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Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy, Peace.

Now it looks as if one the wars that Tony Abbott had committed to will not be happening. Could this be mission crash? Or maybe not. There could be still two separate war fronts.  Still there are those barbaric “people” in the Middle East – not the Israelis -and who must be stopped, as the propaganda rolls out from its spruikers in the media and all reasonable persons agree.

The Australian Prime Minister vented on commercial radio (via RN Drive):

. . . As soon as they have done something ghastly, gruesome, they are advertising it on the Internet, which makes them to my mind nothing but a death cult. And that is why it quite proper to respond with extreme force with people like that.

This is the man, who with the other distinguished members of the National Security Committee of Cabinet has come, we might expect to a considered decision to go to war against the self-described Islamic State. While this statement may, or may not represent the prime minister’s emotional response, it is not a sound basis for public policy that directly impacts the lives of Australians but of unknown other human beings to whom is owed a duty of care. As the judge said, the principle of loving your neighbour, those who might be directly affected by our actions, has practical consequences.

Does this statement bear logical deconstruction?

Obviously, it is not proper to respond, for example, to Israel with extreme force, for among other crimes against humanity the mass murder of civilians and killing of over 400 children. Some respected commentators describe as a terrorist state. To describe the Israeli Government, and indeed the corporate expression of Western Civilization, as a death cult may actually be insightful. How else can the orchestration of propaganda to ignore the danger of the climate catastrophe be rationally, dispassionately explained? If politics is the shadow that business casts on public policy, we are done. Thus the Abbott Government is the agency, so the questions should be asked, and we citizens must ask them

Then again Christianity might well be described as a death cult, implicitly in contradiction to the implicit charge against Islam. but from inside the culture I can anticipate the contrary arguments. Everything is understood through our sub-conscious cultural prism. Prime Ministers and other grandees are of course free of this illusion and difficulty. How, for example, to explain the Trinity? This is important because it is a source of deep disconnect between Christianity with Judaism and Islam. We cannot allow heresy? Who decides the heretical?

A very brief historical diversion may provide a part of historical context.  Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor, who established Constantinople as the Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 326, was extremely cruel to his enemies, we are told, including having his wife and son killed. The Byzantium Empire lasted for over a thousand years until Constantine XI anonymously died defending the city in 1453 in the breached walls caused by the canons of the Turks.

Byzantium was followed by the Ottoman Empire. That empire lasted hundreds of years. How was it possible? Dr. Nazeer Ahmed suggests part of the answer:

As an Islamic Empire, it eschewed the principles of tolerance and co-existence of peoples of different religions and nationalities. It provided political stability to the peoples of North Africa, West Asia and southeastern Europe for almost 600 years, a period longer in its duration than any other empire in recorded history.

A complicit agreement between the French and the British after the “War to end all wars”. The World Wars, not only set up the British Mandate in Palestine, but set the boundaries, for the Kingdoms, including Saudi Arabia. The United Nations was to supposed to arbitrate conflict and support the rule of international law.

The Government, supported by the Opposition, avoided a full debate in Parliament. The war powers have had, and will have, political consequences. Conceivably, on the model George W Bush as “a wartime president” they may show Anthony J Abbott as “a wartime prime minister” (per  Peter Hatcher in the SMH) and do something positive for his poll numbers.  The usual suspects were opposed; the ALP went along with the Government. As Paul McGeough observed there is nothing new about subservience to the dictat of the American overlord, a nominal republic.

A J Abbott has not paused to reflect in depth on the implications of assumption of the war powers for democracy. Consider A J Muste’s contention:

The survival of democracy depends on the renunciation of violence and the development of development of nonviolent means to combat evil and advance the good.

Nonetheless, ISIS , if that is what it is be called in English translation, rather than the Islamic State  ( news,for example,  to Iran) or the Caliphate, which might parallel on it s present extent, Tasmania’s ambition to geographically represent Australia, represents the designated enemy of all that is decent. The methods adopted by the ISIS are cruel and intolerant, but will they be effective as means  to instil fear in a subject population, or a deterrence to air strikes. By comparison the it is alleged Israeli violence against Gaza had a logic, a rational exercise of state power.

Chris Hedges at Truthdig addressed the unseen pathway between the “death cult” and responding with “extreme force”. He wrote:

Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We are not conscious of the long night of collective humiliation, repression and powerlessness that characterizes existence in Israel’s occupied territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not see the boiling anger that war and injustice turn into a caldron of hate over time. We are not aware of the very natural lust for revenge against those who carry out or symbolize this oppression. We see only the final pyrotechnics of terror, the shocking moment when the rage erupts into an inchoate fury and the murder of innocents. And, willfully ignorant, we do not understand our own complicity. We self-righteously condemn the killers as subhuman savages who deserve more of the violence that created them. This is a recipe for endless terror.

ISIS may be the products in a direct sense of Western and American policy, and not simply as the thugs taking over in the vacuum of law, order and good government. It has been reported, or suggested that many of the leaders countries such as Britain, Germany and Australia reflecting an extreme alienation of young muslims that went unnoticed. The violence of ISIS  when associated with these backgrounds is very disturbing.

And then there is Saudi Arabia, the oil kingdom, that seems to fly forever under the radar. It is the home of Wahhabism. The methods of retributive justice of Iran may get mentioned, but never the practices of the Saudis.

Chalmers Johnson may reference to US Imperialism and promoted the notion of blowback. ISIS might be seen the result of cause and effect. There was a time when the all roads led there, and Rome controlled the Mediterranean. There was a time, so it is said, when a cheque drawn on the banks of the Indus could be cashed in Morocco. Empires have strategic and economic interests which they must pursue. Oil explains much of the what and why of the Middle East. Then there is the critical role of the US dollar as the exchange currency. Both Saddam and Gaddafi were foolish enough to challenge to replace it by replacement. Other forms of manufacturing are globalized but the arms industry remains a source of both wealth and power.

Lesley Hazelton wrote a biography of Muhammad, and gave a TED talk:



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