It’s nothing new to run into Republicans who claim we liberals delusional, that we offer no evidence of our claims. It happened in my post yesterday, as a matter of fact. A commenter claimed that we talk a lot about fundamentalist hate and bigotry but we offer no evidence.
The obvious conclusion to draw is that anyone not seeing that evidence is deliberately avoiding reality. As was also the case yesterday with conservative columnist Sandy Rios, an American Family Association (AFA) radio host who also (unsurprisingly) contributes to Fox News, where she has talked about the “left’s war on women”!
Rios breathtakingly blames the Obama administration for the situation in the Middle East by claiming that President Bush gave the Middle East 10 years of peace that Obama has apparently squandered.
This should perhaps come as no surprise from people who blame Obama for 9/11 and insist no terrorist attack on the U.S.A. ever took place on George W. Bush’s watch, by God! Media Matters’ offers a couple of contributors to this meme:
- Fox host Dana Perino said on November 24, 2009, that “we did not have aterrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.
- On July 13, 2011, Fox host Eric Bolling said: “I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil” between 2000 and 2008.
But they’re not alone. We also saw the guy who was mayor of New York City when the WTC was attacked, Rudy Giuliani himself, say: ”We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we’ve had one under Obama.” In an example of reality’s liberal bias, Giuliani got a “pants on fire” from PolitiFact for his claim.
As Nicholas Kristof wrote in his typically understated way in a New York Times op-ed this morning, “today’s Republicans seem disproportionately untethered to reality.”
Sandy Rios has taken inspiration from this meme and taken it even further. Check out what she had to say yesterday to William Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition:
Rios: The problem with Islam, and we know this Bill, I would like to say, in fact I was going to write this article and I’ll just spill the beans on the air and that is they keep talking about what George Bush left this president and they’re talking about the horrible economy and what a mess he left and they haven’t been able to even turn it around in four years because it’s horrendous. But I’ll tell you what else he left them; he left them peace, he left them peace for ten years. And now that’s going ragged because we have been operating under Obama’s policies for the last four years and we are reaping the bitter fruits of chaos not only in the Middle East but in the world at large because we have not been dealing with them with strength.
Read that again: “He left them peace, he let them peace for ten years.”
George W. Bush was president for eight years. In those eight years he embarked upon two wars, both in the Middle East.
He unilaterally invaded Iraq for no legal reason (reasons he lied about). More reasonable was his overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. But unforgivable was his bungling of early U.S. success there and the resultant 10+ year war that has followed (2001 to 2012 so far). Iraq was an unmitigated disaster as well, dragging the U.S. into a conflict that should have lasted months, but ended up lasting years (2003-2011).
It was President Barack Obama who ended Bush’s Iraq War. Former Republican National Committee Chairman embarassingly Michael Steele called Afghanistan “Obama’s War” in 2010, and maybe in Rios’ mind Obama started both wars. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. After all, Obama is even being blamed for abandoning Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn’t existed since 1993, to the Russians, who haven’t been our enemies since 1991!
Let’s look at the “bitter fruits” of Bush’s activities in the Middle East: There are no reliable estimates of Taliban or al Qaeda losses but civilian death estimates go as high as 15,000 in Afghanistan alone. The War in Iraq was much more costly, with estimates of Iraqi dead at 150,000+ (80% of them civilian). Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced and made refugees and people are dying every day due to sectarian violence that is an outcome of the bungled U.S. invasion. Snug in the Green Zone, Americans fiddled while Iraq burned.
But Bush brought peace to the Middle East for ten years? The only peace he brought was the peace of the grave. He destroyed a nation and his cronies plundered it for a decade. We’d likely be there still if not for President Obama. Worse, he didn’t pay for either war, another unpleasant fact for Republicans who try to blame our economic woes on Barack Obama.
And what followed might answer our clueless commenter from yesterday:
Rios: There are some people who are saying very strongly that Islam should no longer be considered a religion, that that is causing the confusion, it should characterized as a political system, a dangerous, fascist political system and not a religion. How would we make that distinction and do you agree?
Murray: It is a socio-political system; there is absolutely no doubt about that. If something comes along and says it is a religion but it has to control all aspects of government, if something controls all aspects of government it simply is not a religion. The problem that we have in the West and it’s a matter of definition, and it comes out of early Christian persecution in the early Roman Empire, is that anybody that says they are anything automatically is.
Islam is apolitical system? If Islam is a political system, Christianity is a political system. For most of its existence Christianity also had full control over all aspects of government and in all of history neer relinquished this control willingly. And that is, after all, what the Religious Right has been openly fighting for since 1964. They don’t even bother trying to disguise their objective. but sure as the sun sets in the West some fundamentalist will pop up and insist a la Michele Bachmann or Ralph Reed, that it is all an urban legend ora myth. There is a reason Republicans fought shy of mentioning Iraq and Afghanistan at this year’s Republican National Convention.
The mountains of evidence we lay before the American people? It will be ignored by true believers. All of it, while a new narrative is spun up and they blithely ignore the fact that we have something called print, and something even more damning, audio and video.
And persecution…? Please, the Romans did not persecute the Christians at all until late in the second century and then for a decade or two so at most, while the Church spent over a thousand years persecuting Paganism, Islam, AND Judaism everywhere they found them.
Cluelessness and hate abound on the Religious Right, both among those who speak and those who listen. People like David Barton aren’t the disease; Barton himself is just a symptom, if a particularly obnoxious and dishonest one.
The sad fact is that the modern Republican Party is a happy marriage of two groups: Religiously bigoted Christians who insist they’re the victims of a religious war, and rich white Americans who pay no taxes and insist they’re the victims of class warfare. Any new meme they come up with should surprise us not at all, including the claim that Bush the war criminal gave the Middle East a Golden Age of peace.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.