"So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it
seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," said Bush.
Notice that he didn't say "prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon" but "preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." The difference is significant because even though Bush mixes up his words and syntax and he has trouble forming a complete sentence or keeping a coherent though in his head, he is careful about the substance of what he says.
For instance, even though we know (and many of us knew at the time) that Bush always intended to invade Iraq, he always said (for political reasons) that he had not made up his mind. Though if you looked closely at what he actually did and said at the time, he was never committed to peace, and everything that he said and did was to further the argument for war.
It seems much the same way now, concerning Iran. If anything, he seems to be pushing back the goal posts and making it impossible for Iran to avoid a showdown, the way that he did with Saddam. Saddam let inspectors in and even offered to resign - but it was all irrelevant, because Bush was determined to attack.
He knows that Iran won't have a nuclear weapon within the next year, even if it wanted one. He also know that last month's report by the Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear programs said that that Iran has neither the intention nor the capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. So what does Bush do? Does he breathe a sigh of relief? Does he admit to the possibility that he may have been wrong? Is he willing to let the next (more competent) president handle the issue? Surely you jest.
Instead, he starts talking about WWIII, and the fact that the Iranians already know too much. It's all about "having the knowledge." Knowledge that's available to anyone who really wants to look for it. Knowledge that the Bush govenment has already published for building a bomb, over the Internet.
Everything that he says - and that the US military is currently doing - seems to advance the argument for war. The only way to prevent Iran from having the knowledge and capability to make a nuclear weapon, at this point, is to go to war and destroy their capability, kill or imprison the Iranian scientists who have the knowledge and skill, and bomb the country back to the stone age.
What is so diabolical is that at same time Bush professes to be seeking a peaceful solution, he's steadily advancing the rational and rhetoric to justify war. He claims that he wants to avoid WWIII, all while making the argument for starting WWIII, regardless of what Iran does.
I don't think there's any question that Bush would like to go to war with Iran. The only question is whether he can manufacture the right opportunity. There was recently an article in Salon that argued "Why Bush Won't Attack Iraq." It might be useful to go over some of the points made:
"If he were (going to attack Iran), he wouldn't be playing good cop/bad cop with Iran and proposing engagement."
Why not? He did the same thing with Iraq. At the same time that he said that he wanted to go through the UN and achieve a peaceful solution, we know that he was determined for war. He went through the motions of trying diplomacy, even though it was irrelevant.
"If the bombs were at the ready, Bush would be doing a lot more to prepare the nation and the military for a war far more consequential than the invasion of Iraq."
Why would he think it would be far more consequential? Did he know how long, drawn out, and costly the War in Iraq would be? In spite of what his own military advisors were telling him - that he needed a force of at least 1/2 million - he still managed to convince himself otherwise. There is no reason to believe it would be any different with Iran. If we know one thing, it's that Bush has the peculiar ability to never learn from his mistakes. What he does is keep repeating the same ones, only making them much bigger, and digging the hole deeper.
"Bush met in "the Tank" with his senior national security counselors and the military's command staff and walked out with the impression that either the costs of military action against Iran were simply too high, or that the prospects for success for the mission too low. "
On the contrary: Bush has demonstrated that he eventually gets rid of the generals who don't agree with him. He trusts his gut, not his generals. He likely walked out with the impression that it was politically impossible to attack Iran as long as the joint chiefs were unanimously against the idea. That's why General Peter Pace is no longer Chairman of the JCS. It's not evidence that he's changed his mind. It only means that he must find another way - some other pretext - to go ahead with it anyway, in spite of what they think.
"We know Bush rebuffed Cheney's view and is seeking other alternatives."
How do we know that? Where is the evidence, when he's now talking about WWIII and stopping Iran from having "the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon" ? Certainly it's in his interest to be perceived as wanting to pursue a peaceful course, just like before the invasion of Iraq. Even though he is heading us in the other direction. The last thing that Bush would do now is openly side with Cheney; that's not how the good cop, bad cop game is played out. He must be for peace until the very end so that it can seem like he had no choice in the matter.
This idea that Cheney is the evil, warmongering mastermind while Bush is his innocent pawn is just so much media claptrap. They are on the same team and they think alike. But Cheney must play the role of bad cop because Bush is the president, and must always be seen in the role of the good cop - as someone on the side of peace, even though he obviously isn't. The act doesn't work the other way around.
I would not be surprised if Bush were even more of a warmonger, and more determined to attack Iran, than Cheney. Fortunately for him, he has Cheney to always play the foil. That's why they make such a good team. Whenever we start thinking that Bush and Cheney are working at cross purposes, they have already been successfully at accomplishing their real purpose. When you look at Cheney you're seeing the real Bush; and when you look at Bush, you're seeing a pathological liar and master of deception.
The question isn't whether or not Bush wants to attack Iran because he does. The question is whether he can bring it about without dropping the act and looking too much like the war monger that he is.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Is the USA a Christian Nation?
WASHINGTON — Sixty-five percent
of Americans believe that the nation's founders intended the U.S. to be a
Christian nation and 55% believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian
nation, according to the “State of the First Amendment 2007” national survey
released Sept. 11 by the First Amendment Center.
Sometimes it seems like people keep arguing about things that entirely miss the point. Were the founding fathers really Christians? Did they want the United States to become a Christian nation? Who the heck cares? Because whatever you (mistakenly) believe the nation’s founders intended, and whatever you (ignorantly) think the Constitution says, the simple FACT is that the United States is NOT a Christian nation.
That’s not to say that America doesn’t have a lot of people who like to go around calling themselves Christians. We have more people going to church and calling themselves Christians than in any other country in the world. But that’s not the point, and that's not for any of us to judge, since Jesus will ultimately decide and judge who is and who isn’t a Christian. But what we can know and judge is what sort of country we are right now, by the kind of things we are doing. You know a tree by its fruit, and you know a country by its policies.
The issue is whether we are a Christian nation (if there is such a thing), and whether – as a nation – we exhibit those values and qualities that are uniquely Christian. If you want to keep arguing about whether the Constitution and the founding fathers intended to establish a Christian nation – it’s completely beside the point if, in fact, they failed miserably and were fools. You might as well argue about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. It’s not about what the founding fathers wanted, but about what we are doing as a nation. And we can’t blame it on them because they’re all dead.
I don’t believe the founding fathers failed or the Constitution has failed, but that fundamentalist Christians in America have completely failed to understand what being a Christian is all about; let alone what a Christian country might look like. They have no clue. That’s the problem.
A week and a half ago their president, George W Bush, vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program because it asked for $35 billion more in funding over the next five years than he wanted to pay. At the same time, he’s requesting another $190 billion over the next year alone, to keep killing more Iraqis. Is that what Christians do – deny their own children health care, so they can use the money to kill somebody else’s children? But that’s exactly what our country is doing.
Jesus said “resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” But our country spends more on resisting evil and weaponry than all the other countries in the world combined. And America is the only country in the world that has taken upon itself the right to preemptively strike another nation. America not only refuses to turn the other cheek, it insists upon taking the first shot.
Jesus said “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.” But America tortures those it calls its enemies. It holds them in concentration camps and in secret prisons, without any rights. And America has murdered 700,000 people who never did any harm to us.
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” but our country is arguably the greediest and most materialistic society on face of the earth. He said, “you cannot serve God and mammon,” and yet Americans not only serve mammon with gusto, but they despise the poor for not serving mammon well enough.
Jesus said “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned” But many Americans think that by judging and condemning lesbians and gays, that they are demonstrating the moral quality that makes them Christians. But by making their hatred and intolerance the quality that is most distinctive about them as Christians, they’ve turned the Gospel of Jesus Christ completely on its head, and turned their hatred for their neighbors into a (sac)religious crusade.
They have transformed the ‘Good News’ that was intended for the poor and oppressed, into even better news for bigots and all the greedy people who like to call themselves Christians – news that they can keep on cheating and robbing the poor, just as long as they continue hating and discriminating against homosexuals.
The character of America certainly isn’t the character of a Christian. It’s the character of a selfish, arrogant, and lawless bully. It’s the character of the Antichrist, only pretending to be a Christian. It’s a reflection of the American people and their corruption by money and power. The people tolerate corrupt and lawless leaders because they themselves are corrupt and don’t care. They complain about their politicians being crooks, but never do anything about it, let alone, take a good hard look in the mirror.
If you want to see what a Christian nation might look like, look at all the countries that guarantee their citizens health care. Look at the ones who mind their own business and spend more on social programs and infinitely less on the military. Look at the few who treat all of their citizens equally – including homosexuals. Look at the countries that are not torturing people or holding them in secret prisons. Look at societies where money isn’t everything, and where the gap between rich and poor isn’t so extreme.
But please, whatever you do, don’t look at America, because America is about the furthest thing from a Christian country possible in the world today. And don’t ask Americans to look more objectively at their own country, because that’s why they keep arguing about the founding fathers instead. Because turning America into a meek Christian country is about the last thing that most proud and greedy Christians in America would ever vote for, or even tolerate.