There have been rumblings of late that the War on Terror is awfully convenient for the politics and agendas of the Right, if for no other reason than to get critics and analysts to shut up and support the president in "a time of war."
To quote local Nevada Senator John Ensign:
Bush a Key Issue for Nevada’s Senate Contenders - Newsweek Elections - MSNBC.com:
"NEWSWEEK: There have been a lot of critiques from both sides on the war in Iraq. Some say critics are appeasing the terrorists. Others say dissent is part of a healthy democracy.
John Ensign: When you are at war, leaders have a heavy responsibility to be careful what they say. Back in the Civil War, Robert E. Lee used to read the Northern newspapers. He saw the discord in the North and that is the reason he drove to Gettysburg. These extremists around the world are looking at the division here in America. It is emboldening them. They think America is weak.
But polls show growing public dissatisfaction with how things are going in Iraq.
I think that has a lot to do with leadership. We need statesmen right now. We don't need politicians taking polls and have their governing based on polls. We need people who will have the courage to do what is right."
Of course, that all depends on whether what you think is right is actually correct, not to mention Constitutional and appropriate to the values of a diverse nation composed of free, independent and contrary citizens.
Let's turn back to look at what one of the primary international policy thrusts of the United States within the United Nations is - and who their allies are in achieving this. Note the post 9/11 date, folks.
Islamic Bloc, Christian Right Team Up to Lobby U.N. (washingtonpost.com) By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, June 17, 2002; Page A01: "UNITED NATIONS -- Conservative U.S. Christian organizations have joined forces with Islamic governments to halt the expansion of sexual and political protections and rights for gays, women and children at United Nations conferences.
The new alliance, which coalesced during the past year, has received a major boost from the Bush administration, which appointed antiabortion activists to key positions on U.S. delegations to U.N. conferences on global economic and social policy.
"The main issue that brings us all together is defending the family values, the natural family," added Mokhtar Lamani, a Moroccan diplomat who represents the 53-nation Organization of Islamic Conferences at the United Nations. "The Republican administration is so clear in defending the family values." [Emphasis Mine]
Lamani said he was first approached by U.S. Christian non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, at a special session of the U.N. General Assembly on AIDS in New York in June 2001.
Liberal Western activists and governments, he said, had offended the religious and cultural sensitivities of Islamic countries by proposing that a final conference declaration include explicit references to the need to protect prostitutes, intravenous drug users and "men who have sex with men" from contracting AIDS.
"It was totally unacceptable for us," Lamani said. "The Vatican and so many NGOs came up to us saying this is exactly the same position we are defending."
The Islamic-Christian alliance claimed an important victory at the U.N. children's meeting last month.
The Bush administration led the coalition in blocking an effort by European and Latin American countries to include a reference in the final declaration to "reproductive health care services," a term the conservatives believed could be used to promote abortion.
The U.S. team included John Klink, a former adviser to the Vatican at previous U.N. conferences; Janice Crouse, a veteran antiabortion advocate at Concerned Women of America; and Paul J. Bonicelli of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., a Christian institution that requires its professors teach creationism.
Now, it's rather interesting, that Christianist Theocons and "Islamofacists" would have so much agreement on an issue like "family values." But that is, indeed, core to both versions of theocratic social control; start with the family. When both groups say "family values," what they mean is that values will be imposed on families, whatever the views, beliefs and preferences of those families may be.
There WILL be a "Strict Father" who is Head of the Family and his wife WILL submit unquestioningly to his Book-backed will. This is true even if she has 20 points of IQ on him and three times the earning potential. Furthermore, this authority will extend to his children beyond the age of majority, who will be betrothed only to those who share those values and are pleasing to the parents. In other words, Christianists are encouraging a return to arranged marriages.
The New American - Christian Courtship - January 1, 2001: "... Emoly West’s mother and father want her to be 'courted.' Jonathan Lindvall, a writer who conducts Bold Parenting seminars, describes courtship as a 'parentally authorized romantic relationship focused on serious contemplation and hope of future marriage; hopefully, but not necessarily, the sole romantic relationship before marriage.' Parents often act as chaperones during the courting period."I have less problem with this model of family then you might think, save for one overriding and total objection; the idea that this is an ideal model, worthy of imposition upon all who can adapt and worth "defending" by making all known alternatives either illegal or at least depriving them of all positive social recognition.
The concept most central to right-wing Christianist social thought is that anyone who does not conform is being "selfish," perhaps "hedonistic," and certainly sinful. I do not know, but rather suspect that this viewpoint is shared to some extent in Islam. Both consider their models of family to be a social expression of submission to God.
I cannot help but think that imposing the external forms of submission to God will do little to promote any actual, spiritually valid submission. It will, however, permit society as a whole to sweep alternate models out of site so that those who grow up within their ideal society will have no occasion to speak to persons who view society and their relationship to God (or Goddess) in entirely different ways. From a spiritual perspective, I see it as a way to preserve the support of those who are weak in faith, and in parallel, preserve a Faith that is so weak and corrupted with contradictory social agendas that it cannot survive outside of a protected area.
I prefer a faith capable of existing in the wild. "He is not a TAME Lion!"
Furthermore, I have a very high regard for selfishness and regard for self above the interests of any collective values. I see submission to the collective will under any model to be an abandonment of one's most holy Will and the height of personal irresponsibility. Whatever one might wish, one's responsibility to act morally, ethically, righteously is a non-transferable, PERSONAL obligation.
Gonzales could not recall his original position on the August 2002 "torture memo" he helped draft but added that "I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached." But in what has by now become part of the official record, the abuses of Abu Ghraib and beyond "were in fact procedures, which would not have been possible without policies that had been approved" and still supported by the likes of Alberto Gonzales. Once again, Gonzales sanctioned torture.
(The August 2002 memo discussed interrogation techniques Americans could use against detainees and narrowly defined torture as something that induced organ failure or worse.)
Asked whether he thinks the president can order torture and throw out anti-torture conventions, Gonzales acknowledged that, "hypothetically that authority may exist" and that while he could not remember who had requested the August 2002 memo, harsh interrogation techniques were discussed at White House meetings.
If a superior told you to put a naked man on a leash and pose for a photo to degrade and humiliate him, would you do it?
That's what Lynde England did, and she's paying the legal and consequential price for following an order that she should have known to be unjust, unlawful, Unamerican and, frankly, evil.
It was her responsiblity to understand, in her role as a prison guard, that her job does not automaticly justify the abandonment of those values that should have been taught to her in Kindergarten, at her parent's knees and in Sunday School.
Roger W. Norman's Radio Weblog: "And now we have the inkling of just how far these Republicans are willing to go in order to continue being tough on terror. For you see, now they are considering a proposal offered by the White House to eliminate any possible responsibilties for war crimes participated in by administration appointees and their bosses. That means that Rumsfeld would never be able to be held accountable for his implementation of torture, but poor little Lynde England is going to end up doing her full sentence for something her superiors ordered her to do."
As "poor little Lynde" deserves, frankly. The fact that other, more responsible persons are not being held accountable - yet - is immaterial. She chose to act as she did and has been made the patsy as a consequence. This should be seen for what it is; an example of how little regard this Administration has for those sent to do it's dirty work, and how much it relies on them to obey illegal and immoral orders without question.
A suggestion to those who find themselves in such a situation: "I request and require written orders to that effect, Sir."
Both Christianist and Islamist movements demand you abandon your personal, informed moral agency to that of a "superior." The consequential abuses are predictable and inevitable. Consider, for instance, the Branch Davidians at Waco. Whether or not you agree with how that issue was handled by the BATF and the FBI, the fact that those people were in that situation in the first place was due to willful manipulation of their ability to discern the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and their willful abandonment of their responsibility to know that for themselves.
When supposed Christians, seeking to impose a theocratic state, are seen to be working together with supposed enemies, having clearly abandoned the principle of "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” you are pretty safe in assuming that they may well be colluding and co-operating in other ways. Certainly, a worldwide state of fear serves their interests, as do the general expansion of fundamentalism and a general distrust of fact and reason.
tag: Lynde England, theocracy, theocons, islamofacism, John Ensign, authoritarianism, war on terror, iraq, iran, state sponsored terrorism, state terrorism, torture, religion, Christianists, faith, freedom, social control, dominionism, Dominionists, family values, social engineering, religious abuse, ethics, religous cults, george w. bush, saudi arabia, abortion debate, foreign policy, just war, marrige rights, war crimes, international law, ethical realism, antiauthoritarianism, morality