‘Onward Christian [Suckers],
Marching as to War’
Muslim-hating madness & daily massacres in Jesusland
By Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2015 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK, near America
On the morning of December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, precipitating American entrance into World War II. The Japanese sunk or damaged eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and a minelayer. More than two thousand Americans were killed, another thousand wounded. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it “a date which will live in infamy.”
Now comes December 7, 2015 and with it a new date stamp in infamy. Namely, what many see as drumbeats for Holy War—Christianity versus Islam, a religio-cultural conflagration sure to delight America’s right-wing yahoos: namely, Republican Party voters who this month and next will choose between Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz, the top two contenders in pre-presidential election contests. Just as surely, there is cheer in the dark hearts of corporate chieftains positioned to gain even more millions of dollars as players in the U.S. military-industrial complex.
On December 7, the farcical reality TV tycoon and the radical Christianist—Mr. Trump of New York and Mr. Cruz of Texas, respectively—spewed more of the Islamophobic vitriol that are hallmarks of their respective campaigns. They contend for the debatable honor of becoming the Republican standard-bearer in this November’s general election, opposing either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as Democratic Party nominee.
Mr. Trump upped the ante on his previous call for mandatory identification tags affixed to all Americans of Islamic faith. In a speech in Virginia, he departed from his usual self-congratulation and racist recitations to insist on a total ban of Muslims entering U.S. ports of entry. Later that day, in Iowa, Mr. Cruz repeated his promise to comprehensively exterminate Da’esh should he become president, never mind that Muslim civilians by the hundreds of thousands would consequently become “collateral damage,” a Pentagon term of art. Son of a Baptist preacher, Mr. Cruz vowed: “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”
In Florida on that same December 7, major U.S. armaments manufacturers assured investors at a Credit Suisse conference in West Palm Beach that profits would accrue ever onward and upward thanks to escalating (and helpfully confusing) violence in the Middle East. Executives from Oshkosh Defense, The Raytheon Company, and Lockheed Martin touted ever-increasing demands for their wares—rockets, bombs, F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, and M-ATV battle tanks.
The assembled war profiteers heard even more good news: After years of budget cuts, the Republican-dominated Congress authorized $607 billion (€557 billion) in “defense” spending—more than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Great Britain, India, and Germany.
Said an ebullient Bruce Tanner, vice president of Lockheed: “Our programs are well supported…We think we [fared] very well.”
In the event of Republican victory in the race for the White House—eminently possible, given that America has only two political parties capable of capturing the presidency—Mr. Tanner and his corporate fraternity will fare even more profitably.
Front-running Republican candidate Trump followed his December 7 remarks by telling a CNN-TV reporter the next day: “We’re at war. Get it through your head.” Later, on another television network, an interviewer asked Mr. Trump if he was bothered by an increasing number of Democrats—and fellow Republicans—comparing him to Adolf Hitler. Mr. Trump’s considered response: “No.”
At every campaign rally since December 3, Mr. Cruz has told his audience: “We’re at war! This nation needs a wartime president to defend it.”
COMRADE WARRIORS, from left: Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie
Rivaling Messrs. Trump and Cruz in jingoistic bellicosity is a rearguard cast of Republican presidential hopefuls.
“We have entered World War III!” yawps ex-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the devoutly Roman Catholic homophobe whose surname is a neologism appearing on internet search engines as “a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
“We are at war with radical Islam,” exclaims former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the dimpled Baptist evangelist, peddler of proprietary cinnamon pills alleged to cure diabetes and author of an autobiography he calls “God, Guns, Grits & Gravy.”
“We’re at war with radical Islam!” echoes the likewise dimpled Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, whose peripatetic religious life has taken him from cradle Catholic to Mormonism to evangelical Protestantism and back to Catholicism.
“We are at war [with] a sick and twisted ideology that seeks to enfulf [the Middle East] and turn back the clock to the Dark Ages,” asserts retired brain surgeon Ben Carson, in whose Maryland home is displayed an oil painting of himself side-by-side with Jesus Christ.
“What I believe we’re facing is the next world war,” bellows New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a staunch Catholic who would ban all Syrian asylum seekers from entering the U.S., orphans included.
It is perhaps needless to say that none of the foregoing candidates have ever seen combat, though all are of an age to have qualified; that is, had they not escaped conscription. Only Donald Trump has worn a uniform—as a pre-teen cadet at the military academy where his parents sent him, in hopes that the school’s rigid disciplinary policies might improve his antisocial behavior. And all, needless to say, trumpet their Christianist convictions wherever two or more are gathered along the campaign trail they would feel comfortable in calling Jesusland.
Suckers buy the snake oil that lubricates the war machine.
Following is a partial list of ingredients guaranteed to feed that war machine with a hearty stew of combatant entrails floating in a broth of blood:
- Real or imagined enemies for demonization (ideally of The Other racial category)
- Citizens terrorized by real or imagined threats to their personal welfare, also known as Christian suckers
- A governing class cowed by a fatuous mass of ambitious politicians
- Unholy stocks of munitions in the hands of ambitious generals
- Undercurrents of religious insanity
- Corporate control of the national exchequer and public policy
- Mainstream media largely metamorphosed from resolute journalism to celebrity reportage
Add to the foregoing the moral repugnance of America’s gun fetishism and a national economy that has crippled a once secure and thriving middle class, replete with disparities such as these, cited in a December study released by the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies:
- Twenty individual citizens—twenty!— hold title to more combined wealth (property assets, investments, personal income) than fifty percent—half!—of the American population
- Four hundred Americans own more wealth than sixty-one percent of their countrymen
- The entire African American population owns less than one hundred wealthy citizens
- The entire Latino population owns less than one hundred and eighty-two wealthy citizens
“Our wealth data is the tip of the iceberg,” said Chuck Collins, co-author of the Institute study, in an interview with The Nation, a literate if low-circulation liberal magazine.
“So much wealth among the über-rich is hidden, either in offshore tax havens or in these loophole trusts where money is shuffled around into private corporate accounts or between different family members, and it disappears from taxation or any sort of oversight or accountability,” he said explained. “There’s a huge amount of escaped wealth that isn’t even factored into these statistics.”
Bill Moyers, a former aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) who is today a serious journalist accordingly consigned to the blogosphere, re-defines a once confident economic force. “The great American middle class has become an anxious class,” he recently wrote, “and it’s in revolt.” He added:
„[T]he middle class is shrinking…The odds of falling into poverty are frighteningly high, especially for the majority without college degrees. Two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Most could lose their jobs at any time. …Most people who lose their jobs don’t even qualify for unemployment insurance. …Government won’t protect their jobs from being outsourced to Asia.
The stress is taking a toll. For the first time in history, the life spans of middle-class whites are dropping. …According to research by the recent Nobel Prize-winning economic Angus Deaton and his co-researcher Anne Case, middle-aged white men and women have been dying earlier. They’re poisoning themselves with drugs and alcohol, or committing suicide.
The anxious class feels vulnerable to forces over which they have no control.“
As for gun mania, the New York Times recently analyzed statistical reports from two nonprofit organizations that monitor news reports of mass shootings—gunviolencearchive.org and shootingtracker.com. The Times concluded a massacre rate of more than one per day, defining “massacre” as four or more people dead or wounded. The weapon most favored by massacre artists—the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, with high-capacity ammunition clips of up to a hundred .223 caliber bullets capable of blasting through Kevlar vests to liquefy the internal organs of human targets—is also America’s top-selling weapon. Although it comes in pink for lady shooters, Bushmaster’s marketing department focuses primarily on males who may have concerns about their masculinity, per the advertisement shown here.
—Special note: At his favorite hometown Texas firing range, which he visits regularly with TV cameras in tow, Ted Cruz is in the habit of coiling bacon strips around the barrel of his very own AR-15. After shooting for twenty minutes or so, he removes perfectly crisped rashers from the business end of his smoking semiautomatic and eats them.
America’s best-selling tool for rampage was used in two of last month’s more memorable massacres. First up was the deluded Christianist Robert L. Dear, a self-proclaimed “warrior for babies” who mowed down three people at a women’s reproductive health clinic in Colorado on December 3. On December 8, a husband-wife team of deluded Islamists—American-born Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani mail-order bride, Tashfeen Malik—murdered fourteen people celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah at a children’s medical clinic in California. The Dear-Farook-Malik guns were easily available for purchase, and would have despatched more victims had their owners downloaded simple instructions from the internet on how to trick out an AR-15 to duplicate the function of its progenitor—the M-16 fully automatic U.S. Army machine gun. (Reference)
The Times published a rare front-page editorial in December, declaring the American “gun epidemic” a “national disgrace,” by which “people can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill with brutal speed and efficiency…weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection.” A day or two after the editorial, media fell silent. So, too, did most survivors of past years’ massacres—friends and families of the dead who vowed never to remain silent.
Silence has become the custom in a country acculturated to mass murder, a country saddled with a Congress beholden to the National Rifle Association. Along with allied Washington lobbyists, the N.R.A. is dedicated to ever-increasing sales of unrestricted weaponry.
Ours is the silence of a people numbed by relapses of a resistible disease.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—chief goon of “the Islamic State,” as obliging mainstream media call his clever mob of rapists, head-chopping murderers, looters, slavers, and drug pushers—is hardly Enemy Number One upon the killing fields of America, much as newspapers and cable TV Cassandras would have us believe. Arguably, that distinction goes to widely scattered, red-white-and-blue AR-15 owners under the aegis of Congress and the N.R.A.
In the view of University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, awarding al-Baghdadi’s mob the title of statehood is a misnomer analogous to a Mexican drug cartel adopting the moniker “the Vatican”—and media coöperation in such fraudulent representation when reporting its criminal violence, e.g. “Flash: the Vatican kidnapped thirty people today, raping the women and murdering the men.“
As the professor recently wrote, “Journalists would resist such linguistic coercion in the case of Catholics; they should resist it in the case of Muslims as well. The name commonly given to the [al-Baghdadi] group in the Arabic press is ‘Da’esh,’ which is what we should call it as well to avoid being enlisted as its propagandists.”
—Advisory note: When in the company of al-Baghdadi or his minions, beware of vocalizing the acronym Da’esh—(al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham). The goon and his men consider the term an offense punishable by tongue severance.
Republican opportunists know a bogeyman when they see one. The glowering, bushy-bearded al-Baghdadi is their scarifying man of the moment. He and his swarthy minions make America’s anxious class more anxious, and are thus handy aides in the task of corralling votes. Fire and brimstone of the Christianist kind is useful, too. In times of anxiety, the call of damnation for some can seem a comfort for most.
And in the kingdom of God-the-Ironist, a tough-talking strongman who shouts about guns and war offers an appealing message to voters who have every right to inchoate rage over frightful circumstances running roughshod over their lives—voters who by and large adhere to a religion inspired by a pacifist carpenter-philosopher from ancient Nazareth, nowadays a predominantly Muslim village in Israel.
“Politics is not necessarily the home of the rational,” wrote the distinguished journalist Paul Berman in the December 7 edition of The Tablet, an online magazine based in New York. (There’s that date again!) In his essay, Mr. Berman cited uncertainties in post-revolutionary France at mid-nineteenth century that led to the ascendance of a strongman—Louis Bonaparte, the laughable nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte:
„The stupid peasants voted for him. He established a dictatorship. It was absurd, but it happened. [It provided] occasion for [Karl Marx’s observation] about history taking place twice, the first time as tragedy (Napoleon), the second time as farce (the nephew). Marx wanted to draw from these events a lesson about the class struggle, but I think that he stumbled on a different and eternal truth, which has to do with the place of theatre—of tragedy and farce, theatrical genres—in political life.
Reality TV, in Trump’s version of it, is our modern farce. There are people who demand their daily farce: This was Marx’s unwitting discovery. They insist on being entertained. About the realities of their own political situation, [they] may understand nothing. They understand a personal reality, though. They want to sit in the audience and laugh and cry. Especially they want to shake their fists at villains. They want to boo and hiss. They want to tremble in loathing. If someone comes on stage who is capable of making them do so, they will clap. It is pathetic.“
Pathetically, it is entirely possible that America and therefore the world is rushing toward war. Even Germany hears the bugle call; on December 4, the Bundestag voted overwhelmingly to send reconnaissance planes, a frigate, and mid-air aviation fueling capacity to fight Da’esh in the Middle East.
If madness overtakes us, the old formula will apply—not to the corporatists or the priests or politicians, of course. Those who profit will direct armies of the ignorant. They will lie, and we will die.
— Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag