Je Suis Charlie

After all, that’s my name. I am Charlie, but it’s more than that.

It’s been awhile since my last post. I find myself less enraged lately. Maybe I’m feeling more tolerant or that I care less. Maybe I’m past the point of caring. Maybe I’m tired of being the only one that seems concerned. Maybe I’m tired of dragging this anchor all alone. I don’t care at this point because I’m desensitized and jaded. I did find myself outraged this morning by two situations that were raised on Facebook of all places. The first was a TV recording of General & President DW Eisenhower regarding the Military Industrial Complex and the power they will soon exert over our world. As it turns out Ike was right. His assessment fell a little short of the mark. How could he imagine the world where anything can be considered wrong by anyone? They will rationalize it, and spin it and turn it to their purposes and even feel justified killing for it. They use their ability to rationalize as a lever to obtain their goals at everyone’s expense.

President Eisenhower’s point was that there is a major problem with a system that would profit from war and that system would eventually learn to lean on war as the panacea for our financial and social problem. He was right. Look at all the wars of the past few decades. Things changed drastically with our involvement in Korea. Who actually won that war? It sets the precedent for all of our subsequent actions. Each action was a little more obvious than the last and when the public raised the anti-war banners, the reason changed to fit a carefully crafted message of rationalization. These last few examples were started with the “Anti-Terrorism” and “Democratization” banners flying high. We no longer needed an obvious threat, we could claim self-defense against a terrorist army. We put a Keffiyeh on the Boogie Man. Our future wars will be fought in cyberspace. We’ve seen the beginnings with Sony and North Korea. These next actions will be much more destructive and all encompassing. They will involve you and me, directly. There will be few real bombs, only cyber-bombs. These next wars will be fought in our governmental, corporate, and personal computers.

Now ask yourself… Who actually won these wars? Who was it that came out better in the end? Who really won? The Military Industrial Complex. They started the war. They funded the war. They created the weapons, sold them to each other, and made big money in the process. Then where do we turn when the world goes off the track or needs an infusion of cash? They have everything to gain and very little to lose. The best part is that they supply arms to both sides. It’s a win, win, win proposition. It’s the perfect situation for them. That’s what President Eisenhower was trying to tell us.

Right now in Paris, France their law enforcement is sifting through clues to identify the remaining fugitives from yesterday’s murder of twelve people. The victims were the staff of a magazine called Charlie Hebdo, a “tongue-in-cheek” satirical periodical that takes nothing seriously. The French do have a great sense of humor; except for their love of Jerry Lewis. Charlie Hebdo republished a cartoon or caricature of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam. It is against everything holy in fundamentalist Islam to draw pictures of Muhammad. These fundamental morons granted themselves the right to kill anyone that does so. In 2005, they killed Dutch cartoonist who dared. The Dutch Muslims petitioned through the court system to have these cartoons removed and requested a public apology. It was the fundamentalists that murdered the cartoonist citing blasphemy as the crime. So Charlie Hebdo publishes these same cartoons 9 years later and these fundamental morons broke into a conference room mid meeting and murdered 12 of them. The sped away in a stolen car, robbed a service station, hijacked another car and disappeared.

I remember in the Old Testament, Moses was given The Ten Commandments after his followers complained that the existing Talmudic law was overly complex. God provided their new rules for living during that epoch. My cursory studies and surveys of various religions indicate that Islam is a “Christian” based religion that believes in God, Christ, and Prophets of the Old Testament, etc. So the prophet Muhammad is a recent addition to the “Christian” pantheon much like Joseph Smith of the Later Day Saints faith. So it would follow that Islam holds The Ten Commandments as viable and appropriate. Apparently I missed the part in the Quran that condones theft, robbery, extortion, and murder as appropriate tools when doing God’s work, especially when someone blasphemes. I thinks there is also something in the Quran about using the same tactic on infidels. Oh, by the way, the definition of an Infidel is anyone who is not Muslim. That’s us, folks.

I think humor is an extremely important tool to keep us from becoming too focused or too serious about anything; especially God and Religion. As an agnostic I look at what I see and draw conclusions from that. I don’t deny anyone their faith or the opportunity to worship as they choose as long as it doesn’t impact anyone else. The caveat here is that consenting adults can do whatever they please with and to each other, I just don’t want to know about it and it cannot affect me. As for the rest of us, there must be reason based decisions in our faith. Believing that God send down The Ten Commandments as an example of laws for living then to allow us to arbitrarily follow or ignore them based on our interpretation of His message to our prophets or us as individuals. I’m very dubious about that. It seems very self serving to think that one or two religious leaders get the messages from the Almighty supporting murder. I think that these Imam’s are as responsible under our laws, and theirs for that matter, for inciting their followers to commit murder. They should be punished equally. That’s how the military works. The commanding officer is ultimately responsible for this personnel. Then again, this is religion and the rules are written in pencil to allow for corrections.

I have never seen these commandments in their original form, so unless there are parenthetical asides or footnotes with the set of rules by that obviate their use, they should stand as delivered. Thou Shall Not Murder… Thou Shall Not Steal… That’s two of the ten that apply here. Interestingly, it appears that breaking one commandment breaks them all… Just a thought.

A recent comment in the NYT Opinion section this morning asked if the terrorists were winning. My immediate response is no… They have already won. Our lives are now ruled by fear of their reprisals and attacks. We traded more of our freedoms and liberties for security theater in the hands of our government newly formed TSA. We are suspicious of anyone that looks Arab or Middle Eastern for fear they may be terrorists. We can’t help being driven this direction. The media bury us with snippets full of terrorist innuendo. So… how goes the war on terrorism? I think the terrorists are way ahead and if we don’t change our game plan we’re will lose. We’re too afraid to speak up for fear of offending someone. We’re frozen in place with fear of openly denouncing these heinous acts. Where do we look for leadership? Our government started this and has no earthly idea how to solve it, yet they are first with the accusingly pointed finger. They can’t take action, that’s someone else’s responsibility. Imagine where we’d be today if the leaders in 1750 waiting for someone else to start their defiance.

I also read this morning the message from the “Peaceful Muslims” that this does not represent them. In fact, the article mentioned that they, these peaceful Muslims were fighting hard in the Middle East against these terrorist attacks. Yea for them. What about the millions of “Peaceful Muslims” here in America. Where is their outrage for these attacks? Where are the protests against this defamation of Islam by the fundamentalists? Where is their support for community outreach to change the Western Worlds perception of Islam? Their absence is conspicuous. Even the Vatican spoke out against their sexual predation and how hurtful this was to the congregation. OK… they covered it up for years, but they finally admitted the problem and are taking steps to rectify the internal corruption. If this is a smear on the face of all Muslims, then why don’t those that truly believe in Peace – stand up for Peace rather than cowering under the foot of their own religions leaders.

As I see it, organized religion is a screen used by cowards as a tool to perform ungodly acts of extortion and control over others. I remind you that I firmly believe in there is a place for religion as long as it is used to elevate and strengthen the congregation rather than to shame them into control or incite them to commit murder in god’s name. When religion becomes a tool for control through fear, I find this to be the most perverse and corrupt of all.