Religion debate 2

Now for my reply to Franks second post.

Ok, I think there’s a little bit of “quagmiring” going on here. The original post was about Private Jessica Lynch so I inferred that Gavin was talking about Iraqi soldiers fighting before Baghdad fell. In that case, the “regular” Iraqi army was largely composed of conscripts who showed little interest in fighting and allowed Coalition forces a clear run at Baghdad. After Baghdad fell and to date the only ones still fighting Coalition forces are “irregulars” composed of Al-Qaeda mercenaries (paid in “glory” rather than money) and die-hard Saddam loyalists who are so inextricably linked with the old regime that there is no future for them in a post-Saddam Iraq. The latter selection are fighting for ideological reasons.

Hmm. Im glad you brought that up, as I think it is important to draw the distinction between ‘soldiers’ before the regime fell, and after.

So you appear to be saying there are three kinds of assailants in Iraq presently:

1. Al-Qaeda operatives.
2. People that kill for the money.
2. Die hard Saddam loyalists. (no pun intended)

I find it incredibly hard to make assumptions like this. Dont get me wrong here Frank, im not disputing that these two scenarios are likely. But like any ‘war’ so much information and disinformation is bandied about that its hard to know what to think.

I never came across any news reports that mentioned Al-Qaeda actively at work in Iraq in the last 3 months, but I might have missed that. Perhaps their attacks took the form of the couple of suicide attacks that occured early in the occupation/liberation?

I guess people killing for money happens in any state.

Saddam loyalists must exist as you rightly point out.

But could there be people who want to kill Americans, because they dont like them? Do Arabs generally like American soldiers walking down their street? Its hard to judge the situation in Iraq, some news reports suggest that Iraqis hate the American presence, mass rallies etc, while other reports suggest that Iraqis are happy to see Americans, and hope the Saddam loyalists would just die – hard.

What do people think about this? Comments are welcome.

Ok, and my point is nothing to do with the relative merits of either religion but a simple observation that a juxtaposition of the Religious Right in the US with Wahaabism obscures more than it reveals. They are emphatically not the same sort of thing

Again with the moral relativism, the “invaders” as Gavin tendentiously describes Coalition forces (why not liberators?) are not motivated by religion. They are a disciplined force carrying out the orders of democratic leaders.

I think you are missing my point again here. I am not talking about the religious right in the US or Wahaabism, I am talking about religion in the broadest possible context. I am not talking about the religious left either (if there is such a thing)! LOL.

I am not talking about any particular sect – my point is something that as an atheist I would imagine you find interesting. That on two sides of a battlefield in any war, not particularly Iraq, it is an interesting observation that both armies might be praying to the same god, or different gods and believe their path to be divine. When one is victorious they believe that god was on their side, and when defeated the believe they have done something to displease the god(s). The broadest appliction of observing religion in society. It points to what I see as a ridiculous part of religious belief.

In relation to Iraq; no, the war is not being fought by the US on religious grounds. But tell me that no single American soldier does not pray to god and believe god to be on their side, and I will call you a liar! LOL. Tell me that no Iraqi man who is a muslim, no matter how extreme or not, who goes to kill American soldiers that he does not believe allah to be with him then so too I call you a liar!

Ultimately my point is a philosophical one, not political.

If you really think that religion is used by the state in the same way by USA and Saudi Arabia (note: not the more liberal UAE) I refer you back to my invitation: Consider the relative merits of living in, say, Riyadh, where all sorts of freedoms from minor to major are denied, to any equivalent-sized American city where you can live more or less as you please.

I dont, and I didnt say it did. I mentioned the UAE because I have visited there on three occasions and have more experience with that regime than that in Saudi. I also made it clear here:

how religion is used by the state, in both cases and to different methods and extremes, as a method or tool of nationalism and patriotism, and as a method of control.

In both cases to different methods and different extremes. Religion has been used for centuries in different ways, and as an atheist you admit earlier that religion helps people because it is”comforting to believe that there is a grand design and that there is life after death. Thus we shouldn’t be surprised that religion has “evolved” to tell people what they want to hear.”

So too has religion been used, no less in catholic Ireland, to make people think and believe in certain ways, and to be subservient to the state in others. Would you agree?

So your second putting of the question of Riyadh versus Rhode Island is null. I never said religion was used in the same way, only that religion can and is used, to varying degress, in similar ways all over the world.

3 thoughts on “Religion debate 2”

  1. Just to clarify, I meant there are two types only who are still fighting. Those baathists who have no future because of their actions under the old regime and foreigners.The mercenary tag is meant in a very broad sense, no-one is fighting Coalition (note: not just American) forces for money. It is clear that there are non-Iraqi muslims fighting, as there were non-Aghans fighting for the Taleban and non-Bosnians (albeit more nobly) fighting in former Yugoslavia and there have been several reports, I’ll see if I can find you a few links. To answer your question, it is only western style projection” that leads you to assume that there Iraqis sufficiently resentful of the presence of foreign troops to fight against them. there’s a huge difference between common-or-garden anti-american sentiment (as is found throughout Europe) and the motivation to kill and risk death. It is easy to understand the notion of “the resistance” and it is sloppy reporting to characterise what is happening in Iraq as some kind of spontaneous “resistance to occupation” like the mythical, false French “resistance” to the Nazis.

    Here’s a thought for you Gavin: Do you think the US army is composed entirely of practicing Christians? There are Muslim, Jewish and atheist soldiers too.

    By referring to the use of religion in such a broad context (different methods, different extremes) you dilute the point until it is almost meaningless. What will have a tangible effect is if religion is used coercively and to extreme, that is more relevant and interesting than a statement that the leader (or some of the soldiers) of one country prays to God as does the leader (or soldiers) of another country pray to Allah. What matters is if that country places a sanction on you because you don’t conform to the majority religious practice. I couldn’t give a stuff if Bertie Ahern and the whole Dail prayed to Satan as long as they don’t require me to join their rituals

  2. I don’t see how anyone could say that religion is not involved in this war. You have a president who continuely called the war a “crusade”. Do you not think that this was a slap in the face to the Muslim world? Every time that Bush addressed the troop, he told them that God was on their side. I think in the back of Bush’s mind this was a way to push Christianity on the Middle East. Although the root of the war is strictly economical. We need oil and Saudia Arbia is become too unstable. Iraq will be used to enforce America’s will on the Middle East economically and idealogically.

  3. They say the first casualty of war is the truth. we may never really know the reality of iraq.. or the untold horrors in palestine and many other parts of the world. National media seems to brush it under the carpet.. It is very possible that Government would only report favourable stories… thats why i respect investigative journalists who investigate the truth.. not just what you would like to hear.
    wherever you are in the world you would do well to abolish blind national pride and begin to see others as equals. I am soon to be starting a group with the scope of awakening mankind and addressing issues that cause so much desstruction.. is it just me? i dont believe im alone in this and i know your out there… its like a splinter in your mind.. the idea that somethings wrong though you cant quite put your finger on it… that there may be a larger truth.. another way to live.. after all what we are now doing is no longer working.. have you aver felt called to do something? i dont care who you are or what race or religion you believe in.. im on your side. were in the same team here and im looking for support.. you dont know me but im very like you..afraid.. confused ..sometimes inspired.. my e-mai. address is its time to take action

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