News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: In Other Words

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Other Words

Much of what has been said in the Rex Judas study is echoed in statements voiced by Paddy Ashdown (via Empire Burlesque):

"Our problem is that we have chosen the wrong mindset, the wrong battlefield, the wrong weapons and the wrong strategies to win this campaign. We have chosen to fight an idea, primarily with force," Ashdown said, in remarks that were released before the speech.

As the Guardian reports, Ashdown "suggest[ed] that the threat has been exaggerated if compared with 19th-century anarchism or the bombing campaign of Irish republicanism in the 70s, two threats that had not led to the current erosion of civil liberties. Lord Ashdown is currently jointly chairing a committee of inquiry into terrorism with the former defence secretary Lord Robertson."

"The west seeks to control territory; they seek to capture minds," Ashdown declared. "We have chosen language and means which unite the moderates in Islam with the fanatics, when we should be uniting with the moderates in Islam against a common enemy. We have adopted methods, or connived at their adoption, which undermine the moral force of our ideas and strengthen the prejudices of our opponents.

"We are seeking to win a battle of values by sacrificing our most precious and most potent value, our freedoms and our civil liberties. We concentrate almost all our efforts on the short-term struggle to prevent the next outrage, and almost none on the long-term task of winning the hearts and minds of moderate Islam."
While these comments reflect my own, as documented in numerous posts on thsi blog, I now think that they don't go far enough. They do not evince or begin to describe the evil nature of the actions undertaken by the US plutocracy and its technocratic machinery.

It's noteworthy that Empire Burlesque points to Ashdown's "moderate" political credentials. He juztaposes this with those with "critics of the Texas Twerp as wild-eyed radicals suffering from "Bush Derangement Syndrome." "

Perhaps my study of Bush as Rex Judas fits that bill. I have attempted to give the man every possible mitigating consideration. I held off expressing everything except mild skepticism when he decided to invade Iraq. I tried to believe that he might be right, that Hussein had WMD. But over the ensuing months, the travesty of that decision became and more apparent. And as it did, my own skepticism turned to irony as the human devastation visted on Iraq grew.

Perhaps I am an extremist in my views. I believe that those who support this war and this President intend imposing extremist forms of ethos and practices that will not build a better future for my children or anyone else's chiuldren except perhaps their own.

In opposing an illusion and a fraud, it is often important to take Martin Luther King's words seriously, when he says in his Letter from Birmingham Jail:
But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that an men are created equal ..." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we viii be. We we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime---the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jeans Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
The notion of being an extremist has its temptations. To remain wary of these is important. Yet staying clear-eyed about the true nature of evil is more important than worrying about what the herd might think or say.

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