"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Crusade?

No, but we are being led to believe so. Hence, journalists, using the term very loosely, like Steyn and co. faithfully churn out article after repetitive article relaying the horrors of Islam, it's threat to 'the West', and the need for 'the West' to act decisivly. Iraq is to be just the beginning.

[This is a faith-based war, with all the irrationality of the medieval Crusades, or the wars of religion that accompanied the Reformation. The fundamentalists are big on the Reformation of course, but downright hostile to the Enlightenment that succeeded it. Not just hostile to Diderot and Voltaire and Kant but to Thomas Jefferson who heretically declared, "Question even the existence of God, for if there be one, He will more likely pay homage to Reason than to blind faith." Hostile too to the norms of international relations prevailing in recent centuries. One can look at the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) as the midpoint between the wars of religion launched by the Reformation, and the dawn of reason in the Enlightenment. That treaty posited the sovereign state as the basic unit in world politics and promoted non-intervention in order to maintain peace. All very rational. But the Christian right, some of whose members want to chuck the constitution and impose their holy "dominion" over your life, are happy to chuck hundreds of years of international law to irrationally assault the world. All in the name of God! Their hero George Bush specifically said of his illegal invasion in 2003, "God told me to smite [Saddam Hussein], and I smote him."]

[For the time being anyway the focus is on Islam, and on aggressively promoting---demanding, really---political change in the "Greater Middle East." Supposedly this is to protect America. "We are going to build a different kind of Middle East," Condoleezza Rice told U.S. troops last March, "a different kind of broader Middle East that is going to be stable and democratic and where our children will one day not have to be worried about the kind of ideologies of hatred that led those people to fly those planes into those buildings on Sept. 11." What is it about the Middle East that breeds the "ideologies of hatred"---those identified as such by the administration including secular Baathism, al-Qaeda terrorism, and Iran's political Shiism? The only thing linking these disparate ideologies aside from a hostility to U.S. policies is their Muslim component. The subtext here is that the Muslim world, as is, is unsuitable. A danger to our kids. So we need a Crusade for the children.]