The Motivational Force Behind the War

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"The danger of religious war is real. And religious war follows less from conscious intentions of warriors than from the beliefs that inspire them. Boykin makes the question urgent: What kind of God does this General–”and the nation he serves–”believe in?"

— James Carroll, Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War (the American Empire Project) [72]

On September 16, 2001, BBC and other global media outlets reported Bush’s declaration of a crusade, Osama’s first direct denial[73] of any involvement in the 9/11 attack and Dick Cheney’s threat that any state harboring terrorists would face the “full wrath” of American military might.[74]

Bush declared, “This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a long time.” Whereas Osama told the world, “The United States is pointing the finger at me but I categorically state that I have not done this.”[75]

Motivation for the war is evident from Bush’s calling the coming war on Afghanistan a “crusade” and leading his friends to believe that he views his new duty as a mission from God. A close acquaintance of Bush told the New York Times:

"I think, in [Bush’s] frame, this is what God has asked him to do. It offers him enormous clarity… [Bush believes] he has encountered his reason for being, a conviction informed and shaped by the president’s own strain of Christianity."[76]

Journalist Arnon Regular wrote in Ha’aretz (Israel’s most reputable newspaper), that he has minutes of a meeting among top-level Palestinian leaders, including Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. The minutes seem quite detailed, because Regular wrote a long article recounting very specific conversations. The last paragraph of the article reads:

" According to Abbas, Bush said: ‘God told me to strike at Al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.’"[77]

Bush has carefully avoided venting his anti-Islam sentiment in public. He has also tried not to repeat the word “crusade,” or otherwise betray the war-like zeal that motivates his strain of Christianity. Mark Crispin Miller writes in his book, Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney’s New World Order, that in doing so, “Bush has been less successful, unable, as he is, to mask his true intentions and desires.”[78] Five months after urging his “crusade” on September 16, he did it once again in speaking to the United States troops in Anchorage. The Canadians, he said, “stand with us in this incredibly important crusade to defend freedom, this campaign to do what is right for our children and our grandchildren.” Bush has otherwise made clear that he could not care less about Muslim sensibilities. “One of the ways to deal with oversupply is to sell out pork in foreign markets,” he told the World Pork Expo in Des Moines on June 7, 2002. “We ought to be selling out hogs all across the world.” Mark miller concludes:

" For all his weak demurrals, Bush does in fact perceive the ‘war on terrorism’ as a new crusade, as a member of his family makes explicit: ‘George sees this as a religious war. He does not have a p.c. view of the war. His view of this was is that they are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know."[79]

Few Americans disagreed with inflicting violent retribution on the masterminds of the mass murders at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon–”and on those who aided and abetted a crime that killed thousands of people. To them, however, the enemies were those whom the media presented before them. The media set the stage perfectly well. However, the unsettling questions, which thus far few have been willing to voice is: Were the Taliban responsible for such a complex attack on the United States? Was Al-Qaeda capable of doing it? On the public’s mind is the years-long anti-Taliban propaganda, which justified the proposed invasion and continued occupation of Afghanistan.

Although crusade is a commonly used term to denote a grand enterprise with a moral dimension, but in the background of the 9/11 attacks, this was definitely not a gaff on the part of Bush. As arrogant as he is, this was precisely what he meant. In an attempt to shift the blame, Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades and co-author of The Fourth Crusade, wrote in National review: “Clearly the crusades were much on the minds of our enemies long before Bush brought them to their attention.”[80] This is so because the intentions of the crusaders were reflected from their words and deeds long before 9/11 and whom they declared as enemies were not blind.

To blunt the psychological impact of Bush’s declaration of a crusade on Muslim minds, other warlords in the media instantly took to his defense. Many argued like Madden that the crusades were “in every way a defensive war” and “the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.” So was presented the war on Afghanistan: a crusade: a defensive war on Afghanistan in response to an attack on the United States. The idea behind arguing that the “entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim advances,” was to check mass Muslim mobilization in response to Bush’s declaration of the 21st century crusade.

Fully confident of a total success in turning public opinion in his favor, Bush initially referred to his war on Afghanistan as a “Crusade” and code-named the pre-planned invasion “Infinite Justice,” which is the province of the Divine being. This term, literally translated into Arabic, would imply the adl (justice) of Allah (God). The world instantly noticed with alarm these linguistic usages. Even the modern-day crusaders did not want all Muslims to stand up in reaction before the United States could fire the first shot at the ideological rivals: the Taliban. That is why the warlords in the United States changed the title for the war of aggression on Afghanistan from crusade to “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Even if we agree that the early crusaders left their homes on a long march of invasions and needless slaughter only for a defensive war, still the war on Afghanistan was not in self-defense at all. In fact, people in Afghanistan at the time of the attack had no way of menacing the United States from afar since they had Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) or long-range bombers. Someone in Afghanistan intending to attack the United States had to get to the United States first and acquire the technical know how and ability to carryout the attack. If there was an imminent threat, it was from terrorists already in the United States or in Europe. Thus, there was enough time to seek Security Council authorization, which is required for such a war unless one is attacking the source of an imminent threat. Instead, the United States deliberately chose not to seek it. The 25 days between 9/11 and the U.S. war of aggression that passed virtually without incident are proof that there was no immediate, overwhelming need for military action, a fundamental requirement of any claim to act in self-defense. It also shows, as we will establish in detail in later sections of this book, that all logistical arrangements were in place before 9/11, which made the invasion possible within the span of merely 25 days.

The Bush administration turned away from its emerging unilateralism–”pulling out of the Kyoto protocols, sabotaging the ABM treaty with Russia, etc.–”to a new multilateralism. This assumes that multilateralism to the United States means, first pre-determining one’s agenda and then attempting to browbeat or bribe other countries into agreement or acquiescence. True multilateralism would involve setting up international structures that are democratic, transparent, and accountable to the people and governments abiding by the decisions of these authorities whether favorable or not. To hide the real agenda of its policy makers, the United States has consistently set itself against any such path.

Obsessed with war, confident of the pre-9/11 plans for invasion, determined to remove the Taliban and motivated by the successful staging of 9/11 attacks, the United States administration refused even to seek the authority from the Security Council for invading and occupying Afghanistan. The United States could likely have gained its acquiescence by use of its standard methods of threats and bribery. However, it was so confident of the legitimacy of its actions in light of the 9/11 attack that it did not even try. It also shows that the United States wished very firmly and deliberately to claim the right to unilateral aggression. It wanted to set a precedent for similar adventures in the future.

Actually, Bush inherited his team with such political ambitions and ideas not so much from his father as from his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, who thought in such categories as “the Evil Empire” or “crusades.” Bush and his fellows’ religious convictions further polished these ambitions.

The religious front of this war on the Muslims’ desire to live by Islam provided all possible inspiration and stood firmly behind the Bush administration. Nothing happened overnight. The mindset was prepared for overthrowing the Taliban government with years of biased reports and an elaborate campaign of disinformation. Similarly, the religious front in the United States kept backing political forces, which could effectively mobilize military and other resources against its perceived enemies.

One can judge the instigating and mobilizing role of the religious front in the latest crusade from the ways in which religious institutions and individuals work behind the scene to influence key political decisions, such as the invasion and occupation of Muslim countries. One example is the way in which two newspapers of the Church of Rome reacted to the United States elections.

L’Osservatore Romano, the newspaper of the Holy See, did not even report Bush’s victory in 2004. In contrast, Avvenire, the daily, owned by the Italian bishops’ conference and its president, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, appreciated Bush’s victory. Cardinal Ruini is also the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome.

L’Osservatore Romano’s respect for the canons of diplomacy and neutrality is understandable. However, the reticence with which it registered Bush’s victory smells of something fishy. Those who closely follow the details can remember how the Vatican welcomed with a sense of relief the news of Bush’s presidential election victory in 2000. In 2004, the paper’s going beyond its official duty of neutrality is surprising for many because it seems like a deliberate attempt at hiding something.

However, hiding has become a difficult job in the 21st century. In the June 4, 2004 edition of the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, the Vatican journalist, Luigi Accattoli, who most faithfully reports the views from the pontifical palazzo, wrote that the Pope had already decided: he preferred the evangelical Bush to the Catholic Kerry. And he wanted to “help him [Bush] with the Catholic voters.”[81]

Four years ago–”in the opinion of a very trustworthy Vatican observer, John L. Allen, the Rome correspondent of the American weekly ” National Catholic Reporter“–”in an imaginary vote, Vatican leaders and functionaries would have expressed “at least a 60-40 vote in favor of Bush over Al Gore.”

Avvenire, on the other hand, stood with Bush against the disappointed opinion makers who considered it a defeat of “liberal, secular, tolerant, moderate” America at the hands of another America, “rural, ignorant, egoist, bigoted,” and above all “religious.”Avvenire criticized this analysis in some of its editorials, and contrasted this with its own, different vision of the facts in a lead article by Giorgio Ferrari: “We, of the Heart of America.” In Ferrari’s views:

" It is precisely on values that Bush, or we might say his extraordinary electoral strategist Karl Rove, fixed his aim. Not on the war, not on Osama Bin Laden, or not only on them, but on the defense of something profoundly American, as difficult for us Europeans to comprehend as it is easy to denigrate: that ‘God, country, and family.’"[82]

Ferrari is ecstatic to find “an America within America…where one can feel at home”–”America of the neoconservatives. In his words: “Some define them hastily as “born-again Christians,” others as neoconservatives, still others as theo-conservatives, but none of these definitions is really appropriate, because the reality is much more complex. Certainly, within this great electoral mass there is room for the ‘moral majority.'”[83]

Ferrari felt himself at home in “an America that placed Iraq only in the third place” because “the first priority was the defense of a system of values.” This is an America that wept while singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ the most beautiful religious hymn Americans know.” One has to note the obsession with defending “a system of values” that is in total contrast to what the Taliban were struggling to establish–”the way of life according to Islam. No matter how flawed their approach, the Taliban’s struggle in the name of Islam was forcing Muslims to debate and discuss if they have to live by Islam and how? The same ideas lead to the repeated fear mongering statements on the part of modern day crusaders. Regurgitating the sanctity of “our way of life” and “our values” is part of the plan to make people feel threatened.

In the United States, the religious, political and military fronts against Islam work hand in hand. As a result of the political front’s removal of the Taliban and paving the way for entering into the heart of Muslim majority part of the world (Iraq), the religious front is now more united and strongly placed behind its favorite crusaders on the political front than ever in United States history.

Outside the United States, Pope John Paul’s speech after meeting with Bush on June 4, 2004 provides evidence of a long-term consensus between the world’s lone religious and political fronts against Islam. Military might is an effective tool in the hands of a political front.

A noticeable drawing together between Bush, the Methodist and Catholics was underway before the 2004 elections. However, the 2004 elections results reflected it well. Fifty-two percent of the Catholics voted for Bush and 47 percent for Kerry. In 2000, the percentages were reversed: 48 percent for Bush and 51 percent for the Democratic candidate. It shows that the crusade is making a difference.

At another level of more impact, convergence is underway between Catholic Americans and their most heated religious rivals: the Evangelical Protestants, which religious analysts call as “an absolute novelty in the history of the United States.” The more they stick together, the more effectively they influence opinion-makers’ agenda.

The traditional line-ups–”of Catholics always supporting Democrats and Evangelicals supporting Republicans–”have completely changed. There were bishops who refused to give communion to Kerry, who, unlike Bush, just seemed opposed to the war of aggression with a religious motivation.

At the same time, a growing number of Catholics made common cause with the Evangelicals, in support of Bush, who calls himself a “messenger” of God, who is doing “the Lord’s will”[84] with his invasions and occupations. Influential religious figures played a key role in Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan.

The alliance of the crusader’s of different shades took some time to come out of the closet in the public light. The world witnessed a good example of this display of unity seven days before the Bush-Pope meeting in 2004, Bush met in Washington a panel of religious thinkers, brought together by Christianity Today, the magazine founded by the most famous of the evangelicals, Billy Graham.[85] There were two highly influential Catholics among the group: the editor of ” Crisis,” Deal Hudson, and the editor of ” First Things,” Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

The way the online edition of ” Christianity Today” posted transcripts of a few hours long interview, shows how Bush, Evangelicals, Catholics and other religious thinkers find each other in perfect harmony on all issues. Bush answered questions on every topic from Iraq to Israel, the Pope, Islam, Cuba, terrorism, torture, the family, school, and prayer. The post fully and repeatedly quoted Bush–”a sign of full agreement.[86]

Bush’s public reference to crusade and his practical steps towards removing the Taliban from power have played a great role in convergence between Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism on the religious front. Muslim puppets, such as General Musharraf from the Muslim world, proudly tell reporters in Newsweek (March 04, 2001) that they do not pray five times a day in their bid to show that they care the least for religion.[87] On the other hand, Bush never hesitates to tell publicly about his reading each morning a page from the writings of Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), one of the most popular evangelical spiritual teachers of the past century. Only overly naïve would take reference to “crusade” from such a person as just a gaff, who starts each day kneeling in prayers and begins each cabinet meeting with prayers.”[88]

What further confirm Bush’s religious beliefs and motivations are reports that say he is an assiduous reader of the writings of another evangelical, a former chaplain of the United States Senate, Lloyd Ogilvie. Bush claims he is a “born again” Christian who plans to re-read the entire Bible in the span of a year, as he has done several times since he attended Donald Evans’ Bible school from 1985-1986. Unfortunately, Bush is not alone. “The influence of religion also pervades the White House. The first words that David Frum heard on entering the White House to work as a speech writer were ‘Missed you at Bible study.'”[89]

For paving the way for commencing the 21st century crusade in Afghanistan and facilitating the merger of different Christian sects, apart from Robert Bork and Robert Royal, the most inner circle of Bush’s colleagues includes a very authoritative Catholic priest, Father Neuhaus, who is both a theologian and a political analyst. All of them are Catholics coming from Protestant faith. Father Neuhaus directs First Things, the leading magazine for Catholic neoconservatives.

Things are not as simple as denying the war on Afghanistan as a crusade. Some graphic presentations are also available which show various personalities and their positions in oil companies in a family tree structure. These charts show that the war on Afghanistan is for oil and pipelines. Actually, religiously motivated persons ignited this war and they are now extending it with the oil of religious fanaticism. This is evident from the inner circle of those who influence Bush’s decisions. Father Neuhaus is one of the close advisors to Bush. Neuhaus, in turn, has his confidant Michael Novak, who studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and still teaches in the theological faculties of Rome. Novak went to the Vatican before the United States invasion of Iraq to illustrate the theological justifications for Bush’s decision to launch another invasion and occupation in the Muslim world (Iraq). It would be naive to believe that such theological justifications were not part of Bush’s arsenal for removing the Taliban from power.

On one occasion during the interview, Bush admitted that he needs “Father Richard around more.” Father Neuhas, in turn, needs Avery Dulles around him more, not only for contribution to First Things, but also for broader planning because he, too, is active both at the political and religious fronts against Islam. Avery Dulles was a Jesuit and then made a cardinal in 2001. This “born again Christian” comes from a family of the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) establishment. His father, John W. Foster Dulles, was secretary of state during the Eisenhower presidency, and his uncle, Allen W. Dulles, was head of the CIA.

Just as commencement of the latest crusade–”war of aggression on Afghanistan–”was planned long before the staged 9/11 attacks, all these developments behind the scenes did not occur over night with the election to Bush to power. Nor will the crusade end with Bush’s departure. The efforts at collaboration between Evangelicals and Catholics in the United States began after the fall of Soviet Union. In mid-90s’ they released a joint document with an unequivocal title: Evangelicals and Catholics together. Arrival of the ideological rival, the Taliban, and their declaring the Qur’an as their constitution was a bolt from the blue for this emerging alliance.

For Evangelicals, at the head of the dialogue, there was Charles Colson, a former assistant to Nixon, who was also destroyed by the Watergate scandal, but then rose to prominence as a born again Christian. For Catholics, there was Bush’s mentor and advisor Father Neuhaus, with the support of Cardinal O’Connor and the future cardinal Dulles.

While efforts were underway to divide Muslims with the introduction of various classifying notions, such as radicals, moderates and Islamists, leaders on the religious front of the crusade made substantial gains in bringing different factions together.

Father Neuhaus came out with a book, The Naked Public Square, to impress the Evangelicals, and so he did. It was a wake up call to let all on the religious front see the growing disappearance of religion from public life. The book was a successful attempt at bringing to light traits that are common to both Catholic and evangelical thought and for putting them into practice.

Since then, the Evangelicals have made great progress. They have been successful in developing an ideology to create human cannon fodder to deploy against Islam on all fronts: media, academia, political and military. The cover story of the U.S. News and World Report declared on April 24, 1995: “Religious Conservatives Think Their Time has Come” to take power in the United States.

Around the same time their ideological rivals, the Taliban were busy establishing an Islamic Emirate with little experience and no guidance from outside at all. The war on the Taliban in 2001 confirmed that the religious zealots in the United States have not only consolidated that power, but also gained an upper hand in influencing the state policy for launching “pre-emptive” strikes on their perceived enemies.

During the last few years of the 20th century, Muslims from around the world were busy discussing the Taliban’s progress on establishing an Islamic society and state. Help gradually started pouring in for them. At the same time, the religious right groups in the United States ran multi-billion dollar networks “for God’s sake.” Back in 1995, Patric Trueman, a former Justice Department lawyer, noted that the leader of the conservative Christian movement, James Dobson, commanded “armies of people” and was anchorman of the Republican Party. Therefore, the efforts to establish living by Islam in Afghanistan and efforts of the Christian groups to take power in the United States for ultimately establishing the Kingdom of God on the Earth simultaneously intensified in the last decade of the 20th century.

Since 2001, we have witnessed that influence of the Religious Right has been decisive in many of the choices of the United States presidency: from the invasion of Afghanistan to removing ideological rivals, to the undermining of Sudan in the name of “peace,” the invasion of Iraq, and more dedicated support than ever for Israel.

An article from the Christian Statesman, titled Christianization of the Republican Party, claims:

" Once dismissed as a small regional movement, Christian conservatives have become a staple of politics nearly everywhere. Christian conservatives now hold a majority of seats in 36% of all Republican Party state committees (or 18 of 50 states), plus large minorities in 81% of the rest, double their strength from a decade before. The twin surges of Christians into GOP ranks in the early 1980s and early 1990s have begun to bear fruit, as naive, idealistic recruits have transformed into savvy operatives and leaders, building organizations, winning leadership positions, fighting onto platform committees, and electing many of their own to public office."[90]

Religious zealots had always been behind the plans for paving the way for invading Afghanistan. Until the invasion of Afghanistan, support from the religious front remained invisible. This, however, was not the case in 2003 when the Vatican openly changed its stance on the war on Iraq from rejection to support. These developments are neither unusual nor new. An unusual book by the United States Ambassador to the Vatican, “The United States and the Holy See: The Long History”[91] gives a detailed account of the political adventures of the religious front. The book reconstructs the history of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, from their beginning in 1788 until today.

In the final pages, James Nicholson writes about one of his conversations with Pope John Paul II just two days after the staged September 11, 2001 attacks.

I met the Pope at Castelgandolfo for about twenty minutes…. After we had spoken at length and prayed together, the Pope told me that he believed the events of September 11 were truly an attack,’ and that we were justified in taking defensive action….. It was at this meeting that the foundations were laid for the support of the Holy See for our campaign against terrorism. It is extraordinary that the Pope and the Church wished to help us, and likewise worth noticing that this support continues today.

Thus, the highest political and religious levels in the anti-Islam camp approved the beginning of a crusade with the invasion of Afghanistan. In the above statement, note the timing. The conversation took place just two days after 9/11. Now note the wording: Pope’s belief that the events were “truly an attack.” In addition, take note the logic: “we were justified in taking defensive action.” Now remember Madden who claims “crusades were a defensive war.” Note the fact that the Taliban did not attack the United States, nor did the Taliban declared a war on the United States. The Vatican, nevertheless, called it “an attack,” to justify a crusade by calling it “defensive action” and above all, in Nicholson’s words, “this support continues today.”

It also must not be a surprise for many that Michael Novak is known as a prophet of “democratic capitalism” which is one of the covers used to hide the actual faces, their real motives and the forces behind the ongoing war. According to Sandro Magister, who is an analyst for Italian newspaper L’espresso concludes: “The doctrine of the exportation of democracy is typically evangelical. And Bush is evangelical when he says, ‘I believe freedom is the Almighty God’s gift to each man and woman in this world.'”[92]

The story, however, does not end with this. Exporting democracy is no more an evangelical project alone. Julian Coman and Bruce Johnston of the British Daily Telegraph’s (October 10, 2004) report from Rome: “Vatican buries the hatchet with Blair and Bush over Iraq” and gave official support for a military option for “protecting Iraq’s nascent democracy.” Therefore, it is a joint Catholic-evangelical project undertaken by the political front and implemented with chemical weapons and other crimes against humanity. In other words, it is a total Christian project, led by many fronts from the media to the military. One must note that in the case of invading Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power the joint plans by the religious and political circles were not made as public in the case of Iraq. The coming out from the closet is a sign of the increasing confidence of the crusaders.

This is where Zionists join in and gradually this Catholic-evangelical alliance start deeply associating with the neo-cons, with persons such as Michael Horowitz, a zealous defender of persecuted Christians throughout the world: perfectly in line with the Vatican’s point of view.[93] The Taliban strict restrictions on proselytizing Muslims by Christian missionaries were a deathblow to the missionary zeal of the crusaders.

Started with the removal of the Taliban and followed by the occupation of Iraq, all stars now seem perfectly aligned for the religious front of the crusade against Islam. In an interview with Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times, on May 31, 2004, Father Neuhaus said, “It is an extraordinary realignment that if continues is going to create a very different kind of configuration of Christianity in America.”

This “different kind of configuration of Christianity in America” is an understatement, on the part of Neuhaus. This “configuration” has already started affecting the rest of the world. Even non-Muslims, such as Philip Jenkins, raise the frightening prospect of a re-run of the medieval Crusades (this time with much more devastating weaponry) in his book, The Next Christendom: The Coming Global Christianity. After commencement of the 21st century crusades in Afghanistan,[94] a wholehearted disavowal of the old Christendom–” and all forms of coercive and imperialistic Christianity–”is nowhere seen in the conversations, statements or plans of the leaders of the religious front.

The religious front’s political adventures and support of barbarism, as we witness in Afghanistan and Iraq, pave the way for mainstreaming the modern day crusades and plans for effectively dealing with Islam, which Philip Jenkins describes in his book. We witness the consolidation of the same thoughts in the unanimous and repeated statement of almost every leader from G8 on the political front of the crusade. One after another, the G8 leaders said the bombing in London on July 7, 2005 was an attack on “our way of life” and the “Islamists” would never succeed in changing “our values.” This is a very powerful argument that the modern day leading crusaders, Bush and Blair, have and continue to make to advance their agenda. It also strikes the Western mindset well. This is evident from every other leader’s repeating the same mantra of a war on “our way of life.”

The Taliban were blamed for being religious and not secular. Moreover, there is a continual clamor about “political Islam.” In fact, the Christian religious front considers its involvement in political affairs and foreign policy as inevitable because they foresee and plan for widening the crusade. They think long term. According to Jenkins’s long-term view, people tend to think of Muslim nations as the fastest growing, but Christian nations are growing at least as fast. Again, by 2050, nearly 20 of the 25 largest nations will be predominantly or entirely Christian or Muslim. Similarly, on the political front of the crusade, the New York Times reported: “The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday [July 25, 2005].”[95]

Keeping in view the crusaders’ thinking in the above mentioned terms, it must not be surprising to see more than 150,000 dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Western media’s considering this butchery as an initial “collateral damage.”[96] It is not surprising why no one even bothers to monitor the victims of the latest adventures of the Christian armies. That is why starving over half a million children to death by the Iraqi sanctions were considered “worth it” by the then U.S. secretary of state.[97] And that is the reason for the media and even the United Nations’ silence over the United States’ use of White Phosphorus against civilian populations.

The modern day crusaders’ long-term thinking is evident from Jenkins’s words: “By 2050, there should be about three Christians for every two Muslims worldwide. Some 34 percent of the world’s population will then be Christian, roughly what the figure was at the height of European hegemony in 1900.” At least 10 will be the sites of intense conflict, where Christian and Muslim communities vie for dominance. These conflicts may make the religious wars of the 16th century Europe look very tame. Within these long-term plans, the invasion of Afghanistan to remove the Taliban was just a fraction, and the starting point of the last crusade against Islam.

To prepare for future conflicts, the religious front of the multi-sector crusade has planned to reach all segments of the power structure at all levels. One of the crucial areas of influence is the so-called think tanks. An Italian intellectual, Marco Respinti, who knows the religious front very well, wrote an article: “New Theologies: the Dawning of the Theoconservative Era in United States” in the September 19, 2003 issue of the daily, Il Foglio. He explains the influence of neoconservatives, who are active on the political front in the United States. In one think tank alone, he assesses the influence and number of the neoconservatives in these words: “Today Robert Bork is senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., together with Walter Berns, Lynne V. Cheney, David Frum, Newt Gingrich, Jean J. Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol, Michael A. Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Michael Novak, Richard N. Perle and Ben J. Wattemberg.” Appointment of anti-Islam propaganda warlord, Daniel Pipes, to the board of the United States Institute of Peace is part of the same influence.

The religious front’s deep involvement with the think tanks makes the Church one of the torchbearers of the crusade in the name of democracy because crusade under this label has been made so easy and acceptable to the public mind that people hardly feel like arguing against it despite knowing what has become of democracy.

Headlines such as “Trying Democracy in Baghdad, with the Vatican’s Blessing,”[98] “The Vatican Deploys its Divisions in Iraq –” Under the Banner of NATO,”[99] “The Pope Receives Iraqi premier Allawi,” and the “Church Encourages Islamic Journey to Democracy,”[100] are telling signs of the political adventures of the crusade’s religious front beyond Afghanistan.

The way Pope met Allawi in private on November 04, 2004 in Rome and then blessed Allawi’s wife, Thana, the minister for development, Mehdi Hahedh, the minister for human rights, Bakhtiar Amin, and the Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican, Albert Yelda, in another meetings, shows how the Vatican has granted full recognition to the United States-installed puppet regimes for consolidation of occupations. On the other end Hamid Karzai says “We remember that during the years of Afghanistan’s occupation by the Soviet Union, the Pope raised his voice of support to the Afghan people,”[101] ignoring “church leaders voicing qualified support” for the United States bombing of Afghanistan and calling it a “retaliation.”[102] The reason is clear: The illegitimate war and occupation made Karzai’s accession to the throne possible.

James Nicholson, the United States ambassador to the Vatican, went ahead with a pre-scheduled September 13, 2001, audience with the Pope to present his diplomatic credentials. According to Times magazine, along with his prayers, the aging Pontiff used the solemn ceremony to express publicly the Vatican’s solidarity with the United States. However, as Nicholson recalls, the Pope went one step further, leaning over to say directly to the new ambassador, “This was not just an attack against America, but against all humanity.” These and other papal comments in the weeks following 9/11, says Nicholson, gave an “implied justification” from the Holy See for the subsequent U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. It was a prized show of Vatican support for a White House keen on strengthening its standing among American Catholics.[103]

Soon after 9/11, the Vatican intensified its attempts at influencing future puppets in Afghanistan. A papal delegation met former King of Afghanistan Zahir Shah in the last week of November 2001 at his villa. Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Paolo Romeo, the apostolic nuncio in Italy, attended the meeting. Interestingly, no details of the meeting, held on the eve of the so-called inter-Afghan peace conference in Bonn, were given.[104]

The Vatican changes its approach in the latest crusade according to the situation, carefully gauging sentiments in the Muslim world. Just one year before meeting with Allawi, calling for democratic transition and openly supporting bloody adventures in Muslim countries, La Civiltà Cattolica–”the magazine of the Rome Jesuits, printed with the supervision and authorization of the secretariat of state–”wrote that the pretext of transplanting democracy to these countries is “particularly offensive for the Islamic community.” Today, the Vatican believes that Muslim communities must accommodate occupation forces, so that they may plant democracy there. This is the result of the seemingly successful occupation of Afghanistan.

The adventures go beyond supporting occupation. There has been application of systematic pressure on the political front for the strongest military action possible. Long before the Vatican’s open declaration of supporting the United States occupation of Iraq, on September 20, 2004, Cardinal Ruini spoke to the permanent council of the Italian bishops’ conference. Ruini repeated the duty of the Christian West to “oppose organized terror with the greatest energy and determination, without giving the slightest impression of considering their blackmail and their impositions,” and at the same time, to transform into “our principal allies” the elements of the Muslim world that desire “liberty and democracy.”

This is a blatant disregard of the United States motives, lies for the war on Afghanistan and Iraq, and a blind commitment to never allowing an alternative Islamic governing system to take root anywhere in the world. Instead the focus is on the ultimate goal i.e., conversion of most of the world to Christianity. Charles Duhigg’s article, Evangelicals Flock into Iraq on a Mission of Faith, in the Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2004 [105] and David Rennie’s report, “Bible Belt Missionaries set out on a ‘war for souls’ in Iraq,” in Telegraph UK, December 27, 2003[106] are eye-opening write-ups in this regard.

Feeling rejuvenated with the seeming success in Afghanistan, the crusaders behind the scenes demanded the pawns on the political front for more military adventures on religious grounds. Rome’s popular daily Il Foglio made an open appeal on September 21, 2004 to the Italian government to become a promoter within NATO and the European Union of a massive deployment of the troops of the Atlantic Alliance. Among others, Vittorio E. Parsi, for Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, signed the appeal.

Similarly, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, expressed admiration for the United States and severely criticized an excessively anti-American and secularist Europe. He also criticized the U.N. in an interview to the New York correspondent of the newspaper La Stampa on September 22, 2004.

These examples of the visible aggression of the religious front are enough to give us a clue to their behind-the-scenes-struggle against Islam. Removal of the Taliban was just a starting point of the unfolding scheme. There was hesitation and reluctance to support the next war in Iraq because not everyone had assumed it a just war or expected full cooperation of the oppressed Iraqis. The growing resistance now gives the crusaders an indication that the Iraqis did not reject Saddam as strongly and forcefully as they are rejecting the United States occupation. The crusaders now see a flavor of Islam in resistance and the religious front of the crusade has now intensified its struggle to make the occupation a success under the banner of fighting the dream of “Caliphate.”

Apparently, the world is convinced that war on Afghanistan and Iraq violates a taboo widely diffused in Catholic circles: a taboo that denounces as immoral not only making war, but even thinking about the possibility of a war. The reality, however, is very different. The leaders in the religious front provide full justification for the Bush’s doctrine of pre-emption.

Bush’s confidant George Weigel, a frontline representative of the Catholic American neoconservatives and a close friend of the prefect of the papal household, Bishop James M. Harvey, goes to the extent of sidelining the U.N. and international community. Writing in The Catholic Difference (2003), Weigel presents the logic that “a correct reading of the just-war tradition does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that prior Security Council approval is morally imperative.”[107]

While making a case for violating all international norms and standards for occupations such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Weigel argues that the world should not worry “about overriding the presumption of ‘sovereign immunity’ that nation-states traditionally enjoy.” The reason he gave was that such countries do not display “a minimum of agreement to minimal international norms of order…[and] its behavior demonstrates that it holds the principles of international order in contempt.”[108]

Earlier, among the sixty influential Americans, who signed the “letter From America” soon after September 11, 2001, Novak, Weigel, and other famous Catholics such as Mary Ann Glendo were the most prominent. They are in total alliance with the academic front led by Fukuyama and Huntington, who justified a war on Afghanistan. The re-introduced Christian concept of “just war” continues to this day in the form of just occupations, just torture, just use of White Phosphorus and depleted Uranium, just burning of the Taliban corpses and just massacres.

While justifying the already planned 21st century crusade, the authors throw realism out: “The idea of a ‘just war’ is broadly based, with roots in many of the world’s diverse religious and secular moral traditions … To be sure, some people, often in the name of realism, insist that war is essentially a realm of self-interest and necessity, making most attempts at moral analysis irrelevant. We disagree.”[109] The world is reaping the fruits of idealism pushed down its throats by the crusaders of our age, who are effectively using media, academia and political fronts for pushing their agenda.

The crusaders’ struggle is not limited only to justifying the political front’s physical war on Afghanistan and then Iraq in the name of a “just war,” they also work hard to bring as many countries into the coalition of the barbarians as possible. Vittorio E. Parsi’s, who teaches geopolitics at the Catholic University of Milan, presents the crusader’s vision and support to the renewed alliance between the United States and Europe in his latest book, The inevitable Alliance: Europe and the United States beyond Iraq. To the author, “equality of all states” is an “untenable legal fiction.”[110]

The Taliban were put under strict economic sanctions and their government was not recognized. They could not even dream of the resources, planning, outreach, access to power and global designs of the crusaders, who were pitted against the Taliban. The crusaders’ much dreamed about religious empire is almost in place and in action to Christianize the world. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, an evangelical Christian magazine that advocates social justice, writes in “Dangerous Religion, George W. Bush’s theology of empire”:

"The Bush theology deserves to be examined on biblical grounds. Is it really Christian, or merely American? Does it take a global view of God’s world or just assert American nationalism in the latest update of ‘manifest destiny?’ To this aggressive extension of American power in the world, President George W. Bush adds God – and that changes the picture dramatically. It’s one thing for a nation to assert its raw dominance in the world; it’s quite another to suggest, as this president does, that the success of American military and foreign policy is connected to a religiously inspired ” mission,” and even that his presidency may be a divine appointment for a time such as this."[111]

Organized efforts are underway to draft Iraqi and Afghan constitutions in a manner to confine Islam to private lives and restrict Muslims from living collective lives by Islam. To the contrary, in the United States, the religious front has found its empire under the Bush administration. The United States is experiencing a major transformation from its so-called secular to an openly religious government. Bush’s faith-based initiative is central to this transformation and raises serious questions about the future policies and approach towards Muslim countries. Bill Berkowitz’s analysis “Slouching toward theocracy,” provides comprehensive overview of the United States government’s transformation into a religiously motivated super power.[112]

In his State of the Union address, Bush renewed a call for Congress to make permanent his faith-based proposals that would allow religious organizations to compete for more government contracts and grants. The March, 2004, issue of Church and State reports that the “Faith Czar” Jim Towey announced to reporters that $40 billion dollars was now available to religious charities.

While the puppet regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan are forced to gradually suffocate religious institutions, Daniel Zwerdling’s study of White House press releases and the White House website found that religious groups could apply to more than a hundred federal programs that gave out more than $65 billion. In addition, religious groups could apply for more money through state-administered programs. The text of an executive order signed by Bush was released on June 1, 2004.[113]

On September 22, 2003, the White House announced new rules, making $28 billion available to religious charities that proselytize and discriminate in hiring. The criteria for funding are as simple as supporting Bush’s candidacy and getting one million dollars.[114]
From a New York Times’ report about Governor Jeb Bush’s launching faith based prison[115] to an article in The Atlantic (October 2002),[116] describing the enormous efforts for spreading Christianity worldwide show how the religious empire is thriving and how the religious front of the latest crusade is at work both at home and abroad.

The ongoing United States-led barbarism in the Muslim majority countries is basically not because of oil or democracy, but because of Christian extremism coupled with the greedy adventures of the oil mafia and neo-cons. This is what we can safely conclude from the study of the religious motivation behind the demonization campaign against Islam in general and the Taliban in particular. Nevertheless, every sensible and peace-loving human being would hope that this is really a war for oil and would end, at least, when the oil supplies run out.

At the same time, we cannot live with the misconceptions about the real motives behind the war of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq. Common sense suggests that ensuring cheap oil supplies and putting pipelines never required 9/11 at home and this level of militarism abroad. Without a religious motivation, it is impossible to tempt even a single individual to lie to the extent to which the Bush administration has been lying; to deceive the whole world to the extent to which the co-opted media has been misleading the world about the Taliban; to starve millions to death for 12 years in Iraq; to torture and kill fellow human beings to the extent we are witnessing at the hands of apparently sensible Americans and their “civilized” allies since the staged 9/11 attacks.

It is obvious that in individual as well as collective cases, the spirit of a wider, final crusade plays a vital part in formulating an oppressive domestic and totalitarian foreign policy, particularly when the warlords understand how to make use of their media, academia, national government and armed forces for “Divine purposes.”

Statements and actions of the individuals and institutions behind the 21st century crusade are on the record. The most recent example of this are the statements and the appointment of Paul Bonicelli to be deputy director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is in charge of all programs to promote democracy and good governance overseas. More significant to the administration, perhaps, is the fact that Bonicelli is dean of academic affairs at tiny Patrick Henry College in rural Virginia. The fundamentalist institution’s motto is “For Christ and Liberty.” It requires that all of its 300 students sign a 10-part “statement of faith” declaring, among other things, that hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.” William Fisher, who has managed economic development programs in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia, writes:

" What’s wrong with this picture is that the USAID programs Bonicelli will run are important weapons in the arsenal of Bush’s new public diplomacy czarina, White House confidante Karen Hughes. These programs are intended to play a central role in boosting Bush’s efforts to foster democracy and freedom in Iraq and throughout the broader Middle East. One can only wonder how Muslims, the target audience for these USAID programs, will react to the view that ‘all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.’"[117]

Comments of the political and military leaders are hardly different from Vatican’s warning to Christians against marrying Muslims.[118] These undeniable words and deed encourage others to undertake inhuman and irrational adventures against Muslims and Muslim majority states. It is human nature that when another people and their faith is so falsely depicted as “evil” and its followers are presented as the enemies, the masses become numb to the atrocities committed against that people. Butchering a people labeled as Taliban and burning their dead bodies hardly make a news headline in the Western press. Similarly, seeing the United States soldiers dragging their perceived enemies on a dog’s leash in Abu Ghraib type of modern concentration camps can hardly evoke rage against men responsible for making the environment conducive for such crimes.

The above-mentioned undeniable examples show that inspiration from the religious front has resulted in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and continues to inspire more crimes against humanity. It is clearly evident that a media, academia and military which rests upon the inspiration of a religion and acts upon the morbid dread and matchless hatred of Muslims and their way of life is actually what drives non-Muslim majority nations into never ending wars with the Muslim world. The wars of the latest crusade are convenient because Muslims are now effectively divided into 57 states and it is easy to pick and punish these one by one, starting with the one, which wanted to make the Qur’an its constitution.

Bush, Powell and Boykin’s description of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a “Crusade” is telling those who are familiar with medieval history that these wars are hardly different from crusades. Crusades were also waged on behalf of Christianity against Islam, not in self-defense as the modern day crusaders argue. Crusaders of the past were, nevertheless, morally far superior to what we have today. They had the courage to call a spade a spade. They never tried to invent lies to justify their religious wars against Islam.

The senseless torture by the Crusaders finds a mirror in the sadism of American soldiers. General Boykin and company’s connection to the torture in Afghanistan and Iraq goes far beyond the merely theoretical level. According to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, General Boykin himself was involved in the design of the military policies that allowed for the use of torture against Muslim prisoners.[119 ]Through General Boykin, the fundamentalist belief in a Christian holy war against Islam is linked with the use of humiliation and pain to break prisoners.

A news report by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine begins:

" The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focused on the hunt for Al-Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of elite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror."[120]

Now, here is where that categorical morality gets really twisted: Bush and Blair, the leading crusaders, seem to believe that because their cause is a good one, whatever they do to support that cause is good. Thus, for them, killing civilians with chemical weapons is not a wicked thing, just a “collateral damage.” It is a sign of moral resolve hardened by religious motivation. Starting a war on the basis of lies against a non-threatening “opponent” is not cruel or cowardly for them. It is strength in the face of “evil.”

Note:

For the references in this write up, please refer to the author’s latest book: Afghanistan: The Genesis of the Final Crusade .

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