« The Internet Dog | Main | Internet Dog #2 »

13 July 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Babak Makkinejad

I think that in the United States the War Between the States as well as the War against Japan were also religious in nature.

Patrick Lang


The case is clear for the WBS being essentially a "crusade" for secular religion waged by the North, but Japan? pl

Babak Makkinejad

May be this:


Nothing like that, to my knowledge, happened in Europe.

Babak Makkinejad

Sorry: did not include this:


Patrick Lang


I don't think this had to do with religion. the behavior of the Japanese Army in China in the thirties set the stage for their later behavior in the Phillippines, Malaya, etc. they came to be hated at a level that people did not feel toward the Germans. The US Marines in particular developed a hatred for the Japanese that knew no bounds. i don't think tihs had anything t odo with religion. pl


I see it more akin to the Balkans history. And like that sad land...it may take an outside force to separate the combatants. But who? Because I count us, the US, presently in about 6-7 conflicts in the ME, depending how you want to count. I don't see the American people wanting to send 'peacekeeping' forces to the ME. And who else might there be? Then again, what the American people want, seems increasingly irrelevant to the powers that be in America. So...who knows?

Farmer Don

"The case is clear for the WBS being essentially a "crusade" for secular religion waged by the North, but Japan? pl"
I've understood the American civil war as a contest between the industrial North and the Agrarian South, The Slave free North and the Slave holding South. The Union above State Powers North and the State Power to separate South, but never some sort of Religious contest between the South and North.
Maybe you could explain.
Don S.


I'm beginning to like atheists a whole lot.


Mr. Sale,

Re: "hold the infinitive"

I believe either my English is getting worse or you meant "holdin' the initiative"?


Americans called the war against the Germans in WWII the civilized war. Eugene Sledge in his book about fighting on the Pacific Islands documents some American soldiers losing it and mutilating dead Japanese. He said it was difficult to keep your humanity amidst the enemies savagery.

Clavin Trilling(?) once wrote that as a little boy visiting the natural history museum and staring at shrunken heads, he thought, "Thank God I was born in America and not in New Guinea." I remember thinking the same when seeing the shrunken heads at the Clveland Museum of Natural History.


Col. sir,

I can't remember in exact words what Friedrich der Große wrote in a letter to a sh*t-scared subordinate.

Something about fear in 3 steps backwards.

Patrick Lang

Farmer Don

It's a Southern thang. You have absorbed the received truth of Northern self-justfication so thoroughly that nothing I could say would persuade you. You read my two novels and still don't understand what I said? But then you thought I ought to make Claude Devereux a "nicer" man. Perhaps Sid will explain it to you. pl


I'm afraid I do not agree with Mr. Sale that religious wars exist. Wars are about power. Religion is merely the excuse.

As for the bestiality, Sir Isiah Berlin paraphrased Bakunin: "Religion allows people to commit unspeakable cruelties against other people, then sleep well at night, safe in the knowledge they are doing the Lords work.


Prior to Reformation, the Catholic Church had a monopoly on truth and salvation - what today we call "mindshare" in the West. They used this for their own benefit to increase their power and wealth by using it to legitimise, and command obedience to, a succession of earthly rulers.

What blew the doors off the Vatican were:

a) The corruption, venality and abuse of power that even their own clergy could no longer ignore (Luther et al)

b) Related discoveries by explorers and Astronomers that conclusively demonstrated that the Catholic geographical and cosmological world-view, rooted as it was in quasi mystical scriptural junk, was bullshit.

c) The rise of rulers who were on the wrong side of Vatican power plays ( The Schmalkaldic league, Britain, etc.

d) The rapid spread of what today we call "enabling technologies" that the Catholic Church almost totally ignored until it was way to late, and which made the suppression of information impossible, to wit: Increasing literacy in the vernacular among the middle classes in Northern Europe and the invention of the printing press that provided them a source of scriptural information they could read and interpret themselves. Tyndal was burned in 1536 for translating the bible into English.

As they say, the rest is history. There was no great "confrontation of opposing truths" with the implication that they were equally valid and honourable. What instead occurred was a contest to remove the filthy, rotten, fat, bejeweled, bloodstained hands of a bunch of corrupt pederasts from the levers of power and their replacement with something hopefully less inimical to ordinary people that was based on truth as revealed by scientific experiment, not mysticism - what we call today Humanism, of which I am a devotee.

Let us fast forward to the present day and look at Islam. When I first visited Indonesia around 1973 the authorities still censored images of women on the front cover of "Time" magazine. When I visited Karachi around 1979, I watched tribesmen staring with unadulterated bewilderment at Western air hostesses in uniform.

Can anyone not imagine the impact that todays enabling technology: air travel, the DVD, thumb drive, digital camera, internet, iPad and PC is having on unreformed Islam?????? Their faith is undergoing an earthquake of the size of the Christian reformation! For example, what of the status of women and education in Islam? How is suppression supportable any longer?????

And the losers are? The local mullahs, who no longer have a monopoly of information and commentary. The religious elites in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere......And their response is? Proclamation of holy war....and we are stupid enough to act as if we are engaged in one at the behest of Zionists who would dearly like our support?

We deserve everything we get if we uncritically absorb the "war of civilisations" mantra as we have done, instead of recognising it for simple grubby power politics and acting accordingly.



I concur, it's all about a lust for power (control, money, resources, ego, etc.), and religon is merely a 'cover' that is used for that lust for power.



A good example of that 'lust for power' is the Netanyahu/Likud/Shas Israeli government's quest for a 'Greater Israel'.
Land, resources (water, oil, minerals), egos, all the real underlying reasons with their so-called religious propaganda campaigns used to divert attention from their real underlying reasons.

The Twisted Genius


I think your premise is remarkably similar to that of Smedley Butler. War is a racket. It's a tragedy that the rat bastards that seek to gain power and/or treasure from war can so easily manipulate the true believers into fighting a religious war.

FB Ali


"The religious elites in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere......And their response is? Proclamation of holy war...."

You are quite right. The religious hierarchy in Muslim countries has cleverly turned the attack on their own positions of power (from the 'modernism' bred in the West) into an attack on Islam.

Osama bin Laden sought to give legs to this narrative through the response he hoped to provoke by his 9/11 attack. Unfortunately, Bush-Cheney and the Likudniks, for their own purposes, obliged. We shall all be paying the price for this folly for a long time.


Shakespeare probably witnessed the boweling, drawn-and quartering and that mall favorite head-on-a-stick of a distant relative, Robert Southwell, in 1595. He may mercifully been euthanized by friends pulling his legs while on the stake, easy after years of torture by a religious psychopath and a Sakespearian pun in itself, before boweling. He is a Jesuit martyr who died for being an illegal alien.


FB Ali,

We will be paying the price for the follies of Bush-Cheney and the Likudniks, as well as lots and lots, and lots, of other individual's follies. From all around the globe. And from all groups. There is a lot of blame to go around for this cluster-f of a War.


You employ the word "ego" as an element of "power". I agree. And "ego" is an intangible. And intangibles are a big part of why people go to war. IMHO....

It is not, simply, and exclusively, about the quest for tangibles. See, IMHO, the Balkans.

Babak Makkinejad

Walrus & J:

The Catholic Church, with all its venality and corruption, did not setup death camps and concentration camps in order to achieve Paradise on Earth.

Those who went against the Church did not usher in a qualitatively superior system of Laws and Governance - only a more efficient one.

And now we find ourselves that the secular rulers on a number of states have the power at their disposal to annihilate all life on this planet.

Perhaps you find this state of affairs superior to the situation in Europe in the 14-th century.

Charles I

". . . learned to live and tolerate each other.

Can that lesson ever be taken to heart in the Middle East?"

If not learned, perhaps legislated.

"Israeli lawmakers pass West Bank settlement boycott law

. . .Under the new law those who sponsor a "geographically based boycott" - which includes any part of the Jewish state or its settlements - could be sued for damages in a civil court by the party injured in the boycott call. . .

The State of Israel has for years been dealing with boycotts from Arab nations, but now we are talking about a homegrown boycott," said the author of the legislation, lawmaker, Zeev Elvin, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"It is time to put an end to this travesty. If the State of Israel does not protect itself, we will have no moral right to ask our allies for protection from such boycotts."


My favourite bit

"The petitioner is not required to prove that "economic, cultural or academic damage" was caused, only that it could reasonably be expected from the move."

Ergo, the test is that one's must infer that to recover damages, one's original conduct must be deemed so offensive as to be worthy of collective social, economic and/or political condemnation, resistance and deterrence.

There oughtta be a law, or at least moral protection.


Besides the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the War on Drugs, don’t overlook the undeclared War on the Middle Class in America. It too is about ego, power, religion and beliefs. The GOP and Corporate Pundits are True Believers. They preach that Austerity will grow the economy. Government is evil. Tax Cuts create Jobs.

In fact, because of cuts in government programs, Middle Class Americans will have less to spend and the economy will, at best, stagnate, but more likely will fall into a Depression when combined with Europe’s PIIGS debt problems.

Thanks to unregulated Credit Default Swaps there is more bad debt on the books than the total economic productivity of the World. Sooner or later, the elites will have to take a haircut not only on their bad debt but also all their short calls and the backing Credit Default Swaps including Congressman’s Cantor's short investment against US Treasuries. The question is how much of existing wealth is stolen until the bad debts and Credit Default Swaps are wiped out and we start anew with a reformed financial system.



IMO it all bites the big hotdog in the sky.

Our species mankind have been given such a beautiful marble on which to live, pity so many little pricks have to go and muck it for everybody.

Babak Makkinejad


Welcome to the "Fall of Man".

Babak Makkinejad


My estimate of global bad debt - as you put it - is in excess of 220 trillion dollars.

This debt cannot be repaid under any circumstane. It has to be liquidated, perhaps at the rate of 10 cents on the dollar or even less.

The question the answer to which I do not know is the impact of this de-leveraging on global savings - personal funds, corporate cash, and pension funds (private and government controlled).

Last I heard, the global savings were around 148 trillion dollars. If you wipe out the retirees and the savers world-wide, you still cannot pay down this debt.

The world has to default - there is no other way; mass papuperization of an entire planet is not feasible.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

October 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Blog powered by Typepad