Friday, 19 October 2007

"We can win without destruction"

"We can win without destruction. I am an optimist, because I believe that I'm right. I'm at peace with myself." What Bush told Aznar in the run-up to the Iraq war. Read the full transcript here.


Jose said...

All this seems to put the burden on Bush's shoulders but I remember Aznar defending Bush against everybody and telling the Spanish that Bush had promised enormous benefits for Spain out of that war. The Spanish were adamant: no war.

Aznar showed his lack of democracy by going to war.

As the leader of an independent country Aznar should have shrugged Bush off and thought first of all in his country's real interest and compliance with international laws.He turned Spain into a rogue country despite the will of the population.

The Spanish people voted him out on the occasion of the elections but he never admitted he had made a mistake, nor does he admit it now. So...

No, don't make mistakes: both Aznar and Blair must be placed at the same level as Bush.

The wording of the article seems to lighten the importance of both leaders' blame in the whole affair.

anticant said...

Is any Western country independent of the USA? No doubt both Aznar and Blair were heavily leaned upon, in addition to their natural poodleish sycophancy.

And I notice the NYRB article repeats the old canard that Aznar was voted out because the Spanish were cowed by the Madrid bombings. Friends living in Spain - who wrote to me at the time describing the impressive and moving vigils held throughout the country after the bombings - assure me that nothing could be further from the truth. Aznar was voted out because, as Jose rightly says, the Spanish people were overwhelmingly opposed to the war; and in particular because Aznar tried to pin the blame for the bombings on the Basque separatists when everyone knew perfectly well that they were perpetrated by Al Qaeda.

Jose said...

That's exactly the situation, Anticant.

What I'd like to stress is that the wording of the article seems to in a way make Aznar and Blair look like less guilty than they really were.

Why? Is there any intention by some interested party(ies)to wholly blame Bush for everything now that he is doomed?

anticant said...

Well, Jose, rats do have an instinctive tendency to desert a sinking ship. It was most interesting that at the recent Labour Party conference genuflecting to their new leader, Brown, Blair was completely airbrushed out of the proceedings and scarcely received a mention.

As we all know, though, Bush isn't the main instigator of US policy - he's merely the figurehead - or bonehead! - for the real culprits.

Richard W. Symonds said...

The "real culprits" being exactly, AC ?

Don't be shy naming names ;)

Emmett said...

AN Underlying culprit is the (baseless!) mood, or rash, of "triumphalism" that began sweeping some of the ranks of my untried 1946-64 age-mates. Scorned by any of the real tests of life, and as the Cold War began to "fart out," these Viet Nam 4-Fs began to want to get in on some of the grandpa-stories, about flamethrowers-to-the-death and so on, such as THEIR dads had to tell from the South Pacific days of WW II. Whatever might have been /victorious/ about America prevailing in the Cold War, in any case, was maddeningly to the credit of other, older, men too. These now-aging upper-middleclass extras & also-rans & cretins of mine (esp those who ARE really no good at rut & can please neither females, other men nor even sheep, and not even with COCAINE!), all of those with no technique of their own, so to speak, seized on the "End of History" claptrap and went haring off to Do Churchill & Eisenhowser All Over Again. Only THIS time, the fantasy went, they'd STOP the whole shitaree in midstride. THIS would get rid of the need to DO anything ever again -- except sneer down upon the occasional nigger athlete bought & sold & sent up the river, all for The Man's sins....

(Jesus! That's a HELLISH vison of swinishness & depravity...these skunks really DO outdo themselves sometimes! Christ.... Anyway, there's a whole lot of specifically /academic/ & "think-tank" dishonesty behind the PUBLIC drooling of these halfwits.)

anticant said...

Oh, I'll leave that to you, Prof Symonds - you being one of the Cognoscenti!

Very valid points, Emmett, to which I'd add complete confusion of fiction with reality, induced by too much gawping since childhood at Wild Western and senselessly violent Hollywood films and TV in which the USA 'good guys' always vanquish the Evil Other after an exciting shoot-out. Bush gives the impression of believing himself to be Gary Cooper in 'High Noon'.

None of the Bushes, Cheneys, Libbys, Wolfowitzes, Perles, Feiths, Rumsfelds, Gonzales, Rices, Roves, etc. etc [is that enough, Richard? I leave the full list to you and Michael] have, as far as one knows, ever been within 100 miles of real violence in their pampered personal lives, and would quake with terror if they themselves actually experienced what they have blithely perpetrated upon the hapless population of Iraq and are now plotting to unleash upon Iranians. They and their ilk are not merely war criminals - they are inhuman monsters of the Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot variety so fulminated against by their "Christian" supporters, and their thought-processes and actions belie the West's claim to be more "civilised" than the handful of terrorists they are so mesmerized by.

The good-hearted American public - who I still believe to be in the vast majority - are responsible for the fact that these criminal cretins are still in office, and to that extent must share the blame and shame.

Jose said...

I am 100% with you, Anticant. As for the American public I correspond with some of them most of whom are against the process started by Bush and Co.

I am not for the Conspiracy theory, I believe though rational beings whose main interest is filling up their coffers - this said in a symbolical way - will always avail themselves of the chances they run into to that end.

Names mean nothing, what means is the set up those rational beings have built to enhance their ultra-capitalism. Set up which may change at any given moment.

Emmett said...

AS To "conspiracy," the Sufis contend there is of course LOTS of plotting. Stupid plotting. This is so because of the physical nature of fear, anger, greed & lust, and laziness. By definition, however, this stuff is virtually always hopeless -- because in very few cases, if any, can a creature IN the physical field see equally clearly in all directions. Still less can they foresee as a rule ALL possible outcomes. (Interestingly, the Haroun ar-Rashid teaching-story about this IS set in Baghdad, "City of ALL Outcomes.!") None of this rules out inflation & conceit, of course, or the idea that some of the ignorant might THINK they could maybe pull off something "really big." And, of course, others among the wishful actually hope that there are "conspiracies" going on, even if they are bad ones. For THIS would mean down deep that average human being is a lot smarter & farther along than it actually is, and that there is really, well, an ubdue amount of hope to be placed right in the Here & Now.

THERE Is not, not as such, this is only another stage in evolutionary time.

AND So the conspiratorial desire to "stop history" right here & now is, actually, idiotic. In the end, a scheme only has to last long enough for one to get away with the cash...and these New Conmen have certainly overreached themselves on that one. Why are we surprised by this? _I_ am a lustridden & boozy, leering, truculent & undignified, old, fool in the toils & full reek of the disgusting American late-middleage, I know myself for Christ's sake...hence, I (we!) know ALL about these other pigs. Case closed.

anticant said...

Emmett, I just wish I could be as confident as you seem to be that this ghastly lot who hold the reins of power won't succeed in ending history good and proper with a nuclear holocaust - which, to judge from the way that they and many of their idiotic supporters talk, has a super-orgasmic lure for them.

Richard W. Symonds said...

There was an advert in a well-known store today :


Plan A, to me, is for humanity to avoid a nuclear holocaust - THE pre-condition for humanity's survival.

Emmett said...

I Perceive that the dynamic process of the lowest common denominator is resistlessly at work in our animal affairs, as always. In terms of this over-crowded Earth, the net effect in other words of all the hysterical ways in which we divide against one another, /including/ the 'scientific' cries of alarum about global warming, mean simply that Nature is getting ready, so to speak, to jumble & kill off perhaps seventy to ninety /per cent/ of /homo sapiens/. We simply do not do well under this sharp increase in propinquity and we can not, not as we are now evolutionarily-constituted. Thus, it well may be that the ongoing evolutionary process is setting in place loads of fissaparousness (/sic/?) so that in some hole-and-corner or other a few here & there will survive, to resume all the hellish ambiguities of the breeding-task & all the rest of 'history'. In the last analysis, our dying-western dionysianism AND the reactionary religious puritanical hysteria, of the ever-excluded 'third world', all adds up to due-bills & necessary losses that all mature persons must face up to, individually. In closing, and in the face of the universal, final, unendurable 'No!' from life which we all face, I would simply suggest that the sincere epicurean /and/ the devout religious personality, in both cases, are being true to their instincts. It is when, in our individual terror of what is brutally at hand, that we turn (in vain!) back to the 'social struggle' with one another, the pathetic projections, the egotism, the ludicrous claims in all quarters to be 'right', or anyway 'closer to the truth', that one realises the hideous depths of the universal solipsism. Only a major ecological 'lurch' now seemingly can give the natural comedy a few additional decades, or century perhaps, for the hard-won gains by Nature in self-awareness in our persons a fighting chance -- because even if we DO kill off ninety-nine percent of ourselves, in less than five hundred years hominids very likely shall have (literally!) screwed themselves back into the /same/ corner. In the face of this, it is all well & good to blame 'the 1960s', homosexualists, The Beatles, the Pope in Rome, China or the Bush crime may as well condemn ones own IRREDUCEABLE needs for food, shelter & plenty of Nice Things!

anticant said...

I share your pessimism, Emmett. There are far too many noisy people hell-bent [literally] on proving themselves 'right' and everyone else 'wrong' - even to the extent of preferring a nuclear holocaust [the grim reality of which they lack the imagination to comprehend] to the hum-drum painful daily nitty-gritty of co-existence.

And 'faith' in their preferred brand of mythical sky-pixie and visions of heavenly worlds where the 'elect' will wear golden crowns and play harps, or fuck 72 virgins, or guzzle endless ice-cream, or whatever, doesn't help to induce a greater sense of reality in these lunatics.

Michael said...

Debunking the "suicide for 72 virgins" myth

One of the biggest Israeli propaganda myths is the invention of 72 virgins as a Muslim reward for suicide. This has been repeated to the western world so often that most people accept it as fact. The media wants us to believe that there cannot be anything wrong about Israelis – who must be seen as eternal victims – to cause anyone to commit suicide as a means of striking back at them. Heavens no! The motivation for suicide bombings in Israel has nothing to do with Jewish treatment of Palestinians. Instead it has to do with the evilness of the Palestinians and their religious beliefs. This is the “bill of goods” they sell the western mind while at the same time faking most, if not all the “Islamic suicide bombings” to blame on Muslims.

It is a sick and despicable mind that feels that it has a right to attack, steal, murder and cause harm to others but if the others dare fight back they are wrong and therefore terrorists. This one sentence describes Israeli thinking and their policies. They believe they are superior and entitled and they have a right to do anything to other people and those people better not retaliate. As a result they have done more by way of propaganda to take the legitimate fight of those who are against their wrongs and demonize them. We now have this ongoing enormous propaganda campaign to make Palestinians and anyone belonging to the same religion as Palestinians, to be seen as mindless terrorists and suicide bombers with no cause other than to do evil. And, of course, vicariously receiving 72 virgins as a reward in paradise for committing suicide to kill a few Israelis.

The Qur’an and valid authentic Hadiths are very clear about what happens to anyone who commits suicide. According to Hadiths:



Committing Suicide is a Major Sin:

Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445:

Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.”

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 73:

Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak: ”And if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection.


There are many more Hadiths condemning suicide but I would also like to reference the Qur’an. Amongst the many verses against suicide here is one that makes it very clear that the taking of one’s life is strongly prohibited and that there is no reward for anyone who does that.



But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful!

If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for God.

Qur’an 4:29 - 4:30


So where did the reward of 72 virgins in paradise for suicide come from? Are there any Islamic teachings we can point to endorsing that?

When we look at the highest authority in Islam, the Quran, we find nothing in it endorsing rewards for suicide. Instead we find the strongest condemnation with severe punishments for those who commit suicide. When we look at Hadiths, which after the Quran is second in authority in Islam, we find nothing in the authentic Bukhari and Muslim Hadiths endorsing suicide. Instead we find strong condemnation for it.

Searching what Muslims refer to as Gharib Hadiths (weak or strange Hadiths) we do find something about 72 wives but not virgins. The Hadith we find is the following:



Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2562 says:

The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: “The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana’a [Yemen]”


This is as a weak Hadith that has no Sanad — line or sequence of narration. Although listed in an authoritative collection, this particular Hadith has technical weaknesses in its chain of transmitters and is therefore not considered impeccable. As a result, Muslims are not required to believe in it. Even if the Hadith was true, there is nothing about it that says that if someone commits suicide they would get 72 virgins in paradise.

Muslims know that the description of paradise or heaven in Hadiths and Quran is allegorical. If not, then Allah would have allowed us to take our bodies with us when we die. But the vehicle by which we could enjoy the physical things (especially 72 virgins ) mentioned as being in heaven, is left behind here in this world to rot and decay away. So we know for a fact that for heavenly rewards, physical things of this world are used to describe things totally non-physical. A Hadith to keep in mind is as follows:



The Prophet said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).” (Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:53)


I am sure that 72 physical virgins are a small part of the whole world to be given to someone who has experienced paradise to come back to. Yet the prophet (saaw) has said that the martyr who experiences paradise would not want to come back to this world even for everything this world has to offer. If he was getting 72 physical virgins in heaven, then surely he would get more than that from the world and would be enticed to come back.

On the other hand, martyrdom in war for an Islamic cause is praised extensively as in the above Hadith. The Quran teaches (3:169): “Do not consider those killed [while engaging] in God’s cause dead. Rather, they live with their Lord, who sustains them!” The Quranic idiom, “killed while engaging in God’s cause” is a reference to martyrdom for acting on being a Muslim, whether as a persecuted and powerless individual or as a warrior fighting in defense of Islam, country, justice, freedom and peace. A Hadith in Sunan al-Tirmidhi states that in contrast to the suicide, the martyr does not even feel the pain of his death (Fada’il al-Jihad, 26:1663). He is also forgiven all his sins and has the right to intercede on behalf of his own family to enter Heaven. So, suicide is forbidden, killing of noncombatants is forbidden, but martyrdom is rewarded with entrance into heaven and, therefore, with great material rewards in the world to come.

What I wrote about Islam’s position on suicide is not secret, esoteric knowledge. It is common knowledge well known and can easily be discerned by anyone doing a very elementary study of the religion. Yet what we have today is the knee jerk, unconscious association of the religion of Islam with suicide bombings. Even to the point where claims of getting 72 virgins are an Islamic prize offered for suicide. This is a cruel and ugly lie about Islam that has been so widely perpetuated that it is accepted as fact. Corrections to the association of Islam with suicide and the killing of innocents are not made in the media. Instead it is glued even tighter by reporting that NOT a person disobeying Islam, but a Muslim imbued with Islamic religious fervor committed a suicide.

We have a media that is too eager to enlighten and spread the word about crazy Muslims killing themselves for 72 virgins. We read and hear everyday about suicide bombers in Iraq killing themselves and other Iraqis with them. We are to believe that a religion that strongly condemns suicide, promises severe punishment in hell for those who commit it and has never had a strategy of using suicide to fight wars until recent contact with Israelis — somehow has spawned the most suicide killers on earth. I don’t believe for a minute that the reports about suicide killings in Iraq are true. Many independent journalists and eye witnesses have reported how Mossad and US occupational forces have staged incidents to make them appear to be Iraqi suicide killings. In fact there are many cases where the perpetrators have been caught.

Oddly enough in this saga about suicide killings we read the following headlines from Israeli newspapers: “Fewer officers to be armed as suicide becomes IDF’s top killer!!!” which you can read more about at the following links:

The leading cause of death for the Israeli Defense Forces is suicide!!! Well, well it looks like suicide is really an Israeli problem and not a Muslim one. Their IDF commit far more suicides than what is being blamed on Muslims. We already know that Israel leads the world in trafficking prostitutes and that there are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Who knows, maybe having access to one prostitute at a time on a soldier’s salary was not enough for those IDF soldiers. Maybe these soldiers believed the lies told about Muslims and were trying to get their 72 virgins too. See how strong an effect Jewish lies have on their own people.

“Strive as in a race to achieve the goal of excellence in all that you do.”

For real insights visit:

anticant said...

Oh dear! The above illustrates the dangers of flippancy in 'serious' debate....

If Michael is correct, whether or not Islamist suicide bombers believe in the 72 virgins [or white raisins, according to your preferred translation] awaiting them in Paradise, they are apostates. So where are the authentic Islamic scholars who should be telling them so loudly and clearly? Admittedly I don't surf the Islamic websites, but there seems to be a deafening silence in that respect.

My point was and is an altogether more simple one: ALL believers in 'supernatural' religions, of whatever variety - Jewish, Christian, or Muslim - which tell them that they are God's Chosen People, and that all non-believers in their particular version of faith are 'infidels', and inferior, are fascist-minded enemies of world peace. There is nothing to choose between them. Their beliefs are twaddle and piffle. A plague on all their houses!

Who will rid us of these turbulent Godbotherers?

Michael said...

I think you are totally wrong in assuming that suicide bombers exist for religious reasons. Does anyone seriously believe that Bush, Clinton, Blair invaded Iraq on some sort of crusade instead of economic reasons? Suicide bombers, whether in Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan are simply fighting to liberate themselves from occupation, fighting back in most cases in the only way possible. Is it possible in fact to fight back in a more noble way than than sacrificing your own life in the cause? Is carpet bombing from 50,000 ft, or sitting in a tank, using napalm, phosphorus, depleted uranium and killing civilians by the thousands somehow more gallant? Why assume that Palestinians become suicide bombers in order to obtain 72 virgins and not assume that the few Americans that die in Iraq did so to get $500,000 for their relatives?
This is in reality nothing at all to do with religion, if the Middle East didn't sit upon most of the world's oil reserves the USA would show any interest at all in the area.
If the Israelis didn't daily kill Palestinians, destroy more villages and steal more land there would be no suicide bombers there either. Indeed around 16 months ago the Palestinians had their own ban on suicide bombers, no incidents for over 17 months, but during that time the Jews still continued to slaughter up to 600 most of which were children.

anticant said...

You may be right, but I don't think you are. It's far too simplistic and black-and-white to say that religion has "nothing at all" to do with the Middle East Crisis. Peoples' motives are complex, and it's not a matter of either/or.

I agree that economic reasons play a major part, but so do tribal feuds exacerbated by religious differences which existed for centuries before anyone knew there was oil in the Middle East.

Leaving aside Western interference, I still maintain that it would be much easier to resolve the Arab/Israeli conflict if religion didn't play a major part in the motivation of both sides.

All three Abrahamic religions have 'Holy Books' which exhort them to smite and destroy unbelievers.

Michael said...

Before Zionism got kicked out of the Soviet Union and took over Israel and the USA, Jews and Muslims lived in peace in the Middle East, in fact it was of the very few areas in the world where Jews claim they were not persecuted. Even now 30,000 Jews live in Iran and there were plenty at one time to be found in Iraq. Before the illegal invasion of Iraq there was no tension at all between Shia and Sunni, in fact over 25% of marriages were inter-sect.
If it wasn't for the economic reasons for the USA's attempt to dominate the Middle East, the USA would be as disinterested in the area in the same way they are about Africa.

anticant said...

I would be the first to agree that we [the British] bear a heavy responsibility for what is now going on in the region.

The Balfour declaration was one of the dottiest documents ever cooked up even by the Foreign Office. The notion that you could insert a Jewish National Home without antagonising the incumbents was zany.

And did Chaim Weizman really believe that the newly arrived Chosen People would be content to don top hats and frock coats and go to the opera while loving their Arab neighbours? I doubt it!

You are right to be indignant, Michael,and I share your indignation although not always sharing your perspective. [I had a Christian Lebanese grandfather, so have heard a good few tales about 'how it was' under the Ottomans.]

What worries me is that on each side new generations of youngsters are rapidly growing up who know nothing but the embittered hatreds and won't be willing to make peace when the opportunity arises.

Emmett said...

"If (WHEN?) them Chinamen get THEIR asses over here in the land of round eyes & doorknobs, and they are trying to clear out the honkies & black negroes & Redskins, all out ot the way so that they can farm the ground whole God-damn counties at a time with gigantic cultivation- and harvesting-rigs on rails...THEN, by God, you'll see suicide bombers praised to the skies as The True American Heroes! USE yer God-damn heads fer once fer something besides a God-damn hatrack!"

[Judson Andersen, Minnesota farmer, 88 years old --ed]

Emmett said...

I Don't know if any of you characters have ever had to contend with ANY virgins, let alone seventy-two of 'em? But when I was at a Lutheran college here in the late 1960s in the Upper Midwest, they were not yet then an endangered species. And, my God, what a selfadoring little pain in the -ss each and every one was! It is taking the "special," the "unique," the "individual" and the "way precious" all entirely TOO God-damn far! I am certain that MuHammad (pbuh) gets a good laugh from time-to-time, out of the saps who show up occasionally wanting to collect on THIS stuff!