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September 5, 2003

Losing the War on Terror and the Prostitution of Faith


by Anthony Gancarski

If even many supporters of a ground invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq are disappointed in how the military action has gone to date, then much of the blame for the disillusionment can be placed on the rhetoric used to sell the use of ground troops. Despite Hussein being, as the President put it, "one of the world's worst leaders," with a capacity for bedlam rivaling that of Adolf Hitler himself, advocates for invasion said that the war would be a "cakewalk," and that Iraqis would pour into the street en masse to welcome their American liberators. The American people were led to believe that once the Iraqi military was dispatched, then Iraq would be prime territory for planting the seeds of Democracy and, perhaps as importantly, of American commercial concerns.

As the months since President Bush's "Top Gun" appearance on the USS Abraham Lincoln (when the President declared that combat operations in Iraq had essentially come to a close) have passed, events have underscored the misrepresentation behind the pre-war rhetoric. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis gathered for the funeral of Shi'ite leader Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim in the center of the holy city of Al-Najaf recently. That, along with the recent bombing of the UN headquarters, suggests the Iraqis really don't give a damn where the foreign occupiers are from, so long as they leave one way or another. They've stopped believing the lie of "liberation," if they ever believed it at all.

President Bush said that Iraq is a central theater in the Terror War. Fair enough – let's consider some of the other theaters. Like Afghanistan, which is no closer to being an effective client state this September than it was last. As Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Daily reports, "Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government has started negotiations with Taleban officials in several parts of the troubled southeastern province of Zabul." The fact that these negotiations have gone unreported in the US press underscores their meaning – capitulations in the Terror War.

Looked at broadly, a case can be made that the US has already lost the War on Terror. And if rhetoric from the Democratic frontrunners for the 2004 Presidential nomination is any indication, the US can't even back out of the Terror War at this point. Howard Dean has gone on record saying that the US is stuck in Iraq for an indeterminate number of years, and that he would quintuple the US presence in Afghanistan. John Kerry, his chief rival for the nomination, doesn't want more US troops in Iraq – but somehow expects foreign governments to send their men in as part of a US/UN occupying force.

These are grim times. No one running for President who has a prayer of winning or even of finding reliable funding support is willing to say what needs to be said: namely, that the US can no longer handle its foreign policy commitments, and that we should embrace a non-interventionist foreign policy.

How hard is it to admit that, no matter how evil a foreign leader is, that the US may not have the physical power or the moral authority to impose "regime change" on foreign countries? How hard is it to see that our foreign policy has contributed to countless ills on the domestic front? How hard is it to see that Americans wouldn't support US interventionism if they understood the history of empires, and how easy it is even for our own to get overextended and undermined by forces that could never defeat us if we practiced an America First, "isolationist" foreign policy that concentrated solely on defending our borders and our coastline?

What have Americans learned since "everything changed" on September 11, 2001? Not much, sadly. We still fall for the fatuous rhetoric of empire, for the idea that the US government has a singular moral mandate to run the world. A noxious lie, and one that undermines the lives of Americans every time its trotted out by an apologist for empire. But what politician is willing to say that?

NOTES ON THE MARGIN

This from LewRockwell.com columnist Shelton Hull:

"I'd suggest trying to find a transcript of Pat Robertson's appearance on Buchanan and Press yesterday, co-hosted by a woman named Barbara Birch. (A Society broad?) The ostensible subject was the then-pending execution of Paul Hill, but the talk turned eventually to the US request for more UN involvement in Iraq. Robertson noted his deep disgust with the US state department, using the word "wimp" to describe Powell and Armitage. He also used the phrase "Terror Masters" in reference to – yes! – the ruling clerics of Iran. He demanded the US provide "aid and comfort" to dissident groups (presumably including the MEK) working to overthrow the mullahs. Robertson refused to accept Buchanan's characterization of his remarks that he was saying that Karl Rove had destroyed the Christian Coalition, which seems to be Buchanan's belief. All in all, a weird couple of segments, with no mention of the Carlyle Group at all."

I've yet to find a transcript of this posted on the MSNBC website, but Robertson's Ledeenian comments here jibe with the recent Christian Zionist offerings on the 700 Club [a recent story on that program name checked James Baker, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group at some length] as well as with the messages put forth by TV Clerics Jack Van Impe and Hal Lindsey. If Bush ends up as a one term – or less – President, how much blame can be laid at the feet of the so-called religious right?

These bastards stop at nothing. They prostitute the name of Christ. They vitiate salvation to support the bottom lines of gun runners, propagandists, and people who act as nothing short of agents of the Devil. If Christians seriously wonder why it is that America has lost its way, they need only look at these sanctimonious multimillionaires of the pulpit who kiss the ass of empire, day in and day out, like the whores of Babylon they are. Bush needs to purge these people, without apology and without delay. They fetishize violence and power, and bear no relation to the Christ who died for my sins. Finis.

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Anthony Gancarski, the author of Unfortunate Incidents, writes for The American Conservative, CounterPunch, and LewRockwell.com. His web journalism was recognized by Utne Reader Online as "Best of the Web." A writer for the local Folio Weekly, he lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

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