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The Fallacy of Good vs. Evil in Afghanistan

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Posted on Dec 17, 2009
U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez

By William Pfaff

When they heard Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech, a shiver of astonishment went through conservative circles in the United States that this man, whom they identify as a prototypical liberal, should have mentioned the existence of evil. I would imagine this is because it has become an easy assumption that liberals blame society for evil, and regard the word itself as an outmoded term used only by people such as former President George W. Bush and his Christian right supporters.

Yet they also knew that Obama is a Christian—his relations with the Christian preacher who converted him to religion were a major subject of news and comment during the presidential primary campaign in 2008. It’s hard to become a Christian without hearing something about sinners and evil.

Bush’s religious statements constantly reflected a conviction that good is identified with the United States and evil with its enemies. His final speech to the nation said: “America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in the world and between the two there can be no compromise.”

True enough in principle, but there is in this a trace of something of which any good Christian should be aware, the parable of the Pharisee and the poor man. The poor man took his place in the back of the synagogue, said to God that he was a sinner, and asked forgiveness. The Pharisee placed himself in the front row and reminded God of all the good things he had done, and his rich gifts to the temple, saying that he thanked God that he was not like other men.

Both Obama and Bush were saying in different ways that we Americans are good and Taliban or jihadists are bad. But the reason we are good is that we are we, and we are justified in punishing them because they are they. But the practicalities of the matter are a little different. Americans are the avengers of the fact that the Taliban before 2001 gave hospitality to Osama bin Laden and his people, who had been driven out of Sudan by American demands on the Sudan government.

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The Taliban government in Afghanistan had no grievances against the United States until Washington attacked Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban were observing what they considered their code of honor, to give hospitality and protection. Today they are trying to seize back control of their country from the rival Tajik people (of the old Northern Alliance), to whom the United States in 2002 had awarded Afghanistan, in return for their help in taking it away from the Taliban.

Barack Obama doesn’t like the Taliban because they oppress women and attack American invaders. I don’t know what the theologians would make of justice in all this, but it strikes me as a huge, mutually culturally ignorant, self-righteous, fanatically nationalist and ideological clash of societies, instead of any war between good and evil.

David Brooks of The New York Times has written on Obama’s having revived the thought of the great modern Christian realist Reinhold Niebuhr, who rescued the American Protestant church in the 1930s to 1950s from the confusions produced by the coexistence of the biblical counsels of pacifism (“turn the other cheek”) and the exigencies of fighting aggressive totalitarian movements (“take up your sword”).

The contemporary error is much simpler. It is that of the proud Pharisee. We Americans wage “just wars” because we are good and righteous people who therefore have the right to use our overwhelming armies, its bombers, rockets, drones and mines, to strike and awe people, invade their countries, whom we know to be bad because they use insurrection, conspiracy and terrorism to resist us, and continue religious practices that displease us.

The problems of just war are not new. In the Western Christian tradition they go back to the theologians Aquinas and Suarez. They said that to be just, a war’s cause must be to vindicate an undoubted and internationally recognized crime; all peaceful means (negotiations) must have been tried in vain; the good to be done must clearly outweigh the evil that will be done by the war; there must be reasonable hope that in the end justice can be achieved for both sides; the means are licit (weapons must be limited and legitimate); and international law must be observed. By these criteria, I don’t see any just wars anywhere these days.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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By Inherit The Wind, December 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

And you know that. You’re just on this site to defend the Republican neo cons of the Bush administration from being revealed for what they were and are (murderers and traitors)like so many of the other fake liberals here.
*********************************************

I am?  I didn’t know that! Thanks be to God you were here to tell me why I was here.

Yes, you are an asshole.

I have argued long and hard that the Bush gang should be charged and prosecuted for the crimes we KNOW they committed, like falsifying documents to get us into the war in Iraq, like violating all kinds of Federal laws to “get” their enemies, that they are corrupt and working to create a modern feudal society—with themselves on top.

Yet, because I think the argument that they were behind 9/11 is demonstrably crap (delivered, naturally, by assholes like you) because 1) as crazy as they are, they aren’t THAT crazy and 2) they were too friggin’ incompetent to pull it off, YOU (being an asshole) take this to mean I’m out to defend and protect them.

See, you are incapable of close reasoning—you think because I reject ONE claim of crimes by the Bush regime, I MUST THEREFORE reject them all and am a defender of it.  How does this logically follow?

That’s what makes you an asshole—your thinking “if you don’t agree with me you are a defender of the evil ones.”  Assholes deliver crap—by definition.  and your so-called facts are just that….crap.

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By diamond, December 29, 2009 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

That makes no sense but why would I be surprised? You rarely make sense and having called yourself inherit the wind of course it goes without saying that you’re obsessed with assholes, your own and everyone else’s. People who have a logical argument to make don’t call other people assholes. Or nuts.  As for Occam’s razor, anyone applying that to the collapse of the Twin Towers and building number 7 would come to the same conclusion I have.Anyone applying it to the anthrax letters would come to the conclusions I have. And you know that. You’re just on this site to defend the Republican neo cons of the Bush administration from being revealed for what they were and are (murderers and traitors)like so many of the other fake liberals here.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

diamond, December 27 at 6:08 pm #

Yes, and any ‘asshole’ can not write a book.
***************************************************

Obviously, they can—and do.

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By diamond, December 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Yes, and any ‘asshole’ can not write a book. Your point is? You still haven’t answered a single question about the anthrax letters or the 9/11 families and that’s because you can’t without admitting that the whole propaganda effort on 9/11 is a construct, a narrative, a fiction from beginning to end, just like the fiction about what happened in the Lockerbie bombings and so many other ‘terror’ attacks that have black op written all over them. I realize it’s easier and more comforting to believe the official story but America is a mess: an apocalyptic, fascist nightmare and looking the other way and pretending all is well won’t make it go away. Enjoy your pipedream too: the one in which the generals aren’t running America, taking billions in tax for their wars, and the bankers, the CIA and organized crime aren’t in bed together.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 27, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Diamond:
If you argue with a fool then two fools are arguing.
You live in a fantasy world and think SOMEHOW, I actually give a $#it that you wrote 5 books.  As I said, Ann Coulter-geist has written a BUNCH of books and they are ALL nothing but slanderous garbage.  Bill O’Reilly has written books, as has every right-wing asshole who shills for fascism. (I’m not saying you are doing THAT).  My point is: your “credentials” are meaningless. Any asshole can write a book.  But whether that book is MEANINGFUL, well,that is something completely different.

You live in a world where Occam’s Razor doesn’t hold and everything “bad” MUST come from the US Government or Israel.  That’s simply a demented mentality (I won’t honor it by calling it a POV).

Enjoy your pipe dream.

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By johannes, December 26, 2009 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

Dear Sir Diamond,

Their are somme figurers on this site, they have an one way thinking, and discussion, and not much respect for others, and their way of thinking or idears.

Salutations

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By diamond, December 26, 2009 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

I’ve written five books actually ITW and you haven’t answered any of my questions including the ones about the 9/11 families and the anthrax letters but of course you can’t answer those questions,can you? It’s so much easier to call me a nut and go on living a delusion, isn’t it? Calling people names is not hard but thinking is and that’s where you fail. Actually thinking is just too much work for someone who slavishly believes anything the government tells them: even when that government is made up of criminals, liars, torturers and war mongers.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Diamond:

Enjoy playing with your mental blocks. Writing a book means nothing—Ann Coulter-geist has written several books.  Does that make HER some authority?  Lots of nuts write books—that doesn’t make them authorities, just someone who wrote a book.

Yeah, I think people who buy into your fantasy bullshit are idiots.  Don’t like it?  Not my problem.

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By johannes, December 23, 2009 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

I think I made an mistake, I must have sayd, that you find every where stupid and idiotic people, yes it has to do with education, or mis education, or just our society is gone the wrong way, sorry I always want to keep this on a human level, while we are all humans, also the humans who kill humans for any reason, their must be a way to stop this, its so ugly and against live, and against motherhood.

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By diamond, December 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Don’t you think I’ve had this conversation with enough of your sort to know that you are completely impervious to the truth and the facts, ITW? Because the truth and the facts don’t support your defence of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, on the grounds of ‘incompetence’. I’ve written a book about the 9/11 attacks (because I thought all the facts should be gathered into one place instead of scattered between the internet and vague,or misleading movies or documentaries) which I researched for the best part of three years and I can assure you that the facts prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the 9/11 attacks were a black op, a fabricated terror attack carried out to to create reasons for launching invasions the neo cons had been planning long before 9/11 ever happened. And even if you could explain away all the lies and inconsistencies of 9/11 (which you can’t) you can’t deny or spin the facts of the anthrax letters which contained weaponized anthrax from a CIA bio warfare lab and were sent to Democrat Senators in an attempt to implicate Saddam Hussein. And, of course, it’s just another of those extraordinary coincidences that Cheney and other neo cons had already started taking Cipro on the evening of 9/11.

It never ceases to amaze me that people like you are only too happy to say that the US government are a den of thieves,liars, gangsters and con men who take billions of dollars in tax money but never spend it on Americans and yet you swallow the story of 9/11 whole: as if the neo cons and the Bush administration are to be trusted on this one issue but on no others. Take it from me they aren’t to be trusted on this any more than on anything else and I’ve seen the proof.

Many of the 9/11 families agree with me, not you.

An open letter dated February 5th 2008 from ‘9/11 Widows’ contains this stinging rebuke to the 9/11 Commission:
‘I am willing to concede you were dedicated and labored hard on a difficult task but I am certainly not willing to let you all off the hook for hiring or not firing Phillip Zelikow, for avoiding the anthrax attack, for producing an obviously compromised and incomplete report, for not naming names, for not issuing needed subpoenas, for ignoring important witnesses, for giving too much credence to tortured co-conspirators, for concluding that the question of who funded the attacks is of ‘little practical significance’, for softening the report to protect the Bush administration, for the embargo on Commissioner comment until after the election, for overlooking the missing trillions from the Department of Defense’.

I suppose you think they’re fools too? What would they know? They only had their husbands killed on 9/11 in the neo cons’ attacks and I suppose they’re completely sick of being lied to about what happened and treated with contempt.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

rfidler, December 22 at 5:57 am #

So.

A week or so ago, this guy straps a bomb to himself, disguises himself in a burqa, walks into a medical school graduation ceremony in Mogadishu, and kills a few dozen people, mostly newly minted doctors ready to try and make a difference in Somalia, that god-forsaken country.

Oh, and in the name of Allah.

Who is he morally equivalent to?

Anyone want to give it a try?
*********************************************
Done.

Timothy McVeigh
Terry Nichols
Erik Rudolf
Scott Roeder
James W. von Brunn

All claim(ed) to be Christians to justify their murders of innocents.  They are no different than suicide bombers.

Are you really so blind that you think only Moslems can generate murderous killers in the name of their religion?

Gandhi was murdered by a fellow Hindu in 1948.
Yitzak Rabin was murdered by Egil Emir—a radical ultra-Orthodox fellow Jew.

Baruch Goldstein went into the Tomb of the Patriarchs and murdered over 40 unarmed Moslem worshipers before being killed himself.

You are a bigot if you think only Islam can prod people to commit atrocities “for God”.

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By jonathonk99, December 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

I don’t understand why we’re still over there?  We finally have the perpetrators
behind the 9/11 attacks on trial and this should have been done many years ago. 
But the fact that we keep fighting in Afghanistan means that we have to destroy
the whole colony which will be more impossible than Vietnam by a long shot, and
saying that we will get it done by 2011 is a joke only for those souls with the
blackest of humor.

The fact that Obama is starting to even sound like Bush is hilarious to me.  I’m
waiting anxiously.  For any day now, I’m anticipating O will unzip his suit and
there will be W wagging his tail, biting his upper lip, chuckling it all up with FOX,
and CNN, and all the other soap stations that conjure up false idols day in and
day out.

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By cabdriver, December 22, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

rfidler:

“But you can’t go so far as to say that, because a leader happens to be Christian, a la Rios-Montt, or George Bush, that he killed in the name of Christ.”

1) I don’t think anyone really “kills for Christ.”

2) I can’t say whether or not Efraim Rios-Montt is a convinced, fanatically insane Fundamentalist Christian, or whether he’s just fronting.

3) On the other hand, I’m fairly well assured that the Christian thing is simply a political ploy, for George W. Bush.

In this society, Machiavellian Antinomianism has it’s privileges.

I don’t buy GWB’s “dim-witted, simple country boy” act, either.

Ever watch the old teevee show “Green Acres”? George Bush Junior is Mr. Haney.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Haney_(Green_Acres)

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By johannes, December 22, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

To rfidler,


One of the reasens could by, education in countrys like Afganistan, Pakistan, Somalia, is no education to be found, and by sheer inbreeding, their are real lots of stupid an idiotic people around, that if you look them in their eyes its the same as looking in the eyes of a monkey, their is no soul to be found, its real fearful.

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By cabdriver, December 22, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

rfidler, before I reference the career of Rios-Montt (whom I previously erroneously Ided as Honduran- he’s actually Guatemalan) here’s some recent material on a rising star in contemporary Guatemalan politics- Hardol Caballeros:

“...The other vignettes on Transformations I feature a number of major figures, both religious and political, in the New Apostolic movement. One of the most influential in both of these areas is Harold Caballeros, recent candidate for president of Guatemala, and founder of El Shaddai, a 9000 member church in Guatemala City.

Caballeros is featured in the vignette on the transformation of Almolonga, Guatemala and is a Transformation Associate Partner. (Link here for more detail on Almolonga, a city that was supposedly transformed with 92% of the population “born again.” This transformation is reported in the video as closing all the jails, producing three harvest yearly of gigantic vegetables, and miraculous healings.)

Caballeros is a long time colleague of the leader of the New Apostolic Reformation, C. Peter Wagner, and is head of his own extensive Apostolic network in Central and South America. In July 2007, in an interview with Christian Broadcast Network, Caballeros was credited with a major role in the transformation of Guatemala from a “once exclusively Catholic country to one where 30 percent are now Protestants and six out of 10 Catholics label themselves Charismatics.”

These glowing reports, such as the above interview and the Transformation video vignette are used to advertise the evangelizing of Guatemala as a miraculous improvement of society. Historical accounts tell a different story of the role these religious activities have played in the political nightmare of the last several decades of Guatemalan history. This struggle continues.

Harold Caballeros has had connections to many of the controversial figures in Guatemala’s political struggles. Erwin Sperisen, former Director of Guatemala’s Policia Nacional Civil (PNC) belongs to Caballeros El Shaddai church. According to the New York Times, several officers in the PNC were dismissed in 2007 after a series of extra judicial killings.

  “The officers in these squads belong to evangelical churches, the official said, and see the extrajudicial killings of gang members, known here as `social cleansing,’ as holy work. But they also have begun to commit crimes for their own profit.” ( New York Times, March 5, 2007 )

Dennis A. Smith, a Presbyterian USA missionary in Guatemala wrote an article on Caballeros which was published by the Latin American Studies Association, and PCUSA.Sperisen, of the Policia Nacional Civil (PNC) used a weekly television show to provide police officers with the “spiritual resources they needed to combat the forces of evil.” Dennis A. Smith translates Sperisen’s statement,

  “The prophet and Apostle of Christ, Brother Harold Cabelleros and his wife, the prophetess, of whom I am a humble servant, instrument and means for taking them to Power in Guatemala and having a Government of God, were charged with the moral and spiritual motivation…”

  Smith also quotes Caballeros,

  “The death squads that still function within the PNC and the Ministry of Government, are a holy enterprise that is organized by agents and personnel from Evangelical churches that know our obligations to society…I must recognize that the story published in the New York Times on March 5 of this year is true; the “social cleansing” that, together with Carlos Vielman as Minister of Government we carried out in the institution, had to be done and must continue, as I understand has been ordered to the new authorities…”

In May 2007, Caballeros decision to run for President of Guatemala was applauded by Apostolic networks worldwide…”

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 22, 2009 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

So.

A week or so ago, this guy straps a bomb to himself, disguises himself in a burqa, walks into a medical school graduation ceremony in Mogadishu, and kills a few dozen people, mostly newly minted doctors ready to try and make a difference in Somalia, that god-forsaken country.

Oh, and in the name of Allah.

Who is he morally equivalent to?

Anyone want to give it a try?

Report this
rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 22, 2009 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

cabdriver:

Thanks for the response. I must confess that, broadly speaking, you could come up with a significant number of deaths attributed to the stupid “morality” laws that have come and gone in the US, under the rubric of Christian sensibility.

But you can’t go so far as to say that, because a leader happens to be Christian, a la Rios-Montt, or George Bush, that he killed in the name of Christ.

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By idarad, December 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Good and Evil
it all depends on where you stand

hey all - - -  celebrate winter solstice
time for nature’s beginning of recreation
join in - celebrate and plant the seeds of a new day

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By gerard, December 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

It’s the “them” vs “us” thing I don’t go for.  We are all us, you and I and him and her and them over there.  It’s one planet and the land is separated by oceans but it’s the same place and we are the same humans.  Differences are more accidental than real, due to historical and geographical changes beyond human control.

Nobody “belongs” here or there in the sense of “must stay, must not move”.  Such a rule might possibly work to some extent if there was a fair economic/social system worldwide—which there is not.  If I were starving in Mexico and could get a job picking vegetables in California, I would prefer being “illegal” to starving.  If Mexico and California had similar economic wealth I would probably prefer to stay at home in Mexico rather than to go north and face discrimination and second-class status.
  I have no more right to “make a living” than they. I have no more right to education and medical care than they.  The fact is that I am just luckier than they—through no superiority on my part whatsoever.  Luck is not fair; luck is not deserved. Luck is sheer chance, nothing else. Period.  End of sermon.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, December 21, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

The article would have been better titled;
“The Fallacy of Good and Evil”.
I always liked the Greek god Abraxas, who embodied both
“good” and “evil”, which to speaks to the duality of
humans; forever split and fighting their dual nature.
Until these aspects can be co-joined we’ll continue to
be the destroyers of worlds.

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By johannes, December 21, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

To Jean Gerard,

It wash just a fact he found, if it is right and good I do not know, their has to be laws and frontiers, otherwise our countrys geth absolutely un governemental.

I wish you succès in your daily work, nothing wrong with Mexicans, but a country is an closed system, and their is no place for them all, its just some small groups who are profitting from them and their cheap working price.

Salutation

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By Inherit The Wind, December 21, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

diamond, December 20 at 6:02 pm #

You can ridicule my so called conspiracy theories till the cows come home ITW. That doesn’t make you right and it doesn’t invalidate the truth.
*************************************************

And I will.  I’m right because the facts and logic support me and what you call “truth” is only the product of your irrational imagination that cannot recognize facts that ABSOLUTELY contradict your wild theories.

I don’t bend to persuasion, name-calling, rhetoric, or anything but facts. Then, it can change instantly.  Point of fact: My view on our continuing the war in Afghanistan changed overnight on three facts:

1) Al Qaeda is no longer (effectively) in Afghanistan.
2) The Taliban no longer had any taste or desire to support A/Q.
3) The Taliban is SOLELY interested in the region, mainly in retaking power in Afghanistan, making it none of our business.

But my POV won’t change based on YOUR “facts” and “logic” because they don’t add up.  Period.

You prefer Reynolds or generic?

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, December 21, 2009 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

pundaint, December 19 at 11:36 pm #
Outraged -

When did this happen with Buddhists?
=========================================
Burma (Myanmar) invaded Thailand about 400 years ago.
Cambodia (Kampuchea) invaded Thailand about 300 years
ago.
North Viet Nam invaded South Viet Nam after the
partition in 1954 when the elections failed to
happen.
Viet Nam invaded Cambodia on Christmas day in 1978.
Viet Nam and China have been fighting wars for 1000
years.

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By john crandell, December 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

In his brief article in the December 3rd New York Review, Gary Wills has said all that is needed.

“We sink deeper into blood, with no forseeable end in sight.”

“One of the strongest arguments for continued firing up of these wars is that none of these presidents wanted to serve only one term (even Lyndon Johnson, who chose not to run for a second full term). But what justification is there for buying a second presidential term with the lives of hundreds or thousands of young American men and women in the military?”

and:

“It is unlikely that we will soon have another president with the moral and rhetorical force to talk us out of a foolish commitment that cannot be sustained without shame and defeat. Presidents who just kick the can down the road are easy to come by. Lost limbs and lives are not.”

Nevertheless, I must add that some sort of void has formed within the sector of political life which we refer to as leftist or progressivist or liberal or Democratic and/or even populist. If this condition persists over the next six months, if no one personality were to step forward, if no significant opposition were to emerge, I’d simply fail to conjure words and sentences to describe such a situation.

I am not familiar with words of the Bible. But words such as ‘Shame’ and ‘Defeat’ do not begin to beg the quandary which all of us now inhabit. Having been raised in the Catholic church and having become a renegade after witnessing our effects in Vietnam and in Chile, the only word which I can think of at the present juncture is pestilence.

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By diamond, December 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

You can ridicule my so called conspiracy theories till the cows come home ITW. That doesn’t make you right and it doesn’t invalidate the truth. Can you imagine Bill Clinton sitting there like that? Can you imagine him going into the school and not asking a single question about the tower that had been hit? But why would Bush ask any questions when he already knew the answers? Can you also imagine Clinton being taken away somewhere while Al Gore occupied the Presidential Emergency Control Centre and acted as if he was the President when he wasn’t, in violation of the Constitution. But this is what actually happened and no one denies it, including Cheney. The question is why. People like you never ask that question because you won’t like the answer you’ll get.

Ask yourself a simple question: if you were President of the United States and Andy Card came up and and whispered in your ear ‘The nation is under attack’ would you show surprise, would you say ‘What do you mean? Tell me what’s going on.’ Bush bit his lip and looked anxious but he didn’t show any surprise and he said absolutely nothing. I suppose you’re familiar with the term ‘guilty knowledge’? What his face says to me is ‘“Well the shit’s hit the fan, the die is cast. There’s no going back now. Better keep my mouth shut.’ And knowing his propensity for inserting his foot into his mouth the neo cons would have told him to say nothing at all.

I find it incredible that you act if if mentioning 9/11 in the context of the war in Afghanistan is eccentric. Have you already forgotten that the entire invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq were based on 9/11, as was the War on Terror, Guantanamo Bay, military trials and the torture in Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Base, extraordinary rendition, the Patriot Act and even the anthrax letters being, as they were, a follow up to 9/11 to ensure the passage of the Patriot Act and to smooth the path to war. This is why people like me have trouble with the concept that the people of Afghanistan deserved to be invaded because of the lie that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks when a mountain of evidence proves it’s not true. Anyone who doesn’t know that by now doesn’t want to know.

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By jean Gerard, December 20, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Johannes, I’m from L.A.  Half the town is not speaking Spanish, though it is a
first language for a number of people there who have managed somehow,
against all odds, to flee from a poverty-stricken country in order to get a job,
earn a living, and send part of their meager paychecks back to help family
members left behind.

In a public school district where I worked in L.A.. County, we published
information for parents in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog,
Vietnamese and Korean. 

It is a sad/sardonic fact that we stole California (or a large art of it, including
pieces of other southwestern States) from Mexico, so it was their land once.  It
is also a sad fact that many of “us”:  white dudes regard them as “inferior,”
“illegal”, unwelcome, and “a lesser breed without the law,” and other such
discriminatory trash. People from other countries come for similar reasons.
Some of us want immigrants jailed, penalized, sent back, disenfranchised,
discarded any way possible. 

So far as I am concerned, their speaking Spanish (or wherever)  is fine, their
being here is fine, their having kids to be taught in public schools and provided
with healthcare at public expense is fine. I’ve taught evening classes in English
as a Second Language (for a pittance, by the way.) 

If we would have spent the last eight years of war money on taking care of
people instead of killing them, we would all be healthier and happier.  (Of
course we’d have to do something about birth control, but that’s another issue
staring the entire world in the face, isn’t it?)

First things first, and getting rid of prejudice and discrimination is just about
the top of the list in my book.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Willingness to turn Obama over to the Hague was a very reasonable
response on their part.

*******************************************

I’m sure the Taliban would LOVE to turn over President Obama to the Hague, especially on some trumped-up charge.

Diamond: I suggest you watch Fahrenheit 911.  Maybe to your tin-foil-hat conspiracy paranoids, Bush didn’t look surprised, but I saw something COMPLETELY different:

I saw a man TOTALLY taken off-guard, like a deer caught in the headlights. He had NO idea what to do, which IS TYPICAL of GWB when he’s caught off-guard—he freezes.  His brain CLEARLY shut down.

See, if Bush had been a COMPETENT leader OR had previous knowledge, his actions would have been the same:
He would have IMMEDIATELY said “Kids, I’m sorry, but something’s come up that’s very important. I’ll try to schedule a time when I can come see you again.”
He would then IMMEDIATELY have walked out and his first questions (especially if he KNEW it was coming and wanted to look innocent) would have been: “What do we know, and how recent and accurate is it?” “Where is the Vice, the SecDef, and SecState?” “What assets do we have in place?”

That’s what he SHOULD have done if he was competent.  But that’s also what he WOULD have done to look innocent if he KNEW it was coming.  Not sit there like a bump on a log.

That’s the problem with conspiracy paranoids—they can’t multi-thread—one-track minds. “X” means “Y” and even if “X” can mean “Z” instead, they can’t see it.

That’s why I ridicule your conspiracy theories, Diamond—they have obvious flaws.

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By cabdriver, December 20, 2009 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

johannes:

“My son visited Los Angeles, California, half of the town is speaking Mexican, its a slow but real taken back from the south of the US by the Mexicans.”

johannes, I live in California.

Centuries before there were “Anglos” (English-speaking settlers) in California, the original Europeans settlers were Spanish speakers. California was officially part of Mexico until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

Mexicans speak Spanish, not “Mexican”. The same language as is spoken in Iberia, with due allowance for dialect changes. Mexicans are mostly the descendents of the Spanish settlers and American Indians- who lived here even before the Spanish arrived. Although “Mexican” is a nationality, not an ethnic group…you know, there are Irish Mexicans, Chinese Mexicans, etc.

There are a lot of new immigrants from south of the border. But I’m an immigrant too- from the East Coast. I travelled further to get here than most Mexicans. And most of California, especially LA, is playing host to new arrivals from all over the world these days. It was always like that to some extent, but most of the overseas immigration has come in the last 25 years. Most of the new people are legal immigrants.

I gather that you’re European. Europe has settled cultural traditions to an extent that’s unimaginable in the United States- especially in California. The English-speaking white settlers of California, who are still a slight majority- about 52%- only got here about 160 or so years ago. Even Russian fur traders got here before the Gold Rush people, Americans who came here from the East Coast.

What I’m trying to explain is that California is used to this sort of dynamism. The Mexicans will eventually pick up English. As for myself, I’m going to learn Spanish. I like the language, it’s a logical code. English is spaghetti code in comparison- and I say this as someone who knows it through and through.

I’ve seen approximately zero evidence that as a population, Mexicans want California to break off and return to Mexico. Why would they want that? The Mexican government hasn’t done shit for most of them, which is why they’re up here. Although mostly they’re up here for the money, which accounts for the bumperstickers seen on so many of the vehicles of the immigrants (most of the Mexican immigrants are legal) that say things like “I wish I was back in Oaxaca” etc.

Just letting you know…I’ve lived here for a long time, and as a whitey I get no problems at all from Mexicans. Because I’m not a gabacho, I know how to treat people. Anyway, if you look up the ethnic mix in the Sacramento area, We Are The World. There’s no one big majority that can push the others around.

The Mexicans aren’t out to take over anything. That must irritate the rabble rousers with agendas for “Aztlan” or “reconquista” no end, but it just hasn’t caught on. The attitude of the general run of Califians and Mexicans to that sort of talk is “yeah, whativerr” (the Califians can do Valleyspeak as well as anyone.)

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By johannes, December 20, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

I cant understand that if this 9-11 is not a fiction, but is real truth, that you still can live in a country like that.

My son visited Los Angeles, California, half of the town is speaking Mexican, its a slow but real taken back from the south of the US by the Mexicans.

Woman are treated bad in Afganistan, but woman are treated bad every where also in the US.

the teaching of Buddhism is a very slow coming in to your self, finding your Ego, but not oppresing others, listning an contact with others is helping you, its looking for brothers and fraternity.

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By pundaint, December 20, 2009 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

Outraged

There’s nothing tricky about my language, I used nation with the standard
definition.

I didn’t say there were no nations with Buddhist majorities, only that none
of them have invaded others with the purpose of propagating Buddhism.

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By diamond, December 20, 2009 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

Yes, of course, ITW, you notice any coincidence on the Taliban side of the ledger but you totally ignore numerous other so called coincidences on the other side of the ledger, ranging from the fact that Larry Silverstein bought the entire world trade centre six weeks before 9/11 and insured it for terrorist attack in a way that stipulated that the buildings had to be ‘destroyed’ for him to collect and also had a clause that he and only he could rebuild, to the fact that George W. Bush was told by Deborah Loewrer (head of the White House situation room) before he even went into the elementary school where he listened to children reading The Pet Goat that the first tower had been hit. Bush didn’t look surprised, asked no questions whatsoever and just went into the school as if nothing had happened. Later when Andy Card told him that the nation was under attack after the second tower was hit he did the same thing. Sat there biting his lip, saying nothing, asking no questions until the secret service took him away to a secret location. Why? Because that was what he was told to do. He had been told to say nothing at all until the secret service took him away from the school. And, of course, it’s just another coincidence that the secret service didn’t even arrange for an escort of fighter jets for Air Force One which flew Bush around the sky completely unprotected, even though two hijacked planes were still supposed to be flying around. The secret serviced did however make absolutely certain that the entire bin Laden family was flown out of the United States without asking them a single question about the events of 9/11 or about Osama bin Laden. But don’t worry, it’s all just coincidental. And if you believe that I’ve got a magic flying carpet to sell you.

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By Outraged, December 20, 2009 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

Re: pudadint

I assume, since you did not specify you are referring to my comment: “A questionable premise.  First you must define “Buddist NATION”.  To that end, entertain the statistical data regarding Buddist “nations” at this site:
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/bstatt10.htm

I was NOT AT ALL attempting to quote you, I was referring to your switch from the usage of the words “christian nation”, “islamic nation” and “jewish nation” against the broader term/concept “buddist”.

To be clear, your original post:

“By pundaint, December 19 at 11:36 pm #


Outraged -
Have Christian nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
Have Islamic nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
Have Jewish nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
When did this happen with Buddhists?”
**********

According to you, other religions have a supposed NATION…. but buddists somehow (according to your premise as I understand it) do not….?  I will say it seems spurious to conclude that NATIONS composed mainly of buddists (some 90% and more) who have engaged in the very same malicious acts, should be given a free pass.  Additionally, this is the reason I linked to the statistics of “buddist nations”. (quotes mine, of course)

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By pundaint, December 20, 2009 at 12:13 am Link to this comment

Outraged -

The common usage of quotes is to indicate exact words, yet you
characterize my comments by using quotes around things I didn’t say,
and criticizing me for your fantasy.

If you care to address what I did say, have at it.

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By Outraged, December 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Re: Mr. Pfaff

Quote: ” The Pharisee placed himself in the front row and reminded God of all the good things he had done, and his rich gifts to the temple, saying that he thanked God that he was not like other men.

Easily I could make the same conjecture regarding your position.  From where I sit, you claim “purity” and “goodness” by opposing war.  Also claiming that you have “washed your hands” of the matter as far as helping the VICTIMS of this ideology, even though you KNOW the Taliban is a heartless and vicious entity.

I could easily “re-title” your article, “The Fallacy of Good vs. Evil in Afghanistan” to be “The Fallacy of Purity vs. War-Monger in America”.

Quote: “The Taliban government in Afghanistan had no grievances against the United States until Washington attacked Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban were observing what they considered their code of honor, to give hospitality and protection.”

I have news…. Capone had “a code of honor” too.  Are you seriously taking the Taliban’s bloviating as a legitimate stance?  Get out.

They are drug runners, murder people… even fellow muslims, chop off the limbs of those “offensive” to THEIR particular brand of Islam and have repeatedly engaged IN EVERY TYPE OF CORRUPTION IMAGINABLE.

Their treatment of women, which btw… let me remind you, women are human beings..... is worse than the treatment of pet rats in America.  You claim this bothers Pres. Obama (apparently because the supposed “war-monger” according to your ideology is such a “softie”).  You make NO SENSE!  I hope it “bothers” our Pres…. but I agree…. I think to his credit it does bother him.  Good for him.

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By Outraged, December 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

Re: pundaint

The first portion of my last comment was directed toward you.  Sorry for the confusion.

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By pundaint, December 19, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Refusal to totally cooperate is not the same as total refusal to
cooperate.

Willingness to turn Obama over to the Hague was a very reasonable
response on their part.

If we’re so committed to Democracy, it would only be appropriate to
limit our military actions outside the US to what the World as a whole
thinks is appropriate as decided in the UN, as we have no better world
forum available.  Our 2001 invasion was not so authorized.

Having an argument to offer based on an interpretation of International
Law, is not the same thing as authorized or permitted by international
law. In fact there are some experts on international law who believe our
leaders then are war criminals.  But I say not until they have their day
in court.

I am not endorsing the Taliban here and it would be great if the UN
could institute a formal petition process to address the concerns of
oppressed people world wide.  It is not an appropriate role for the
United States to impose it’s will inside sovereign nations militarily.

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By Outraged, December 19, 2009 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

Re:

Your comment: “Have Christian nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?  Have Islamic nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?  Have Jewish nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?  When did this happen with Buddhists?”

A questionable premise.  First you must define “Buddist NATION”.  To that end, entertain the statistical data regarding Buddist “nations” at this site:
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/bstatt10.htm

These are not nations, I personally… would want to fashion myself after, especially as a regular jane/joe.  You intermix two separate yet not necessarily separate issues, but that’s REALITY.

Things are not so simple as you attempt to make them.  Broad conclusions based specifically upon ONE condition are illogical.  It doesn’t work that way, in this regard Buddists are no different than anyone else.

Re: ITW

Your comment: “Again, the belligerency of the Taliban was appropriately (under Intl Law) interpreted as…a belligerent act—an Act of War.

An item that is ALWAYS omitted in analysis of the 9/11 attack is that JUST prior to the attack, the most respected leader of the Northern Alliance was assassinated by agents posing as reporters sent by…the Taliban.  Too close to 9/11 to be coincidental.”

I agree.  While it may be difficult for some, all of us need to assess the facts AS THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES TODAY, get off our high horses and stop imagining that there is a utopia that will save or protect us.  I have known very few people in my life that “love war” although certainly these exist too.  Aside from that, we are now confronted with a complex situation and it needs to be addressed as such.  Pfaff’s simplistic “us good”, “you bad” analysis as the sentiment of the majority of Americans is erroneous.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

This thread is full of more idiotic clap-trap from BOTH left and right wing posters it makes me think ANY attempt at intelligent criticism of Pfaff is a wasted task.

First off, “Islamofascism” is a bullshit right-wing made up term.  The MAJOR fascist movements in the world (eg, Fascist, Nazi, Filangist, etc) have ALL been Christian, yet are NOT the same at all as radical religious fundamentalists (of any religion). If any come closest to Fascism, it’s American nutty right-wing Christians, but technically, even they cannot be called “Fascist” in the TRUE Mussolini sense of the word.

Here’s the pith of Pfaff’s argument:
The Taliban government in Afghanistan had no grievances against the United States until Washington attacked Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban were observing what they considered their code of honor, to give hospitality and protection. Today they are trying to seize back control of their country from the rival Tajik people (of the old Northern Alliance), to whom the United States in 2002 had awarded Afghanistan, in return for their help in taking it away from the Taliban.

Naturally, his interpretation is flawed.  The Taliban gave aid and comfort to Al Qaeda.  Hospitality issues aside, after the 9/11 attack their refusal to TOTALLY cooperate in prosecuting their guests who formulated that attack,  constitutes, under International Law, an Act of War.

Rather than say “Prove to us Al Qaeda did it” the Taliban should have said “We will IMMEDIATELY launch a full-scale investigation and we invite the USA to participate, albeit according to our law”.

Again, the belligerency of the Taliban was appropriately (under Intl Law) interpreted as…a belligerent act—an Act of War.

An item that is ALWAYS omitted in analysis of the 9/11 attack is that JUST prior to the attack, the most respected leader of the Northern Alliance was assassinated by agents posing as reporters sent by…the Taliban.  Too close to 9/11 to be coincidental.

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By wildflower, December 19, 2009 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

RE Pfaff: “I don’t see any just wars anywhere these days.”

Your thoughts here remind of some things another reasonable man said. Believe it was around the time of the Viet Nam war:

“. . . I have learned that an age in which politicians talk about peace is an age in which everybody expects war: the great men of the earth would not talk of peace so much if they did not secretly believe it possible, with one more war, to annihilate their enemies forever.

Always, “after just one more war” it will dawn, the new era of love: but first everybody who is hated must be eliminated. For hate, you see, is the mother of their kind of love. Unfortunately the love that is to be born out of hate will never be born. Hatred is sterile; it breeds nothing but the image of its own empty fury, its own nothingness. Love cannot come of emptiness. It is full of
reality.

Hatred destroys the real being of man in fighting the fiction which it calls “the enemy.” For man is concrete and alive, but “the enemy” is a subjective abstraction. A society that kills real men in order to deliver itself from the phantasm of a paranoid delusion is already possessed by the demon of destructiveness because it has made itself incapable of love. It refuses, a priori,
to love. It is dedicated not to concrete relations of man with man, but only to abstractions about politics, economics, psychology, and even, sometimes, religion.”

[Thomas Merton – Seeds of Contemplation]

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By pundaint, December 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Outraged -
Have Christian nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
Have Islamic nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
Have Jewish nations ever invaded other nations to impose their ways?
When did this happen with Buddhists?

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By jean Gerard, December 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Outraged:

Well, you rather overloaded your criticism, but anyway thanks.  Whatever I said has
upset you.  I’m sorry for that.  It’s difficult to comment on religion and politics
without raising hackles, and the combination of religion plus politics is dynamite.
And generalizing is always dangerous and to be taken critically, as you have done.

You have lived up to your name, to boot.  Cheers.

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By Outraged, December 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Re: jean Gerard

Your comment: ” It’s a huge problem, and
Americans are peculiarly subject to it, as are some Muslims and some Jews.  Buddhists seem relatively free of fundamentalism, but I don’t know enough to
say for sure.  Many faiths have this bizarre fringe of certainty that appeals to insecure people—the more insecure, the greater the appeal.”

Blankets statements loaded with rhetoric are either propaganda or belief as a result of propaganda.  It is not necessary to “fact-check” your “analysis” since basic logic dictates the falsity of your claim.  You claim, “Americans are peculiarly subject to it, as are some Muslims and some Jews”..... and your proof of this is what?  “Americans,  some Muslims and some Jews” are not any MORE susceptible to any mantra, rhetoric, lies or myth than others…. what nonsense.

It is apparent that you recognize the invalidity of your comments when you say, “but I don’t know enough to say for sure”.... I agree.  Your last comment is particularly loaded, you claim….” Many faiths have this bizarre fringe of certainty that appeals to insecure people—the more insecure, the greater the appeal.”  Hmmm… insecure CERTAINTY, isn’t that an oxymoron.  How do you suppose that these folks are “insecure” as you claim?  It seems ridiculous to consider that Taliban drug runners are insecure, or that Billy Graham was insecure.... how about Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin…..and the rest?  We could name hundreds (thousands?... maybe hundreds of thousands???) the world over in fundamentalism… American or not, who are NOT insecure and Buddism has its own supposed “truths” and radical elements.  From Wiki:

“The Buddha of the earliest Buddhists texts describes Dharma (in the sense of truth) as “beyond reasoning”, or “transcending logic”, in the sense that reasoning is a subjectively introduced aspect of the way humans perceive things, and the conceptual framework which underpins it is a part of the cognitive process, rather than a feature of things as they really are. “Beyond reasoning” means in this context penetrating the nature of reasoning from the inside, and removing the causes for experiencing any future stress as a result of it, rather than functioning outside of the system as a whole.

Most Buddhists agree that, to a greater or lesser extent, words are inadequate to describe the goal of the Buddhist path, but concerning the usefulness of words in the path itself, schools differ radically.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism

All religion can radicalize and even in the same breath have some valid tenets.  To be fair it isn’t ONLY religion that radicalizes, although when we speak of any certain religion in the wider context, ALL have radical elements however to claim that religion is the only concept which can radicalize is also without merit.  For example, greed can radicalize and so can corruption.  In fact, the these two can be one and the same, but are not necessarily so.

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By Glen Wayne, December 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Level Five…Timeless     empirePie   December 19th, 2009

Enjoin the many to enjoy
the season of lopped trees
and squeamish ‘we can be’ s
who prefer to stare
than prop up care

Enjoin the empire to enjoy
the ‘pursuit of happiness’
what a ploy for the hoi polloi,
the new age serfs on planet turf
the plan for,..... planet turf…..
Turn blue
let’s bathe us in our toxic stew,
the red the white the blue

Listen up you hoi polloi
top the season
top a tree
decapitate for level three

Listen to the ooze of juicy fluids
as you spike the head to warn the Druids

Immerse yourself in virtual carnage
tis the season to stick jolly
real life is too real to part advantage
the empire is collateral
It’s worth more for damage
So…  ‘forget about it’

Stick up for joy
joy stick for level four
another season so let’s score

Chill out the mark by the fire
wireless and tireless
level five is…...

timeless.

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By cabdriver, December 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And who the hell is the “Family” on C Street?”

I think this is the organization being referred to is the one in this article:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2003/03/0079525

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By cabdriver, December 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

rfidler: “How many people have the “Christofascists” killed in the name of Christianity?

Give me a number.”

It’s difficult to assess- the criteria vary- but I’d say that the political-extremist strain of American Protestant Christianity has killed some thousands of people in connection with various religiously motivated political persecutions. The easiest to tabulate is the tally of Alcohol Prohibition- at least 1200 people killed by law enforcement agents practicing “shotgun dry law”  enforcement resulting from the Volstead Act. American Prohibitionism was entirely inspired by the USA’s extremist form of Protestant Christianity. If one wants to add in indirect costs, that adds in around 40,000 dead and 200,000 crippled from black market moonshine.

The toll in lives from the present Drug War- yet another extremist American Christian Crusade- has yet to be tallied. After all, it hasn’t ended yet. But the numbers are not negligible. The Dungeon State that’s been built over the last 30 years as a result of the Drug War has imprisoned millions, over the years. It’s a religious inquisition that actually differs very little from that of the Wahhabi and Salafist Muslims, in terms of its motivations. The only saving grace is that the USA has a network of civil rights and human rights protections that work to make the persecutions more mild than they would be in an extremist Muslim regime. So we give people trials- using the contents of their pockets as prima facie evidence of guilt- and then imprison them instead of summarily executing them, the way the Salafists would deal with a similar problem. But the motivations are very much the same- the idea that the impurity resulting from the use of (some) drugs will undermine the foundations of the civilization, just like the Salafists view makeup and miniskirts to undermine the foundations of their civilization.

If the considerations go beyond US borders, then one has to add in the effects of the extremist Protestantism that informed the regime of Efran Rios-Montt of Honduras, a leader of death squad cleansings of the heathen Indian tribes and left-wing guerrilla movements in his country in the 1980s. That’s only one example: there are others. The Argentine Dirty War movement was formulated as a Christian Anti-Communist Crusade- the only difference being denominational-  the religious totalitarians of the Argentine junta were Roman Catholics. So were the other neofascist regimes in the Southern Cone of South America in the late 1970s and 1980s, who pursued similar campaigns.

To return to the case of the USA- there’s no other nation where Protestant Christianity is so politicized, and so extreme.

China was worse, in the 19th century- a charismatic Christian cult got out of hand and the war that resulted, the Taiping Rebellion, killed something like 30 million people (and I bet you never heard of it!) That history at least partially accounts for how it is that the Chinese regime such a fear and loathing of groups like Falun Gong in the present day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion

But the USA takes the cake, as far as both the power of extremist-fanatic “Fundamentalist” Protestantism, and the insertion of religion directly into politics.

“Can’t say I’ve heard any reports of anyone on our side yelling “Onward Christian soldiers.”

I’m an Army brat, the son of a military officer and West Point graduate. My family was never fundamentalist, or even all that regular in church attendance- but when we attended chapel on the post in the 1960s, “Onward Christian Soldiers” was a favorite hymn, and almost always sung.

And then there are songs like “Praise The Lord, and Pass The Ammunition.”

I consider myself to be a Christian, these days. But not like that. I went back before Protestant or Catholic, and read the words of Jesus.

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By is this article for real???!!!, December 19, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

dumbest article I’ve ever read…..how did this make the cut? Trying to draw a moral equivalence between the “west” and these dark age cave dwellers is so ridiculous and exercise that my mind flooded and shut down with the sheer volume of disparities! one kept emerging through the fog as esoteric and demonstrative as any; Western leaders don’t get into ARTILLERY DUELS OVER POSSESSION OF A 14 YEAR OLD BOY!! such as been documented in Afghanistan!

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By montanawildhack, December 19, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

to Cain is Abel,,,,


As to your question concerning the moral equivalency between the Taliban and the United States of America——I will not dignify that with a response…....

Good day to you sir….

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By montanawildhack, December 19, 2009 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

OK, here’s the deal… Plain and simple…

The United States of America has troops in 130 of the 192 countries recognized by the United Nations..

That spells EMPIRE no matter which way you slice it..

So, ipso facto, hows come I ain’t gettin sum???

I ain’t got no cute little 17 year old slave girl doing my house chores and providing sexual favors like in the good old fashioned days when being an Empire really meant something…

So, if we’re going to be an Empire than, gosh darn it, let’s do it up right….

“Everybody wants some… I want some too.” Van Halen

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By johannes, December 19, 2009 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

To Jean Gerard,

Its all a moment picture, its moving in all directions and is changing all the time.

If you think of the first humans as just a little bit more intelligent as apes, than can you understand that some people dit like to bring some rules in to civilisize them ( out of paradis ), I found some, Alevism Moslims, they live with some clear human rules.

When you take an step back in time, you will see how it is moving, the picture is so differend after lets say 2 or 3 generations, people come to gether or mix up, or make war, in our societys its stres and fear, that push people to dogmatic religieus thinking or to anarchism, we live in and with the zeitgeist, their are almost cosmic powers working on our planeet so much power have some groups, and it are no possitive powers, other wise we could go back to Paradis.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

jean Gerard:

Now THAT was an excellent piece! Thank you.

You have no business hanging around truthdig with us trolls.

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By jean Gerard, December 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is sad but true that many people in this country are moved by religious
rhetoric.  It is also very dangerous because it is learned as The Truth. 
Unfortunately, freedom of religion means freedom to believe myths, lies,
folktales, commands, restrictions, superstitions, and moral and ethical
principles.  Many people can’t tell the differences.  Many people will follow
preachers who themselves can’t or won’t tell the differences. It’s “all we know
and all we need to know.”  Period.

This sad state of affairs can only be improved with good education that teaches
people the differences, the historical beginnings,  the uses and misuses, the
contexts and all that stuff which people often resist and resent learning about
because it threaten to destroy their mental/spiritual feeling of self-satisfaction,
righteousness and comfort.  Sorting the truth from the fictions is just too darn
much trouble.

Frankly, I don’t know what to do about this.  It’s a huge problem, and
Americans are peculiarly subject to it, as are some Muslims and some Jews. 
Buddhists seem relatively free of fundamentalism, but I don’t know enough to
say for sure.  Many faiths have this bizarre fringe of certainty that appeals to
insecure people—the more insecure, the greater the appeal.  One answer is
probably to shore up their physical security—that is, enough food, clothing
and shelter to survive.  But that won’t do it all. The rest depends solely on kind,
gradual reassurance and broadening mental horizons. 

There are people in my own family I can’t talk to about this.  I know it hits
home with many these days of rampant insecurity—war, joblessness, cruelty,
cheating, lies from the top down.  There is something in human beings that so
wants to be loved and cared for that they will cling to absurdities if those
absurdities satisfy that deep need and nothing else does.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

pundaint:

“Christianizing the military” is not the same as “killing people in the name of Christ.”

I repeat to you: How many people have the “Christofascists” killed in the name of Christianity?

Give me a number.

Flummoxed:

I don’t think I ever said “Afghans” are killing people for not being Muslim. I said Islamofascists are killing people, including Muslims, for not being sufficiently Muslim.

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By lichen, December 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Good posts Johannes. 

The current opposition against the illegal US occupation of Afghanistan and their peasant-murdering policies is a rainbow group; it is not just the Taliban, and nor is it precisely the same people who were once the government of Afghanistan.  They are nationalists who want crusading christian armies out of their country; many of them were innocent people who have lost their arms, legs, wives, children, houses, and livelihoods to US guns and bombs.

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By Flummox, December 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

rfidler

Afghans do not want to Kill Americans for not being Muslims, Afghans are not even killing us. They are not in America killing Americans, we are in Afghanistan killing Afghans. Why are the simplest truths so hard to grasp for some people? It is tiring to listen to people rattle on with their conspiracy theories that only justify the very worst impulses America has to offer the world.

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By BelizeanMike, December 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

There is good in bad, and bad in good.

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

rfidler-

Simple google searches will provide you plenty of references to the
Christianizing of the US Military, servicemen are evangelizing occupied
populations, the pentagon is being sued over it.

You can also get plenty of info on the family with google searches.

Well, I’m done with this issue, see you on the next one.

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By Valatius, December 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

I also was disturbed by Obama’s mouthing the old Bush good & evil rhetoric, as if there weren’t plenty of evil committed by the best of governments. But history requires a president to make plenty of deals with leaders who have blood on their hands. Sending aid to Stalin was certainly essential to ending Naziism. And making deals with Afghan warlords and the Iranian theocracy should certainly be among the options Obama ought to be considering, if we are ever to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan.

The most I can hope for is that Obama is just peddling this rhetoric for domestic consumption and is willing to make the necessary compromises to get us out of there.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

pundaint:

And how many people did those people kill “in the name of Christianity?”

I heard a lot of reports of “Allah Akbar” being yelled by suicide bombers.

Can’t say I’ve heard any reports of anyone on our side yelling “Onward Christian soldiers.”

And who the hell is the “Family” on C Street?

Where do you get this stuff?!

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

rfidler-

Bush Rice Rumsfeld Cheney are Christians.  The “Family” on C Street is
Christian.  The minister Rumsfeld picked to pray at the Pentagon on
Good Friday in 2003 is famous for preaching that Islam is the Devils
Religion.  Most of these folks adhere to sects believing the Armageddon
myth.  House Speaker Hastert, a Methodist had a 100% rating from the
Christian Coalition in the two years before becoming Speaker.  Colin
Powell is Episcopalian.

So you can see how I might have been confused.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

johannes:

“...well its up to us the people the citizen to stop this killing, ans do things our way the human way.”

Why isn’t it also up to the Taliban to quit killing and sit down and talk about things?

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

pundaint:

“... in 2001 the Christofacists were the American Government.”

The neocons (read “Jews”) are Christofascists?! The Israel lobby is Christofascist?!

If I recall, Bush used the word “crusade” once, right after 9/11, was roundly and correctly criticized, apologized, and never used the word again. Besides, the word is very easy to misuse. Every cause nowadays is a “crusade” of some sort or another.

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By toddboyle, December 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

All the wars since at least WW2 have NOT been self defense, these have all been aggressions. The U.S. has killed millions of innocent people in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq. Those people never attacked the U.S. So why did we kill them? And why do we kill, throughout Afghanistan today and onwards, into Pakistan? Did those people attack America?

90% of those people killed, were noncombatants, even in Iraq it has not changed. Children, elderly, bystanders. The U.S. Congress, the President, and the military command knowingly kills innocent civilians because they regard the lives of U.S. soldiers more valuable.

These are horrific deaths—burned to death, buried under buildings, shot with automatic weapons, artillery, blasted by high explosives, often dying lingering deaths from infection or disease, or starvation.

I strongly disapprove of the entire US military. For shame. They are not defending us. And they know it.

Why do we allow the militarists to define their business as “honorable” when we can so easily disprove and destroy their myth? Stand tall, every day, and explain that all their killing is dishonorable and a disservice to America.

The US congress and President are institutions out of control. Their activities are obviously immoral. They are in an illegal status, violating laws and treaties. They aren’t defending the U.S.—they’re defending “U.S. interests” i.e cronies and contributors in corporations, many not even in the U.S. These wars are actually making the rest of us *less* safe.

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By mandinka, December 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

The Peace prize has gone the way of the Oscars its no longer achievement why politics, its been that way for 20+ years. So if i was a democrat I wouldn’t take any solace that he got it since even he knew he did nothing to earn it.
The real issue isn’t good or evil but a religion based on rape murder and child abuse. You had Mohammad married to a 6 year old is there anything in history more perverse??
Muslims are a religious sect or even a religion just a sick group of perverts

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By anonymous, December 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

william pfaff, noam chomsky, howard zinn, and chalmbers johnson need to have a website devoted entirely to them; so i wouldn’t have to tread through all of the truthdig muck to eventually reach a historically-relevant intellectual article.

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By jean Gerard, December 18, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Though I don’t know what will come of it here , I’m glad to see some discussion
of the so-called “Just War Theory.”  High time to drag it out into daylight.  It
has done far too much damage already.

Nobody ever fights an “unjust” war—every war ever fought was thought by
both sides to be “just.”  Point-of-view may have been totally opposite, but both
sides believed (catch that word “believed”) their side was “just” and the other
side was “unjust.” 

What was “just” and what was “unjust” about the “Just War Theory” was decided
not by a well-qualified “court of justice” with the intention of making a fair
judgment on the basis of evidence etc. etc. In fact the hodge-podge of so-
called “rules” that were adopted were loaded in favor of the medieval Church
attempting to justify its own wars in opposition to wars of kings, emperors and
sultans fighting against the Church and against each other. 

How anyone who knew anything at all about history could still to this day put
any credence in such a theory is beyond belief.  Yet the “theory” is still believed
as military gospel—more or less—with wiggle room here and there to allow
for such outrageous things as the A-bomb, poison gases, germ warfare and
other such ghoulish evils.

Time for a Just Peace Theory.

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

rfidler -

Yes, and in 2001 the Christofacists were the American Government.  It
wasn’t an accident that they characterized their war of aggression as a
crusade.

And that still doesn’t give us the moral right to impose our opinions of
government on the people of Afghanistan.

The Taliban, as with Saddam did not attack us.  They both had good
reasons not to trust us, and we’ve given the world more reason not to
trust us in future by our wars of aggression.

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By johannes, December 18, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

To rfidler,

You can not compare this two systems.

They live in and with their religion, no rat race as we have, I do not say I like their ways, but its not up to us to play the moral men.

In your country are the prissons full, well in short its no paradis either, people are working hard and on the end they can loose everything, its an other way of looking to things.

But maby its bether to come to this people and help them and speek with them, and try to come to an frienship, and understanding.

I think on the long run we can not win this war, well its up to us the people the citizen to stop this killing, ans do things our way the human way.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

pundaint:

Back in 2001, the Taliban was Afghanistan, just like the US government is the US. The Taliban wants to be Afghanistan again, which is why they are fighting us.

Let’s do a body count over the last two decades: How many pro-abortion, pro-health care(who could possibly be anti-health care?), pro-science people have been murdered in the name of Christianity compared to the number of non-Muslims (and Muslims!) killed in the name of Islam?

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By johannes, December 18, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

To Montanawildhack,

Take your time and make a little study about Moslims, say in Turkey, their are various ways of beliefing, one I like is the Alevism, its a very human and on a deep human feeling build religion, nothing wrong with that kind of people, they are closer to me as the Christians, no some Christians.

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By copernicist, December 18, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Look, friends: The point of the article is not the specific instance of our latest “discovery” of Monsters-to-be-Slain; it is the Pharisaic self-justifying arrogance long recognized by all observers able to escape the grip of Our-Land-uber-alles narcissism –  the nationalist disease not unique to any one pack of delusionaries, whether Old World, New World, or OTHER World, by which I mean the Our-God-is-Better-Than-Yours Brigade of Murder-Offering Magic-formula Murmurers. The simple error/trick/insanity, as Pfaff says, is “WE are GOOD THEY are BAD” , with adjustable actual content., so that Bad Things Done By THEM become Good Things if/when Done By US…& vice versa, etc on puerility playground level ad nauseam.
To apply to any circumstances affecting US,  one need only remember an axiom of anti-Copernican Washington Weltmachtzeit =  the solar system revolves around the Inner Beltway…    hence Those Who Refuse to Align Their Orbit Properly….are ENEMIES of the Prime Mover…  Blessed be Our Hand of Wrath that Striketh…. [fill in names…]

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By ruhullaha, December 18, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

In reading news articles from variant alternative media outlets, like, “Truthdig,”  I have had the great pleasure of experiencing thought provoking articulate article which have a historical inclusion. The article, “The Fallacy of Good vs. Evil in Afghanistan,” by William Pfaff, certainly adheres to the criteria of an articulate standard supplying a clarification in history.  Prior to reading the article by Pfaff, I had no idea that American influence had forced Osama bin Laden and his followers out of the Sudan. Nor did I know that the Taliban’s cultural extension of hospitality and protection caused them to become a target. 

Prior to leaving the United States for an extensive travel period, I had gained a measurable respect for alternative news.  If for some reason, I had not been able to view Democracy Now, I would feel that something was missed from my day.  With such an applaud-able availability of world news, my question or concern now becomes is not the level of intellectual discernment and the advanced stage of enlightenment of the American citizenry stronger than its silence.  How could the old pull the rabbit out of the hat of good verses evil delusional chicanery stand in the reality of an educated society?

Does it not bother the moral collective conscious of this nation which holds the posture of the most powerful military in the world, that, that nation has gone to war with the poorest country in the world?  Perhaps, the moral conscious has become convoluted within mortgage foreclosures and corporate downsizing.  I must end this comment now.  I think I have disturbed my Ch’i

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By Cain is Able, December 18, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

pundaint,

You are right the Taliban is not a country, not anymore.  Andy the US is in Afghanistan to try and keep it that way.  We are not perfect but we are also not 1/4 as bad as you and Mr. Pfaff believe.

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Call me crazy but the Taliban is not a country so a comparison between
Taliban and the US is inappropriate.  The Taliban is a political group, of
fundamentalists.  A better comparison would be with the Christofacist
anti-abortion anti-healthcare anti-science murderers.

I can’t pick a favorite between Islamofacists and Christofacists.

Does any other nation have a moral right to invade the United States to
save us from our Christofacists?

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

johannes:

Christians got over killing non-Christians for being non-Christians about three hundred years ago. Biblical Christianity could no longer support it. The Koran, on the other hand, is pretty explicit about how to treat infidels.

You’re right, we kill for money, but sex and religion are still potent reasons.

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By Cain is Able, December 18, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Montanawildhack, so you believe there is a moral equivalent in the actions of a regime like the Taliban and the US.  How can you justify that?

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By montanawildhack, December 18, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

johannes,,

You are right, of course…. My point is that it’s just the same old bullshit and lies over and over and over….  It’s sad…

And it’s people like Cain is Able that need to check themselves into a mental hospital…

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By Cain is Able, December 18, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

The context of good vs evil is a false one.  It is about right and wrong without a religious context.  If anyone on this blog who thinks that the world would be better of with more regimes like the Taliban and less like the US is simply out of their mind.  our that the people in Iran are better than those in Israel.

If you can justify that then you need to seriously consider checking into a mental hospital.

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By johannes, December 18, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

To rfidler,

If you go back some staps in time, you will see people who killed people, why they where no christians.

Now we kill for money, bloody stinking money.

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By rico, suave, December 18, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Pfaff’s column is just anotherr exercise in moral equivalency.

How many Christian churches would survive in a Taliban-run Afghanistan?

How many Muslim mosques are there, unmolested, in the U.S.?

The Taliban want to kill us because we aren’t Muslim. We want to kill them because they want to kill us, not because they’re not Christian.

Paolo: Nice try, but you’re no libertarian.

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By johannes, December 18, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Montanawildhack,

Are you speeking for all the US citizen, or just for your father afther some drinks.

The war mongers who where earlyer living and working in Europa, are now working from out the US, sorry for you but thats how it is.

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By montanawildhack, December 18, 2009 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

Permit me the liberty to quote myself from a previous post as there is nothing in this column worth quoting…

“To engage in a discussion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without mentioning the Israeli and Zionist influence is an exercise in futility.”

It’s like discussing WW1 and concentrating only on the bullshit line that we were going to war to “keep the world safe for democracy.”  Yeah right…  That was the First HUGE bailout of the bankers…. The banks had loaned billions of dollars to the limies and frogs and their Princton Buddy Wilson wasn’t about to see them lose it if the Germans kicked their asses!!!!!  Solution…. Send in the American cannon fodder!!! 

As my Dad used to say after a few martinis, “The god damn Europeans have been fighting one another since they were living in caves and running around in bear skins…We should have let them fight it out on their own.”  God bless him, he was right of course… WWI spawned Hitler and the pollen that was to fertilize the ovaries of WWII….

And these two illegal and immoral wars are producing thousands and thousands of “pollen” that, in time, will catch the right wind, make the long journey to America and “fertilize” a “plant” capible of causing much pain and death…...

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By johannes, December 18, 2009 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

To Anonymous,
Same feelings here !

To Lichen,
As a young men I have visited the whole aria of as we call it small Asia, real people, living their way, very sober, I feel sick if a see how they are ript to peaces by this whole so called democratic people, it stinks.

As you say leth them live their lives as they wish.

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Paolo-

A Leftist view:

Obama is no leftist!

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By Gordy, December 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Right on Mr Pfaff!  Good use of the Pharisee/poor man
Parable.  A little humility would save lives and future
shame heaped upon shame.

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By Paolo, December 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

A libertarian view:

As a libertarian, I agree wholeheartedly with Pfaff’s analysis. I only wish such views were more widely accepted on the left, particularly by the Obama Administration.

Actually, the invasion of Afghanistan, which both major political parties laud as completely justified, was nothing of the sort.

Afghanistan, at the time, had no treaty with the US for handing over alleged criminals. Even so, the Taliban government made a perfectly reasonable demand: “show us the EVIDENCE that bin Laden was behind the 9-11 attacks, and we will try to capture him, if indeed he is even in our territory.”

The US provided no such evidence. On the contrary, bin Laden has denied any complicity in the 9-11 attacks. Yet, on the basis of SECRET “EVIDENCE,” we invaded a sovereign nation on the far side of the globe, and installed our own Satrap, who oddly enough was once an executive with Union Oil Company. Gosh, what a surprise.

Ron Paul advocates a policy of non-interventionism along the lines of Switzerland’s famed neutrality. Boy, is he ever right on that one.

Dennis Kucinich, from the left, advocates a similar policy, to his credit.

As Pfaff says, should we be surprised that Muslims want to defend their fellow Muslims when we launch attacks on them, killing thousands of innocents?

Anti-war, anti-state, pro-freedom.

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By anonymous, December 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jim Jones hobnobbed with politicians, Presidents, and led a “church”: his followers drank poisoned Kool aid & died; he got a bullet in his head instead of “getting away with all the loot”;
John Beeson, a Godly man in 1854, in Oregon, upset over the massacres and butcherings of human beings known as Indians, wrote letters to editors; a Judge intercepted it, and he became a hunted man.
Democracy you see, meant setting the TRUTH to the side & painting a “different” picture, false reports, and didn’t give a hoot about Justice at all.
His diaries read that illiterate men who could neither read nor write said THIS is the way it will BE! and sadly, to this day, THIS is called “democracy”;
Positioning, by Al Ries, in 1972, states that for $35 Americans are billed $1,000,000.00; checking BACK to see Hawaii taken over by USA military for “American businessmen” interests: show that BEFORE Hitler, BEFORE Mussolini, FASCISM was ALREADY in place & working in the USA under the MASK of “democracy”;
Top politicians & others in “high” places, communicated with Hitler on a regular basis; in order to “deceive” the masses, tell great big lies is attributed to Hitler: but SHOULD have been to Rockefeller & others; especially the one: the USA is “good”: Donald Rumsfeld, is the one: & he has been called by his own friend, Henry Kissenger, the WORST despot the Earth has ever seen.

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By lichen, December 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Disgusting serial killer US soldiers have no right to enter Afghanistan, steal the land, resources, and sovereignty of the people, commit war crimes and murder on behalf of the criminal bush/obama administrations.  Afghanistan belongs to Afgani’s, including the taliban, and, unfortunately, their twins the corrupt warlords of the karzai government, as well as the peasants in the mountains who are none of your business.  Leave and shutup.

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