Even as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, we are gearing up for another major conflict, this time with Iran. How and why can this be happening?
I think the answer is to be found, at least partly, in our false understanding of “truth.” Here’s an example. In recent days Clinton and Obama have been accusing each other of playing the race card. Obama’s tactic: Display righteous indignation over the means his opponent uses to attain the same corrupt end he is trying to achieve.
There’s a lesson for us here. What Americans desire is not “the truth” so much as “to be right.” As long as we are “right,” we may use any argument to prove it. We need others to be wrong, if only to preserve the fiction that our righteousness is vindicated. No wonder we lie. No wonder we make war. Our lies and our wars provide the foundation of “truth” upon which we erect our Towers of Babel. Never mind that the end result is untold suffering, murder, and disaster.
I have mentioned the Democratic candidates, but what about the Republican side of the equation? Many are saying that the Bush-McCain coalition it too weak to win the 2008 election. The Republican Party is too ideologically and theologically narrow to prevail, they say. My advice: Don’t “misunderestimate” Bush and McCain. All it would take is one more war to restore the good-versus-evil moral climate that returned Bush to the White House in 2004.
Once again, the bogeyman is a “foreign dictator.” Everybody wants him to be really and truly evil so that no one will have to feel guilty about another preemptive war in the Middle East. As with Saddam, Amadinejad has become the incarnation of everything the American mass media ridicule or distrust. He is a madman, and that is that. Never mind that less than 70 percent of the Iranian people back radical Shiism, or that Rafsanjani is making a comeback. No matter. Iran is an evil nation.
This, of course, is the American way of doing things. The mentality of propaganda. Technology and death. As Jeff Taylor writes in today’s LRC:
Despite its generally negative impact – in many important ways to many people – I do not think the Iraq War will dramatically change U.S. foreign policy in the future and will not be seen as a turning point in any major sense. The next administration, even under Obama or Clinton leadership, is likely to continue business-as-usual around the world, including overseas military intervention having nothing to do with U.S. national security. This has been the bipartisan elite consensus for a century and is unlikely to change any time soon.
In the modern world it is hegemony that counts. It is the elixir of sovereign power. God is on our side. Muslims are our hated enemies. That’s obvious isn’t it?
Not to this writer. God loves the Persians every bit as much as He loves you or me. Christians are truly powerful when our “power” is lost in Him, when He becomes our “elixir.” If we throw in our lot with Him, He can transform our contemptus mundi into a compassion for the world.
This is what I have been learning, perhaps too slowly and too late in life. Still, I for one am willing to pay any price to see that the message gets out: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”
March 19, 2008
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.