Friday, November 9, 2007

Hollywood and Atheists are to Blame?

A "culture war" in America between religion and atheism is the underlying cause of the war on terror, political commentator Dinesh D'Souza told a crowd of about 150 people Wednesday night at Harris Hall.

…um… no… that would be completely wrong.

I’m not a political science expert (or even a novice) and my education on the subject is formed from watching the Discovery and the History Channel. And I don’t think a topic as involved as Western and Middle Eastern politics could be nicely summed up in a blog post, much less a once sentence sound bite.

But here are some of my opinions as to why there’s a “war on terror”:

In 1953, the United States decided to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister in Iran because we didn’t like him nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In his place we put in a more U.S. friendly monarch, the Shah.

Surprisingly the Iranians weren’t too fond of our puppet leader, or us, and starting listening to an active critic of the Shah and the US; Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. They had a revolution. Since we kept messing in their business, they took the US Embassy hostage. We froze Iranian assets (and have to this day, not released them.)

Saddam Hussein decided to take advantage of the disorder and started the Iran-Iraq War. Iran pushed back and then sought to expand the Iranian Revolution (or Islamic Revolution) into Iraq. The US backed Saddam Hussein (and sold some weapons to Iran as well, what the hey.) Eventually there was a UN mediated truce.

Thanks to our medaling, there is now a government in Iran devoted to eliminating outside influences.

In 1979, as a part of our Cold War strategy, we began having a war by proxy with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. When we “won” in Afghanistan, we lost interest in the country leaving it’s war ravaged corpse for the warlords to fight over.

Many Muslims from other countries volunteered to assist various mujahideen groups in Afghanistan, and gained significant experience in guerrilla warfare. Organized religious students formed into an armed movement, were backed by Pakistan, funded by the U.S, defeated most of the militias and took control of Afghanistan. “Students” by the way is the English translation of the Pashto word “Taliban”.

One of the mujahideen groups was al-Qaeda, formed by bin Laden. They fought against the Soviets and then Bin Laden went from being a hero of jihad in Saudi Arabia to being an enemy of the Saudi monarchy for his opposition to non-Muslim troops in Saudi Arabia (that would be the U.S. during the first Gulf War.) Bin Laden hates the U.S., socialism, communism, democracy, Israel, and pretty much anything outside of his particular code of Islam (including music.) He believes in an all out war against everything he hates and any innocents that are killed (there’s probably no such thing as an innocent infidel in his book) are justified martyrs in the jihad. I don’t believe we’re responsible for the creation of a monster like Bin Laden, but we are responsible or at least complicit, for creating an environment in which he could thrive.

Oh, and an “Atheist” to Bin Laden would be everyone not his particular brand of Muslim.

In one of the Bin Laden videos, he says,

“It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam. We have witnessed the true crimes of those who call themselves humanists and claim to be defenders of freedom. Those who lived under continuous US raids for the past months are aware of it. How many villages have been destroyed and how many millions have been pushed out in the freezing cold? These men, women and children who have been damned and now live under tents in Pakistan, have committed no sin. They are innocent. But on a mere suspicion, the United States has launched this fierce campaign.”

I don’t know about you, but if I’m living in poverty, in a country that’s being ripped apart by war, hearing about villages that are getting bombed by those U.S. devils, I’m going to think this Bin Laden guy is right. And if I live in a country that has a history of the those U.S. devils interfering with my government because they want my country’s oil and they start making air-strikes against my country, I’m not going to think I’m being liberated. The U.S. practically pushes people into terrorist training camps.

This entry has gone on way longer than I expected to and I didn’t even get into our debacle in Iraq. But really it’s all just the same shit in a different country. We mess around in other people’s business, piss people off, kill people, meddle in their governments, destroy people’s lives, and then wonder why nobody likes us. We need to learn to mind our own damn business.


John Evo-Mid said...

For interesting reading on our debacle in Iraq, see this. Take care!

The Exterminator said...

Well, Eno, although you call yourself not even a novice, I'd say you summed up the situation far, far better than D'Souza did. You actually referred to historical events and put them in context.

So either you're pulling our leg about not being an expert, or Dinesh is a liar and an uninformed blowhard.

John Evo-Mid said...

Or both...

EnoNomi said...

*gushing* Why thank you very much, but really and truly I think the answer is anyone literate looks like an expert next to Dinesh.

angelsdepart said...

The reason I hate reading about things like this is because I feel so helpless

the chaplain said...

I'm not an expert in these matters, but your summary coincides with my lay person's understanding of the situation.

It's hard to fathom that the neo-cons and Religious Right fanatics really believe the crap they peddle. Like, we're "bringing democracy" to an oppressed country. Yes, Iraq was oppressed under Saddam Hussein, but that doesn't mean that their preferred alternative is a) a democratic form of government, or b) a democratic government patterned after the USA's. Maybe they'd prefer socialism, or Parliamentary democracy, or - as some of them plainly do - a theocracy. The choice is not the USA's to make.

Alternatively, when the Iraq war is not about bringing democracy to a poor, benighted land, it's about the eternal battle between Good and Evil.

Sometimes "the war on terror" is about the USA's national security. Well, our security wouldn't be at risk if we'd mind our own flipping business.

The one thing it's never about is oil.

heather said...

As angelsdepart says, this is so depressing. It fills me with despair that people who can see what is really happening don't seem to get heard or to have any influence over this disastrous course. But it is cheering that there are a fair number of people, like you, who can see through the nonsense and will keep pushing the facts,
I think you've done a really good summary here.
The article from the link in John evo-mid's comment is great too.

Banyal said...

Well, that was a pretty accurate observation regarding the war on terrorism. US and its allies are largely responsible for the mess in Iraq and killing of of Palestine people. Another remarkably negative trend that I see is that many atheist intellectuals (Cristopher Hitchen, Sam Haris, Richard Dawkin etc) actually saying same thing that Christian fundamentalist like D'Souza say about US-Arab conflict. Things like, suicide bomber are inspired by the reward of " the waiting 70 virgins in heaven". Or the Palestine mothers "proudly sending their kids to suicide mission". I wonder to what degree these claims are really supported by any factual evidences. In that sense, my intellectual atheist friends are doing a great service to authority and power who supposedly make rational and informed decisions. All in the name of science and rationality.