Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Actually, I did want to know. . .

From Juan Cole:

The majority of Iraqis is [sic] Muslim, but the Iraqi state is not necessarily Islamic. Those who don't fall into the category of orthodox Muslims (Sunni or Shiite) probably amount to 5 percent of the population. There are 750,000 or so Christians, and smaller numbers of Mandaeans (Gnostics), Yezidis (you don't want to know), and heterodox Turkmen Shiites.

From Wikipedia:

Yazidi believe in God, the creator, but his role stops there. The active forces in their religion are Malak Ta’us and Sheik Adii.

According to the Yazidi, Malak Ta’us is a fallen peacock angel who repented and recreated the world that had been broken. He filled seven jars with his tears and used them to quench the fire in Hell. Yazidism also includes minor deities and some clans venerate Sheikh Adii as a saint, subservient to Malak Ta’us. There are also 6 other minor deities that are honored.

The Yazidi holy books are the Book of Revelation and the Black Book. The latter forbids eating of lettuce or butter beans and wearing of dark blue. The historical status of the book is questionable.

Fortunately for those of us in the public health business, who promote consumption of folic acid, they don't accept converts. I wonder what would happen if one of them ever got a job with IBM?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Donning the Alcoa sombrero

I'm not the first person to think this, but isn't it obvious that the gang currently in power -- let's call them the Cheney administration -- wants terrorists to attack the United States; encourages proliferation of so-called unconventional weapons, including nuclear weapons, which they are hoping will be used against the U.S.; welcomes violence and chaos in Iraq, including attacks on U.S. troops; is working diligently to create a regional conflict in Southwest Asia with the U.S. military in the middle of it; desires environmental catastrophe; and is determined to ruin the U.S. economy?

It is easy to show that their policies and actions are perfectly designed to achieve these objectives. But why would they pursue them? I'll tell you why. They hate us for our freedom.

The individuals who are today the Cheney administration, in exile during the Clinton years, called for invading Iraq in order to establish U.S. military hegemony in the Middle East. (I know, the NYWT forgot to tell you that. Go here if you don't believe me. No Alcoa sombrero required for that one.) However, they said they needed a transforming event, a "new Pearl Harbor," for the plan to be politically viable. Funny thing about that. It happened. Even though Mr. Bush was warned in a presidential daily briefing that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike inside the U.S. He ignored the warning to continue his vacation in Crawford. Then they invaded Afghanistan, but they let Osama go, and they turned their attention to invading Iraq. They used a campaign of lies about terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction™ to justify the invasion, but in support of their lies they blew the cover of a CIA agent working on, guess what, Weapons of Mass Destruction™.

Meanwhile, they have done everything in their power to undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as treaties on chemical and biological weapons, while moving to build biological weapons laboratories of their own. When they invaded Iraq, they did nothing to secure weapons and explosives depots, or Iraq's nuclear sites, allowing them to be looted. They abused and tortured prisoners in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are demanding the right to continue to do so without interference from Congress or the courts, even though it is well known that torture is counterproductive as a method of getting information. It does, however, make people angry and determined to strike back.

Now, they have defined "victory" in Iraq as the installation of a Shiite theocracy allied with Iran -- the second country on the Axis of Evil, which they keep making noises about attacking. They are arming, equipping, and training an army for this Shiite Islamic state -- apparently with every expectation of ultimately fighting it.

These policies would seem utterly insane if we believed the "president" when he talks about national security and keeping us safe. But they make perfect sense when you realize that he wants the United States to be at war, forever. Remember how he kept bleating about being a "wartime president"? War is supposed to make him unaccountable. War let's him erode civil liberties, turn the country into a garrison state, eliminate taxes on the wealthy, destroy environmental protections that might limit their profits, run enormous budget and trade deficits that mortgage the country's future for a brief illusion of prosperity.

But won't that be bad for business in the long run? Hell no. They don't give a shit about the U.S. The corporations they serve are multinational. They have no loyalty to any nation, and national borders mean nothing to them. The Cheney administration has friends in agribusiness, and construction, and other industries, but mostly they're in the oil business. Petroleum is the most important lever of power in the world today. They want to control it. They're perfectly happy to sell oil to the Indians and the Chinese and the Europeans. It doesn't matter what happens to the U.S. economy. But they want the price to be high. The last thing they want is any investment in conservation. And they don't want the people who live where the oil comes from to get in their way either.

For the Cheney administration, the major prize that comes with state power is the world's most powerful military, which is now at the disposal of the oil barons. The critical objective is to hold on to that asset. Democracy is an obstacle, obviously, so they want to eliminate it. The more conflict and chaos they can stir up in the world, particularly in the regions where there is oil, the more opportunity they will have to use military force to gain control. The more the American people are scared of "terrorists," the less they will resist restrictions on their liberties. And oh yeah, all this crap about "Christianity" and moral values? That's just one more way to dupe people. Obviously it doesn't apply to them.

And why are they so into torture? Because it gives them the weapon of terror and intimidation. To use, one day, on us. Enemy combatants.

So how about it. Am I crazy?