Posted tagged ‘Terrorism’

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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Obama Officially Announces Intelligence Staff

January 9, 2009

(New York) – President Elect Obama today announces his picks to lead his intelligence staff. Rertired Admiral Dennis Blair will be his Director of National Intelligence. Leon Panetta is scheduled to be his Central Intelligence Agency director.

The President Elect described both men as “public servants with unquestioned integrity, broad experience, strong management skills and the core pragmatism we need in dangerous times.”

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert: “currently at the first of several stages” of the operation

December 30, 2008

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting with top officials that the latest military actions were to continue. Mr Olmert’s statement that the bombardment was “the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet” was quoted from a briefing he gave to President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

Israel is determined to defeat Hamas and end rocket fire into its southern cities. So far there are reports of close to 400 casualities however there is no known number of how many of those are civilian. Hamas has responded with rockets which have killed at least 1 Israeli.

One would expect large civilian causalities in such a densely populated area however so far Israel has managed to keep its bombs on target as there have been no reports of schools or other civilian buildings being hit. Israel has explicitly said it is only targeting Hamas and its operatives in the strikes.

Most of the strikes into Gaza have been predominately in Gaza city which is at the northern part of the Gaza strip.

The Israeli military “has made preparations for long weeks of action”, deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai said in an interview with the BBC.

US BACKS ISRAELI ACTIONS.
“The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself, In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire.”

The United States has not called for restraint as many had hoped it would. President Bush has not announced his position on it, leaving the spokesperson to do so. Secretary of State Rice is pushing for a ceasefire.

– White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

CNN has more coverage:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Pakistan Moves Troops To Border With India

December 27, 2008
Map of Pakistan

Map of Pakistan

(New York) – Pakistan has started to move some of its troops based on the nations western border with Afghanistan and has asked that its soldiers stop going on leave due to the rising tensions it is facing with India on its eastern border. Senior Pakistani officials have cited the movement as a precaution “in view of the prevailing environment.”

Due to a lack of strong reliable sources within Pakistan we are currently unable to make an edcuated guess regarding the troop movments. Washington sources have told us that there is “no evidence of major troop movement” in Pakistan. (more…)

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…)

Indian Bomb Blast

December 2, 2008

Another attack has hit mourning India. This time the BBC is reporting a bomb has gone off on a passenger train in the district of Karbi Anglong. The local authorities have blamed the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) and the National Democratic front of Bodoland (NDFB) for the explosions.

These are two groups fighting to have their separate tribal clans recognized as having autonomous regions. This is just more bad news for a country still mourning the Mumbai terror strikes.