It’s Not A Holy War!
I have to say that the rhetoric out of the White House right now is a little frightening. It seems that when Bush used the term “Crusade” back in 2001 when talking about the “war on terra” he said exactly what he meant. There is no logical basis for promoting this unending war on a feeling, so might as well revert to the old standby of whipping up religious fervor and framing this “new struggle” as one of good versus evil in the most religious of terms. It’s what they do best, herding sheep using the prod of God.
I believe in coincidence and synchronicity, but it’s hard not to notice that when it comes to the relationship between traditional media and this administration, much of what appears coincidental is actually manufactured. Take for example the story that ran in The Washington Post yesterday, detailing a study that purports that Americans are more religious than previous polls suggest. The study out of Baylor University concluded that because one out of ten people that checked “no religion” also listed a place of worship, they must in fact be religious. Never mind that people attend church for all kinds of reasons that don’t necessarily include a belief in God, such as social networking, business networking, or simply to keep a spouse happy or a neighbor’s prying questions at bay. Why is it that “no religion” has to be explained away as if it’s simply too unbelievable that more and more people are choosing that option?
On the same day that this story appears in the Post, George Bush starts talking about “The Third Awakening” referring to a newfound devotion to religion in this country. He bases this on such sound evidence as, “he notices more open expressions of faith among people he meets during his travels.” Well then, that’s all the proof I need that we are indeed in a “clash of civilizations” and we can’t let the terrorist win because this is a Holy War, and damn it, our God is better! Bush sounds more and more like Osama bin Laden every day. Maybe he’s jealous of bin Laden’s recruitment numbers and has decided to use the same kind of religious rhetoric to boost his numbers.
Just because a group of Islamic Fundamentalist fanatics have turned this into a Holy War, doesn’t mean that we should allow the Christian Fundamentalist fanatics to engage as if it is. This President has wreaked havoc on the world with his war of choice, his economic and foreign policy that have made us all less safe and less secure, and even God can’t save his sorry ass now. “They” don’t hate us for our freedom or because our women walk around uncovered or because we worship a different God, that is simply ridiculous. The bin Laden’s of the world use those things to recruit and to promote anti-Americanism, but we hand them so many more reasons all by ourselves.
When we turn poor countries into client states, when we build permanent military bases on their soil, when we preemptively invade sovereign nations that pose no threat to us, when we fail to act as an honest broker for peace and when we antagonize the world with macho rhetoric and then follow it up with bombs, we are turning the “they” of a small group of religious fanatics into the “they” of citizens of entire countries. Bush is trying to retroactively sell this war as a religious one, and we shouldn’t let him get away it.