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Forum Post: Anticipating Apocalypse on the Road to Damascus: Dominionist US Military Superiors Find Common Ground With Islamic Extremists

Posted 10 months ago on Sept. 11, 2013, 5:07 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5854)
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Anticipating Apocalypse on the Road to Damascus: Dominionist US Military Superiors Find Common Ground With Islamic Extremists

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 10:19 By Mikey Weinstein, AlterNet | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18754-anticipating-apocalypse-on-the-road-to-damascus-dominionist-us-military-superiors-find-common-ground-with-islamic-extremists

A trivia question (that’s not so trivial): How many U.S. military senior ranking officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), thrilled to unbridled giddiness with the prospect of America’s “humanitarian” attack against Syria – on a basis of “Biblical” prophecies – does it take to make a national security crisis?

Answer: Only one. But we have well over 250 of them at least. Read the below and weep.

We’ve been down this gloomy road before, my friends. The United States military is once again on the brink of bathing an already war-torn region in the baptismal waters of “regime change.” Even the most casual observer knows that this action will set in motion a vast spectrum of “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns” (to borrow former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s euphemism for “cluster-f***”). The world sits with bated breath anticipating the cataclysmic worst.

Politics make for exceedingly strange bedfellows, and the universally-known Carl von Clausewitz pronouncement that “war is the continuation of politics by other means” remains eternally valid. Thus, we see a bizarre mixture of George W. Bush-era neocons, “hope and change” Obama liberals, Israeli right-wingers, and Christian fundamentalists united behind an incredibly ill-conceived military intervention in Syria. However, this travesty isn’t the only bizarre phenomenon that’s been witnessed along the “Road to Damascus.” There’s also the eschatological aspect, the ebullient anticipations of blood-drenched apocalypse shared by U.S. military personnel and Islamic extremists alike. More on that shortly. Secretary of State John Kerry’s claims notwithstanding, one of the major components of the Syrian rebel forces (the “good guys” who we’re backing) is an alliance of al-Qaeda style extremists. This sundry group includes such exemplary “democrats” as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar al-Islam, the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and non-Syrian mujahideen spanning the whole of Eurasia from Britain to Chechnya and Pakistan. A veritable rogues’ gallery of enemies of America if there ever was one. It’s long been an openly acknowledged fact that this international group of supposed “freedom fighters” isn’t fighting the tyrannical Assad “regime” alone, but every supposed “infidel” it can get its bloody hands on. These miscreants aren’t the cartoon terrorists from such films as “The Delta Force,” “True Lies,” or “Behind Enemy Lines.” The targets of their murderous predations aren’t simply American and Israeli stereotypes played by typecast actors from “The Brady Bunch” and ”The Partridge Family.” No, their hatred encompasses just about anyone and everyone who isn’t keen on rolling the clock of human civilization back to the violent conditions of Arabia during the times of the Prophet Muhammad. Their hit-list includes the ancient Aramaic-speaking Christian communities, Shi’ite Muslims, Sufis, and even one another.

For these nefarious extremists, their guiding motivation is a crude eschatology, an “End of Days” Islamic apocalypticism. This dreadful vision foresees the Return of Jesus Christ (an important prophet in the Muslim faith and the Messiah), who will lead the “godly forces” in a battle against the “forces of evil” (the Islamic Anti-Christ, or dajjal, and Satan).” Where will this battle take place? Damascus, Syria. Thus, it was with severe worry that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the civil rights and constitutional defense foundation of which I’m Founder and President, received the shocking testimonials of over 250 armed servicemember clients regarding the obsessed anticipation of apocalypse emanating from their superiors among the ranks of officers both commissioned and non-commissioned, spanning all four service branches. The Book of Revelation is their blueprint for “success” and they are all too happy to trumpet this “Good News” to their helpless armed forces subordinates. You see, they interpret almost ANYthing that will further inflame the Middle East, and its nexus to bloodshed in Israel, as a divinely prophesied accelerant or lubricant to hasten the End of Days apocalypse wrought by their avenging warrior “flavor” of Jesus Christ. The proposed attack on Syria has these U.S. military superiors licking their chops in delicious delight as an absolutely necessary and foretold event to herald the advent of the Armageddon they pray for endlessly.

To be sure, our very own American Jihadists, the fundamentalist evangelical Christian Dominionists, are just as steeped in the horrendous expectation of “rapture” as our ostensible Islamist foes. How about a good example? Permit me to present to you one Rod Parsley, leader of the enormous World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, and one of the most influential leaders of the fundamentalist dominionist Christian movement in the USA. Parsley’s fire-and-brimstone tinged sermons regularly include promises of a 200-mile long river, four and a half feet deep, filled with nothing but the blood and gruesome remains of those slaughtered by his weaponized version of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. After describing this unimaginable river of endless blood and death, Parsley delivers his rapturous denouement by raising his hands to the ceiling and exhorting his massive thousands of eager-beaver congregants to “Rejoice! Rejoice, for the worst is yet to come!” According to this past couple of weeks’ batch of new MRFF clients, “Rejoice, rejoice!” is precisely the sentiment of their military superiors, the highest ranking of whom is a 1-star Brigadier General, senior commander. These avid anticipators of “Rapture” are anxiously awaiting the battle of their lives, the battle to end all battles. In their sick minds the fighter jets and bombers of the United States Air Force and the vessels of the United States Navy are simply Jesus’ means for raining fire and brimstone down from heaven.

Yet another Rod Parsley quote, delivered on the National Mall in Washington is most apropos: “Shout overthrow . . . we’ve come to overthrow the forces of darkness. To overthrow the Bible-deniers, the God-haters, and those that desire to get us out of the public square … We’re a force to be reckoned with!”

Indeed, in the warped minds of the hordes of Dominionist Christians in the United States military, up is now down, black is now white and rainy day is now sunny day.

Besides their crisp uniforms, regalia, and clean-cut appearances, how are these seditious Dominionist officers, NCOs, and top brass in our armed forces any different from the psychotic Muslim extremists who spread unspeakable death and destruction among civilian centers in their own cities, towns, and villages? Both are united behind the unholy maxim: “Kill them all, God recognizes his own.” The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is often completely unjustly accused of being anti-Christian. Paradoxically, many of these accusers now advocate a major American role in support of those who are waging an actual brick-and-mortar, blood-and-sinew genocidal onslaught on the Christians of the Middle East. The supreme irony of this development would be laughable if the real-world implications weren’t so nauseatingly ominous and saturated with the immeasurable gore of shed innocent blood.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

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[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5854) 10 months ago

Chomsky: "The Mafia Doctrine," or the Crucial Issue for the US in Syria Is Credibility

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 13:20 By Johannes Hautaviita, Truthout | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18900-chomsky-the-mafia-doctrine-or-the-crucial-issue-for-the-us-in-syria-is-credibility

On September 10, 2013, President Barack Obama postponed the nonbinding congressional vote on whether to authorize the use of military force against Syria. Obama acceded to the diplomatic efforts, outlined by Russia, to secure and destroy the chemical weapons arsenal of the Assad regime.

Against the backdrop of Obama's failure to mobilize the international community as well as international and US domestic public opinion behind a military assault on Syria, the Russian proposal, immediately accepted by Assad, provides the Obama administration with a way to avert strategic disaster.

However, Obama made it explicit that the US military will "maintain their current posture - to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails." The threat of force in international relations is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter.

The officially presented reason for the US threat of military action against Syria is the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians by the Assad regime. Thus far, credible evidence supporting this claim has not been presented. Also, US condemnation and outrage over the use of chemical weapons by Assad seems rather peculiar, given Washington's history of systematic practice of large-scale chemical warfare against civilians.

During the Vietnam War, the US dropped nearly 80 million liters of toxic chemicals on Vietnam. Roughly 50 percent of these chemicals consisted of Agent Orange, which contains "perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man," in the words of Arthur Galston, Professor Emeritus at Yale University.

It is estimated that US chemical warfare, authorized by John F. Kennedy in 1961, killed or maimed 400,000 Vietnamese and caused birth defects to 150,000 to 500,000 children. Between 2 million and 5 million Vietnamese were exposed directly to Agent Orange. In 1977, when asked to comment on whether the US has a moral responsibility to help rebuild Vietnam after the war, then then-President Jimmy Carter maintained, that "the destruction was mutual" and that the US should not "apologize," "castigate" itself or "assume the status of culpability."

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US military used white phosphorous and depleted uranium. In Iraqi Fallujah, which was assaulted by the US Marines in 2004, the increased rates of cancer, leukemia and infant mortality are reported to be higher than among survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

When looking at this track record, it seems reasonable to conclude that the reasons for the US military threats against Syria are unlikely to be principled US opposition to the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Buried beneath lofty rhetoric of humanitarianism and responsibility to protect is, primarily, concern for the credibility of US diktat.

Dr. Hans Blix, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), commenting on the reasons for US military threats against Syria, emphasizes that "the credibility of the US presidential threats is the heavier element. Key point - not so much highlighted - is the threat to Iran of US action."

Blix served as the head of the IAEA from 1981 to 1997. He was also the executive chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in Iraq between 2000 and 2003.

"A punitive action in Syria would be a signal to Iran that the US would shoot at Iran, too, and not undertaking a punitive action in Syria would - in the US view - send the signal that US threats are empty," Blix asserts.

Noam Chomsky, institute professor and professor emeritus at MIT, argues similarly that it has been widely conceded that the crucial issue for the US in Syria is "credibility."

"Others must understand that when the Master of the World pronounces an edict, they must obey, or else. It is one of the major principles of international affairs, with many variants."

"It's sometimes called 'the domino theory,' " Chomsky continues. "If one place gets out of control, others will get the message and follow, and the whole system of domination will erode. I have sometimes called it 'the Mafia Doctrine.' "

"When the Godfather gives an order, no disobedience can be tolerated, even some minor storekeeper who fails to pay pennies in protection money, or 'the rot will spread,' in the terminology of high-level US government planners," Chomsky elaborates. "A great deal of imperial history falls under this doctrine. In this case, Obama declared that use of chemical weapons is Verboten."

Blix compares the US readiness to ignore UN inspections in Syria to the US dismissal of the UN investigations, led by Blix himself, to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003. Blix is deeply troubled by the "shocking arrogance" of the US in its "readiness to also ignore the Security Council and act as a self-appointed world police." Blix underlines that "the world did not appoint the US or any other state to ensure the reaction. It created the UN and the Security Council to be the central organ for action. The ban on the use of force in Article 2:4 and 51 of the UN Charter is another red line drawn by the world community. Erosion of these principles through Kosovo, Iraq 2003 and now perhaps Syria would be grave," Blix concludes.

Marjorie Cohn, professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, elaborates on these grave consequences. "A Western military attack will serve to further weaken the United Nations and international law. It would also reinforce the view of many around the world that the United States is once again asserting illegal unilateralism based on the double standard of 'American exceptionalism,' in which the US elevates it own perceived 'national security interests' above international law, yet expects other countries to abide by international law."

In case of a US attack, Cohn continues, "the consequences are unpredictable, but many civilians will likely be killed and the number of refugees - already more than one million - will increase. The infrastructure of Syria will be devastated and sectarian slaughter will intensify." Cohn asserts, "A Western military attack could also disrupt the fragile peace in Lebanon and lead to a regional war."

Chomsky likewise maintains that a military attack will probably have severe immediate consequences and raise the confrontation to a higher level of violence. "For the region, it is likely to induce Iran to proceed to develop nuclear weapons, as a deterrent against a threatening rogue state that is ready to use force at will, without regard to international law or opinion."

Now Let's Stop Lethal Aid to Syria

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5854) 10 months ago

Next Step for Peace in Syria - Stop the "Lethal Aid"

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 13:08 By Norman Solomon, Norman Solomon's Blog | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18917-next-step-for-peace-in-syria-stop-the-lethal-aid

Now that public pressure has foiled U.S. plans to bomb Syria, the next urgent step is to build public pressure for stopping the deluge of weapons into that country.

Top officials in Washington are happy that American “lethal aid” has begun to flow into Syria, and they act as though such arms shipments are unstoppable. In a similar way, just a few short weeks ago, they -- and the conventional wisdom -- insisted that U.S. missile strikes on Syria were imminent and inevitable.

But public opinion, when activated, can screw up the best-laid plans of war-makers. And political conditions are now ripe for cutting off the flow of weaponry to Syria -- again giving new meaning to the adage that “when the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

Contrary to what many assume, the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans are opposed to the U.S. government sending weapons to Syria. For instance, in a CNN/ORC survey taken September 6-8, a whopping 85 percent of people nationwide answered “not either side” when asked whether the United States “should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side.”

A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll -- asking “Do you support or oppose the United States and its allies supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels?” -- found that 70 percent “oppose.”

The results of the new polling could hardly be clearer. The vast majority of Americans are opposed to the U.S. government doing what it’s doing -- sending weapons into Syria to fuel the flames of a horrific war.

Collectively -- in much the same way people upended the conventional wisdom that President Obama was sure to fulfill his announced desire to launch missiles at Syria -- we have a real chance to put a stopper in the pipelines bringing weapons and other military supplies to Syria. We must, again, challenge the calculus in Congress and disempower the war-crazed leaderships of both parties.

This is no longer just an idea -- it’s now a nationwide campaign. The launch came on Monday (September 16). That day, more than 15,000 people sent emails to their senators and representative in Congress urging them to stop the shipments of weapons to Syria.

Those emails told lawmakers: “As a constituent, I urge you to halt all ‘lethal aid’ in the Syrian conflict. The last thing Syria needs is more weapons, ammunition and other military supplies. The U.S. government and allies should stop sending lethal aid to rebels in Syria, while working for a reciprocal cutoff of all military assistance to the Syrian government by Russia and Iran.”

(If you’d like to send that message to your senators and representative, as well as to President Obama, click here.)

This RootsAction.org campaign has begun in hopes that many other groups and individuals will take it up -- demanding an end to supplying weapons for the Syria conflagration. As nationwide polling numbers show, most of the public already agrees with us. What remains is for a wide array of political activists to galvanize that agreement into a powerful political force, so we can overwhelm Congress on the weapons-to-Syria issue as just occurred on the bomb-Syria issue.

The United States has now joined with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other allies -- directly supplying weaponry to an array of fighters against the Syrian government. That aid supplements the longtime U.S. role in helping several countries to airlift weapons and other military equipment to rebel forces.

“The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,” the Washington Post reported last week. Those shipments have combined with “separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear -- a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”

But as the RootsAction appeal points out, “Recent days have shown that diplomacy is possible to avert even more catastrophic events in Syria. Contrary to scoffers, Russia and the United States could help to quash the war flames instead of fueling them with more gasoline. By halting its own shipments of weapons into Syria and exerting pressure on its allies to do the same, the United States could induce Russia and its ally Iran to stop supplying the Syrian government with weapons -- and to work for a ceasefire.”

Now, with a big opening in U.S. politics, this is crucial work toward peace in Syria. Let’s get it done.

Now Let's Stop Lethal Aid to Syria

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 10 months ago

Thus, we see a bizarre mixture of George W. Bush-era neocons, “hope and change” Obama liberals, Israeli right-wingers, and Christian fundamentalists united behind an incredibly ill-conceived military intervention in Syria.

Um, what's that?

If you were to simply assert that bible thumpers do not often possess the intellectual capacity for thinking outside of the box that is so necessary when considering all of the implications of war, I am sure most sensible people would tend to agree.

But this article goes way beyond such a simple statement, and pursues some unstated agenda with its misrepresentation of the facts. Support for a military strike on the military apparatus of Assad is not widespread, and even among military planners is mixed at best, as the following links clearly illustrate:

.

The comments made by Morell that aired on CBS tonight clearly indicate there are two views on the Syrian conflict, one stipulating that it should go on indefinitely and so draw in al Qaida. The other, held by Morell, that the conflict should not be prolonged, and that we must facilitate some sort of nuanced balance that results in maintenance of the Assad regime while eliminating any al Qaida presence in Syria.

This kind of thinking clearly ignores the reality: the rebels and the Assad regime have been committed to the slaughter of each other to such an extent that it is unlikely they will find the means to live together in peace under any kind of status that produces shared power or social equality.

The gas attacks seem to make that certain - for the demand for justice will not cease, and Assad will not relent.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 months ago

what justice ?

what are the rebels rebelling against

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 10 months ago

in my mind that is the wrong question - but there are posts around here on that issue if you are genuinely curious.

The fact is the narrative has moved on, rather quickly and in a direction unforeseen by almost every commentator.

This article distracts from the current narrative with a focus on Christian fundamentalists, but not in any useful way - by, for example, examining how they may be used to completely undo the repelican party.

Further, this article seems to weaken the negotiating position of the U.S. by maintaining pressure with its no bombs advocacy. Seems, I say, because there may well be factors at play which take that pressure into account and which depend on it in an effort to further the U.S. position.

How that might be I am not sure, but we seem to be witnessing some obtuse players at work here.

Somehow I doubt that these moves will in the end bear the kind of fruit the world is looking for - when words like freedom, justice, and equality take on jingoistic characteristics and words like fairness become the subject of psychological research, it must be clear we have completely lost touch with our own basic humanity.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 months ago

I assume the rebels in Syria had a reason to descent

before the distention was brutally oppressed

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13195) from South Burlington, VT 10 months ago

I believe there are posts around on the topic, shooz put up one that someone else duplicated, and I'm sure that the original source has links to others.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 months ago

I tried a search. I'll keep my eyes open