Archive for March, 2010

La Rousse from the New York Times

March 7, 2010

I enjoy reading Maureen Dowd Columns in the New York Times like one would enjoy reading gossip columns. I never thought her columns have much substance but her writing style is charming, witty, sprinkled with panache, and always makes me smile.

In her piece today, she dabbles in the murky water of the Middle East conflict. I guess she is trying to get serious. She hits all the right notes. The ones that help her keep her job, that is. Not the ones that ring with truth.

She declares “… If anyone deserves to be paranoid, of course, it’s Israel….”

So let me get this straight. Israel, a small country with the sixth largest nuclear arsenal in the world,   the fourth–largest army in the world (the thirteenth if measured by manpower alone),  with more than 200 nuclear warheads6 billion USD in weapon sales,  “…It is becoming an increasingly important player in the global defence industry. It is both the sixth largest arms importer and the fourth largest exporter. Last year appears to have been a record year for its industry. In the first six months, Israel sold 5.3 billion dollars worth of arms abroad, compared to 4.7 billion dollars for the entire 2007, according to the France- Israel Chamber of Commerce. “, with nuclear submarines  and unmatched air force superiority  , at least within its neighborhood, if not in the whole world, this tiny little country, that could destroy the whole Middle East over night, should be paranoid, implied “la rousse ” from the N.Y. Times.

Just what is it with liberals?  They attack  the  regime in Iran as   theocratic. But they can’t see any wrong with whatever Israel, a country that does not deny its “raison d’être” is rooted in the Bible, does even if it hits them with a Camion (with Ms. Dowd’s permission!). In fact, they enthusiastically support/justify every brutal act Israel commits no matter how monstrous it is ( Gaza , Lebanon, Rachel corrie – whom Molly Moore of the Washington/Likud Post blamed for her own death in a March 17, 2003 article.) They are against the death penalty but they see no war that they don’t like. They fuss about the habitat of the spotted owl in Oregon and oppose drilling in Alaska, but they don’t mind the eradication of all Gazans and bulldozing their homes.

At least the religious nuts support for Israel complements their prosaic mythology. Their God, in his infinite wisdom, would like to have Jews live in Palestine so that he can watch hell on earth for a change. They are avid supporters of  wars but they also support the death penalty. They don’t care for the spotted owl or the pristine wilderness in Alaska, nor do they care about Gazans or drilling in their homes. Equal opportunity killing fans, they may be. But they are consistent.

Spineless, faceless, shapeless, and belief-less hacks. In other words-to borrow a Sinatra trick-, liberals.



March 1, 2010

I can perceive religion as a force of good. At the same time,  anyone who reads history can see why it can be a source of destruction. In fact, anyone who has been living on this planet recently can see that as well.

I am not surprised at all  that World Vision leads all secular organizations in relief efforts worldwide. Well-intentioned ,  religious people probably muster a lot of passion. They can tap into deep resources of  moral traditions.

At the same time, they can be manipulated by  profiteering institutions,  religious oligarchy,  and  hypocritical leadership that benefit from the status quo. They can be bullied by radical elements that fear openness and recoil from exchange of ideas.

Take the evangelical-based organizations in the U. S. A., for instance. Recently, they have been engaged in commendable relief efforts worldwide. Haiti, Congo, Rwanda are all but few examples. One  may question their motives but not their effectiveness.

What makes me question their motives is simple.  Absent from  the picture is their clear and unequivocal stance against the support for the seemingly never-ending wars this country engages in.  Their leaders such as Graham, Robertson, Dobson, Farwell, all support wars. They never see a war they dislike. The ones who don’t, opt to play it safe and keep quiet. (See this web site  for documented evangelical support for wars.) They fuse wars, nationalism, and patriotism as good as any demagogue.

War is unquestionably  the most egregious violation of the ethics they purport to champion. Isn’t it all supposed to be about “saving” humans and bettering the conditions of living? Isn’t it why, supposedly, they engage in all those relief efforts across the globe? Yet war after war, they’re either avid supporters of that killing enterprise or silent at best. “Often in the Bible, God sanctions and even encourages war and invasion”, claims one of them.

They are like the rock stars and the Hollywood fakes they much despise. They look for “safe”, trendy,  issues to engage in. But they predictably cower from substantive issues that require courage. Issues that may cost its advocates their careers, reputation, and their life of luxury.

It is a sad state of affairs that this religious energy that can be used to do much good and spread meaningful peace around the world, is diverted to support personal ambitions,  wealth and fame agendas of such hypocritical leaders.