By Larry Jones
“Critics often accused the Bush administration of waging a crusade against Iraq. Turns out those critics may have been correct, according to a profile of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in GQ this month.”
It is well known that George W. Bush is a not-very-nuanced evangelical Christian who, when asked who is his favorite philosopher is, said: “Jesus Christ, because he changed my life.” But, Jesus was not a philosopher and Bush’s change was from drinkin’ and dopin’ to torturin’ and killin’.
A recent GQ article by Robert Draper revealed that in Bush’s first term the Pentagon began to put cover sheets on the daily war briefings to him which showed Bible verses related to Iraqi was pictures. According to Draper “[t]hese cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. … Several others in the Pentagon disagreed. At least one Muslim analyst in the building had been greatly offended; others privately worried that if these covers were leaked during a war conducted in an Islamic nation, the fallout—as one Pentagon staffer would later say—“would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.”
Bush’s Secretary of War (as Secretary Gates now calls it), the petulant and egocentric Donald Rumsfeld, pushed this Christian plan to support his boss’s religious claims. A particularly offensive example contained a quote from Isaiah 26:2 – “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith”. There were many more of the same genre, but let’s take a closer look at this verse, which was accompanied by a picture of a U.S. tank entering an Iraqi gate. The verse clearly and outrageously is designed to depict the invading Americans as warriors from “the righteous nation” and the Iraqis as the evil ones. “Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.”
It is a song of praise for the tribal god of Judah, the southern part of what is now the nation of Israel. They rejoiced in their god who utterly destroyed their enemies but protected them. It seems the Department of War’s intent was to show what America’s god would bring to Iraq, as in this picture.
Iraq, one of the world’s oldest countries, now lies in great ruin. Their excellent health program and facilities now barely function, water and electricity are only available occasionally, Millions of civilians have been killed and escaped as refugees, and the civil war continues. It has just been announced that, in order to meet a June deadline for U.S. forces to be out of Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, the border around the city will be
withdrawn so that the US Army’s Forward Operating Base Falcon will no longer be within city limits. Sounds like Bush, but walks like Obama. All this is called “bringing democracy to the Middle East.” As the church lady on Saturday Night Live used to sarcastically say, “Isn’t that special?”
Presumably, the Pentagon ceased such offensive information covers for the President when Rumsfeld was fired at the end of Bush’s first term. But the enormous influence of the Christian right within the military continues apace.
Today at the Gates of Jerusalem
Today the “righteous people of god” who entered Jerusalem about 2600 years ago, are today’s people of the modern Israel; only their government is not so righteous. About 18 months ago it was reported that an elderly Palestinian man needed urgent medical attention only available to him in Jerusalem. He obtained all the permits needed from the Israeli occupation authorities, which took him three months. When he attempted to cross into Jerusalem, Israeli forces at the checkpoint denied him entry.
Life is far worse for the Arabs who occupied Palestine before the U.N. sanctioned Israeli invasion in 1948. We all know of the mass destruction of Gaza and its people by the January Israel ground and air attack. Over 300 Palestinians were killed and some 5 Israelis, several of them by friendly fire. The West Bank and other small pockets where U.S. armed Israel allows Palestinians to live are so scattered and filled with illegal Israeli settlements that no genuine Palestinian state can ever be founded.
The fundamentalist, literalist version of Christianity Bush adheres to goes hand in glove with the murderous wars initiated under his regime, and continuing today.