September 17, 2018
1. The western demonization of Islam
We have often heard about Osama bin-Laden’s outrageous remarks about the West (if not Christianity), but we often seem to ignore the remarks made by some influential writers, thinkers and politicians in the West about Islam, which are as harsh and outrageous to Muslims as the remarks of Muslim fanatics seem to us.
Here are just a few examples:
Influential columnist Ann Coulter wrote: “We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” See National Review Online, September 13, 2001. It seems that the NRO no longer has her column on its website but here is how the column made NRO drop her as a columnist). And the quotation inside this article. And here).
Senator Clarence Saxby Chambliss, former chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland security, in a speech to Georgia law officers, November 2001, said: “Just turn [the sheriff] loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line.” He later apologised for those remarks. (See Melanie Eversley, “Chambliss apologizes for remark on Muslims”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 21).
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo called for the bombing of Mecca if Muslim terrorists attacked America again. (See “John Hagee shouldn’t be rattling sabres in the Mideast” by Michael Felsen in The Boston Globe).
Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said on November 2001: “[Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion; wicked, violent and not of the same God [as Christianity].”
Reverend John Hagee, the founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio who also heads Christians United for Israel, remarked: “The Third World War has begun.” He went on: “Ladies and gentlemen, America is at war with radical Islam. If we lose the war to Islamic fascism, it will change the world as we know it.” (See further here).
John Hagee endorsed Senator John McCain’s candidacy for president, and his endorsement was eagerly accepted until the accounts of some of his more outrageous remarks about the Jews and the Holocaust came to light.
Hagee thinks that the Holocaust was simply God’s means to an end, a horrific but effective and necessary method for impelling to the Holy Land those Jews who survived. But there’s more:
“Now that Israel has been established as a Jewish state, the stage is set for another impending horror: the cataclysmic battle of Armageddon, followed by Jesus’ triumphal return, with salvation for those who accept him, and perdition for the rest.”
Televangelist Rod Parsley, a key ally of US Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain in Ohio, goes even further and calls for the total eradication of Islam, the “false religion.”
In a chapter of his book Silent No More, titled “Islam: The Deception of Allah,” Parsley warns there is a “war between Islam and Christian civilization.”
He continues: “The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.”
Referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, informal National Security Adviser to McCain, wrote:
“If we can’t leave a democracy behind, we should at least leave the corpses of our enemies. The holier-than-thou response to this proposal is predictable: ‘We can’t kill our way out of this situation!’ Well, boo-hoo. Friendly persuasion and billions of dollars haven’t done the job. Give therapeutic violence a chance.” (See New York Post, 26th October 2006).
One comes across similar statements by some radical Jewish leaders.
According to the Israeli press, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu “ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.”
In a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Eliyahu cited as justification “the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof for his legal decision.”
The report added: “According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behaviour of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.” (See The Jerusalem Post, On 30 May 2007).
Based on Talmudic Halacha (Jewish religious law), a group of 14 prominent rabbis, led by Haim Druckman, who were considered authorities by the religious public, declared on Sept. 7, 2004, that “killing enemy civilians during war is normal.”
They have asked the Israeli army not to flinch from killing Palestinian civilians in the context of the ongoing military campaign against armed groups resisting the occupation.
2. Apocalyptic books
The late Californian Baptist minister Tim LaHaye was the author of a whole line of 16 best-selling apocalyptic fiction, Left Behind. LaHaye, of course, did not project Left Behind as fiction but as fact.
According to him, the end will come. It will come in the near future and it will be marked by a “soul harvest”. The few who survive the Tribulation, the Anti-Christ and Armageddon will be saved, while the rest – that is, the rest of mankind – will be condemned to eternal hellfire.
All these themes also echo the previous apocalyptic best seller, Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. And like The Late Great Planet Earth, Left Behind also generated huge sales. More than 50 million copies of books in this series have been sold since the first volume appeared in 1995.
The goal of the Christian Right is purely religious: to reclaim Jerusalem for the Jewish people, as stated in the 1999 title of the sixth instalment of Left Behind: Assassins: Assignment Jerusalem, Target Antichrist.
The same attention to Jerusalem and the same targeting of the Antichrist also occupy centre stage in the eleventh instalment of Left Behind, titled simply Armageddon.
Yet the fact behind this fictional account involves real people. The real people to be targeted are Arabs and Muslims.
It is the Arabs and Muslims who represent the forces of evil. It is Arabs and Muslims who occupy Jerusalem and mark it as the territory of the Antichrist. It is Arabs and Muslims who have to be killed in the Battle of Armageddon.
Only with the removal of the Arab/Muslim beast can the Holy Land be reclaimed for the People of God.
The Jews, of course, are not important for their own sake; they are mere agents for Christ. Once the land of Israel has been fully reclaimed by the Jewish people, Christ Himself will convert its Jewish inhabitants to believe in him before they too are brought into heavenly rapture, and those who are not converted will perish.
3. America as the New Jerusalem
In the minds of many Christian evangelists and Messianic Jews, America is the new Jerusalem, which will bring about the restoration of the Holy Land to the Jews, and will prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.
This is why even some secular Americans regard their country as a unique, exceptional and indispensable nation.
Since the end of the Second World War, the imperial mantle has passed on to the United States that launched its domination of the world by detonating two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and attacking and killing millions of people in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria and many other African and Latin American countries.
Through her domination of the globe, with approximately 800 formal military bases in 80 countries and at least 138,000 soldiers stationed abroad, America has taken the lion’s share of the resources of the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world. (See David Vine, “Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?” Politico Magazine, July/August 2015 and Alice Slater, “The US HAs Military Bases in 80 Countries. All of Them Must Close” in The Nation, January 24, 2018.
By contrast, Russia, Britain and France only have 30 foreign bases combined, most of them belonging to Britain and France. Russia maintains only one military base outside the former Soviet Union territory, namely in Tartus, Syria.
A review of this appalling history should at least produce a small degree of remorse and humility in Western politicians and should encourage them to see the barbarity and the futility of their past actions, preventing them from repeating those atrocities.
Sadly, not only has there been no sign of contrition and reappraisal, we continue to see an arrogant attitude justifying all their past actions and preparing for more aggression, this time against Iran by demonising the current government that rules over that country.
American politicians never tire of calling their country an “exceptional’, “unique” or “indispensable” nation.
In the words of the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his Congressional hearing, America was not just exceptional but also unique in human history, and therefore she could not be compared with other inferior nations and civilisations, such as Russia, or be held to the same standards as others.
As recently as 13 April 2018, during his confirmation at the US Senate, the militant, right-wing former CIA Director and the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if Russia was not a unique country.
He replied: “This [US] is a unique, exceptional country. Russia is unique, but not exceptional.” American exceptionalism is explained here.
And in the words of a former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, America is the “indispensable nation”…
Of course, a unique and exceptional country has the right to take the law into its own hands and attack other countries at will, in contravention of the UN Charter.
It is most infuriating that many US politicians often justify those barbaric and aggressive policies by making use of some beautiful words, such as democracy, freedom, human rights, humanitarian intervention, right to protect, etc.
They never bother to think about which of the numerous countries that they have attacked over the past few decades have achieved democracy, human rights and progress.
The record of attacks on Middle Eastern countries with the aim of regime change is long.
Some of those attacks, such as in the case of Afghanistan, have been connected with America’s geopolitical rivalry with the former Soviet Union, but when it comes to the Middle East, the influence of powerful pro-Israeli lobbies, the Christian right and largely pro-Israeli Congress have played the main role in involving the United States in those wars.
In the following parts, I detail briefly the case of a few countries that the United States alone or in coalition with a few European countries and Israel have attacked and devastated over the past few decades.
Before doing so, I would like – in Part 5 – to point out some of the reasons for this policy of the disintegration and fragmentation of the Middle East.
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