Posted tagged ‘Politics’

Religion or Civilization: Why Democrats should support the war in the Middle East.

October 6, 2009

islam1In 2003, when US marines first invaded Iraq,   I looked on with familiar sadness as death and destruction were brought to me live via CNN, Fox Noise, MSNBC and others. At the time I thought the old PBS line  “This program is made possible with support from viewers like you,” should be shown as  fitting reminder to the American people that each  of us were morally responsible for suffering caused by the actions of our military, and that by being apathetic or voting for a hawkish pro-war Republican we were saying that the cause of wrenching Iraq from the hands of a brutal , rogue dictator was worth the price it would be paid in human tragedy; that above  the scars of war ten, fifteen, or thirty years from now a beautiful civilization would spring forth once again between the Tigris and Euphrates and that this would be worth the fatherless children, amputated lives, and bitter hatred toward the sources of that  anguish. Feeling that such a radical social transformation was not possible I opposed the war with a deep indignance, considering it to be the Vietnam of my generation.

Five and 1/2 years later with extremist violence in Iraq still on-going and U.S. withdrawal sure to leave an explosive power vacuum we must ask ourselves that same moral question that we did in Vietnam. Now that we have come to set the stage for Iraqi westernization, how are we to act if our leaving will eventually mean that over 700,000 people, and a handful of American soldiers in comparison  have died as a direct result of our invasion. As Sen. John Kerry so wisely put in his youth ” how do we ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.”  Are we to let so many Iraqis die by our hands in vain? How will history judge us if we do not continue fight this fight, more importantly, what will be our history?

Let us make no mistake, the gauntlet is off and there is no going back. It is not unreasonable to say that the scourge of Islamic extremism is now an ever present danger in every nation on Earth. At the heart of this campaign is dark form of cultural and religious extremism equivalent to the Catholics during the crusades and the National Socialism of the early 20th century. Radical Islam yearns for world domination and the imposition of wacky religious laws that are based on twisted distortions of the Quran. They feed of of the economic stagnation of many Middle Eastern countries to breed hatred toward Israel and the West. We must push forward with all we have or not push at all. The Islamic extremists are right about one thing, there is a conspiracy to secularize the Middle East and to subvert Islamic theocracies, and I think it’s about time all Democrats got on board. Barack Obama and his army of lets-all-just-respect-each other-and-talkocrats need to buck up and defend the fort.  If sending in 40000 more US troops into Pakistan and Afghanistan means that we make headway against the rising tide of Islamic Extremism, then I say that this is a moral cause not unlike fighting Hitler during WWII, or with  much irony, Catholics during the crusades. While we are there, perhaps we can pass out copies of  The Origin of Species.

A friend and fellow Democrat told me something promising today over lunch, he said that when he goes home to visit his cousins in Pakistan, he finds that more and more of the people around him are Atheists.  Rejection of religion is the only rational insight to have when you see hoards  of barbarians blowing themselves up in the name of some socially reproduced  delusion called “god,”  or in Arabic “Allah.”

The question one must ask him or herself  when considering  whether the U.S. involvement is warranted must go beyond pretensions of pacifism, or blind faith in the milk of human kindness. The question is one of a combination of ethical judgment in the spirit of Jeremy Bentham, and practical wisdom of Winston Churchill. Bentham argued that “that which is ethical  minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure for the largest number of people.”  Churchill continuously warned British prime minister Neville Chamberlain of the danger the rise of National Socialism posed to Europe and the world many years before  the ruthless Hitler violated the Warsaw pact by annexing Czechoslovakia. If Chamberlain and the isolationist United States had heeded his call for action the world could very well have avoided a long and brutal war which caused human suffering on a truly unimaginable level. Alas, this is the argument for the neoconservative doctrine of  pre-emption, a dangerous ideology which must measure the need for intervention with the imagined need for intervention, or the call for war in the name of military-industrial, or other economic reasons.

As this doctrine is dangerous to our democracy, and yet still the threat that militant Islam poses to the world is very real and very frightening, we must point to  the larger philosophical driver for the reproduction of militant Islam in the first place- religion. It is without hesitation that all of us, in good conscience and clear thought , cannot deny that at the heart of this conflict is human religiosity and that it should be fitting that  the place where the three major world religions were born is also the place that they should die.  Now this sounds harsh to the cultural and moral relativist ear of the average Democrat,  but we must remain objective and realistic about what drives , and has been the driving factor behind the scourge of war throughout human history.  Behind nearly every dark story of the suffering of war is a leader or movement which claims to be divinely ordained. Hitler claimed to have been acting under the authority of an Aryan Jesus, and even visited the head of the Palestinian army before embarking on a brutal campaign of ethnic genocide.  Mahmood Amadinejad and his theocratic overlords have repeatedly claimed divine authority in their campaign to engage in a proxy war using the Palestinian  PLO and Hamas as fronts. In WW II we had emperor Hirohito of Japan, who claimed divinity by inheritance. In Ireland we have Protestants and Catholics, in the Middle east we have Shia and Sunni. When confronted with proof of evil in tangible human suffering throughout modern history, religion answers back with nothing but dangerous superstition. It is time to wrestle our world from the hands of myths wrought in human fear. Religion is the poison which allows otherwise moral and decent people to be manipulated into purveyors of the inhumane.  And if we oppose the war in the Middle East because we are disgusted by the  endless parade of human suffering we must also oppose the core ideology which  begot  its existence.  Thus as a Democrats , We should support  the war because occupying the middle east, and installing leaders who support our interests will help facilitate the spread of  western secularism to the Middle East, which will serve as an antidote to the emergence of dangerous Islamic Theocrats, and Caliphate ideology in the future. In short, the less religion is accepted in the  Middle East, the more stable, prosperous, and peaceful it will be.

Democrats have too long  straddled the fence on this all-too-important issue, we have walked softly and now it is time to show those lunatics just how big our stick really is. Barack Obama should follow the advice of his Pentagon advisors and send in more ground support. And you, as a Democrat, and especially as an Athiest or Agnostic Democrat should stand in full support, sad that while we are temporarily increasing human misery,  in the end it will serve as a great first step toward a New World Order in which religion will be considered as quaint as burning witches. Over and Out.

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Barack Obama’s Inauguration: Stories From The Mall

January 20, 2009
Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

(Washington D.C.) – Today I along with a few other College Democrats joined the millions of Americans from every state stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Within 5 feet were people from Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, California, Kentucky and a multitude of other states. Even more impressive were the people from the Bahamas and the Netherlands.

Every race, color and creed was visible on the mall. After arriving around 1am there were plenty of people who were rich, poor, tired and eventually just a huddled mass. All of them telling us how they came with friends from South Africa and as far away as Australia. Everyone sharing stories about how Barack Obama’s election has personally touched them in a way no election ever has.

Singing songs together in unity to stay warm, loudly cheering for President Obama when he appeared on the jumbotron and quietly listening to pastor Rick Warren when he spoke to everyone.

Whether you were there in person, saw it at home on your television, saw it online at work, or listened to it on the radio this was a moment for the history books. From Los Angeles to New York to the forgotten corners of the world everyone will remember this moment. What did you make of this moment?

Time For Dems to Rise to the Occasion

December 29, 2008

Given the recent history of our Party officials, it is hard for many of us to believe that some of these people call themselves Democrats. In 2008 we lost Governor Blagojevich, Governor Spitzer, Representative Jefferson of New Orleans, and John Edwards to scandal and corruption. Sure sure, the Republicans have their fair share of the blame as well (see Ted Stevens) but this is not a time to be pointing fingers at the other side. Democratic President Harry Truman famously stated, “The Buck Stops Here” and it is time for Democrats to realize this philosophy.

2008 gave us Democrats the biggest majority in the Senate and the House that we’ve seen in ages. We were given a Democratic president, and the trust of the nation is now in our hands. We’ve painted the White House and the Congress blue, and now it is our responsibility to live up to these values. All too often we see individuals or groups of people climb to power, only to be consumed by their titles and it is for this reason that Americans have lost faith in their government. Over the Christmas holiday, an uncle of mine approached me and told me, “Nick, stay out of politics. It corrupts people. Politics is power and power corrupts people to the point of destroying who they once were.”  I opened my mouth but quickly shut it again, realizing that the ghosts of Spitzer, Edwards, Jefferson, and Blago’s careers were hovering over this conversation and shook my head laughing. But my uncle was reflecting sentiments that the entire nation was feeling. The last several years have succeeded in turning “politics” into a dirty word.

We Democrats have been granted a great privelege by the American people. We have been trusted to run the government through some of the most challenging times since more than half a century ago and  I implore all of our newly elected Democratic officials:

Read your campaign literature. Stand by what you said. The eyes of the world are now upon you. The skeletons of scandals past are on your shoulders. Make us proud to call ourselves Democrats. Make us proud to call ourselves American.

The Caroline Kennedy Sarah Palin Comparison

December 21, 2008

(New York) The media has quickly picked up the story of Caroline Kennedy’s desire to become the next Senator from New York. With the appointment of Senator Hillary Clinton to be the next Secretary of State for President-Elect Obama’s administration Governor Patterson is set to appoint a replacement. Caroline Kennedy is the apparent front runner for that Senate seat.

There has been an outcry from all sides of the political spectrum regarding her lack of experience to do the job. There is a belief that she seems to be a front runner simply because of the Kennedy name. We have heard the same arguments used by the left against Sarah Palin now being used by the right against Caroline Kennedy. Let us make some proper comparisons.

Under the Constitution of the United States both candidates met qualification for their respective offices. Up against each other, Governor Palin has undoubtedly more political experience. There is the feeling that both of these women were appointed instead of elected. One could make the case that Governor Palin had done more to earn the job of Vice President than Caroline Kennedy had done to earn the job as Senator.

If one were to look at these factors then there should have undoubtedly been no questions regarding Sarah Palin’s qualifications for the job. We learn however that these are not the only factors, we are missing the most important one. (more…)

President Bush attacked… With a shoe

December 15, 2008

An Iraqi man tried to attack President Bush with a shoe at a press conference today.

After Guantanamo… part 2

December 14, 2008

This is part two of a two part series on Guantanamo Bay. The first part can be found here.

Previously we answered the question about where detainees who are set free can go. Now we address the rest of the detainees….

So what about the rest of the detainees? Well most of them will face trails under the plans being crafted by the Obama administration. The Bush administration has set up military tribunals for the detainees.

Various organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International have cited these tribunals as unfair. Recently the ACLU released a letter about the tribunals.

“Many of us do not believe these military commissions to be fair, in accordance with American values, or capable of achieving the justice that 9/11 family members and all Americans deserve,”

Many are asking to give the detainees fair trials with Constitutional rights, the same rights anyone on American soil is entitled to. There is opposition to the plan to give the detainees trials in the US. One of those is Senate Judiciary Committee member John Cornyn, (R-TX) said it is a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime.”

Human Rights First which recently met with the transition team issued a statement saying since the attacks of 9/11 there have been 107 successful prosecutions of international terrorism cases in the federal courts, compared with three convictions in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

President-Elect Obama will no doubt have to address this issue very early on in his presidency. Many have cited the unfair treatment of prisoners as a violation of human rights and some have even resigned their positions in protest of the treatment.

Many inside the current administration are hoping Obama will keep the camp open after reading some of the classified information he now has access to. Will it happen? (more…)

After Guantanamo…

December 13, 2008

This is part one of a two part series covering the future of Guantánamo Bay.

(NEW YORK) Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the south-eastern end of Cuba. Most people however know the bay by the U.S. Naval base there. The land granted to the United States was granted to them in the terms of the Cuban-American treaty of 1903 which effectively leases the land indefinitely to the United States. Currently the United States leases the land for $4,085 annually.

In the American controlled Guantánamo Bay Naval Base are more than ships, barracks and an airfield. There are various food franchises owned by the Department of the Navy. There’s a Taco Bell, Subway, KFC, A&W, pubs, bowling allies, and even Cuba’s first and only McDonald’s.

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

The base is best known for the now infamous Guantánamo Bay Naval Base Detention Camp, where many detainees are held.

There has been controversy time and time again regarding the base. From the treatment of inmates, to the conditions they’re held in, to the ages of them.

Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of closing down the Detention Camp. He will not be closing down the base itself as the base is vital to the Navy’s interests and is a key strategic location in the Caribbean. The closing of the detention center on the base he has said is one of his top priorities.

There are very few, if any people who are against shutting down the detention center. But there’s a question which looms large and seems to have gone unnoticed by the media. What happens after the Detention center at Guantánamo Bay is closed?
(more…)