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.