The Envoy

The easiest phrase in the world to write is: terrible news out of the Middle East. At times the region seems to be the world’s largest loony bin. This is one of those times.

Themurder of Chris Stevens the US Ambassador to Libyaseems to have been ginned up by demagogery over an anti-Muslim film that nobody has seen.We wouldn’t have heard of it without this attack either.

I am once again struck by the eery similarities between Islamist extremists and American Islamophobes. Both are gifted at whipping up hysteria but our nutjobs then claim that any consequences aren’t their fault. It’s classic Americana: the late historianRichard Hofstader wrote a great book about it in the wake of the second Red Scare, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. If you ever get a chance to read it, please do so. We’re still paranoid after all these years.

It’s going to be a nasty few days as the wingnuts gear up to politicize another atrocity.Mitt Romney’s initial response was to-surprise, surprise-try to capitalize on the first reports of the mobs in Benghazi and Cairo. I guess Karl Rove finally returned the Mittbot’s calls and advised him to continue claiming that arelatively hawkish President is a hippie peacenik.

We started the day with Bibi Netanyahu intervening in our Presidential campaign by whipping up hysteria over Iran’s unbomb. It’s quite rich for Bibi to denounce anyone else for lacking moral authority. I can’t wait to hear his overripe rhetoric about the mob violence. Actually, I can but hear it we will. Speaking of predictable responses: I’m sure Senator Walnuts and Holy Joe will call for bombing the shit out of Libya any time now. Of course, Western countries arming the anti-Qadaffi rebels is the reason there are grenade launchers floating around Libya right now. Logic, however, is *always* lost on the neo-Cons.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling. For now. Time for more coffee and some Warren Zevon:

10 thoughts on “The Envoy

  1. Do not discount the role of Sheldon Adelson, who is tight with Nasty Nety, for this meddling in U.S. elections. Why in the fuck don’t we just give up and let Israel run our government? At least we’d get universal healthcare.
    And I find it really nice that some asshole Islamophobic Israeli has fucked things up for diplomatic staff in the Middle East. Great, just fucking great.

  2. An honest question: is it possibly true that matters of territory, political control and faith have always been intertwined, and forever will be? One can take the narrow view and say this sort of religiously-motivated violence is unique to Muslims, but that would ignore in more recent times, for example, the murderous war between Catholics and Protestants in northern Ireland, or the role of religion in Nazi Germany, or the civil strife in the British Isles prompted by the Reformation.
    Nevertheless, would the modern-day Salafi jihadist tradition in Muslim culture, along with its reverence for historical characters such as Saladin, have become so ingrained in the contemporary fringe Muslim mind without the Crusades? (Ignore for the moment the tendency of Sunni and Shia to kill one another over the same matters of territory, political control and faith as regards differences in attitudes to modernity, fundamentalism and traditionalism.)
    It all seems strange and crazy to kill over petty slights, as if faith itself becomes an excuse to yield to murderous impulses, or that violence in service to faith is simply a cover for baser motives. Perhaps it’s just dismaying to me to realize that the veneer of civilization is much thinner and much more fragile than even I, old and cynical, might imagine.
    This may well be yet more unanticipated blowback from U.S. attempts to stage-manage a revolution that we erroneously (even fatuously) believed we could control, and did for the sake of oil profits (for that is our particular brand of hubris), but now’s not the time to have that discussion.

  3. It is quite possible that Romney is as eager for global religious war, Armageddon if you will, as the Evangelical Dominionists and the Islamic Jihadists seem to be.

  4. *) One thing I remember from the original 9/11 was a Priest who didn’t know what was happening but noticed a nasty odor. He said he instantly recognized it as the smell of religious hyperfundamnentalism.
    Yet, how hard has the right wing in the USA worked to institute a theocracy in America?
    *) The linked to story asked what Romney was thinking? I hope that is thinking in the speculative sense of the word. Obama has already looked at Romney’s overseas trip as meaning that he went overseas and tripped all over himself in several counbtries. Then Romney came back and tripped over himself on more things. He’s coming across as a cynical Sarah Pallin.
    *) From the first moment of the so-called Arab Spring, did anyone expect that things would instantly become rosy? Like it or not, many countries in the mid-east are essentially open war zones. Violence against embassy personnel is not out of the question.
    Not to mention, do these folk think that we signed the declaration in July 1776 and had a fully government in place by August? How many years did it take the USA just to get a ratified constitution and Britain to actually treat us as independent? Anyone hear of the War of 1812?

  5. This is a distant memory. But on second read, I probably should have said fanaticism rather than hyperfundamentalism. But I can’t remember which term he used.

  6. RE: Antimuslim film. Googled (on hint from a friend) Sacremento Bee Sam Bacile and got
    Might be more to this film. Admittedly, I can understand the Muslims being upset over the treatment of Mohammed by the western media. I understand the inherrent conflict with the good of free speech (although njust because you can doesn’t mean you should). I can understand that someone making such a film may want to provide for a way to lay low for a while. But this article makes it sound more like a flim-flam man pouring kerosene on the fire. Of course, how much in the article is correct.

  7. Anyone hear of the War of 1812?
    Um, speaking as someone who can’t vote in your electionsbecause of the War of 1812, I’ve got to jump on this, because you’ve got something exactly backwards.
    The US started the War of 1812, by invading Canada.
    My pal Rustin, who’s a military history junkie, even called me up one day to read me quotes from a book full of contemporary source documents on the lead-up to the War of 1812, and you folks were saying (paraphrased into modern English from early 19th C. idiom) “It’ll be a cakewalk! They’ll greet us as liberators, with flowers and candy! Regime change!” and so on and so forth. Apparently we would be so glad to get rid ofSaddam Hussein King George III, we wouldn’t even fight back.
    You guys aredesperate slow learners sometimes.

  8. @Interrobang. Interesting. I’ll have to stand my ground that there were still military actions and doubt about the survival of the USA into the first decade of the 1800s.
    But I’ll have to look up the other. I am intrigued by the idea that even back then we were spreading the sweet air of freedom (evolving to the pollution we send across the St. Lawrence today).

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