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Good Ol’ Rummy!

During the Bush era (have you ever noticed how the time George Bush was president is referred to in similar terms to other dark eras in world history, like Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, etc) I used to joke with friends about the latest antics of the characters in the great farce of global politics, especially Donald Rumsfeld.

We would say something like “did you hear what Ol’ Rummy said the other day?” as if he was some sort of bumbling but lovable buffoon more worthy of an affectionate laugh than serious condemnation. Recent material seems to put a more sinister cast on his time in power though because there is a point when buffoonery becomes a lot more threatening.

So what am I talking about here? Various material has come to light recently which is so worrying that it not only makes the Bush administration look even worse than we thought but also puts genuine challenges in the path of the new administration in its efforts to regain some respect and trust of the US as a world power.

Here’s a few quotes from Rumsfeld’s reports to the president during the times the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq…

A briefing delivered to the White House featured the famous scene where the statue of Saddam Hussein was being pulled down in Firdos Square (if this isn’t one of the greatest feats of propaganda in the history of war I don’t know what is). Just below the headline “Secretary of Defense” was a Bible quote from Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him… To deliver their soul from death.”

Here’s another one, from a report showing a photo of a US tank with another quote from the Bible, this time Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

And on another report featuring Saddam Hussein striking a dictatorial pose was this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

So either Rumsfeld himself was a religious nutter or he used this violent religious imagery to manipulate someone who was (yes, that would be the president). I’m not sure which of the two options is the worst but it doesn’t really matter in the end because it shows how the US was making decisions based on paranoia, fantasy, and ignorance rather than facts and sound analysis of the military and political situation.

Sure we now have a sensible president with relatively good advisors in the US but it might be only a matter of time before the political pendulum swings back to having the crazies in charge. I’m not necessarily suggesting all Republicans are religious nutters – although a good proportion of them are. I’m suggesting that everyone should be cautious of any religiously motivated politician.

And that’s the problem with religion in the US. A large part of the population of the US takes religion far too seriously and it means that they are liable to make emotional decisions when voting which could lead to disaster for the US and the rest of the world.

Look at the situation dispassionately: why would decisions affecting the complex society of the modern world be made partly based on the writing of primitive tribes with no knowledge of the issues we now need to be aware of. Its time to move on. The Bible is a pile of contradictory, incompetent, delusional, violent, dangerous, badly written nonsense. Its only place is as a guide for social anthropologists to help understand the people of the time.

It should not be used by easily deceived, fantasy prone people who use old books and primitive beliefs as a shortcut to building a world view and a morality. There are important factors we face today: the environment, global politics, the direction of scientific progress, and many others which are barely mentioned in the Bible. I say this to George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the rest who use the Bible for their own incompetent or immoral purposes: its time to throw it away and move on!

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