Posted tagged ‘War’

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.

The Green Zone Is Now Under Iraqi Control

January 1, 2009
Republican Palace

Republican Palace

(New York) – January 1, 2009. A new year has come and an old one has gone, in a sign of the progress in Iraq the United States has made it has handed over control of the Green Zone to Iraqi forces. The 5.6-square-mile area in the heart of Baghdad also known as the International Zone will be under full control of the Iraqi’s, although there will be a United States presence there, the US is even paying rent now. (more…)

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

The Next Step In Gaza

December 29, 2008

Israel has launched an attack on Hamas in the Gaza strip. We all know the outcome, hundred of Hamas fighters hurt along with the “collateral damage” of innocent civilians.

Yes, only a handful of Israeli’s have died due to the rocket attacks and their response was the killing of hundreds. One has to realize however that Israel has to appear unbeatable in order to survive while surrounded by what it perceives to be as enemies.

What I don’t seem to understand is Israel’s plan here. Sure, they attack Hamas and set them back for a bit, but then what? There are close to one and a half million people in the Gaza strip, in order to completely put down Hamas, Israel will have to reoccupy the Gaza strip.

When they attempted to do this against Hezbollah they failed, miserably. They did not achieve a single objective for the first time in their military history. What they did do, is send people into the arms of Hezbollah, and the people saw Hezbollah as a legitimate organization. These attacks are doing nothing but acting as a recruitment tool for Hamas, and Hezbollah.

If Israel wants to defeat Hamas and end these rocket attacks once and for all they will have to work with Hamas, as hard as that is for them to swallow, not all medicine is sweet.

End this renewed campaign, do not send in ground forces, start opening up the ports and airspace to allow for the people of Gaza to realize that Israel is not their enemy. Israel says it is not the enemy of the people in press conferences. But to those Palestinians who have seen bombs fall on their houses, those words are meaningless.

Israel Launches Air Offensive on Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008
Gaza Strip map.

Gaza Strip map.

(New York) – Reports have been coming in about the recent Israeli military operations launched into the Gaza strip. The Israeli air force launched wave after wave of air strikes into Gaza as a response to the rocket attacks on civilian populations by Hamas. Casualty reports vary but estimates say close to 200 Palestinians have been killed in the air strikes. The BBC’s London Bureau is reporting injuries close to 700 people as of now. The air strikes continued on into the night and showed not sign of ending soon.

This does not seem to be a quick retaliation from the Israelis as indicated by announcements from top leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military operation “may take some time.”

Surrounded by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni he went on to say “It’s not going to last a few days.”

Khaled Meshaal a Hamas leader, called for a new intifada against Israel as a response to the recent violent escalation. An attack such as this against the palestinians has not been seen in decades. Hamas’ Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said “Palestine has never witnessed an uglier massacre.”

Israel has claimed to have hit close to 40 targets in the strip and Hamas confirmed that all of its security compounds in the Gaza strip have been destroyed as a result of the air strikes. Hamas has stated they would renew their rocket attacks against southern Israeli cities immediately as a response to this latest turn of events.

Rumors abound of an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza strip amid televesion reports stating that Israeli ground forces had begun amassing near the border. (more…)

US To Increase Troop Presence In Afghanistan

December 20, 2008
U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

(New York) – In Kabul Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen announced a planned increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

“Some 20 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now. I don’t have an exact number,” He was quoted as saying.

This would double the amount of American troops in the country. Currently there are 31,000 US troops in the country. NATO is contributing 51,000 soldiers to the mission in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). However included in that number are 14,000 American soldiers.

General David McKiernan who is in charge of the ISAF has continually requested more troops to help combat a resurgent Taliban. Admiral Mullen said the American troops would be sent to Southern Afghanistan to assist Canadian and Dutch troops which have shouldered most of the burden in fighting the Taliban.

Secretary of State Gates recently announced the deployment of another brigade to arrive early next year. The annoucment of troops while not unexpected comes on the heels of an announcement from the British government stating their intentions to send more troops to Afghanistan.

It seems the plan would be to help build infrastructure and increase security on the local level while the Taliban is held at bay by the new forces.

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…)