is uniquely true and all other religions are false.
Not unlike the Christians, they also believe their religion must prevail through all the world.
But it is unique to their faith that the normal and ordinary and historically exemplary method by which the spread of Islam is made to happen and people are brought to the faith is not and never has been preaching and persuasion but war and force.
And, more to the immediate point, it is their universal conviction that unbelievers everywhere can and should be forced to treat as sacred their founder and his "revelation."
In fact, Islam, uniquely among the Abrahamic religions, is all about religious warfare and the coerced submission of unbelievers by cities, regions, and whole nations to Allah, and has
been from its birth.
The Jews have never been interested in spreading their religion to others, at all, and the exemplary method of spreading Christianity enjoined by Jesus, Paul, and all the earliest of his followers was preaching to the low and the humble.
Nothing could have been further from their minds than careers of religious conquest of the then Roman Empire, though that is exactly what the Muslims launched themselves into, and quite successfully, in the earliest years of their faith.
"Submission," in fact, is the very meaning of the name, "Islam"; that is the first and central lesson of its founder Mohamed, and religious war is the exemplary manner in which he spread his faith to the unbelievers of Arabia, as narrated in the Koran.
Islam is not and never has been a religion of peace; it is and always has been uniquely and relentlessly a religion of war.
Fundamentalist Buddhists would launch a worldwide campaign of preaching pacifism and vegetarianism.
We all know that is not what the rising tide of fundamentalist Muslims have done.
None of which is to say it would be wise for Obama and the pols of the Democratic Party to declaim these truths in every stump speech across the nation for the next two months.
Nor is it clear how any reaction to these facts could be more stupid, dangerous, or absurd than that of Ann Coulter in the immediate aftermath of 9/11/2001 - advice she has never recanted - that we make war on the entire world of Islam and forcibly convert them all to Christianity.
No one joined her in urging this.
But far too many think something short of that but much in the same spirit is called for.
All the same, it is well to be clear on the facts and honest with ourselves about Islam and about what is happening in the Muslim world.
See Pat Condell’s “American Dhimmi.”
No, I do not agree with everything he says, here.
He is, after all, just another drop in that ocean of the Islamophobe right and his "Third World" Obama story is utter tripe.
But this one video, especially now, is worth a look.
The longer Mitt goes on with this as Muslims riot helpfully in the background, the more the classe politique will come to feel that “something must be done.”
Recall the classic logic of the politician under fire.
Something must be done.
This is something.
This must be done.
The neocons remain firm, so far, vigorously blaming Islamic fanaticism and defending the free speech rights of all Americans, including crackpots, while aiming as much blame as possible at the Obama administration.
The liberals and, now, even mainstream Democrats are of course defending their president while selling out their secularist wing, directing as much of their anger as they dare – and no doubt they hope the anger of the public with it – onto the video maker and that silly old pastor who wanted to burn Korans.
As far as they can, they want to minimize the amount of public blame that is aimed at Islam in general, Muslims in general, Egyptians and Libyans in general, the new Egyptian and Libyan governments, or of course the Obama administration.
They have proposed prosecution of both the pastor and the video producer, and changing the law if needed to clearly deny cover of the First Amendment to speech dangerously provocative to Muslims.
No doubt many of them see this as a welcome chance to not only placate the ire of the Muslim street but generally improve our diplomatic standing with Muslim nations around the world and at the UN.
And others see this as a welcome opportunity to bash the Islamophobic right, including such special luminaries as Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer.
Too, they might even seek to prosecute Geert Wilders, if he dares to come again to our shores.
Much will depend on where the Christian right, torn between its hatred of Islam and its hatred of anti-Christian irreverence in our culture, decides to come down on the question.
Will they join the Democrats in trying to undermine the First Amendment, provided it be undermined not only in favor of Islam but also in favor of Christianity?
Prosecute a pastor for threatening to burn a Koran?
OK, but then prosecute P Z Meyers for threats of host desecration.
And tell the Saudis, the Pakistanis, and all others that they have to prosecute rather than encourage or officially condone Bible desecration, as they now routinely do.
Or will they join the neocons in defending blasphemy, ridicule, and unrestrained denigration of anybody’s religion in order to safeguard the work of the Islamophobic right and their alliance with the neocons?
Can’t wait to see, eh?
KOS says today new polls show women’s support for Obama over Romney has risen, though of course most women were already on his side.
This flap about the embassy in Egypt and the ambassador in Libya could easily have made Romney seem more bellicose and “shoot first, think later,” compared to Obama.
Do the new polls reflect any change in women’s support in response to this, I wonder?
This morning, Zbigniew Brzezinski insisted volubly and angrily on Morning Joe that “we” “have to” reconsider the First Amendment and allow for prosecution at least of people whose speech offends Muslims with the intention of provoking violence.
Of course, he referred with contempt and fury to that Koran-burning pastor and the Israeli-American who produced the You-Tube video the organizers of the current wave of “spontaneous Muslim outrage” in Libya and Egypt – people tied, apparently, not only to al-Qaeda but also to organized Salafists in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, whose president Obama will chat with in coming days – chose to cite as occasioning the wrath of innocent, ordinary Muslims-in-the-street to such a homicidal pitch.
It has been observed more than once that people beloved of the establishment who give horrifically bad advice never disappear.
They continue all their lives giving horrifically bad advice, and the media continue all their lives to treat them with the enormous respect and deference that is due to establishment-certified wise men, no matter what arrogant, self-important boobs they may obviously be.
Unless they want to wear their cowardice as a badge of honor on their suit coats, right next to those little American flags, American lawmakers will make no attempt to outlaw mockery – with intent to blah, blah, blah – specifically and only of Islam.
If they move at all, they will move to outlaw mockery (with intent, blah, blah) of anybody’s religion.
And then it will be enforced pretty much exclusively against people whose public mockery of Islam has the dubious honor of being cited by organizers of violent Muslim outrage as unendurably offensive to the Prophet and his Holy Faith.
To the kid who runs the Jesus and Mo blog on the net: when will it be your turn?
As for Zbig, I am reminded that some conservatives have lately begun to openly entertain the notion that the American plutocracy running the county’s domestic politics may not actually have the good of America at heart so much as the profit to be made from running the place into the ground like some colonized, Third World territory not their own.
Nobody has quite explicitly drawn a similar lesson in connection with American globalismo and the endless neocon wars, yet.
And nobody has drawn the lesson in connection with the parade of foreign-born, foreign-raised, and foreign-educated policy advisers who have, with the reliability of gravity, counseled our presidents for going on 50 years to war, war, and more war, even in the most faraway and unlikely places, if not to save America from one “existential threat” after another then at least to save all humanity.
But be patient.
They may get there.
Since yesterday, additional mainstream Democrats and liberals have gone on record endorsing immediate US adoption of what is in fact the view of free speech insisted on by Muslims, worldwide, including most governments of Muslim countries, the Muslim Brotherhood, most Islamist parties, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Muslim nations at the UN.
That guy who made the video and the pastor who wanted to burn Korans ought, they angrily demand, to be prosecuted and the law ought to criminalize if not denigration of religion in general - anyone's religion - then certainly denigration of Islam.
Profiles in courage, these liberals are.
So far, venues of conservative opinion have been staunch defenders of free speech, blaming the Muslim violence on the Muslims and insisting no ground be given up on what speech the First Amendment protects.
But that has been secular and Jewish conservative opinion.
Gomer over at Fox News?
The Catholic clergy who toyed, before 9/11, with the idea of a global alliance with Islam to oppose abortion, contraception, pornography and cultural acceptance of sex, and secularization in general?
These are the people who insist atheism has no place in American life and secularists are a terrible threat to our society and even all mankind.
But people prefer to treat revelations like this of what’s really in the skulls of our political leaders as merely funny, kooky, an amusing glimpse of a moment of risible stupidity.
Just another occasion to denigrate a despised politician, in other words.
But certainly not something serious.
So right now, all over the web, people are reacting to this story - a downright scary story - as a good chance for a giggle or a snicker at GW's expense.
GW brought others just like him, in this regard, right into the White House and put them in charge of the domestic “war on terror.”
Remember John Ashcroft?
He was another man of shocking, frightening piety whom the media chose merely to mock for prudishness.
The neocons manipulated GW and bullied Ashcroft.
And here we are, ten years on, still with their wars on our hands, a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives down the drain. On the other hand, people gave a similar reception to the story of Nixon dropping to his knees in the Oval Office, inviting Kissinger to join him in prayer at some point during the Watergate crisis.
Nixon was not a praying man; this was not sudden piety under pressure.
This was a man on the edge of a terrible breakdown.
A man with the launch codes; a man with his finger on the red button.
But no one reacted to the story with alarm.
Anyway, not in public.
Often, it seems to me people are just too stupid to be scared.
And are not really brave, at all.
Or it was just a case of "not in front of the children."
The fight is often over small, symbolic things like "God" on the coins or in the platform of the Democratic Party.
But it's really over big things like those associated with the sexual revolution: the legality of divorce more or less at will, of homosexuality, of extra- or pre-marital sex, of porn and of open manifestations of sex in culture that are not that.
And like the survival of public, secular education instead of its replacement by voucher-enabled, publicly-funded but church-run, religion-dominated education.
Historically and even now, in America, our enemies are Christians, mostly but not only evangelical Protestants and Catholics.
But immigration patterns and global politics can change that so that sometimes, at the UN or in other international contexts, the most dangerous enemy is Islam.
It is important not to exaggerate the threat, but it is important not to shut our eyes out of deference to demands to be politically correct.
It is important not to confuse the ancient religious grudge of the Christians of the Occident against Islam to which the Islamophobe right in America and Europe so often so openly appeals with the realistic judgment that Islam today is the most violent and relentless enemy of secularism and secular values in the world.
Though not, of course, within the United States or, so far as I know, anywhere within the Western Hemisphere.
A week or so ago the web was abuzz about some liberal with nothing better to write about who had, in effect, apologized to the Christian right for the total control of Hollywood and thence the pop culture by liberals.
It was silly and false in many ways, not least because drugs and sex and rock ‘n roll are and always have been more the motto of young, male libertarians than of progressives.
All the same, liberals have insisted almost from 9/12/2001 that the real international challenges to America continue to come from China and Russia despite the end of the Cold War, and certainly not ragamuffin, crackpot Muslim terrorists.
Much less, as others put it, from a worldwide resurgence of Islam, pure and simple.
So completely opposed were they to the replacement of China and Russia by Islamism as America’s globo-enemy that liberals invented a name for a new political sin, “Islamophobia,” to condemn propaganda aimed not only at this but at the forging of a new, post-Cold War alliance pitting the US, Russia, and China, too, against the world-wide forces of Islamism that were attacking all three.
TV along with the rest of pop culture has long since diminished the importance of Islamic terrorists in the roll of our enemies, putting Russia back at the top.
Jack Bauer, macho Muslim-killer of the CTU, the fictional institutional embodiment of the Global War on Terror, has been replaced by Annie Walker of that Cold War dinosaur, the not at all fictional CIA, hotly pursuing Russian FSB bad guys right into their beds.
And last night the wife and I watched a new movie pitting Jason Stathem in New York against both the Chinese mob, connected all the way back to China, and the Russian mob, connected all the way back to Russia.
We have all come a long way since 2001, and even most conservatives have made the climb back down from the furthest and flimsiest ideological limbs of post-9/11, globo-anti-Islamism.
They have returned to join the liberals in the now ideologically baseless post-Cold War globalism that still pits us and NATO against those same old bad guys, the Russians and the Chinese.
Hence Romney’s frank declaration that Russia is our enemy number one.
And hence the hypocrisy of Obama the NATO expander, gladly pushing up against Russia’s nose, “correcting” Romney, saying not the Russians but al-Qaeda are America’s enemy number one.
It is sometimes said that realists are those who think nations, institutions, groups, and even individual political agents seek power and only power for its own sake.
Such notions make one think of the definition of power O'Brien gave to Winston Smith as he lay on the rack: power is the ability to make men suffer.
And of course he was right, though it may be that what's actually wanted by most of those who seek power even "for its own sake" is the obedience it can often, albeit by no means always, motivate.
And that appeals much to sheer human vanity, along with desire for fame or joy in the admiration - or anyway respect, or anyway deference - of others.
But anyone acquainted with history should know that power is often, though not always, sought not for these things but with a view to further ends.
And that historically these ends have usually been dictated by man’s endless religious or moral delusions, in modern times supplemented by secular fantasies of the meaning, direction, or goal of history.
They have also nearly always been colored by greed.
In politics as in any other realm of action, man has been chiefly moved by stupidity, ignorance, credulity, selfishness, vanity, malice, and fear.
Like the scorpion that kills the frog on whose back he is riding across the pond and so drowns, he can’t help it; it’s his nature.
True enough, from the Renaissance to our own time, Western man, at least, has ridden an upward arc of progress in the sciences accompanied by technical and social improvements unprecedented in all previous history.
But the recent phenomenon of globalization has undermined the political, social, and economic position of ordinary people in the West while over-population and various sorts of “over-grazing” everywhere presage environmental catastrophe and planetary civilizational collapse.
I don’t mean that millions of people of the same persuasion not voting – a mass boycott of millions of devout liberals, for example – is harmless.
Such a thing could be very harmful, indeed.
Though a mass boycott could be a very good thing, too.
Imagine if the Nazi voters had sat out the German elections of 1932!
No, I’m not talking about a boycott.
I mean one person – you, dear reader, or me – not voting is harmless.
Truth to tell, one vote is far too few to be a significant blip at any level of government no matter how few or many other people vote, except in cases so wholly improbable that we can ignore them, such as the case in which everybody else decides to stay home so the whole thing is actually up to you.
So an individual choice to not cast one’s own single vote is harmless.
And voting is irksome.
Since it can’t do any good, anyway, why go through all that fuss?
Voting for the lesser evil, if that was your plan, is humiliating and certain to be falsely depicted as some sort of mandate to do something or other that’s disgusting and awful.
And even if not you’ll be supporting someone and some party that are openly dedicated to policies you actually disapprove, though less than those of the other, greater evil.
Voting for a minor party that actually mirrors your own political preferences in all or even just the most significant respects (good luck finding one) has value only as a protest vote and a declaration of principle that few will notice and none will take to heart except the party loyalists of the lesser evil who will furiously blame you for the misdeeds of the victor, should he or she not be the one they supported and insist loudly you should have supported.
Too, a decision not to vote is liberating in another regard.
If you aren’t going to vote anyway you don’t have to pay attention, subjecting yourself to lies, fallacies, stupidities, dishonesties, moral suasion (bullshit), moral threats (bullshit compounded with hatefulness), and the endless flow of at best annoying propaganda that never does you any good and always wastes your time and ruins your mood.
Politicians in both major parties who take the trouble – the enormous trouble – to run for president aspire to be “the most powerful man in the world,” to control the might of the unique hyper-puissance of our time, to command the greatest military power in the world.
Apart from Ron Paul and perhaps also Denis Kucinich, not one has run for the presidency in living memory with the intention of withdrawing the US from its global military commitments and painful, useless role as “the indispensable nation.”
Not even George McGovern or his supporters would have dared go so far.
And this is true though it is notorious that Americans overwhelmingly reject globo-meddling in favor of what is variously called “non-interventionism,” “isolationism,” or for some odd reason “neo-isolationism.”
Wilson lied shamelessly in 1916, campaigning for peace as he planned for war in 1917, driving the anti-interventionist naval secretary Bryan out of office.
FDR lied shamelessly from 1933 to 1941, promising American boys would never fight another European war while violating neutrality at every turn, eventually exploiting a pre-emptive Japanese attack in the Pacific as an excuse for the war he wanted in Europe.
LBJ lied shamelessly in the campaign of 1964, promising American boys would not die in a war Asian boys ought to fight as he planned ever-deeper intervention in Vietnam, eventually fabricating a provocation in the Gulf of Tonkin.
While Gore defended Bill Clinton’s gratuitous intervention in the Balkans, Bush the Younger campaigned in 2000 against unnecessary wars and for a “humbler” American foreign policy, betraying America utterly in Afghanistan and even more so in Iraq after 9/11 provided the completely fake casus belli the Halliburton neocons in his administration had wanted all along.
In 2004 and 2008 the candidates of both major parties promised more war, though the Democrats promised less more war.
In every case, American blood and American treasure were wasted in causes having no sufficient relation to the common good of the American people but plenty of value to ambitious politicians, greed-drive military contractors, jingoist bar-fly patriots, and foreign-born advisers abundantly willing to see Americans slaughtered for the good of the foreign peoples and nations they really cared about.
Alone among the settler nations of the New World, America has done exactly what so many of its founding generation of leaders told it not to do.
They knew full well that our distance from Europe provided a future of safety from danger no nation in Europe would ever enjoy.
But instead of taking advantage of this to choose a history of peace and pursuit of the common good America's elites have taken advantage of this almost from the beginning as an opportunity for empire-building and, eventually, ceaseless political and military meddling on a global scale.
Their arrogance and ambition, and the fatuous moralism found in that part of their propaganda that did not rely on imaginary “vital American interests” and entirely fictitious “existential threats,” have been the same, all along.
Much to the cost of the ordinary people of our country.