The curse of a mindset

Look at the analysis and reports on the worsening situation in Iraq. These are always the leading indicators of moral confusion and blindness towards the bigger picture.

The most critical analysts suggest “swift and public prosecutions” of those involved in abuse of prisoners and “the destruction of that prison.” Is this enough? Is this a solution to address the 21st century Final Solution?

When larger picture remains obscured, and there is no fear of penalty for crimes against humanity, crimes proliferate. Leave aside the question of who are the real perpetrators behind Sept. 11, 2001. But who cares if the US president’s 2003 State of the Union address gave currency to a fraud — the story of Iraq’s attempting to buy uranium in Niger? Or if the primary and only sufficient reason for waging pre-emptive war –” weapons of mass destruction –” was largely spurious?

Or, most importantly, if the post-occupation massacre and abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq have been the direct result of far bigger and serious lies told about Muslims and Islam to the Western world with unremitting assiduity and unflinching determination by the so-called scholars of Islam and foreign affairs specialists.

Destroying a prison or prosecuting a few military officers will not destroy the mindset shaped so skilfully for accepting the 21st Century Final Solution by many persons such as Pipes, Perle, Friedman and Krauthammer.

We hardly pause to ponder how anyone could have perpetrated the horrors as we witness in Iraq. Why American soldiers would incriminate themselves by posing next to their handiwork. It reminds one of the Israelis posing for picture with dead Palestinians. However, we don’t see any attempt at explaining the limitless insensitivity of these soldiers who consider the pictures from Abu Ghraib as trophy shots. We do not see any one explaining why the US soldiers behaved like this away from the the battlefield, in the relative safety of the US-controlled prisons.

Grilled at May 11 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, neither Major General Antonio Taguba nor Undersecretary of Defense Stephen Cambone could provide satisfactory answers to frustrated senators about how this could have happened. Taguba attributed the breakdown to a failure of leadership and supervision.

In fact, this is exposure of a mindset prepared with a genuine hankering to hate a people called Muslims. That is why Cambone had less to offer by way of explanation. "It is, for me, hard to explain," he said. It is hard for many with that sick mindset to explain.

Luc Sante admits in his May 11 column in the New York Times that the last time he had seen “that conjunction of elements was in photographs of lynchings.” However, he fails to explain that it was a mindset that in the first four decades of the 20th century, which made white people laughing and pointing for the benefit of the camera below the hanging black men from trees or light fixtures or beside those burning alive.

Luc Sante draws nice comparisons between the spectators at lynchings of African-Americans and the Americans at Abu Ghraib. However, again, he fails to identify why the thought of censure never crossed the minds of those who were vying for credit from the misery they inflicted on other human beings.

The reason is the curse of a mind set detailed by Sunday Times in its story: The Dogs of war. Many Americans at the home town of the American lady who pointed at the genitals of naked inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad as she smoked a cigarette and who posed for the camera holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked detainee believe she is a hero. Her photograph is displayed along with those of other soldiers from the area who took part in the US-led invasion and bloody occupation.

According to Sunday Times, at a dingy Fort Ashby saloon, the consensus was that England, the daughter of a railway worker, did nothing wrong. As one regular, Colleen Kesner, told reporters, "A lot of people here think they ought to just blow up the whole of Iraq. To the country boys here, if you’re a different nationality, a different race, you’re sub-human. That’s the way girls like Lynndie are raised.

"Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you’re hunting something. Over there, they’re hunting Iraqis." This is the direct result of hate speech by the decent looking articles, such as that appeared even in a kind of defence of such crimes by Charles Krauthammer in Washington Post May 07, 2004. It is absolutely not a few soldiers acting differently, nor are these a few isolated instances, it reflects a mind-set shaped by lies about Islam and Muslims.

Persons, such as Senator Jim Inhofe are still leading the way screaming on CNN that the tortured Iraqis "deserved what they got" for what they did to the US. But what did they do? There were no WMDs. There is no link from Iraq to 9/11. Indeed the whole war was based on lies and deceptions, and Inhofe and company lead the lemmings over the cliff of desiring revenge for lie upon lies.

Irrespective of Islam’s rule of engagement and treatment of prisoners; the Taliban’s treatment of the foreigners; the Mujahideen in Iraq’s releasing foreign civilians and even the tyrant Saddam Hussein’s releasing foreigners that he was holding as human shield before Gulf War-1, if the "onward marching Christian soldiers" commit crimes, these are isolated instances. However, it is necessary to condemn and blame Islam as a whole and promote "rebuilding of Islam" as a strategy if some Muslims are alleged to have committed some crimes.

Iraqis are treated this way only because the mindset of their tormentors force them to consider Muslims less than human. Luc Sante concludes without any reference to this mindset: “The Americans in the photographs are not enacting hatred; hatred can coexist with respect, however strained. What they display, instead, is contempt: their victims are merely objects.”

The problem does not begin or end at Abu Ghraib. It goes back to the mode of thinking that has prevented an accounting of civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq since the beginning of occupations. It is because the number of Muslims dead do not matter, and anything done to them is permissible. The problem goes back to invading and occupying two Muslim countries on the basis of lies and baseless allegations. The problem goes back to violating all international norms, laws and institutions. The problem goes back to the its roots: the unabated and ever increasing Islam bashing.

Courts-martial are now underway in the case. The solution, however, does not lie in destroying Abu Ghraib or prosecuting a few military officials. To be both fair to the servicemen with infected mentality and honest with themselves, the impetus must be to find the whole truth — and not simply to take premature refuge in the (relatively) comforting belief that what has shocked the world is merely the work of a few bad American apples.

The solution lies in demystifying the myths about Islam crafted by intellectual Christianists. The solution lies in exposing how their agenda is being practically implemented by political and military Christianists through committing systematic crimes against humanity.

The solution lies in persons such as Luc Sante and George F. Will’s dedicating their work to fighting intolerance within so we can preserve our relations between.

It is up to them to shatter the mindset that forces the culprits of these crimes into believing that Muslims are the subhuman enemy and they are not accountable for the way they treat them.