Posted by: quiscus | August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010

1.  “ADL and NYC Islamic Center: What about the Pentagon?

But I was shocked that an organization dedicated to combating bigotry – Abraham Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – chimed in to ask that the location of the Islamic center, which will house a mosque, be moved. Well, maybe not shocked, but surprised that the ADL – which claims that it fights “all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all” – would lay bare its myopic right-wing focus by publicly taking such a stand.

Paul Krugman’s argument, already captured nicely the hypocrisy of an organization ostensibly aimed at curbing defamation lending a de facto endorsement of a defamatory view of Muslims – and the implications that this has for other minority groups, like, say, for instance, Jews (the ADL’s original mandate, when it was formed nearly 100 years ago, was exclusively for this demographic). But there are two points I wanted to make.

Would Sarah Palin, Rick Lazio, Newt Gingrich and their new friend, Abe Foxman, be asking that these Muslim soldiers not be buried there, or perhaps that their headstones not bear the insignia of their faith because it causes pain that the attackers shared their faith (albeit a twisted and delusional version of it)?

Furthermore, what if the families of Christian, Jewish and atheist soldiers objected that their kids were killed by Muslims in Muslim lands (invaded by the U.S., of course) and were pained by the fact that the next grave over bears Islamic symbols? Would right-wing anti-Islam politicians and figures like Foxman be asking that Muslims be barred from burial in Arlington? Now, after all, we’re talking a matter of feet, not even a stone’s throw, let alone two city blocks.

Holland, a native New Yorker raised just north of the former World Trade Towers, notes that he, too, lost friends on 9/11, and that what pains him is “the casual, socially acceptable and utterly despicable racism against Muslims that those attacks unleashed in the United States.”

But these assaults on Islam as a faith are exactly what the ADL is now in the business of peddling. When you condemn bigots, then join them, then they write glowing endorsements of your position (as Jim has Gingrich doing), what does that make you?”

2.  “That Vast Intelligence Buildup is to Oil the Pentagon’s War Machine

In an article on the Middle East wars, Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times July 25th quotes historian David Kennedy of Stanford as saying: “The army is at war, but the country is not. We have managed to create and field an armed force that can engage in very, very lethal warfare without the society in whose name it fights breaking a sweat.” The result, he said, is “a moral hazard for the political leadership to resort to force in the knowledge that civil society will not be deeply disturbed.” Precisely!

Quoted in the New York Times of the same day, Stephen Daggett, a writer for the Congressional Research Service, said, “You think of war as not being the usual state.” That may well be true of many a republic, but it is not true of an empire, particularly the American Empire. According to the historian Edward Gibbon, the Roman emperor Aurelian, embroiled in numerous wars, complained in a private letter, “Surely, the gods have decreed that my life should be a perpetual warfare.” Of course, it need not have been thus except that Aurelian felt obliged to keep Rome’s subject countries in line. It need not be thus for America, either.  ”

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