Friday, August 7, 2009

Why Atheists Care

blackwater, bush, war, iraq, religion, gog, magog, hussein, eric prince, Jaques Chirac, christianity, evangelical
4,000 US soldiers have died thus far in Iraq. Around 100,000 Iraqis have died. Over $600,000,000,000 has been spent on the war in Iraq. Thus far, no one's come up with a particularly good reason why.

There were no WMDs in Iraq, and evidence has shown that nobody ever really believed there were. Al Queda wasn't operating in Iraq until after we invaded. In fact, Saddam Hussein was a fairly secular Middle Eastern leader.

Now it seems we may know the answer, and it demonstrates, with horrifying clarity, why atheists care so very much about the merging of religion and politics.

According to former French President Jaques Chirac, Bush cited religious reasons for invading Iraq. Apparently, Bush was attempting to prevent the famed Gog-Magog War some evangelicals believe is prophesied in the book of Ezekiel. Really.

Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.

. . .

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

. . .

The French revelation jibes with other known aspects of Bush’s renowned evangelical certitude. For example, a few months after his phone call to Chirac, Bush attended a 2003 summit in Egypt. The Palestinian foreign minister later said the American president told him he was “on a mission from God” to defeat Iraq. At that time, the White House called this claim “absurd.”

Absurd, yes. Untrue? I fear not. We may very well be involved in a modern day Crusade, especially given the latest revelations concerning Eric Prince and Blackwater. According to one of two anonymous affidavits filed in the last few days:

John Doe 2 alleges that Mr Prince operated a web of companies to “obscure wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes . . . to avoid detection of his money laundering and tax evasion schemes.” He adds that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe [and] intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder ­Iraqis.”

In a bizarre addition, John Doe 2’s affidavit says: “Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades” and refers to a “wife swapping and sex ring” run by “Mr Prince’s North Carolina operations”.

We need to fight against the conflation of religion and politics, religion and policy, religion and war. You and I (for my US readers) may well be the owners of a Crusade, and I don't really think "Oh, my bad" is going to cover this one.


  1. Well, I've got to agree with you. That's pretty scary. Although, apparently we once had a Prime Minister who got advice from visions of his dead mother.

  2. I don't want to rehash the reasons behind the Iraq War, but I'm exremely skeptical of that sort of theory. I think the impact of religious beliefs on Bush's actual decisions has been massively exaggerated by people who don't understand how Christians think and speak. Christians (and other religious people) often attempt to give their decisions some sort of religious spin or justification. It doesn't mean that they don't also think through their decisions just like anyone who has little or no faith would.

    For example, Christians often say things like: "I prayed about it, and God gave me the answer." The vast majority of Christians -- other than the extreme nutcases -- don't claim to hear God speaking in their heads. And since God doesn't actually speak to them, what they mean by such a comment is more like: "I spent a lot of time thinking it over, and I feel like this is the right decision." Their feelings are just given added weight by attributing them to the work of God, or to an answer to prayer.

    In my opinion, the idea that the Iraq War -- where we have bent over backwards to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities -- is some sort of crusade, is just silly (even if a few whackjobs might see it that way). Bush himself was almost obsequious in constantly proclaiming that Islam was a "religion of peace" which we had no quarrel with. If there was a crusade he did a great job of keeping it secret.

    That said, combining religion and politics/policy/war usually produces bad results. If government policy is supposedly doing God's work, then anyone opposing that policy becomes an enemy of God. And we know what tends to happen to enemies of God when the religious are in charge.

  3. Didn't Bush even call the "war on terror" a crusade? Obviously without recognizing that Arab nations interpret the word as "some stinking savages invaded our territories with the sole purpose to loot and kill innocents"

  4. 4,000 US soldiers have died thus far in Iraq. Around 100,000 Iraqis have died. Over $600,000,000,000 has been spent on the war in Iraq. Thus far, no one's come up with a particularly good reason why.

    When can I expect to see the rolling ticker of casualties in Afghanistan put front and center of your blog? Will you be keeping tabs on how much the war there is costing? Or can I count on this being a "Bush Derangement Syndrome" site only?

    Given that Iraq is now the 2nd democratically elected government in the region (after Israel), might that be one "good reason why"? Perhaps you liked a murderous thug like Saddam Hussein in power much better. If noting else, blood money paid out to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers stopped pretty quick once old Saddam got a little taste of "shock and awe".

  5. JD Curtis;

    i believe you, and so many other war apologists, missed the fraking *POINT*

    at the time when the US invaded Afghanistan, we were told that we were invading to stop the people who had attacked *US*. that the Taliban was at a minimum hiding and supporting AlQueda, with a strong possibility of the Taliban having *created* AlQueda to attack the United States

    now, lots and lots of people (including myself) in that period were against that Afghanistan War, mostly because we didn't believe we should be attacking a country that had *NOT* attacked us, because terrorists hiding in a country does not mean that the COUNTRY ITSELF is involved in the terrorism.
    but, given that there WAS a large possibility that the Taliban was actively aiding and abetting the terrorist group that attacked the US, at least the war made some practical sense - get rid of the government funding the terrorist group, get rid of the government that may actually be *running* the terrorist group.

    Iraq is *DIFFERENT*.
    sure, Saddam was a rat fucking bastard. of course, he was a rat fucking bastard WHO WE PUT IN CHARGE.
    and he was a rat fucking bastard who had NOT done anything that was reason to invade. see, there are actual RULES to war. there has to be a TANGIBLE REASON to declare war on a sovereign state.
    not only was the US government aware of these laws, but the US is one of the countries who helped *draft* these laws.

    what it boils down to is when it comes to Iraq, we had ZERO reason to invade (sure Saddam treated people like shit. people in Saudi Arabia are treated WORSE. as are people in other countries who are our "allies". just "getting rid of an evil dictator" is NOT ENOUGH to justify a war that even the majority of the people "liberated" by the war didn't want)
    it was an unlawful war, waged using unlawful means, and started because of a flat out fucking LIE. Bush went before Congress and the nation and he *LIED* - he said Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction", and that because Saddam had these weapons he was going to invade. he also strongly implied that Saddam was *also* supporting AlQueda - which I, and lots of other people (including in the CIA and the Joint Chiefs) called bullshit on, because anyone who knows anything about politicis in the Middle East *knows* that Iraq was a *secular* state, and that AlQueda *HATED* Iraq and Saddam almost as much as they hated US (and that Saddam and bin Laden were personal enemies, and had been for decades)
    please note that mere possession of weapons is NOT a lawful reason to invade a country. ONLY use of, or a credible threat to use, those weapons would have been a lawful reason.
    so, even the fucking PRETEXT was unlawful.

    now, fucking add that to the fact that BUSH LIED about there being weapons - and you have an evil fucking unlawful war.

    Jordan has a form of democracy, as does Iran (although currently Iran is being - well, *everyone* knows whats going on in Iran).

    while we're at it though, lets discuss this "democracy" in Iraq. the democracy that over 50% of the citizens if Iraq didn't want

    you cannot impose a democracy - either everyone will vote it away, or you are just going through the motions of "democracy" while putting in power people who will go along with the show. there isn't "democracy" in Iraq. there are elections - which are manipulated and only run people who are approved by US officials. no one who isn't on board with US plans even has a chance at being elected.

    i don't know why i'm bothering - chances are, you'll never come back and read this. and even if you do, i'm pretty sure you aren't going to listen, or even read up and find out for yourself - you're just going to continue to believe the lies told you by the Bush administration, and continue to believe that anyone who disagrees with the Bush administration is UnAmerican or some such bullshit.

    but there's a 2% chance you won't be an UTTER moron. here's hoping

  6. what it boils down to is when it comes to Iraq, we had ZERO reason to invade

    Egypt and Jordan both told us that Saddam had WMDs. You would figure that they would know, being in that part of the world and all.

    If Saddam wasnt playing the tough guy by not letting weapons inspectors go wherever they wanted, things might have worked out differently.

    it was an unlawful war

    I guess Congress DIDNT vote to give Bush the authority? Revisionist history from the left. Imagine that.

    started because of a flat out fucking LIE. Bush went before Congress and the nation and he *LIED* - he said Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction", and that because Saddam had these weapons he was going to invade.

    "Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

    "(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

    "Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

    "The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

    "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

    "Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

    "Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

    "I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

    "Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

    "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

  7. "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

    "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

    "As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

    "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

    "Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration’s policy towards Iraq, I don’t think there can be any question about Saddam’s conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002

  8. Denelian? Do you think you could muster some faux outrage against these people who LIED to us and to Congress? Please let it be every bit as vitriolic as that used against Bush in your earlier post.

    I really don't care if Ms FIH posts this material against Mr Bush. It's her blog. One would think that after about 9 months now that he's out of office that she would give it a break but she's under no obligation to do so. I was just wondering if she was an equal opportunity anti-war dove if the CIC has a "D" in front of his name.

    Which reminds me....Are there any photographers clamoring to get into into the AFB in Dover to photograph all of thos flag-draped coffins that are coming back from Afghanistan in increasing numbers now? Where is their outrage now? Pussies.

  9. One thing we might agree on Denelian is the whole Iraq/democracy thing. At least partly. One legitimate criticism (IMHO) that can be leveled at the Bush administration was their pussy-footing around with goofy Iraqis during their nascent democracy and playing nice-nice for WAY too long instead of aggressively targeting terrorists for destruction, eventually leading up to the surge. Too many American lives were lost HOPING things would get better when both Iraqi civilians and our troops would have been better served kicking-ass first and then helping them out after things settled down a little.

  10. i've been in the hospital. so, um...

    lets try and sort out a little. stuff said post Iraq-1, in the service of the first Iraq war, is 100% different than the lies everyone was agreeing to believe after 9/11

    the CIA and Interpol *BOTH* had reports about how Saddam did NOT have WMD. Bush had been told, numerous times, that what he was saying was unsubstantiated - that the allegations of Egypt (and etc) were just that, unsubstantiated allegations.

    Bush (or more probably Cheney) didn't CARE. they had been searching for a pretext, and here one fell on their laps.

    but if you can't tell the difference between the two different types of discussion - and i freaking grant, Albright and Co were exagerating to excuse random bullshit Clinton was doing, and they *also* were spouting unsubstantiated BS...

    LAWFUL does NOT mean "voted on by Congress and passing that vote"
    LAWFUL means that it follows the fucking laws of war.
    which the US had a VERY large hand in creating.

    why does it seem NO ONE KNOWS about the damned Laws of War? it was a Republican push, no less!


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