Mention 9/11 to most Americans and the two numbers are considered sufficient to give meaning to that day. But mention 9/12, the day after when “terror” became our national mantra and the “smoking gun” brandished by a neocon-infested administration for its devilish designs in the Middle East and the numbers are meaningless beyond the platitudinous, “they hate our freedoms” and “God Bless America.”
Such platitudes, hawked ad nauseam by TV “faith-healers” and political snake oil peddlers, may act as a balm to soothe a body politic traumatized by the attacks on 9/11, but they do not explain—only obfuscate—the real causes that brought terror to our “blessed shores.”
Like many Americans on the seventh anniversary of 9/11, I turned to the Bible for an answer, a problematic move for an atheist such as myself. Predictably, I went straight to verse 9:11 in the Book of Revelation—the Bible’s most terror filled text—and found a short blurb about Abaddon the Destroyer; admittedly, an interesting coincidence, but not a “big picture” explanation.
However, thanks to Providence or serendipity, the very next verse, 9:12, was a godsend: “One terror now ends, but there are two more coming.”
Considering the last seven years, plagued to biblical proportion as they have been by the Bush administration’s criminal domestic and international response to 9/11, no prophet is needed to give meaning to the first half of Rev 9:12, while only a cursory vita review of the Republican and Democratic vice presidential candidates is needed to illuminate the rest of the verse.
John McCain will be the oldest man ever elected as a first-term president. He is also the fellow who made an enemy of the religious right in 2000 when he blasted them for “the evil influence that they exercise over the Republican Party.” McCain needs youth and sex appeal and religious right muscle to prevail. He needs Sarah Palin . . . who happens to be an “end times” fundamentalist.
Barack Obama will be the first “black” man ever elected president. He is young and inexperienced in foreign affairs. He is also not polling well among influential older white voters. Obama needs age and white hair and foreign policy muscle to prevail. He needs Joseph Biden . . . who happens to be a self-professed Zionist.
Behold the twin “terrors” of the Holy Land: a sexy fundamentalist and a white-haired Zionist.
Introducing Governor Palin to Master’s Commission graduates, a youth ministry whose vision is to “see young men and women who are not afraid to lead and are violent in their pursuit of righteous,” Ed Kalnins, pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God church where Palin was baptized, told the audience that she is the “real deal.”
Pastor Kalnins is the same guy who believes that certain parts of the world are controlled by demons—guess which parts—and preaches an “end times” theology, the radical fundamentalist belief that the corruption of the Holy Land, that would be Muslims, Jews, sundry heretics and unbelievers, must be purified by God’s cleansing fire before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ can occur.
Knowing Palin is the “real deal” and that several of the churches she’s attended are associated with the likes of Christians United for Israel, a right-wing “end times” organization dedicated to leading the charge to Armageddon (beginning with the nuking of Iran), odds are good Palin embraces this apocalyptic vision.
Frederick Clarkson, author of “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” recently told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “[Palin’s] well-documented belief that she’s living in the “end time” . . . and her interpretation of the Book of Revelation may be driving her public policy and particularly her foreign and military policy views.”
Palin clarified one of her foreign and military policy views for the Master’s Commission graduates by assuring them that the invasion of Iraq was “a task from God.” For a would-be vice president this policy view, one first held by medieval Crusaders as they whacked off Muslim heads, is a real diplomatic nonstarter for the 325 million Arabs living in the Middle East, not to mention the billion-plus Muslims worldwide.
But the mother of all diplomatic nonstarters among Middle East Arabs is a comment Joseph Biden, the current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Obama’s would-be foreign policy advisor, made during an interview with the Jewish-American cable network, Shalom TV, “I am a Zionist.”
Having a declared Zionist as the vice president of Israel’s most ardent—to the point of irrational—ally waves a shoe in the face of Arabs who are convinced (rightly or wrongly) that Zionism’s ultimate goal is to fulfill the 3000-year-old biblical mandate in Genesis 15:18 to reclaim the land between the Nile and Euphrates rivers as Eretz Yisrael, a territory that includes all or part of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, a slice of Turkey and upwards of 160 million Arabs.
Considering the brutal tactics used by a succession of right-wing Israeli governments—backed by U.S. dollars and military hardware—to secure the Vermont-sized “Eretz Yisrael-lite,” it’s little wonder that Arabs living within the biblical boundaries of Eretz Yisrael feel terrorized by Israel’s chutzpa and its 200 nuclear warheads and have long since elevated their terror alert to blood red.
Keep in mind that when a terrorized people lack a superpower ally and more sophisticated means, their only recourse is to throw stones or strap explosives to their backs or pack suitcases with mini-nukes and deadly microbes or hijack airliners with box cutters and visit their enemy’s “blessed shores” This is not to excuse it. This is not to condone it. This is to explain it.
Come November Americans will choose one of two “terrors” (since our political system allows only two choices): the Middle East in flames to fulfill a biblical “end times” prophecy or the Middle East in flames to secure a biblical Eretz Yisrael. Either way, 325 million Arabs will have an answer that will undoubtedly send a twinge of terror, and most likely rage, down many a “radicalized” spine.
If the Bible or patriotic platitudes or political snake oil continue to be the extent—or sincerity—of our search for understanding the cause of 9/11, we will sooner than later have two more numbers of national significance and another annual occasion for remembering and mourning.
ROBERT WEITZEL is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org