(The word "fruit" used here is Strong's Number 2590, which means "work, act, deed" [Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary]) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer criticized Gov. George W. Bush Tuesday for making fun of an executed Texas woman in an interview Bush gave to Talk magazine.
"I think it is nothing short of unbelievable that the governor of a major state running for president thought it was acceptable to mock a woman he decided to put to death," Bauer said of Bush. Bush is portrayed in Talk as ridiculing pickax killer Karla Faye Tucker of Houston for an interview she did with CNN broadcaster Larry King shortly before she was executed last year. Just before her execution date, Tucker appealed for clemency on the grounds that she had become a born-again Christian.
http://www.ccadp.org/bushkills.htm // Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven..." (i.e., always) - Matt 18:21-22
// /"See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." - I Thessalonians 5:15 //
/ "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living." / - General Omar Bradley _____________________________________
KURT VONNEGUT: My God, the religious right will not acknowledge what a merciful person Jesus was.
In These Times: Why are they so intent on making god a punisher?
Because they enjoy punishment. It's a form of entertainment. The reason we still have the death penalty in this country is because it's a major form of entertainment a way of holding attention.
VONNEGUT: One wishes that those who have taken over our federal government, and hence the world, by means of a Mickey Mouse coup d'etat, and who have disconnected all the burglar alarms prescribed by the Constitution, which is to say the House and Senate and the Supreme Court and We the People, were truly Christian. But as William Shakespeare told us long ago, "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
And what remains the best-kept secret from the Second World War, because it is so embarrassing, is that Hitler was a Christian, and that his swastika was a Christian cross made of axes, an apt symbol of a political party for Christians of the working class. And there were simpler, unambiguous crosses on all Hitler's tanks and planes.
Again: One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet, that the people in and around the White House nowadays truly mean it when they say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," and that they respect as children of God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the peace makers and so on.
But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise missiles, what I call "Timothy McVeighs," into the midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half of whom are children, little boys and girls under the age of 15."
"...And they have turned loose a myriad of our high-tech weapons, each one costing more than a hundred high schools, on a Third World country, in order to shock and awe human beings like us, like Adam and Eve, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers." - "Strange Weather Lately" By Kurt Vonnegut | 5.9.03
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." /
Saddam tortured people in horrible ways. Is this not also torture? dbbdbbdbbbddb__
"Who will resist this killing by others? Millions of decent people will not kill, but few will prevent others from killing, especially when those others lurk in governments and the military, in transnationals and banks--the quiet, well-manicured terrorists who kill under the law.
Do we desire a taproot for peace? Then we must stop the killing--killing in war, killing on death row, killing the weak and the powerless. The commandment "Thou shalt not kill!" is absolutely elementary and pivotal. Until we honor the image of God in the neighbor, until we eliminate our sins of omission (our failure to protect others), until we understand that we can't believe or love unless we stop the killing, then the pursuit of disarmament, justice, and peace is a melodrama of contradiction and futility.
" When Americans find the faith to stop the killing, the prophecy of Isaiah and the Sermon on the Mount will become the ultimate political statement."
- Philip Berrigan, "The Trial of Depleted Uranium", July 2000
"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective." - White House Press Conference, September 2006
N O T I N /H I S/ N A M E fghshsh dbbsebfghshshbrs "My faith tells me that acceptance of Jesus Christ as my savior is my salvation, and I believe I made it clear that it is not the governor's role to decide who goes to heaven. I believe God decides who goes to heaven, not George W. Bush." - Governor Dubya in 1998, clarifying his relationship with Creation hkihhkhl This great, powerful nation is motivated not by power for power's sake, but because of our values. If everybody matters, if every life counts, then we should hope everybody has the great God's gift of freedom." - Bush invokes "the great God" in justifying war with Iraq, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jan. 29, 2003 hkihhkhl We don't believe that freedom is America's gift to the world. We believe freedom is the God Almighty's gift to each and every person in the world. - Dubya invokes the Almighty yet again in a favorite line of his (just in case you thought he had stopped), Dinuba, California, Oct. 15, 2003 hkihhkhl "We believe in freedom. We believe freedom is universal. We believe freedom is - - is a gift from the Almighty God for every person, regardless of their race or their religion." - Clarifying that the Almighty isn't bigoted, Bethesda, Maryland, Apr. 11, 2003 hkihhkhl "[The evildoers] are hearing from a tolerant nation, a nation that respects Islam and values our many Muslim citizens. They are hearing from a prayerful nation, a nation that prays to an Almighty God for protection and for peace." - Yeah, that sounds plenty tolerant, Sacramento, California, Oct. 17, 2001 hkihhkhl You see, here's what America and Americans believe -- that freedom is not America's gift to the world, that freedom is the Almighty's gift to each and every individual who lives in the world. - George W. Bush, Little Rock, Arkansas, May 5, 2003 I believe that, as I told the Crown Prince, the Almighty God has endowed each individual on the face of the earth with -- that expects each person to be treated with dignity. This is a universal call. - George W. Bush, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Jun. 3, 2003 hkihhkhl "This great, powerful nation is motivated not by power for power's sake, but because of our values. I f everybody matters, if every life counts, then we should hope everybody has the great God's gift of freedom." - Dubya invokes "the great God" in justifying war with Iraq, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jan. 29, 2003 hkihhkhl And we base it, our history, and our decision making, our future, on solid values. The first value is, we're all God's children." - George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jul. 16, 2003 / . hkihhkhl"We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defense of our great nation." - George W. Bush, quoted in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War". vv "Go forth and smite, my Chosen One. Forget all that other stuff I said before."
"Bring 'em on! War without end... Amen!"
"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself." --"Devout Christian" George W. Bush puts an interesting twist on Jesus Christ's proverb: "Love thy neighbor." (Quote is from the Financial Times)
"You fucking son of a bitch. I saw what you wrote. We're not going to forget this. " - said to Wall Street Journal columnist Al Hunt, 1986. / / (ACTUAL PHOTO) fggnennd "God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear." - Reverend Dubya is confusing and spooky all at the same time, Los Angeles, California, Mar. 3, 2004 fggnenndn Republican state Rep. Toby Goodman said Bush sought his support for property tax reductions near the start of the 1997 legislative session by grabbing Goodman's lapels during a face-to-face encounter. "I want to bring those property taxes down," Bush told the legislator, "and I'm going to kick your butt if you don't go along with me" - "Retaliation Over Iraq Fits Bush's Pattern", by Ron Hutcheson, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, 13 December 2003 ndn / ndn"International law? I better call my lawyer! I don't know what you're talking about, about international law." - George W. Bush, in response to the administration's handing out of reconstruction contracts in Iraq, Dec.11,2003 fggnendn fggnendn "Everybody is precious in the sight of the Almighty. Everybody has worth. That would be a philosophy that drives this government as we work to strive to make the American experience strong and hopeful for every single citizen." - Reverend Dubya strikes again, Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2003 fggfggnefggnenndnndnnendn "Bush gazed around the diamond-studded $800-a-plate crowd and commented on the wealth on display. "This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores," quipped the GOP standard-bearer. "Some people call you the elites; I call you my base." - George W. Bush, October 20, 2000 fggnenndn "We can achieve peace -- we can achieve peace -- by being strong and diligent, reminding people of the great, God-given values that are important to all humanity." - Stockton, California, Aug. 23, 2002 fggnenndn "When you're not talking politics," Fink asked the vice president's son, "what do you and [your father] talk about?" "Pussy," George W. replied. - From an interview with Hartford Courant editor David Fink in 1988 -- years after "Christ changed my heart". fggnenndn "I'm sure there is some kind of heavy doctrinal difference, which I'm not sophisticated enough to explain to you." - Explaining the complex issues involved in his switching from attending an Episcopal church to attending a Methodist one
fggnenndn Standing on a stage just prior to making an address, Bush leaned into vice presidential running mate Dick Cheney's ear and said, "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from The New York Times." Cheney replied, "Oh, yeah, big time." - Heard during the 2000 campaign / fggnendn "We can achieve peace -- we can achieve peace -- by being strong and diligent, reminding people of the great, God-given values that are important to all humanity." - Stockton, California, Aug. 23, 2002 / fggnen/ndn "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defense of our great nation." - George W. Bush, quoted in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" // g // "YOU'RE EITHER WITH JESUS, OR YOU'RE WITH THE TERRORISTS." // //
"Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room. A year later, Bush's outburst has been translated into action, as cruise missiles and smart bombs slam into Baghdad."
Bush, June 2005 (CNN): "Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to use military force to deal with Saddam. "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said. "We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said. "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option."
"I feel like God wants me to run for president ... I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen." / The earth was in peril! An evil horde of Godless heathen were plotting to destroy the planet! / Only ONE MAN could save them... /
"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective." - George W. Bush, September 14, 2006. /
"It's hard for free people to comprehend the mix of extremism and hatred that leads terrorists to murder innocent men, women and children. ....Throughout human history there have been those who seek power through fear and mass murder but eventually all of them, every one, has fallen." - Donald Rumsfeld, Arlington Cemetary, Sunday September 11
"The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. . - George Bush / __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
George W. Christ? By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective (Images and quotes added) "Please," said Bush with pinched face and lips drawn down in a quivering bow as he imitated the woman about to die, "don't kill me." Then he laughed."
Monday 05 May 2003
In the 835 days Americans have passed since the inauguration of George W. Bush, we have come to know him as a man who wears many masks to suit a variety of political purposes. Even before he won the lawsuit that put him in his lofty position, we saw a man who cloaked his vision in terms that smacked of humility. "Ours will be a humble nation," There are a number of words which can be applied to the actions of this administration, but "humble" is not one of them. At the time, however, it suited his purposes to make Americans believe he saw himself as unassuming, perhaps even small.
This was the same man, however, who mocked Texas death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker so viciously before she rode the lightning to whatever awaits us on the Other Side. He was asked, in an interview for Talk Magazine during the campaign, what Tucker might say to him if she were given the chance to plead for her life. "Please," said Bush with pinched face and lips drawn down in a quivering bow as he imitated the woman about to die, "don't kill me." Then he laughed.
You would think we'd have known better 835 days ago. We didn't, mostly because the news media decided such stories were without merit. Now we are a humble nation that brazenly disregards the entire planet as we seek military solutions to diplomatic problems. Now we are a humble nation that breaks treaties by the boatload and 'punishes' nations that foolishly believe they can make decisions for themselves. One is forced to wonder if Bush sat in front of a television as the 'Shock and Awe' firebombing/cluster-bombing of Baghdad began, face pinched and mouth drawn down, saying "Please, don't kill me" in the voice of an Iraqi civilian. One is forced to wonder if he laughed afterwards.
We have come to see a new mask in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11. In the 18 months that have passed since that dark day, we have been introduced to Bush the Soldier. Draped in flags and the veneer of patriotism, Bush has spent a great deal of time and energy identifying himself with the very military he described as unfit for service during the 2000 campaign. The metastasizing of Bush into some sort of military hero reached a crescendo during this past week when he landed on the deck of the carrier Abraham Lincoln in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking combat aircraft. According to the lore that has been rapturously reported on every hour by cable television news services, Bush took the stick "momentarily" to pilot the craft. He hopped out, garbed in the flight suit of a Navy pilot, and flashed a thumbs-up sign across the deck. This, we were told by the media, harkens back wonderfully to Bush's service piloting F-102 fighters for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
The problem, as with any mask, is that whatever is underneath bears little comparison to the mask itself. According to the reports, it was appropriate for Bush to don the gear of an actual military pilot, because it mirrors the reality of his experience back in the Texas Guard. In reality, Bush may as well have put on the standard attire of a Mongolian yak herder from the Asian continental steppe. That would have been fitting, too, because neither the Navy suit nor the yak gear have anything at all to do with Bush the Actual Person. Neither has anything to do with history, or with fact.
hkihhkhl"I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war. -- Dubya doing a sterling job of belittling war and parenting at the same time, while also backhandedly manufacturing a war record for himself out of thin air, Jan. 27, 2002 hkihhkhl hkihhkhl "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes." - George W. Bush, 1994 Source: MSNBC (M.O.W. editorial insert)
An article by David Corn entitled "Bush's Top Gun Photo-Op," which appeared in The Nation magazine's online publication this past week, described the disturbingly under-reported facts behind Bush's dalliance with the Texas Air National Guard:
Enlisting in the Guard was one way to beat the draft and avoid being sent to Vietnam. Is this why Bush signed up? During the campaign, Bush said no. Yet in 1994, he had remarked, "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Not was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes." That sure sounds like someone who was looking to avoid the draft and pick up a skill. Obtaining a slot in the Guard at that time was not usually easy--for the obvious reason: lots of young men were responding to the call of self-preservation. (Think Dan Quayle.) Bush, whose father was then a congressman from the Houston area, has said no strings were pulled on his behalf. Yet in 1999, the former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives told The New York Times that a Houston oilman who was a friend of Bush's father had asked him to grease the skids for W. and he obliged.
What Bush did in the Guard.
In Bush's campaign autobiography, A Charge To Keep, he wrote that he completed pilot training in 1970 and "continued flying with my unit for the next several years." But in 2000, The Boston Globe obtained copies of Bush's military records and discovered that he had stopped flying during his final 18 months of service in 1972 and 1973. More curious, the records showed Bush had not reported for Guard duty during a long stretch of that period. Had the future commander-in-chief been AWOL?
In May 1972, with two years to go on his six-year commitment to the Guard, Bush moved to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. He asked if he could do his Guard duty there. This son-of-a-congressman and fighter pilot won permission to do "equivalent training" at a unit that had no aircraft and no pilots. The national Air Reserve office then disallowed this transfer. For months, Bush did nothing for the Guard. In September 1972, he won permission to train with a unit in Montgomery. But the commander of the unit and his administrative officer told the Boston Globe that they had no recollection of Bush ever reporting for duty. And when Bush returned to Texas after the November election, he did not return to his unit for months, according to his military records. His annual performance report, dated May 2, 1973, noted he had "not been observed at this unit" for the past year. In May, June and July of that year, he did pull 36 days of duty.. And then, as he was on his way to Harvard Business School, he received permission to end his Guard service early.
The records suggest Bush skipped out on the Guard for about a year. (And during that time he had failed to submit to an annual physical and lost his flight status.) A campaign spokesperson said Bush recalled doing duty in Alabama and "coming back to Houston and doing duty." But Bush never provided any real proof he had. Asked by a reporter if he remembered what work he had done in Alabama, he said, "No, I really don't." A fair assumption was that he had gamed the system and avoided a year of service, before wiggling out of the Guard nearly a year before his time was up. It looked as if he had served four, not six years.
When he enlisted in the Texas Air Guard, Bush had signed a pledge stating he would complete his pilot training and then "return to my unit and fulfill my obligation to the utmost of my ability." Instead, he received flight training--at the government's expense -- and then cut out on his unit. He had not been faithful to the Guard. He had not kept this particular charge.
The problem with masks is that, after wearing one for a very long time, a person might reach a level of self-delusion that tells them their reality is the mask itself, and not what lies underneath. Bush has been skittering around the fact that he went AWOL during his term of military service for over three years now. The spectacle on the Abraham Lincoln suggests he has finally managed to convince himself that he did, in fact, serve the military of his country with honor and in accordance with the oath he took. Either that, or he is so utterly without shame as to be beyond the scope of normal human understanding.
Neither choice is particularly palatable, and never mind the inherent danger in a civilian commander so energetically equating himself with the military. Americans don't have a war leader anymore. They have a leader who is war personified. The fact that this personification comes at the expense of fact and truth is merely an accent in the symphony.
Another mask was donned by Bush on the deck of that aircraft carrier, one whose implications are far more dire and disturbing. Bush was there to tell the world that combat operations in Iraq had ceased. He did not go so far as to declare victory, as such a declaration would have required, under the Geneva Convention, the release of POWs and the withdrawal of American forces. The banner hanging across the control tower -- "Mission Accomplished" -- said all that needed to be said.
In his remarks, Bush closed with a paraphrasing of the Book of Isaiah: "In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, 'come out,' and to those in darkness, 'be free,''"
This was a quotation from Chapter 61 of Isaiah, the very book Jesus Christ used when proclaiming that Isaiah's prophesies of the Messiah had come true. Using this passage from Isaiah, Jesus presented himself as the Son of God in Nazareth. Thus it is told in Luke, Chapter 4, Verses 16-22:
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.""
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Under normal circumstances, we could write this off as a President reaching for hopeful Biblical language to frame a particular argument. This has been done before, by many American leaders in many situations. In this case, taken on the political surface, we could see a President using the Bible to define the latest reason for war in Iraq -- the 'liberation' of the people -- in the conspicuous absence of the oft-repeated reason that started the war -- the presence of mass destruction weapons. A further analysis of George W. Bush himself, however, leads to some serious questions.
The passage of Isaiah referenced by Jesus at Nazareth, and by Bush on the Abraham Lincoln, is part of a larger collection of verses known as the "Servant Songs." The specific verse used by Bush, out of Isaiah 61, is most important; it is widely accepted by both Christian and Jewish scholars as announcing the Messiah. For Christians, the Messiah is Jesus, and so this passage refers specifically to Him and His coming. The fact that Jesus Himself used this passage to announce His presence further confirms this. Bush's reading of this passage suggests the possibility that he believes this coming, for the second time, has arrived.
It has been oft-reported that Bush witnessed the attacks of 9/11 and came to believe that God Himself, and not Scalia and the rest, put him into the Presidency for the sole purpose of pursuing this war against terrorism. It has likewise been oft-reported that Bush is an evangelical Christian of the vigorous Billy Graham stripe. We have witnessed the failure of every rationalization for making war on Iraq -- the WMDs, the terrorist connections -- and are left now with the rhetorical argument that we did the whole thing to 'save' the Iraqi people. Ergo, Bush positioned himself on the deck of that aircraft carrier as a savior.
We are talking about a man who wears masks for the sake of political opportunism, and to survive moments when he has to address himself in the bathroom mirror. Does this newest mask have George W. Bush taking on the mantle of Jesus Christ, Savior and Redeemer?
Here is a man so steeped in self-denial that he can shunt aside his own shameful history in order to pretend he is on the same moral level as the soldiers he abandoned when his time of service came due. Here is a man intent upon making war on as much of the Muslim world as he can put his hands around, while wrapping around himself the image and prophesies of Jesus Christ. What is next? Will we see George W. Bush standing before the American people saying "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing"?
George W. Bush, master of denial. George W. Bush, wearer of masks. George W. Bush, soldier for Christ.
George W. Bush, Christ Himself?
Oh dear God, let there be light.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times best-selling author of two books - "War On Iraq" available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," now available at http://www.silenceissedition.com from Pluto Press. Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
// ` //
/ (M.O.W. editorial insert) / The Sin of Pride. Vision Thing: A scholar wonders if Bush has the humility to see the nuance of this conflict
"God bless America." For decades, chief executives have acted like priests of the national religion. Sometimes they soothe-think of shuttle disasters or terrorist attacks-and sometimes they inflame, as in times of war.
NEVER HAVE WE historians been busier making sense of presidential God talk than now. We all knew that after a reckless youth and a fall into alcohol addiction, George W. Bush experienced a Christian conversion of the now standard "born again" sort and settled down. On the path to the presidency he saw that his newfound faith appealed to a core constituency of religious conservatives and they appealed to him. His religious rhetoric became more public and more political.
After September 11 and the president's decision to attack Iraq, the talk that other nations found mildly amusing or merely arrogant has taken on international and historical significance. It rouses many Americans to an uncertain cause and raises antagonism among millions elsewhere. Few *doubt that Bush is sincere in his faith, a worthy virtue when he alone must decide whether to lead 270 million people into war, possibly killing thousands of others. The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will.
Some criticism comes from cynics abroad, who charge hypocrisy. George M. Cohan once said, "Many a bum show has been saved by the flag," and these critics hear Bush's God talk as a trumped-up strategy for saving a military bum show. All kinds of less suspicious voices have also been heard from clerics here at home. A few worry about whether Bush's advocacy of "faith-based initiatives" for social programs would violate the traditional separation of church and state. More have political concerns; they fear the faith-based programs will replace governmental support for those in need, but will not be strong enough.
The concerns of world religious leaders about this war have not induced the White House to open its door to a broader theological debate. The pope and the American Roman Catholic bishops-as well as Protestant bishops and many other -lay and clerical leaders outside the president's core constituency-got no hearing, only dismissal. These clerics have legitimate concerns that extend to the geopolitical scene-as well as to the American soul: how will the only remaining world power assume the burden of building a new empire? One hopes that the Bush people will keep in mind that claims of God's always being on our side are alienating to many former or would-be allies.
"And I just -- I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of -- -- in the name of some kind of false religion." / - Would that be Islam, Dubya? (Or maybe a false Christianity?) Press appearance with King Abdullah of Jordan, Aug. 1, 2002 egeghftr (M.O.W. editorial insert)
More dangerous is that Bush's God talk will set the tinderbox that is the Muslim world on fire. Neither the president nor the American Christian majority have to yield their own faith in order to get along, but how they express it matters. Here the president has shown signs of change and growth. His first understandable outburst against terrorism led him to call for a "crusade" against terrorists. Raging reaction was instant and total among offended Muslims. The term never again appeared in White House language.
Often the company the president keeps gets him into trouble. True, the administration distances itself from the most extreme statements against Islam and the Muslim Scriptures, the Qur'an, when clerics who are otherwise congenial to the White House voice them. The billion humans in the Muslim world, leaders and followers alike, had good reason to seethe when the evangelist who prayed at Bush's Inaugural-and who remains close to the president-persisted in calling Islam "a very evil and wicked religion." The administration had to reject that claim-and it did. Regular appearances by the president at meetings of certain evangelical groups, however, make it hard for friendly Muslims not to hear the word "Islam" whenever Bush portrays "terrorists" as absolute evils. And, as evangelical theologian Richard Mouw points out, "Those inflammatory statements stimulate further antagonism on the part of Muslim extremists," who can go recruiting among moderates.
Christian theologians are wary when Bush uses the words of Jesus to draw neat lines and challenge the whole rest of the world: if you are not for us, or with us, you are against us. Without question, belief in American democracy as one of God's blessings is part of the move against Iraq. But, as theologians in a number of faiths remind us, the demonization of the enemy-an "us and them" mentality-can inhibit self-examination and repentant action, critical components of any faith.
Long having professed that "our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world of justice," President Bush boasts that we are the only remaining superpower left. He gives notice that our military power and moral choices will dominate the world. He follows and leads ever since he first, as he put it, "heard the call" to seek the presidency, and after Iraq he promises to transform the Middle East into utopia.
But the Bible presents a more nuanced God. Fifty years ago, patriot and cold warrior Reinhold Niebuhr, the most noted theologian of the time, reminded citizens of a judgment against pride of nations by quoting Psalm 2:4: God "who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision." That same God, Niebuhr reminded readers, is also a God of mercy, who holds people responsible and, yes, will honor human aspiration. Even Bush's critics are obliged to see that many of our own convictions may be wrong or misguided. And so we should confront the administration in the spirit of Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." One of this president's virtues is that he has, historically, corrected his mistakes.*
In the future, when Bush speaks
about God and this country, as he assuredly will, one hopes he
will heed the example of Abraham Lincoln. In other desperate times
Lincoln had to seek Almighty guidance for what he called this
" almost chosen people." That president accompanied
his seeking with a theological affirmation too rarely heard now:
"The Almighty has His own purposes." These purposes
may not always match our own, even if we are called to highest
office. Awareness of this might bring the nation and its political
and religious leaders alike under judgment as we pursue, by our
best lights, responsible action.
Marty is professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, a Lutheran minister and a former president of the American Catholic Historical Association.
© 2003 Newsweek,Inc.
Bullets, Bombs, Bibles and Bush By CHRIS FLOYD April 5, 2003 hfsbvdfb "Finally, the ritual supplications adjure our well-rested Crusader chieftains to "recognize their divine appointment" and rule according to holy scripture--perhaps by following the postwar policy of the Lord Himself (Numbers, Chapter 31) after His troops routed the Midianite army: / "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
Even as the sleek techno-wizardry of "Shock and Awe" gives way to the old-fashioned slog of "Blood and Guts" on the battlefields of Iraq, the Bush Regime's postwar plans continue apace. It's now clear that the Bushists aim to turn Iraq into an American protectorate--a supine dependency like Guam, Puerto Rico or Britain--by controlling every aspect of life in the conquered land.
The blueprint for colonial rule, being drawn up by Project for the New American Century alum Paul Wolfowitz (without any input from those silly-billy Brits or--it goes without saying--that discarded hunk of junk, the UN), will install an American arms merchant, former general Jay Garner, as civilian supremo, the Guardian reports. Garner--who has publicly declared his admiration for Israel's highly successful methods of administrating occupied Arab territories--will oversee a coterie of American proconsuls and Iraqi factotums, including the self-proclaimed, Washington-paid "leader" of the Iraqi opposition, Ahmed Chalabi, a convicted bank fraudster who has not lived in his native land since 1956.
American masters will determine Iraq's domestic government, foreign policy, economic system, even the education of its children. (The ones who haven't been killed by their liberation, that is.) Reconstruction contracts will be awarded to favored American companies, and the Bushists will seize control of the UN's "food-for-oil" program to finance this ladling of prime political pork. As imperial architect Wolfowitz himself puts it: "There's a lot of money out there. To assume we're going to pay for this war is just wrong."
But you mustn't think that all this moolah-mongering means Iraq' spiritual needs are being ignored. As always with your classic Anglo-American imperial conquest, sword, flame, bullet and bomb will be accompanied by the maniacal whacking of Biblical leather. Just this week, Bush of Arabia's favorite preacher announced he was mustering an evangelical army to Christianize the defeated heathen hordes, Newhouse News Service reports.
Of course, Christianity has existed in Iraq for two thousand years--rather longer than in, say, Texas--but such nuances are lost on the Bushist Party's much-coddled "core supporters" in the hardline Christian Right. And so the Reverend (sic) Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, declared that his relief group, Samaritan's Purse, will follow the Anglo-American invaders with blankets, food--and Jesus on tap. He was quickly joined by America's largest--and most Bushist--Protestant sect, the Southern Baptists, who proclaimed their plans to launch a second front of their own in the bread-for-souls campaign.
As we all know, Daddy Graham sealed his place in history about 15 years ago by convincing the booze-guzzling, nostril-burning--but eminently well-connected--George W. Bush to trade Jack Daniels for Jesus Christ. Graham also schooled his acolyte in the inherent damnability of perfidious Jewry--a lesson little Georgie was a bit too apt to repeat in mixed company, until his handlers finally got him under control.
[Yes, we know about the influence of the small group of Likud -leaning, war-whooping Jewish "neo-conservatives"--Wolfowitz, the disgraced Richard Perle, the convicted perjurer Elliot Abrams, etc.--whom Bush has brought into power. But these figures--representing a tiny, extremist sliver of the vast and variegated glory of Jewish thought--are merely useful tools for the "Dominion Christians" who serve as the fedayeen of the Bushist Party. For believers of Bush's primitivist ilk, Israel's only importance is its role as the staging ground for the universal genocide of Armageddon--a feast of carnage and obliteration for which the Dominionites yearn with a deep, erotic fervor. Come the Rapture, they will joyfully ship the Jews to Hell.]
Now, with Billy ailing, son Franklin has taken over the pastoring of Bush's soul (or the "Jack Daniels watch," as it's sometimes called). He even gave the invocation at Bush's inauguration (or the "Loser Takes All Ball," as it's sometimes called). We're sure that Franklin's deep and sensitive understanding of Islam--which he calls "a very wicked and evil religion"--will serve him well as, with the president's blessing, he spreads the good news of Christ Militant amongst the smoldering ruins and uranium-choked dust of Basra and Baghdad.
But of course, the war is not yet won. Young American men and women are still in the field, caught in a vortex of fear, death, rage and atrocity. And so another group of busy Bushist beavers is helping these war-battered troops stay focused on the most important thing of all: praying for George W. Bush.
Leather-whacking televangelist Charles Stanley has supplied thousands of U.S. soldiers with a list of daily prayers for the Dear Leader--and his holy family too. There's even a tear-out card to mail the pledge directly to the White House: "I have committed to pray for you, your family, your staff and our troops." (Note the careful ordering here--gotta get your priorities straight!) Soldiers are directed to ask that God keep the precious Bushist leaders "safe, healthy, well-rested and free from fear" (unlike the poor suckers praying for them).
Finally, the ritual supplications adjure our well-rested Crusader chieftains to "recognize their divine appointment" and rule according to holy scripture--perhaps by following the postwar policy of the Lord Himself (Numbers, Chapter 31) after His troops routed the Midianite army: "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
Yep, that old whacked leather is just chockfull of handy wartime hints.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ jjdjej "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz act like they know all the answers, almost like a divine right. They don't have a divine right, and they are wrong." - Senator Dianne Feinstein vavsd - "Who will resist this killing by others? Millions of decent people will not kill, but few will prevent others from killing, especially when those others lurk in governments and the military, in transnationals and banks-- -- he quiet, well-manicured terrorists who kill under the law." - Father Philip Berrigan, July 1st, 2000 b vxbxv
"YOU'RE EITHER WITH JESUS, OR YOU'RE WITH THE TERRORISTS." - ____________________________________________________________________________________________ / SING A SONG OF MASS MURDER vvda "If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us years from now." \/ / \/ - Pentagon advisor Richard Perle. x /zx cvnxcnng"...let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women." - Ezekiel 9:4-6 / // "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."
- Michael Ledeen , resident scholar in the "Freedom Chair" at the American Enterprise Institute. It's too bad we can't do the same to crappy little Republican men with Napoleonic complexes. / "I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war. . . . What we hate is not casualties but losing." - Michael Ledeen, the American Enterprise Institute Breakfast, March 27, 2003 // "Culturally, emotionally America is growing more loutish, arrogant, and vain. I detest this totally promiscuous patriotism." - "Norman Mailer lashes out at 'self-serving US patriotism'", The Scotsman // "At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds. I want to thank them for their service, but I also want to remind people that for 60 years, AEI scholars have made vital contributions to our country and to our government, and we are grateful for those contributions" - President Bush Discusses the Future of Iraq . February 26, 2003 / jjej _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ jjdjej
By Georgie Anne Geyer The American Conservative January 13, 2003 http://www.amconmag.com/01_13_03/geyer7.html
Ever since his Watergate revelations, which helped evict a president and change the United States for all time, for better or worse Bob Woodward has stood as the major force in a new genre of journalism. He talks, wheedles, and, using government officials' personal ambitions and dreams of political eternity, implicitly threatens his way into the often closed corridors of power-there, he is a master at getting a certain number of figures who try their best to remain aloof and unknown to tell their stories. The proposition, understood if not explicitly spoken, is that this book, as his former ones, will tell the story-you miss out on leave on this journalistic port, fellow, you miss the whole historic ship!
But once again with Bush at War, one has to wonder first what really is this genre? As with his other books, such as The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House , the style is curt and commanding. It is easy and fully intended for the reader to get the impression that this is exactly the way it all really happened, particularly since by far the largest part of the book is direct quote after direct quote, many of them quite complex and all totally impossible to check. There is also little contextual matter or balance and certainly no "other-think" even minimally allowed on the pages.
So, first, we need to keep in mind that the Woodward genre, or style, or indeed whatever we want to call it, is one that we might best and most legitimately call a kind of "journalistic political theater." And the important thing in theater is always, first, to know it is theater and thus not exactly life; but the next important thing is to realize that the discerning theater-goer, the person who has other facts and sufficient faculties of discernment at his fingertips, can gain enormous amounts of knowledge and reflection from a careful attendance to the stage and particularly from a skeptical perusal of the movements behind the curtains.
So, do not look in this book for "the whole story," but do look for incredible insights. Woodward walks us into the closed salons of this secretive administration, and that is a valuable escort service indeed.
First of all, Bush at War is really about the decision-making process in the upper levels of the Bush administration-the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon-from the exact morning of Sept. 11th. It begins with a profoundly worried George Tenet, head of the CIA and, from all of the space he gets in the book, obviously one of Woodward's best and favored sources. That very morning, Tenet is wondering about when Osama bin Laden, whom he has been desperately tracking, will strike the U.S. Then "it" happens-and from then onward, the book delineates day-by-day, and sometimes hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute-what supposedly went on in meeting after meeting. From all accounts that I know of, Woodward's interpretations are exactly right; it is the quotes that are so bothersome.
But since so much of the material on the Afghan war has been covered before, the clues as to a future attack on Iraq are the parts that are the most original and that I will therefore deal with here.
Franken: "Clinton's military did pretty well in Iraq, huh?" Wolfowitz: "Fuck you." (M.O.W. editorial insert)
The "question of Iraq," for instance, was raised at a White House meeting of principals the very next day after the terrorist attacks. It was raised by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld but was actually reflecting the long-time obsession of Paul Wolfowitz, his aggressive deputy. In fact, Wolfowitz did not hesitate even to step in ahead of his demanding boss that day in regaling the president on Iraq. "Wolfowitz seized the opportunity," Woodward writes. "Attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain. He worried about 100,000 American troops bogged down in mountain fighting in Afghanistan six months from then. In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable. He estimated that there was a 10 to 50 percent chance Saddam was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks."
Here you come upon some of the many revealing counterpoints in the score. Some, like Wolfowitz and the group of neoconservative zealots, with their intimate ties to the hardest parts of the Israeli Right, wanted to attack and ultimately "reconfigure" the entire Middle East for their own and Israel's interests, and soon they were moving Heaven and Earth to convince the president that Iraq constituted, not a mere 10 to 50 percent of the problem, but 100 percent of it. Some of the president's advisors also genuinely feared Saddam's possible use of weapons of mass destruction. But there is also a persistent undercurrent of macho thinking that, hey, we've got the weapons: "Should they think about launching military action elsewhere as an insurance policy in case things in Afghanistan went bad?" Woodward paraphrases these moments. "They would need successes early in any war to maintain domestic and international support." And besides, Rumsfeld was "deeply worried about the availability of good targets in Afghanistan."
All the while, the "rational" group in the leadership is warning, warning, warning, like a Greek chorus awakening every once in a while to take center stage. Secretary of State Colin Powell warns against the U.S. being seen as "playing the superpower bully" and tries to tell the president that the behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with whom Bush seemed taken with almost a childlike admiration, "borders on the irrational." Powell is "uncomfortable with random regime change." Powell, his State Department staff, and prominent White Housers like the president's more cautious, New England-born Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. are the holdouts to the radical, macho, neocon, Likudnik, former Cold Warriors who are not, the book makes clear, at all conservatives in any traditional sense.
It is these "warriors," or the "War Party," or the "cabal," as different elements in the press have dubbed them, who would soon weave their own obsession with Iraq over a Texas president first totally inexperienced in foreign affairs and finally obsessed himself that he and he alone-through his instinct rather than his intellect-has been called to a religious duty in the Middle East to rid the world of Saddam Hussein!
The portrait that comes through of George W. Bush is itself revealing. Here again, Woodward does not directly try to characterize him, but the direct quotes from his many interviews with "W" often paint a frankly odd picture.
According to Woodward, the president, contrary to much critical thinking, did not embrace the Iraqi war from the very beginning, nor did he embrace it consistently. According to the book, he went up and down on it, his moods vacillating from the emotional conviction that his "father's generation was called" (and now, so is he) to watching the polls and depending upon the political response around the country. At the end of the book, when he finally meets with a deeply worried Colin Powell, after months in which, astonishingly, his own secretary of state barely has access to him, Bush of course finally responds with a willingness to go to the UN and to place the problem before the world community, while Powell breathes a sigh of desperate relief.
Indeed, it is less Bush's immediate
obsession with Iraq that is illustrated here, than a kind of religiously-inspired grandiosity
of character is revealed. For
"This will be a monumental struggle between good and evil," he says just after 9/11. He returns to the White House from Camp David one day, makes a brief statement to the press, and takes five questions: "He referred to 'evil' or 'evildoers' seven times and three times voiced amazement at the nature of the attacks," Woodward writes. In another place, from Bush: "We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time." He stops at a hockey game in Philadelphia, and, when the fans demand to watch his speech on the stadium's overhead video screens and the players huddle to watch," Bush says with wonder, "They wanted to hear what the commander in chief, the president of the United States, had to say during this moment! I have never felt more comfortable in my life."
Another time, he says to Woodward, "I'm the commander-see, I don't need to explain-I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
At still another point after the Afghan war has started, the president says to his staff, "Look, our strategy is to create chaos, to create a vacuum." And Woodward ends the book with another quote from the president, in which he again reflects the obsessive chaos theory of the neoconservatives surrounding him like sentinels and for whom Iraq has become the sina quo non of political existence: "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation." Whew.
We must remember here that, since the president has given so few interviews since he was elected and since he has kept himself so errantly far away from the press and indeed almost anyone except those in the War Party, these quotes are quite remarkably revealing. He himself says proudly in the book, repeatedly, that he hates and distrusts the media and adds that he does not see the mail either. Very well. One has the right to humor one's preferences, but in fact, the serious and informed press is an invaluable tool of information for any leader and it does not hurt to hear the public's voices either. He declares continuously here that he trusts his "instinct"-but a good and informed instinct only exists in play to the life experiences its holder has had.
The principle behind the Bush thinking, the book says, is, "this is a new world." As a matter of fact, the world that we face today is an exceedingly old world: terrorism as a substitute for armed strength, violence against "the other," the arrogance of the affluent, the careless expectations of the powerful, and the ambitions of the zealous are all as old as the Bible to which George W. Bush so passionately ascribes.
The president says testily at one point in the book to Democrat Thomas Daschle, "I'm in the Lord's hands." One rather thinks, after reading this book, that much of the time now we all are indeed.
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