God Does Not Love the Aggressor

by DIANE CHRISTIAN

The line "God does not love aggressors"is from the Koran and begins "Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love aggressors." It is sometimes cited as the true Islamic stance, to defend Islam against jihadist-crazed stereotyping. It forbids attacking first. Christ’s counsel is more radical-it is not even to answer or resist evil with evil. Christ does not say fight only if attacked. He says if attacked, don’t fight.

Christians historically have often been jihadis, however. They have rationalized just wars as wars of defense. They have played ruthless and merciless warriors. President Bush who presents himself as a Christian justifies even preemptive war. You don’t have to wait for an attack-an enemy’s intentions or desires to kill you license you to kill him first. You can say you are the victim of the enemy’s intent to strike you, and you can ‘return’ that intended violence by physical war. Your first physical stroke ‘answers’ the enemy’s first real or imagined mental stroke. Thereby you do not attack them first; you are not the aggressor. This was the emotional calculus in saying Iraq menaced us with a mushroom cloud, and licensed our invasion. Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction were aimed at us, intending to atomize us. We then also blurred that Iraq invasion, calling it an answer to 9/11. We were struck, we must strike. The 9/11 attack didn’t match the Iraq invasion as Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but that didn’t matter for war mongering; it was the principle of the thing. What counts is the righteous license to kill.

Leni Riefenstahl in the opening of her film Triumph of the Will says Germany was brought low, humiliated, wounded in World War I.. She limns the rise of Hitler and Naziism as resurrection from that humiliation and suffering. Revenge rationalizes the will to fight as righteous. Riefenstahl depicts Hitler as a messiah, descending from the clouds to rouse and lead the people in a righteous fight to rebuild German honor and power. The uniformed men marching in 1934 with shovels (because they weren’t allowed arms) look to most people like soldiers with rifles. Metaphorically they were, forging plowshares into arms. German belt buckles in World War I and World War II said "Gott mit uns"­God with us.

Does George Bush’s God love aggressors? I suspect so. I think he loves a horseman warrior Christ fashioned out of the Apocalypse, not the pacifist crucified Christ of the Gospels. Texts cannot save us from zealots who love war more than words.

Osama bin Laden thinks he’s not an aggressor. George Bush thinks he’s not an aggressor. They think they are religious warriors-innocent, inspired, righteous. Each names the other as the aggressor their God does not love. Each foments terrible violence in revenge and invokes God as judge and licenser.

The aggressor whom God does not love is in the eye of the religious warrior, then at the receiving end of his bombs and shrapnel. God is the mask and shield of the war game, the big rationalization, the paradox that hides in a cloud of mystery hatred, violence, greed, and death.

Allah may well not love the aggressor but he offers himself as justification for revenge: "fight for the sake of God those that fight against you." This version of God is tribal, national, familiar. Gott mit uns. George Bush’s god told him to smite he said. His is not the pacifist Christ forbidding the return of violence.

Perhaps in figuring out the fields of righteous killers, the aggressor might better be identified not as enemy but as action. The aggressor is the one who attacks.

DIANE CHRISTIAN is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at University at Buffalo and author of the new book Blood Sacrifice. She can be reached at: engdc@acsu.buffalo.edu


 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman