Saturday, March 3, 2012

The War On Terror: How it is Affecting Politics and Society Today

by S. Paul Forrest

Retrospect is an amazing thing.  Decisions rendered in the past can many times be looked at with this tool of reason in order to protect against future mistakes. It also gives one the opportunity to recognize the motives for decisions made by others in situations which seemed at the time, confusing or conflicted.  Given the religiously charged, national security centered, political frenzy of late in the race to reclaim the Presidency, the War on Terror and the rhetoric accompanying it, now more than ever, makes poignant sense.

Post 9-11, America experienced a wave of legislative acts to combat terrorism. With these acts, political propaganda and media manipulation began to promote a wave of nationalism not seen since World War II. The cries for a Christian rebirth to battle the "evil empire" both domestically and abroad had surfaced and with it, a new form of control over the people’s opinions and actions which we still today, are having to battle. In retrospect, these events were the beginning of not only our National march toward an offense-oriented military policy abroad and a police state at home but the surge of Christian Reconstructionism; introducing a Constitution-crushing march toward the militaristic and theocratic blindness we are experiencing now.

The Beginning of the End
Energized by the attack on New York's Twin Towers, the fevered cry to protect our national security became more prophetic than the "shot heard round the world" which heralded our American Revolution. In the case of the War on Terror though, the barrage of missiles and anti-Islam air raids against Iraq were the shots that heralded our current march toward a new National agenda; operating in direct conflict with Constitutional freedoms America had once stood proudly to represent. It is reasonable that a certain amount of security enhancements were necessary after these attacks, but when the Christian revivalists and War mongers embraced the moment as an opportunity to promote their agenda and reclaim America as a Christian Nation, a proverbial line in the sand, had been crossed.

Rather than accounting for the actions that predicated 9/11, the radicals inside the Christian Reconstruction movement, fervently backed by political hopefuls and angry, misinformed Americans, began to lead our nation not only to the brink of financial destruction, but defined what we as a nation were to become over the next, ten-plus years. The Pied-piper-like hypnotism employed was not condemned as it should have been by the People, but rather was fueled by corporate ambition and propagated apathy for the long term affectations of these actions. In addition, President Bush embraced the fear he and his cohorts had conjured as a weapon to not only advance an underlying agenda but as a fanatical tool to win a second term in office. If it hadn't been for the reawakening of We the People to the religious fervor which would follow, the future would have been very different.

Political Advantages
Riding this wave of spiritual renewal and expounding upon their unique brand of judgment against the Nation of Islam and any who do not believe what they do, the “Christian Right” embraced a new cross with which to march when 9/11 occurred.  Taking our political conundrum to the next level, many candidates jumped onto the band wagon of “Patriotism” with condemning anything and everything that did not agree with their movement’s agenda.  They also brought to bear, the rhetoric of American reclamation, backed by media power and the politics of distraction.

Promises to restore family values, our Founding Father’s intentions and impassioned speeches of "Social Conservatism" to lead us from the dregs of the economic mire we were in sinking into, facilitated this rise to power but the reality of the matter pointed to one intrinsic truth:  The lessons learned through the history of support by the Christian Right equated to victory in voting lines.  This powerful tactic which was utilized by President George W. Bush to win a second term, had not been forgotten. Many of the contenders realized that never has there been and never will there be a more powerful aphrodisiac than the wicked web of “Faith” to convince an unsuspecting flock to follow without question.

2010 saw the affectations of this when the Republican faithful turned out in droves to elect their brand into State and Federal level positions in record numbers.  Believing that somehow faith and vitriol against any who opposed them would save us from economic destruction, they gained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and Governance in several, independent States. The candidates, with the support of a strengthened base, managed to engineer this resurgence in a very straight forward manner, utilizing the fears Americans had about another attack from “terrorists” and promises of bettering the state of the American economy which had imperiled so many of us.

As stated by Max Blumenthal, “Had Bush not cultivated the Christian right as his power base or courted its leadership as his informal advisors, re-election would have been impossible.” Bush clung to and exacerbated this movement in order to rally the vote the best way he could. Any who stood in opposition to this movement though, were immediately castigated as non-Christians or un-Patriotic and therefore, un-American. The vitriol created surrounding the so called, evil of Islam and the unceasing opinion making from mainstream media serving the whims of those who supported this movement convinced many of “We the People” to back the movement, inevitably driving our nation toward a series of war efforts and ushering in, our present day, all too real, financial anemia. 

Case in point: When Barrack Obama rose to the forefront of the political race in 2007, he was immediately castigated as a non-Christian premised on the fact that he was born into a Muslim family.  Even when news broke of his conversion to Christianity at 18 years old, his ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright; the reverend to which Obama had listened for twenty years, was labeled as radical for having asserted that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own form of "terrorism”.  He was condemned and Obama with him, for speaking the intrinsic truths preceding 9/11 and for pointing out America's own brand of global terrorism.  But truth has never mattered much to those who have profit to make and people to control. Truth is the antibody of ignorance; a disease which was spread unconscionably by these zealots of control hiding in the shadows of Biblical Law and contrived Patriotic rhetoric.

As time marched on and Barack Obama won the title of President of the United States of America (despite the vehement objections from the Right Wing and Christian Reconstructionists), the next battles were already being planned. In the continued fight against any non-Christian Right affiliated, Obama was labeled as a Muslim, a non-citizen, a Marxist and on and on.  The right had made it a mandate across its political spectra, to attack President Obama instead of working with him to help our nation out of the present crisis.  Anything he did was across the board blocked by the supporters of the movement.

When traveling overseas to try to ease the tensions of a growing war and to ebb the rising affectations of the ecclesiastical hatred against Islam, he was accused of “bowing” to foreign leaders and apologizing for American actions.  In retrospect, most agreed that what he was apologizing for were actions our nation had taken which threatened our own financial health and represented a national policy against global solidarity. Despite his efforts, the War on Terror continued to feed national isolation and "exceptionalism" while dividing this Nation’s people without prejudice.

The Monster behind the Curtain
Anti-Islam vitriol is still being thrown around by candidates to energize their base and further the agenda of the Christian Right.  Instead of the real issues facing this nation which are supposed to be centered upon by these aspiring "Representatives", we are again hearing that Obama is supporting America and in fact, “a threat to our security” because of his proposed cuts to "Defense".  There are claims of his "phony theology" from opposing candidates and ambitious political pundits who have concentrated their efforts to accuse him of being a big government, socialist spender.

The fallacy of this argument lies in the anti-Christian tenet surrounding it. The Christian Right faithful in Washington demand a balanced Budget but will not give any less on War.  What they have proposed instead of reducing the very financial black hole which has caused so much financial strife in America, is reductions in education, workers rights, women’s heath and social assistance to the unemployed and poverty stricken. These measures are justified by these self-proclaimed Christians to promote their fiscal conservatism but in reality, they stand in direct conflict with the faith for which they march.

What is more dangerous than Biblical governing proposed by some candidates, is the blind race to oust President Obama and how those against him have become so willing to compromise their own Liberty. With the fervent desire to win, many who would not normally follow these would be Theocrats have shut their eyes to the outcome of a rise to power.  Even the Tea Party, who has so vehemently spoken of Constitutional Rights, are willing to ignore the trampling of it to gain power.  The idea of questioning faith of any candidate and forcing them to somehow pass a test of their level of Christianity, directly assaults the very thing they have said to support: The United States Constitution.  Article VI, paragraph 3 - No Religious Test Clause states the following:
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Unfortunately, the War on Terror and the fervent quest toward a Christian reclamation of this Nation have given license to attacks against our Constitution. The truth of the matter is; most people who are listening to these proclamations and accepting them as necessary procedure, aren’t really looking for a religious reclamation; they just want Obama out of office, no matter the cost.  They are consciously allowing the altering of our Nation to do only that.  What a Santorum would do to this nation’s freedom is so horrifically worse than what Obama or Bush have ever done. Retrospect will not help us when Theocracy or worse, Theonomy; is allowed to control our Nation. 

The Means Justify the End?
The continued push to demonize ANY person deemed to be among the “unfaithful” who were and currently are, the targets of this movement, is why we stand here today facing the worst challenge to our Nation’s future since McCartyism or for that matter, Nazi Germany.  It is not the Muslims who will destroy this Nation; it is those who would follow so blindly the teachings of Theocrat propelling the rule of a God-State. All this was made possible and continues to be energized by the religious battle against Islam courtesy of the War on Terror.  Through this means, the ignorant acceptance of Theonomy in our government has taken root.  Only by understanding it will We the People prevent it from dominating our political landscape and by proxy, our social one to our united detriment.

In speaking of the Christian Right, one must be sure to understand who they are.  It is not simply those people who are Christian in Government or Republican voters who attend Church but rather, a movement with the desire to turn this country toward a single Political Party of rule through a process called Reconstruction. The Christian Right is;
“chiefly an American movement spelled out by Armenian-American R. J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) in the 1960's and 1970's and calls for a nation's laws and society to be based on the Ten Commandments as applied through the interpretations of a religious elite to everyday situations; necessarily, it rejects democracy and any form of secular political philosophy as an ideal foundation for government. Christian Reconstructionism's ideal society would include the elimination of public schools, the denial of full citizenship to non-Christians, and the death penalty for adultery, performing or having an abortion, blasphemy, homosexuality, heresy, and even persistent rebelliousness against ones parents, with the definitions of these terms and offenses being crafted by the religious elite.”
In terms of Theonomy, a splinter movement of the Christian Right, Jay Rogers from The Forerunner, gives a list “intended for the defense against the misunderstandings and apprehensions regarding some of the goals of Christian Reconstruction.” Reading this list will give one a better understanding of what the movement is about as opposed to listening to the opinions of those who oppose it.  Reading this piece is essential to fully grasp the concept of Reconstruction and the drive toward it. This is no conspiracy theory or an attempt to derail or chasten any one particular political party; this movement is real and quite dangerous. If not checked, it will transform our nation into the antithesis of the freedom and justice.

Christian Reconstructionism is not a new movement but when the War on Terror began, it has gained incredible momentum. We are seeing it daily in the Presidential race and other political elections across the nation.  From Bachmann to Santorum, the speeches surrounding America as a Christian nation have littered the airwaves.  Even Mitt Romney has been attacked as “not Christian enough” because of his Mormon faith and President Obama has been labeled as “a son of Islam”. This rhetoric is accepted readily due largely to the War and right wing media’s incessant desire to propel the idea that “all Muslims are terrorists”.

We see the affects of the War on Terror on our social structures as well.  When Occupy Wall Street began to gain momentum, restrictions from the Patriot Act and National Security Act began to rear their ugly heads.  "Free Speech Zones" were enforced and police officers, who once were charged to serve and protect We the People, were given free license to "harass and collect" a role which many embraced with fervor.  Airports became homes for molestation and our roads, open to unwarranted search and seizures.  This was the new America to come and far many people came to accept it.

In an analysis of the War on Terror and its affectations of social interaction with government rule as well as the self-destructive affectations within that society, Human Rights Defense has outlined the following as to what the War has done to our Liberties:
"The freedoms of a democracy can be and are abused, but this, it seems, has frightened democratic governments to such an extent that they have decided to limit these freedoms up to the point that they are in danger of abandoning their values, and hence doing the work of the terrorists for them. It can be acceptable to limit certain rights for the protection of other rights (see also this post), but the right to security has taken on an absolute priority, at the expense of all other rights. There is no reasonable balance anymore. Some have called the war on terror a “war on freedom” (source).  
1. Civil liberties 
Governments try to defend their countries against terrorist attacks by limiting civil liberties in their territories. 
 The right to privacy has been limited: CCTV has become ubiquitous, DNA databases have been created, eavesdropping and wiretapping have been legalized etc. “No-fly-lists” have come into force, limiting the freedom of movement of even those who have written critically of the government or attended peace-protests.Hate speech laws  have been voted to silence jihadist hate preachers, silencing others at the same time.  
“Racial profiling” by the police has turned innocent people into possible suspects, often inversing the burden of proof. Habeas corpus  has been limited, periods of detention without charge extended, sometimes indefinitely (for “enemy combatants”).  
However, in spite of all this, the constraints on a government’s actions within its territory are sometimes still considered to be inhibiting: “Extraordinary rendition” has been covertly practiced, allowing suspects to be tortured outside of the territory by professional torturers in other countries. 
Extra-territorial prisons have been created, in Guantanamo, but probably elsewhere as well, where suspects can be tortured or held indefinitely and where the Geneva Conventions supposedly don’t apply.  
2. Mentalities 
The war on terror has also changed people’s minds and attitudes. 
The media have started to censor themselves. Solidarity with the government at war and the commander-in-chief, or the fear of being perceived as unpatriotic, appeasers, “useful idiots” or even open allies of the enemy has turned them into uncritical supporters of the war.  
Citizens have turned on Islam and Muslims. Xenophobia and more specifically Islamophobia have undermined the ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism, and have in certain cases even led to hate crimes against Muslims.  
A ”culture of fear” has been created by the terrorist but also nurtured by irresponsible western politicians. This fear has damaged democracy. Not only have the media relinquished their traditional role as watchdogs. Politicians as well, and especially incumbents, have abused the fear of terrorism to harness support. Alert levels seem to go up just before elections.  
3. Preemptive war  
The US government has elaborated and implemented the strategy of preemptive war, a war waged in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending (allegedly unavoidable) war. (source)"
We have seen all of these things come to fruition within our American society and abroad, through our militaristic policies.  Recently, as if to test the resolve of us "patriots" in the path of these "national security" initiatives, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or the "NDAA". This Bill allowed indefinite detention of those people "suspected" of terrorism or associations with those who would propagate it.  Even the man who promised to veto this Law, President Obama, as if to cow down to the special interests controlling our government, signed it with only the words of "I have the power to detain Americans… but I won’t", as if that makes it all better.

Censoring the Internet, outlawing “assembly”, creating laws to arrest dissidents and continuing to denounce any who would stand up in protest of this system on anti-American governance continues, unchecked.  What We the People must do is strengthen our War on America’s Terror: That force which caused 9/11 and continues to propel an Offensive Military Regime globally. Everyday, Americans are inundated with the false rhetoric of "patriotism", "national security interests" and Christian Morals and in their wake, the Laws pile up and our Congress continues to abandon their responsibilities in a greed driven, flurry of service to their campaign contributors.  They spin tales woven with half-truths and lead us down roads paved with false intentions only to convince us all that somehow the America way of life is still alive.  

Those of us who are aware and know differently, the truth is something unspoken by these quasi-representatives.  We recognize that America is an endangered species and truth telling, a lost art. Martin Luther King, Jr. had once proclaimed, “The Truth shall set you free!” Apparently, that is not what the religious factions and war supporting masses propelling the discussions within modern, political circles are quoting, though.  To We the People who are paying attention, the non-truths being uttered by this new wave of zealots will only serve to further our ideological imprisonment and ultimately, precipitate the loss of our National person-hood. In retrospect, especially considering the lack of self-evident truths proclaimed in the sermons from the proponents of this military minded, religious renewal, I can ironically, only manage to utter, “May God Help us all!”

Be sure to read: They Take Our Money For War

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