By Ezrah Aharone
While President Obama revs-up the war machinery during this holiday season as he simultaneously holds the Nobel Peace Prize, it brings ponder to the possibility of lasting peace, considering that this conflict also embodies a borderless ideological “collision of religions.”
Although 9/11 makes the US feel justified in droning Afghanistan into submission, a few factors are worth noting since the groups known as Al Qaeda, Taliban, and Islamists are not all regional members of some Lodge-like fraternity who attend annual conventions to blow-up airplanes. Just as Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden weren’t “colleagues,” they don’t all know each other or have close bonds. I’d bet that 9/11 was just as surprising to Americans as it was to many of the very combatants that the US now targets in the mountains of Afghanistan.
If you read A History of God by Karen Armstrong, you’ll find that the autonomous tribes and clans throughout this region have been warring and exacting “rough-and-ready” justice on themselves and invaders for centuries. Afghanistan is not only called the “Graveyard of Empires” because of its war victories, it’s a land where loyalty can be “rented” to the highest bidder. In fact, Afghans have a term called “Turning Turbans” to signify the switching of sides and loyalties.
But in this case, the one uncompromising factor is their Islamic belief and obligation to rid-out Westerners whom they regard as foreign occupiers and infidels. Before resigning his State Department post, former Marine Captain, Matthew Hoh, aptly assessed that Afghans are fighting in some areas only because the US military “is there.” If American soldiers weren’t “there,” many Afghan fighters would have a pre-9/11 outlook when America was not a “declared enemy.”
Meantime, despite the public’s mounting war outcries and economic anxieties, Obama has done something that can potentially reserve him a seat among the pantheon of the greatest commander-in-chiefs – He has become a “wartime president.” Many of the most renowned American presidents have the “glorified” distinction of being war leaders.
America’s warped fascination with war is openly boasted in its national anthem, which puts a twist of splendor on the butchery during the War of 1812 – “the perilous fight,” “ramparts gallantly streaming,” “rocket’s red glare,” “bombs bursting in air.” If you want instant success, just make a blood-spattering war movie that depicts American bravery and greatness. Don’t make the mistake though of featuring Black heroes like Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna because that lacks comparative box-office appeal.
This cancerous love affair with blood, circulates the veins of society and manifests in everything from the highest crime rate and gun homicides in the world; to belligerent television, movies, and video games for “entertainment” pleasures; to routine abortions and capital punishment; to random mass murders of schoolchildren; to over 90,000 annual rapes of women.
A nation’s true character is defined – not by fluffy words in its constitution – but by the moral and cumulative sum of its historical conduct. Yet America, with its enduring history of questionable wars and centuries of racialized misconduct, has a false self-perception of being a nation of peace. Dr. King called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” . . . and said God hasn’t “appointed America as his messianic force, a kind of policeman of the whole world.”
America has a national holiday recognizing Dr. King and his nonviolent philosophy, but nonviolence is certainly not America’s philosophy. Nonviolence is something that Black America is conditioned to practice towards Euro-Americans, but nonviolence is considered a cardinal weakness by this establishment. Heck, America isn’t even fond of compromise, and it definitely doesn’t “love its enemies.” It practices an unrepentant “eye-for-eye” variety of Christianity that “lives by the sword.”
The religious notion that God endorses the US military is reinforced in the “Oath of Enlistment” that all soldiers must “swear,” which evokes “Faith” and eerily concludes with the words, “So Help Me God.” As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affirmed, “A religious-neutral government does not fit with an America that reflects belief in God in everything from its money to its military.”
If the reverse occurred whereby the Christian streets of America were stormed by Muslim soldiers with Blackwater-like mercenaries, ordinary Americans would fight no less fiercely than Afghans. Call them terrorists or whatever else, but based on their longstanding heritage and religious convictions they have no intentions to allow America, via the corrupted Hamid Kharzi government, to institute a Plymouth Rock-like presence in Afghanistan.
Consequently, the decade of 2010 launches with an outright, but undeclared, “Religious War” with Crusaders on one side, Jihadists on the other, with no negotiating table between these two Abrahamic faiths that originally share spiritual commonalities without today’s political complexities. So, as with Iraq, it’s near-certain that Afghanistan won’t become a vacation destination for Americans in your lifetime.
Ezrah Aharone is the author of two political books: Sovereign Evolution and Pawned Sovereignty. He is also a founding member of the Center for Sovereignty Advancement. He can be reached at Ezrah@theCSA.org.