10 September 2004
Wed Sep 8, 7:08 PM ET
By Georgie Anne Geyer
WASHINGTON -- Several months ago in North Carolina, where many American military officers have retired, I ran into an elderly general I had known in Vietnam. He was always the personification of the "officer and a gentleman," a man so honorable that even members of the press had nothing to say against him.
We chatted about our melancholy memories of meeting in Vietnam in the late 1960s and, of course, we talked about Iraq. Finally, he said sadly, shaking his head, "And I thought we were different."
This week, as we approach the third anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, one question hangs over many in the country, surely most of the people I meet. It is no longer a question of whether we can "win" this war (we cannot, in any traditional sense, without a cost so humongous it would destroy us morally as a nation). It is no longer a question of whether the purported reason for the Iraq war was false or even falsified (we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the WMD threat did not exist).
No, this third anniversary brings us face to face with a deeper and endlessly haunting question: Have we changed as a people so as to be willing, as the polls show us, to re-elect men and women who have misled us and lied to us every step of the way? And others: Are we willing to accept the fact that, even as our American losses topped 1,000 this week, we probably also killed up to 2,500 "insurgents" in only the last week? Have we, the rational, "exceptional" people of our history, been overtaken by the war fever and that same identification with the demented warrior-leader as lesser peoples throughout history?
War never stands alone. It quickly develops its own rationale, its own being, its own hypnotic power -- and the neocons who used a naive president to get us into this war knew that from the start. People never get out of a fight, despite knowing it is hopeless, midway through the conflict, even when it becomes abundantly clear that it is in their interest to do so. (Read Barbara Tuchman's great "The March of Folly" and compare Iraq to her examples of human "folly," from the Trojan Horse to Vietnam.)
Nor do wars simply end, even for the victor. All of Europe suffered for the next 50 years (and, indeed, until today) for the Allies' "winning" World War I, with the bloom of British, French and German youth destroyed and the stage set for the next world war. In the uneven and unexpected practice of war, no one ever walks out the door the same way he walked in.
Even the administration now admits the doleful truths of Iraq. This week, the Pentagon acknowledged that "insurgents" control important parts of central Iraq and that it was unclear when American and Iraqi forces would be able to secure those areas, much less hold elections in January, which has been the supposed answer to everything. (You can bet that forces will not go into those areas until after the American elections.)
In fact, many in the administration, especially the career uniformed military who have been privately against this war from the very beginning, are simply reflecting in slightly muted terms what the major military analysis groups of the world are saying.
Britain's highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, for instance, in a bleak assessment of where the U.S. stands 18 months after the launch of the war, suggests that at the most, the U.S. and its coalition can hope only for a "muddle through" scenario -- holding the country together but falling short of the original goal of creating a democracy friendly to the West. The Middle East team of the institute, which is chartered by Queen Elizabeth II, warned that Iraq would be lucky if it managed to avoid a complete breakup and civil war and if the country did not become the spark for a vortex of regional upheavals.
Still another bleak report came from the Carnegie Endowment by the accomplished scholar Graham E. Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. He warns that while Islam and democracy are not incompatible in principle, the "increasing radicalization of a Muslim world that feels under siege is creating a highly negative environment not conducive to strengthening moderate versions of political Islam." Until the external sources of radicalization are diminished, he writes, such as the Palestinian problem, the departure of U.S. troops from the region and an end to the "broad-brush, anti-Muslim discrimination resulting from the war on terrorism," there are no grounds for optimism.
In short, our presence there is working directly against our purported reasons for going there. And if President Bush is re-elected, the Palestinian problem will almost surely have reached its point of no return, as Israel expands and the next target of the Great Anti-Terrorist Crusade becomes Iran. War without end.
Is this what the American people really want? Have we changed so much, from our mission of being an example to mankind to becoming its emperor? All one can really do on this third anniversary is pose the questions.
08 September 2004
A question was asked of me today, one which should have had a simple answer.
"Do you believe that anyone actually believes that religion has any thing to do with the hell that is going on in this world?"
Certainly religion is bandied about, called by many names, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and their sub headings, Catholic, Anglican, Baptist; Sunni, Shiit, Kurd; Orthodox, Reform, Shepardi, and the really dangerous one, Fundamentalist.
Certainly, I thought. Many millions of people believe religion is the foremost point in all of the terror. Muslims want to kill Christians and Jews, Christians and Jews want to wipe out Muslims, Catholics want to remove Protestants from Ireland, and it goes on and on and on!
But, I thought, do the people who are actually causing all of this horror, the major money people who control the purse and puppet strings; do they believe it is religious?
Karl Marx stated that religion is the opiate of the people. This is a very true statement. When people are left alone to practice their own religions, along side of their neighbor who practices his or her own different religion, and no one pours shit into the mix and stirs the pot, people live in peace.
Do those who insite and run these wars, who provide the guns and bullets and bombs and armies to fight these wars, who grow ever wealthier from the spoils of wars, do they believe in God? Do they believe it has anything to do with religion? Only in that it makes a convenient weapon for use against those that do believe.
I ask you to think, before 9/11, when you saw a Muslim person on the streets, in a shop, did you consider for one minute that this person hated you because of your religion? Did you feel any hatred towards that person based on their religion? Did you then, and do you now have any first hand knowledge of what Islam is or teaches? I speak of knowledge gained other than from media reports of the seedier side of Islam such as the Taliban. If not, why do YOU believe that the Muslims wish to wipe out Christians? Because someone told you so?
I would like to remind my Christian friends of a bit of History. When Jesus was born, he came into the world in a stable. Why? Palestine, as it was then called, was a province of Rome. The province had more or less self-rule, by the Sanhedrin, the wealthiest and most influential of the Jews. They and their friends were the merchants and moneylenders and property owners and supplier and contractors to the Romans garrisoned in Palestine. Being under Roman rule was very good for their cooperate welfare.
However, there were very large tributes to pay to Rome, much of that in gold and silver. These came from very high taxes, not paid by these wealth men, but by the poor people. Joseph took a very pregnant Mary on a very long journey to be counted and to be taxed.
By the time Jesus was grown, these wealthy Jews had spread their influence to the entire of the known world. They ruled in their own country, with the backing of the largest and most powerful nation in that part of the world. They had the people by the proverbials. The Roman yoke was in reality a very heavy yoke placed upon the people by the wealthy.
Jesus upset their plans. He spoke out against the wealthy consortiums, upset the tables of the moneylenders, and caused a slow down in the collection of wealth by the rich. It had nothing to do with religion, not to them. But they used religion to remove him. They used their influence with Rome, their positions as the collectors of tribute, the suppliers to the garrisons, their control of wine and oil and the luxuries of life to influence Rome to have the "suspect" tortured, humiliated, beaten and murdered.
Now, in that same city, wealthy men who happen to be Jews, but who are in reality godless moneylenders and self serving merchants, supported by the largest and most powerful nation in the world, are using their influence to have people tortured, humiliated, beaten and murdered so that they might profit, and they are using the religious beliefs of the rest of us to do it with.
In Washington we have a man sitting in the chair in the oval office, but the man who in fact serves as head of state and who makes the decisions, has stirred the hatred, has made you and your neighbor no longer able to practice your religions next door to each other in peace. That man and his mob don't believe in God. They only believe in Power, and in cold hard cash.
I have been accused, more than once, of Anti-Semitism because of my views. I wish to state, here and now, that I do not believe the majority of the Jewish People have any blame for what is being done in the name of religion than do the majority of Americans are to blame for the deaths in Iraq, and no more than the majority of Muslim people have to do with the deaths on 9/11 and subsequently.
I DO believe that the STATE of Israel, the current Regimes in Washington, the multination corporations such as Halliburton and Monsanto and the arms manufacturers wish us to believe that it is all about religion. I believe that it is the work of the MOSSAD, the CIA and their sub agencies that are committing many of the terror attacks, which we have seen over the past years. Where the terrorists die, suicide bombers and the like, most of tem have been spurred on by provocateurs, or by the loss of their own families in attacks by Israel or the USA led coalition, or who have had their religious faith corrupted by those who wish to ferment hate.
Let me make one thing clear, I do NOT condone any killing of innocent people for any reason by any one. Not even for understandable reasons such as having your pregnant wife shot dead because she got in the way of a snipers aim, or finding your wife and children dead under a pile of bulldozed rubble that was your home.
The Sanhedrin rules again, with the Roman Eagle in the guise of the American Eagle topping their standards. The poor are once again under the heavy yolk of taxes and poverty while the already wealth fill ever-bulging bank accounts and garner ever more power over the rest of us.
It has nothing to do with religion, except in the minds of the spinners and stirrers. If each person who believes they must hate their neighbor because of their religion, were to instead take them by the hand and together turn that hatred back upon those who ferment it, then, and only then will FREEDOM and PEACE come into this world.
Katherine A. Juestel
USA Citizen by Birth
Australian by Choice