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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Modest Proposal on the War on Terror

In his "State of the Union" message, Pres. Bush defended his "terrorist surveillance program" by noting that "two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. . . ." (Note: The CIA did know that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, attended an al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in 2000, and then traveled to the United States. The men simply were not put on a terrorist list, and the FBI was not alerted to their presence.)

Bush defended his warrentless survelliance as a necessary action in time of war and invoked, as always, September 11 to justify his claim to special war powers.

Fair enough. I would simply like to note that prior to September 11, 2001, we in Oklahoma suffered a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995. The bombing was carried out by an American Christian named Timothy McVeigh to avenge the death of fellow Christians at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. In addition to this, McVeigh was in contact with other fellow Christians at Elohim City in Adair County, Oklahoma.

Since we are in a permanent state of war of terror in the United States, I look forward to the revelation that our president has ordered the warrantless terrorist surveillance of these right wing Christian groups. And in the name of Homeland Security, I think that other conservative Christian groups will not think unkindly of our Federal Government if they too are subjected to this kind of secret, warrentless surveillance. In fact, since our president is the darling of the evangelical Christian community, I expect that they not only applaud such actions on the part of our chief executive, but that they demand that their members submit to having all their communications monitored by our government, which, after all, has only our best interests at heart.


unhyphenatedconservative said...

Linking McVeigh to Christians is a libel and you should no better. He was a Nietchian (sp?) who disdained Christianity. The groups he was involved in were no more "Christian organizations" than the Christian Democrats in Europe could be considered Christian organizations.

Lynn Green said...

Most people seem to be willing to link the prepetrators of 9-11 to the Muslim faith. Perhaps you are not one of these. McVeigh certainly considered himself a member of the Christian faith. I simply wanted to show others what it would look like from a homegrown perspective. In your case, I guess I succeeded.

unhyphenatedconservative said...

The perpetrators of 9-11 linked themselves to the Muslim faith. They can point to actual verses and tenets of the Muslim faith and credibly argue that they are acting in accordance with it.

Your point would be valid if you were arguing that a group like Nation of Islam began terrorism and then people condemned Islam in general, despite the fact that NOI's tenets have almost nothing to do with actual Islam. However, that is nt the case with al Queda.

And as to whether McVeigh considered himself a member of the Christian faith, here is a link to a CNN transcript with author Lou Michel, who had extensive interviews with McVeigh: http://www.cnn.com/COMMUNITY/transcripts/2001/04/04/michelherbeck/

I'll save you the time of reading the whole interview and paste the money quote here:

Question from chat room: Does McVeigh have any spiritual-religious beliefs?

Lou Michel: McVeigh is agnostic. He doesn't believe in God, but he won't rule out the possibility. I asked him, "What if there is a heaven and hell?"

He said that once he crosses over the line from life to death, if there is something on the other side, he will -- and this is using his military jargon -- "adapt, improvise, and overcome." Death to him is all part of the adventure.

Clearly, that is the not the philosophy of someone who "consider[s] himself a member of the Christian faith."

Lynn Green said...

Sure, they identified themselves as Muslims, so what's the point?

McVeigh aligned himself with the Christian Identity cult here in Oklahoma. Here's what the web site "Eye on Hate" has to say about the Christian Identity movement:

"[T]his is a religious community with a difference. Its members believe that government is the enemy, that America's secular, multicultural society is a present-day Gomorrah, and that Elohim City is a bunker in a great battle between the children of darkness (the Jews) and the children of light (the Aryan race). Elohim City became the subject of scrutiny in the last year when telephone records revealed thatTimothy McVeigh made calls to the rural enclave in the weeks prior to the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. More recently, however, it has been learned that Timothy McVeigh was heavily involved with the domestic terrorists who frequent Elohim City and who practice Christian Identity. But McVeigh's involvement is just one of a host of links that connect the increasingly violent activists of the racist far right to the doctrine which helps to inspire them. Christian Identity, which elevates white supremacy and separatism to a Godly ideal, is the ideological fuel that fires much of the activity of the racist far right."

I think that that is enough reason to call for warrantless wiretaps of conservative Christian groups if we are going to have them. McVeigh certainly saw himself as advancing their religious agenda. He acted to avenge what he saw as a governemnt attack on a religious group.


If you are going to investigate one religion for its ties to terroism, you should investigate them all. I'm just waiting for Bush to do this.

unhyphenatedconservative said...

Lynn you are missing the basic point I have made about the Nation of Islam. Just because it uses the word Islam does not make it an actual Muslim group. You have to actually look at the internal ideology of the group.

And what are the tenets of Christian Identity From Wikipedia:

Christian Identity believers reject the beliefs of most modern orthodox Christian denominations, and claim that modern Christian Churches are teaching a heresy: the belief that God's promises to Israel (through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) have been expanded to create a spiritual people of "Israel," which consitutes the Christian "Church". In turn, most modern Christian denominations and organizations denounce Christian Identity theology as a heresy, and condemn the use of the Christian Bible as a basis for promoting anti-Semitism."

As you can see, "Christian Identity" has as much to do with Christianity as Elijah Muhammad's teachings about a mad scientist creating the white race has to do with actual Islam.

Lynn Green said...

Good, that is precisely my point. We need to realize that all religions can be abused and misused to do horrors contrary to their real intention.

Now, back to my original point. If Bush is going to claim that war powers give him the right to order surveillance, then we must realize that there is no end to where this could lead.

Therefore, we must insist that he follow the law and get a warrant. It's not like there isn't a sympathetic federal judge out there who will do it. We can't allow the executive branch to abuse its powers no matter what the pretext.

unhyphenatedconservative said...

I think you are getting closer to the point but still missing it. I am not arguing that the Islamists are distorting their religion. There are ample passages of the Koran and Hadith calling for the death of infidels. My point was that McVeigh could not be linked to Chrisitanity as he publicly eschewed Christianity

And if Bush had just been doing this program on his own, I would be more sympathetic to your conjcerns. However, the chief judge of the FISC was informed, as were members of Congress. There was oversight.

Rhiannon said...

After reading your and unhypenatedconservatives "debate" comments here, I can see why my thoughts that so many wars have been started, created and fought over "religion" throughout history and "who's right and who's wrong" just might make some sense. I hope one day soon this country will slowly learn to be more tolerant and diverse of others own beliefs and not make it "theirs" to change or force people, or start a war over..whether it be political or physical. This war however to me is really only about oil and "tempting" the terrorist to go to Iraq instead of coming to our country. Iraqi civilians lives are not as important as an Amerian lives? Now terrorist are breeding like crazy and it won't change we helped spread the hate around..Yeah Sadam was a big problem but he was not the main problem we only used this country and the WOMD in order to justify "the plan"..we played into the terrorist hands..its just what they wanted really...I still don't believe that you can have war with terrorist, don't forget they have no problem with blowing themselves up its thier reward for doing it they think they will get when they meet their maker or heaven or whatever..there were and are other avenues we should have done and used through the CIA etc.in Afganistan and Pakistan, we should have stayed and focused over there instead of trying to "tempt" the terroritst to come to Iraq. We totally totally blew it and pardon the expression! Common sense was never used here from the 'warmongers'..