"Just Like Any Other Easter Service"

On my way into work this morning, I caught a few minutes of a local radio interview with Barack Obama, during which he briefly addressed the media frenzy surrounding the Trinity United Church of Christ and his own self-proclaimed “spiritual mentor,” Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In the interview, Obama dismissed criticism of Trinity United, saying that it is “not a crackpot church,”

“This is a pillar of the community,” he told WPHT-AM’s Michael Smerconish during session which had been taped before the weekend, “and if you go there on Easter on this Easter Sunday and you sat down there in the pew, you would think this is just like any other church.”

Now, if there was a title to the homily during yesterday’s 10:30 a.m. mass at my church, I couldn’t tell you what it was. From the front of our church, however, came a message about how faith transcends life, and about how a life lived in service to the Lord would be an everlasting life. We heard about how Jesus’ tomb was found empty, the burial shroud rolled up and tossed away from the rest of the coverings. We heard about an angel, telling the two Marys that they should not fear, that our Lord had indeed risen.

At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, however, the message was a bit different. Rev. Otis Moss III, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s successor, delivered a sermon entitled “How to Survive a Public Lynching.” Watch the video if you’d like:

Rev. Moss compared Rev. Wright to Jesus, claiming that the media coverage surrounding his overtly racist and anti-American rants was tantamount to a public lynching.

”No one should start a ministry with lynching, no one should end their ministry with lynching,” said Moss. “The lynching was national news. The RNN, the Roman News Network, was reporting it and NPR, National Publican Radio had it on the radio. The Jerusalem Post and the Palestine Times all wanted exclusives, they searched out the young ministers, showed up unannounced at their houses, tried to talk with their families, called up their friends, wanted to get a quote on ‘how do you feel about the lynching?’”

So, all this time, Rev. Wright was getting lynched? Color me dumb, but I had no idea.

Here’s a man who says “God bless America — no, no, no — God DAMN America,” who denounces the country as the “United States of the KKK-A,” and who regularly spews out racist comments like, “Barack [Obama] knows what it’s like living in a country and a culture controlled by rich white people. Hillary would never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger.”

Here’s a man who blames America for the September 11th attacks, saying just after that awful Tuesday that the attacks were America’s “chickens” coming “home to roost,” that “terrorism begets terrorism” and our actions in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other theaters somehow justified the killing of those innocent people in lower Manhattan.

Here’s a man who wholeheartedly believes that the United States government developed HIV/AIDS “as a means of genocide against people of color,” and who does not hesitate to spread such dangerous inaccuracies to willing followers.

Yet, when the media exposes his racist and anti-American diatribes, it is somehow an act of racism in itself? It’s a lynching?

Flash back to this time last year, when Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” in an attempt to contrast the team’s serious, down-to-business athletes with the more spit-and-polished, manicured and pedicured Lady Vols of Tennessee. Imus was labeled the worst kind of racist, he was publicly shamed, called out by Al Sharpton and others within the African-American community. He was forced out of his industry amid a seemingly endless news cycle.

Imagine if Rush Limbaugh, if Sean Hannity, if some other white media personality–or even Imus himself, instead of jumping through hoops (no pun intended) to apologize–stood up and said that he was being lynched. Imagine the backlash, the augmented charges of racial intolerance.

Flash back to August of 2006, when Former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who many thought would be the hands-down frontrunner for this year’s GOP nomination, called an Indian volunteer working for his competitor “macaca.” Depending upon how it is spelled and used, “macaca” can either describe a certain type of monkey indigenous to South Africa … or it could be seen in some European cultures as an obscure racial slur against African immigrants. Allen was immediately labeled a racist and forced to apologize. The subsequent media frenzy–don’t call it a lynching!–was said to have cost him not only his seat in the Senate, but his status as a viable candidate for president in 2008.

Flash back to December of 2002, when then incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott made a joke at the late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 167th birthday party, insinuating that the country would have been better off had Thurmond’s presidential bin in 1832 been successful. Immediately, people in the African-American community took the statement as a veiled endorsement of Thurmond’s former segregationist beliefs and labeled Lott a racist. After the subsequent media frenzy–don’t call it a lynching!–was over, Lott had apologized and relinquished his position as Senate Majority Leader.

I could go on and on and on, but it’s all the same.

In order to cure the racial divide in this country, we need to learn from the past and look to the future, not rehash the past and use it to define the future. In order to be truly post-racial, we need to understand the hardship faced by the African-American community without dwelling upon it, and we need to rejoice over the candidacy of a black man for the highest job in the land.

My God, how much more evidence do we need that people of all races, of both genders, of every possible background have all the opportunity that they can bring themselves forth to grab? A black man named Barack Hussein Obama could very well be the most powerful man in the world at this time next year. The opportunity is there; the glass ceiling has been broken.

America has come a long, long way. It’s high time that we all recognize such progress, that we quit making excuses for ourselves and others, that we take personal responsibility for ourselves, our family, and our country.

Thinking twice before delivering a sermon entitled “How to Survive a Public Lynching” in church on Easter Sunday is just a start. When Rev. Otis Moss’ Easter Sunday service can be just like any other Easter Sunday service, when places like Trinity United can truly be just like any other church, we’ll know that we’re finally moving in the right direction.



  1. Brad says:

    Not only is there an obvious double standard (that white people aren’t allow to point out without being racist), but now it is also officially ok to blame white people for every problem in Black communities. We obviously created, “don’t snitch” and requested that it not be cool for black kids to graduate from highschool. I know I like my tax dollars going to keep people in jail or a black wellfare “mom” to make more children for my tax dollars to go too. http://www.goodoleboybumperstickers.com

  2. Jeff Schreiber says:


    It all boils down to personal responsibility, and the conflict between those who rely upon themselves to carry through life and those who pass responsibility–and eventually blame–off onto others.

    Personal responsibility is at the heart of everything from taxes, crime, and national security to unemployment, technological advancements and social security.

    It’s easy to get sucked in to Barack Obama’s idealist rhetoric. Who wouldn’t want “free” healthcare (if it didn’t mean a 20+ percent tax increase, that is)? Who wouldn’t want cheaper college education?

    The issue is that many of these things are achievable with hard work, with motivation, with personal will. Barack Obama could very well be our next president — the age of the glass ceiling has run its course, my friend.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading, by the way. I love the bumper stickers…


  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey Jeff, it’s your anonymous friend here from the Chavez post a few weeks ago. :)

    I don’t want to comment on the racism stuff, because I admit that I’m a white guy from Dallas who has never really experienced the kind of stuff that Jeremiah Wright has, and I don’t think it’s my place to pass any kind of judgement on him for these things.

    But on the more political type things he says, like the chickens coming home to roost and such.. I don’t see what the problem is, to be honest. When he says “God damn America”, are you listening to the rest of his sentence? And are you listening to what he’s talking immediately preceding that statement?

    I think his point is that the US has been going around the world trying to maintain an empire everywhere, trying to control everything, destroying governments and people that don’t do what the US wants. And we just can’t do that forever. Partly because it’s just not right. But partly because at some point, the rest of the world is not going to put up with it anymore and they’re going to fight back.

    One of the original premises behind Al-Qaeda, why they hated America, was because of US occupation and military bases in Saudi Arabia. Fox, CNN, all the mass media in the US told us that Al-Qaeda attacked us because they don’t like our way of life, that they’re jealous of our freedom and how rich we are. That’s all bullshit, just to stir up blind nationalistic feelings. They attacked us because they want us to get out of their region, because we have a military presence there and they don’t like that.

    Let’s stop and just put that in perspective a little for a minute. What if China had military bases around the US? They’re not being overtly hostile to us, but the bases are there. Wouldn’t that feel kind of threatening to you?

    This isn’t related to Al-Qaeda, but I think Iran is another place that is relevant in the context of Wright’s comments. We’ve maintained an extremely aggressive postion to Iran for a very long time now, and there’s really no reason for it. And ultimately we’re actually undermining ourselves here, which is the kind of ridiculous thing about it. Whenever the US starts its saber rattling against Ahmedinejad, it only strengthens him in Iran. It helps him, because prior to all the US threats he really wasn’t very well-supported there. There’s a pretty large movement against him there, and if we would just get out of the way then the people might actually be able to fix their own government.

    But “get out of the way” is just something the US doesn’t understand. The US thinks it needs to handle everything in the world itself. Whenever we become hostile in another country, the PR speak that the politicians all use is that we’re “protecting our interests” there. Did you ever stop to think about what that really means?

    I really agreed with where Wright was coming from when he was basically talking about foreign policy, although his presentation left a lot to be desired from my perspective. :)

  4. Jeff Schreiber says:

    First, Iran and Ahmadinejad.

    Here’s a guy who repeatedly has expressed his intention to wipe Israel off of the map. Here’s a guy who has been nothing but personally aggressive toward the United States as well. Iran’s military has also been aggressive in the Persian Gulf on two occasions, once expressing their desire to sink a couple of American boats, and another time taking British sailors hostage.

    I think that the fundamental difference between you and I boils down to the willingness to label a spade a spade and take things at their face value. When I hear apologists for Iran and take in consideration Iran and Ahmadinejad’s intentions, words and aspirations, I think of Neville Chamberlain in 1939. Call me cynical, but I don’t trust the apologists’ dismissal of the Iranian threat any more than Chamberlain’s assurance that Hitler wanted “peace in our time.”

    Secondly, I’m not so concerned about our bases throughout the world because of what they stand for. Our bases in Germany are there for a reason, our bases in Japan and Korea are too. Isolationists here and others around the world like to chide us for our involvement on the ground across the globe until something happens. Then, we’re chided for not being there to support Darfur or not reacting quickly enough to fighting in Indonesia. You cannot have it both ways.

    Finally, Rev. Wright is anti-American and a bigot, plain and simple, context or not. He’s just another member of the Blame America First crowd that looks for any and all occasions–sometimes making them up, such as the 9/11 and HIV/AIDS stuff–to pass the blame for his ills and for the ills that plague the society that listen to him.

    Until we take personal responsibility for our own actions and quit blaming our problems on racism, on America, on guns, on poverty and on God, we’re not going to get anywhere. Context or not, his statements do nothing good for anyone.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You seem to have some pre-conceived notion of what I’m saying about Ahmedinejad that’s preventing you from reading what I actually say. I’m not apologizing for him, I’m saying that our aggressiveness towards him is actually undermining the efforts of the people in Iran who are opposed to him.

    You could say I’m an apologist for Iran, but not for him. Much in the same way that I argued previously that Chavez is not anti-American, this would describe how I feel about Iran. Generally speaking they are a very pro-American country, which is more than a little surprising considering the history between the US and Iran. But generally speaking, they are very pro-US. But when we start rattling sabers against them, it strengthens Ahmadinejad and it weakens the pro-Americans in Iran.

    The US is fully aware of this situation, though. I think it’s a deliberate effort by neocons to strengthen Ahmadinejad and weaken the pro-US Iranians to the point where there actually is a reason to attack them, which is something neocons are extremely interested in doing.

    And I don’t like to argue on Ahmadinejad’s side, because I fundamentally disagree with everything that I know him to believe in and stand for. But you need to stop repeating the stuff about him saying he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map. That gets repeated so often that people believe it’s true, but he never actually said that. I don’t doubt that he would welcome seeing Israel wiped from the map, but the facts are that he never said that he or Iran wants to do it. What he really said was something along the lines of “someday Israel, as a nation, will fail and will disappear”. He could have said the same thing about the US, and I wouldn’t argue with him. Look at our insane economic policies. But if he -had- said that about the US, everyone would now be going around saying that he said he wants to blow up the US.

    But as for what Wright says.. as I said, I’m not interested in debating whether he’s a racist or a bigot or any of these things. That’s too touchy of a topic, and it’s kind of subjective anyway. I definitely can’t win that debate. :) But strictly on the topic of his “God damn America” and the “chickens coming home to roost” comments, I would definitely argue that he is not anti-American. I think he was pretty spot on fact-wise (and maybe he’s wrong about everything else and he just got lucky on this, I don’t know but these are the comments everyone seems to be making a big deal about), but I didn’t really approve of the way he presented himself.

    But at the same time, he wasn’t trying to present himself to you and me. He was trying to present his ideas to a predominantly black church in south Chicago, and I think he was presenting it in a way that worked for those people in that situation.

    Since you’re trying to determine the fundamental differences are between us based on our brief discussions, I’d say it’s that I’m extremely hesitant to use any kind of nationalistic type rhetoric (since you bring up Hitler, I have to point out this was a major instrument of his, but I’m sure you know that). When people start branding other people anti-American and stuff like that, I instantly become very skeptical of things and start questioning. I think questioning our government and the things they do is about as far from anti-American as you can get. The basis for this entire country was the idea of questioning your rulers and their decisions. More people need to be reading modern history, not just watching Fox and CNN. On the topic of Iran, they would never talk about anything prior to the hostage crisis in 1979 because doing so would show how the US was the original aggressor between the two countries, and how we’ve maintained an aggressive and fairly brutal attitude towards that country for decades. But if the media can pretend history between us started in 1979, then they can paint Iran as the bad guys.

    Since you’re an aspiring lawyer, I think you should be constructing arguments based on real substance, not this nationalistic type rhetoric. It doesn’t make for a compelling argument, it’s devoid of actual information, and I can argue that in many of these contexts it’s fundamentally unethical once you really analyze the meanings and implications of what you’re saying.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I still disagree on the subject of military bases, because what you’re basically saying is that no other country in the world can be trusted, but that somehow they must all be expected to trust us. It’s easy for you to say that you’re no concerned about it. But once again, what if it were China who were occupying our country? Even if they were not being hostile, just the fact that they were here. You would probably not like it.

    You’re not concerned with our military bases because of what you believe they stand for. But are you really surprised that some foreigners don’t understand, or don’t believe what you believe, about what our military bases stand for?

    Especially now. The most recent war that the US got involved in was originally started because we were led to believe there were weapons of mass destruction, and that entitled us to invade a foreign country and topple its government, only to find all the original premises for the invasion to be false and so new premises had to be invented. Now put yourself in the shoes of another country. Do you still trust the US and its military bases to always do the right thing? Based on other things you’ve written, I don’t really trust that you’re capable of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes like this, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Whether you’re concerned about the US occupying foreign countries or not, you can’t deny that other people are concerned by it. This was a stated reason for the existence of al-Qaeda. The US has known for years what their motivations were for not liking us. The US just chose to ignore them, because we need our military bases there in Saudi Arabia and the gulf to “secure our interests” there, and all the people there be damned if they object to it.

  7. Jeff Schreiber says:

    First, I hope you don’t mind if I call you “Dallas,” now that I know where you are from. Somehow, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve been referred to as “Dallas” before.

    Yes, I am an aspiring lawyer. If you know anything about lawyers, Dallas, and I suspect that you very well might, you’ll know that any insinuation of unethical behavior brings all sorts of weight and is not a minor issue to just throw around. To say that I am being “fundamentally unethical” is not something that I take lightly.

    I’m a fairly busy guy, and do not have the time to respond in as much detail as you (or I, for that matter) might like. Since you asked, and felt as though I have been disregarding your many salient points, I figured that I would take some time and let you know exactly where I stand.


    I think it’s more than fine to be an apologist for the Iranian people, and I certainly don’t fault you for it. However, I find your quickness to chide the United States a little unnerving.

    The saber-rattling you speak of, Dallas, is not against the Iranian people. This administration, as wrong as it has been on many issues, has been very good about addressing the Iranian people correctly–over radio and through any means possible—to assure them that any problems between the U.S. and Iran has to do with the Iranian GOVERNMENT and not the Iranian people or culture. One such example can be found here: http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2008/March/20080320160046xjsnommis0.5382654.html

    To say that the “neocons” are looking for any reason to go after Iran is a very “Daily Kos” thing to say, my friend. I love it when people almost growl the word “neocon” much in the same way that Keith Olbermann used to grit his teeth when he said “Mister Rumsfeld…”

    The only reason to attack Iran would be if there was a threat to the U.S. and/or her interests. Don’t say that we’d be going in there for oil, because that’s what y’all said about Iraq and we have yet to see anything to substantiate that claim. Iran is considered a threat because they have been aggressive, because they are doing everything they can to disguise a nuclear program, and because the leadership of the country has made it well known that this particular aspiring nuclear power would like to exterminate an entire nation.

    That’s right – Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off of the map. And, frankly, I don’t need to stop “repeating the stuff about him saying that he wants to wipe Israel off of the face of the map.”

    Do you know WHY I don’t need to stop recalling such statements? Because I, unlike you, recognize when somebody isn’t one of the so-called “good guys,” and I flat-out refuse to give him the benefit of the doubt. He wasn’t talking about, as you suggested, the eventual economic downfall of Israel – he was blatantly referring to and pining for the end of the Israeli state.

    On October 26, 2005, Ahmadinejad delivered a speech urging the destruction of Israel. Here’s a few highlights:

    “Many who are disappointed in the struggle between the Islamic world and the infidels have tried to spread the blame. They say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan.”

    “Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.”

    You are correct only in saying that Ahmadinejad himself never spoke the words “Israel wiped off the map.” Instead, he quoted Khomeini in stating that Israel “must be wiped off the map” and immediately thereafter noted it as a “very wise statement.” Personally, I don’t see the difference, and I’m not about to give Ahmadinejad enough of the benefit of the doubt to split hairs.

    If those statements were not enough, he made similar statements on August 3, 2006 when he stated while visiting Malaysia that (1) the Middle East would be better off “without the existence of the Zionist regime,” (2) that Israel “is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence,” and (3) the current crisis in the Middle East could be solved and “the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime.”


    Dallas, we SHOULD be able to discuss racism – its continued “touchiness” is part of the problem. Until we are able to discuss the racial divide, we will never cross it. Wright’s statements do nothing good for anybody. Plus, could you imagine the outcry if such statements were directed toward African-Americans and were said by John McCain’s pastor?

    Furthermore, you are dead wrong on Rev. Wright’s perspective on America. I cannot fathom how you somehow fail to discern overtly anti-American sentiments from his statements. You think he was “spot-on, fact-wise?” Do YOU believe that America, that the 3000 people who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11th somehow had it coming, as the “chickens” comment directly suggests? Do YOU believe that America was wrong to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki? You say that you study modern history – how many lives would have been lost on all sides, civilian and military, from the planned invasion of Japan?

    From what you’ve said about Al Qaeda’s motivation, I tend to think that you DO believe that we had it coming. With all of your extensive studies of modern history, you should know that fundamentalist Islam existed long before Al Qaeda and started flexing its muscles long before September 11, 2001.

    IF you truly believe that Al Qaeda and their ilk fight because of America’s perceived imperialism, if you truly believe that those who kill innocents in the name of Allah will somehow just retreat should we do the same, you need to crack open a few more books. You can start with the Quran:

    9:29-30: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

    38:101: Fight those who do not believe in Allah…nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.


    You are right in saying that I cannot possibly put myself in the shoes of those in other countries and view America and her actions objectively. You are also right in saying that we are indeed spread too thin, especially in an era when technology can render many of our bases obsolete.

    Where you are wrong, however, is on the trust issue. At least, it’s where I think you’re wrong. America is the most generous country on the planet. We respond with force where necessary, and in kind where needed. The same people who question our interference within Iraq—where Hussein was deemed one of the worst dictators with regard to human rights violation—wish that we could get involved in Darfur, and those who want us to act in Darfur yet maintain that we should immediately pull out of Iraq regardless of the consequences are as hypocritical as they are short-sighted.

    It all boils down to benefit of the doubt. For me, America is indeed still the shining city on the hill. For you, it might be the unwelcome aggressor, or somewhere in between. I cannot fault you for thinking the latter, if that is the case; I can only hope that you will gain the life experience necessary to step back and truly look at America and that for which she stands.


    You say that it is good to question our government. I agree, and I question our government incessantly. Even more so, however, I scrutinize those who possibly wish to do us harm. Paying more attention to entities who look ill upon the United States than to the United States government is not about being “nationalistic,” but rather about being aware.

    Our founding fathers fled to the New World to escape from tyranny. They established America and set up its government in the best possible way to prevent its return. Each segment of each of our founding documents were written and adopted in response to characteristics of the government they fled.

    The First Amendment responded in part to religious tyranny and set forth the ability to question our own government.

    The Second Amendment provided Americans with an individual right to keep and bear arms as an added protection from tyrannical rule

    The Third and Fourth Amendments were adopted in response to the forced quartering of British soldiers and warrantless searches for tax stamps—signs of smuggling, necessary in the mercantilist economy at the time—in colonists’ homes.

    The Fifth Amendment was a response to the Catch-22 faced by accused individuals in the British High Court due to the Oath Ex Officio, a sacred oath binding them to tell the truth. They faced the dilemma of remaining silent and being damned, or bearing witness against themselves and being hanged, and our founding fathers wanted to prevent that from happening here.

    I could go on and on, but won’t. Though I should mention that the Tenth was designed to keep power among the states and prevent too much of a centralized federal government.

    So, when you say that the “basis for this entire country was the idea of questioning your rulers and their decisions,” I cannot agree. The basis for this country was a daring experiment intended to break away from tyranny. Our founding documents were produced to facilitate this and, yes, the groundwork was set for Americans to have the ability and the means and the freedom to question those in power, but I have difficulty thinking that those who founded this country would be proud of people that scrutinize her while blindly giving others a pass.

    Frankly, if it weren’t for the perversion of many of the ideals in which our founding documents are rooted, we wouldn’t have many of the problems we have today.

    Okay – that’s enough for now, my friend. I’ll sit and wait for the next volley. As final exams approach, please understand if I do not have the time for such a thorough reply.

    I will try, however, to procrastinate and do my best ☺

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s not that I’m unable to step back and look at America for which she stands. We’re taught from the time we’re kids how we should look at America, and view it as always right. I think America stands for the right things, in theory and on paper.

    But the more I read about the things that have happened in modern history, the more unhappy I am with some of the things that the US has engaged in and done. But not very many Americans are even aware of a lot of it, and that makes it extremely difficult to improve the situation. It’s not being anti-American to suggest that America is not perfect. I’m not being a hater if I don’t agree with the way we do things. It’s out of love for my country that I want to see it become a better place. But so often I think we’re expected to just “take it or leave it”, and I’m not satisfied with that.

    On Ahmadinejad again, I still believe you’re repeating a pretty well-known mistranslation. Maybe Ahmadinejad really does want to destroy Israel, but the famous quote was actually a mistranslation (ironically, it was a mistranslation that came from Iran itself, but was happily published by New York Times and others). This is well-documented by now, so a simple Google search should yield more information about the mistranslation. If Ahmadinejad really wanted to attack Israel, I don’t think that would last very long. Israel has an incredible amount of military power, and Iran really doesn’t.

    But Iran has been a target of the PNAC since the PNAC was first created. One of their stated goals is to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.” That’s the kind of stuff that scares me. That’s not the “Daily Kos” talking there (I don’t read that site, btw.. it’s really poorly done). This is from PNAC’s published goals. So when I’m talking about neocons, this is an example of what I’m referring to. We can argue over what the president of Iran may or may not have said, but we have an extremely influential group in the US whose goals are to decisively win multiple major simultaneous wars. It seems like our goal should be avoiding all wars and resolving our conflicts peacefully where possible. I realize that’s not always possible, but that should be the true goal. Dominating by military force should not be a stated goal. And how familiar are you with the origins of the “neocons”, and the teachings of Leo Strauss? Pretty scary stuff, if you ask me. I think there is very good reason to fear these people.

    No, the 3000 people who died in New York were of course not responsible for what happened. But America, as a nation, cannot pretend that the attack came out of nowhere for no reason at all. The US already knew all about Al-Qaeda and what Al-Qaeda’s reasons were. Again, one of the major influences for them was that we had military bases in Saudi Arabia and other places, and that they considered us a threat there. That’s not an excuse for them attacking civilians, of course, it’s just pointing out an obvious fact. If they were going to attack, they should have attacked our military bases in Saudi Arabia since that’s what they really had a problem with. But there is also our support of some of the things that Israel does, there is our history with Iran, there is our history with Iraq. Wright is trying to talk in a larger context, and of course mentions Grenada and others. He doesn’t mention Vietnam I think, but he could have. And I think he could have mentioned Nicaragua, even though our involvement was that of funders and supporters of the violence rather than participants. But his point is that “violence begets violence”, and that’s hard to argue with. It’s more obvious just in the context of what we’ve done in the middle east and gulf states, because now we’re afraid of all these terrorists and we moan and say, “it’s not fair that they’re attacking civilians with terrorist tactics”. But our own CIA trained a lot of these guys decades ago on this stuff. The same way they trained south American terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. But this time the CIA-trained terrorists are turning against us, they’re attacking us. “Terrorism begets terrorism.”

    So I definitely think his “chickens” comment was accurate. That’s not saying that these 3000 people were responsible somehow for what happened. It’s saying that when the US goes around and tries to manipulate everything else in the world, tries to control it, attacks those who won’t fall into line with its wishes.. someday all of that behavior is going to come back and bite us on the ass. But then we take the “what did we ever do to you??” position when that happens.

    As you say you scrutinize those who possibly wish to do us harm, I think I take a slightly different approach. While I think it’s valuable to do that, I also think everyone else does that already. What I don’t think anyone does, and what I try to do, is understand why these people may want to do us harm. Why us? Why not Canada, or Switzerland? There must be something we’re doing wrong if so many places are such dire threats to us that we have to resort to preemptive attack the way we do.

    And the last thing I want to say is that I’m sorry for suggesting that you are unethical. I didn’t really intend for it to come out this way. I think a lot of people use arguments that hinge on something being “American” or “anti-American” without really thinking through it, and usually I consider this to be a fallacious argument without any substance. It also implies that anything that is pro-American is, by definition, the right thing while something that is anti-American is, by definition, bad or evil or something. But I definitely should not have gone so far as to say ‘unethical’, and for that I apologize to you.

    Good luck in your final exams, my friend! I will try to leave you alone so you can get some studying done. Besides, I need to get back to work. :)

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