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Get Off Your High Warhorse, Mr. Ashcroft
February 23, 2002
by Jeremiah Bourque

Reverend General John Ashcroft is working overtime on a personal crusade.

That crusade:

To give me more material for the Daily Whopper.

I think it's safe to say that the stories about the Reverend General not reading the newspapers or watching things on TV is pretty accurate. You can't make this stuff up. I'm a fiction writer, so I've tried.

The Reverend General has been thumping the Bible and blending it with the Constitution. He's been differentiating between those who use religion to defend God-given freedom (didn't the Founding Fathers have something to do with that freedom?...), who apparently are all either Christians, Jews, or Moslems, and those who use religion to cloak war. Use religion to cloak war? What about "Crusade"? "Axis of Evil"? "Us vs. Them"? The word Satan means "the Enemy", right?

I'm trying to laugh, but this guy's deadly serious, so it's pretty hard to.

I mean, besides the Office of Big Brother being headed by none other than the good ol' Mr. Poindexter, of Iran-Contra infamy, and the Office of Strategic Influence, which is so bluntly named that I can't make up a joke about it, where's the room to laugh? These guys are telling us to our faces that they're going to lie to friend and foe to boost the imperialistic interests of the United States. No black op is too black for them, but don't worry, because they're also going to do purer than pure white ops too. That makes me feel so much better. How about you?

Put another way, you have a man who boldly stated that he made a personal decision not to inform the President of the United States that bad stuff was going down between the US and Iran, which was ruled by fanatics (and, if Bush II has his way, apparently will again be) at the time, so that the President could have deniability and not be touched by scandal if things leaked out. In other words, he kept a matter of national security secret from the President for his own good.

This is the man we want in charge of our home-grown version of Big Brother?

Which should we be more scared of: Him passing up information, or him not passing up information, and keeping it for himself? I'm wondering just what this information entails. They said for years how Hillary had all sorts of FBI files at her fingertips (rightly or wrongly). Poindexter is going to be in a position to collect the raw intelligence himself, and have his own in-house people analyze it. Isn't there a potential blackmail issue here?

So in this climate of moral repugnancy, the Reverend General chooses to speak about our morality. What morality? If you want a morality play, watch John Q. It's basically a Democratic ad in dramatic film form, a sort of anti Tom & Louise. A lot of people see themselves in John Q. How many of us see ourselves in John Ashcroft?

How many of us would be able to live with ourselves if we did?

This isn't a matter of faith, mind you. I've no problem with Ashcroft being faithful. I've a big problem with him speaking of the "guise of religion" as the Attorney General of the United States. This man is in a position to decide what religions are legitimate and which will land someone in detention.

I mean, here's a quote.

"They hope that by calling America `the aggressor,' they can conceal their own lust for power and control. They hope that by denying America's tolerance and humanity, they can convince the world that they -- not we -- are intolerant."

Tolerance and humanity?

This is why we've had the Ashcroft Raids? This is why we put out pictures of Camp X-Ray to show the public that we're trying to humiliate our captives, since somehow it's too risky to parade them through Times Square like the kings of Gaul?

A quote from someone hearing this speech, a minister.

"We're not fighting a religious war. We're fighting a freedom war," he said. "As an American, I'm called to guard freedom all around the world."

I heard something fascinating today.

I heard that when the Saracens in old flicks and stories and stuff yelled, "Infidel!", they did not mean that the person was not being fidelious to Allah.

Rather, it was that they were hypocrites, "People of the Book" who say one thing and do another, who don't believe in their own religion.

Ashcroft is calling these people infidels.

And we're not fighting a religious war?

Ashcroft again:

"Civilized people -- Muslims, Christians and Jews -- all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator," Ashcroft said in prepared remarks released by the Justice Department. "Civilized people of all religious faiths are called to the defense of His creation. We are a nation called to defend freedom -- a freedom that is not the grant of any government or document, but is our endowment from God."

So: If you're not a Muslim, Christian, or Jew, you are not civilized. That's the clear thrust of this, isn't it? Civilized people understand that God is the source of human dignity. (Incidentally, it was Charley Reese's writing this that so offended me that I finally quit religion altogether. I've witnessed human dignity independent of God's grace, consequently, I find the implication that those who are not religious, have no human worth, as so repugnant, silly, and wrong, that I had the last mental barrier stripped away from me that prevented me from joining their ranks.) Furthermore, civilized people of all religious faiths - which again, means only Muslims, Christians, or Jews - are called to the defense of His creation: Freedom.

Freedom that was not the grant of any government or document.

Isn't that a funny way to put it?

Freedom that was not the grant of any government or document?

So, Ashcroft is saying that we're only free if we're civilized, which means part of one of the Big Three religions. Furthermore, all civilized people are compelled to defend the faith, the faith being the broader religion of God-given freedom, something that regards the Constitution and the Government of the United States of America as completely irrelevant to the maintenance of freedom.

I guess that's why he doesn't blink when he starts shredding the Constitution.

And this isn't a religious war, for either side?

If the Reverend General's crusade is to give me more nonsensical statements to write about, then he is certainly succeeding.

I fail to see how this helps him in his day job.


P.S. Though it's too late to fit it in as a whopper on its own yet, I've just read that the US has decided to declare that the Geneva Conventions are out of date and must be re-written for a new era.


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