Alex, of course, is right (see his post here) about the drudges at The Drudge Report– among the many kinds of bastards they are, warmongering bastards ranks pretty high since Bush the Younger took office. But I do think he missed the importance of another, much older Encourager of war and slaughter– about Whom, more in a moment.
First, I'd just like to say that it's nice to see that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahdadinejad is making an effort to get the details right in his imitation of the Ayatollah Khomeini. When the grim-visaged and long bearded Khomeini decided to give his first big American TV interview, he chose to speak to 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace. Now when it's time for the less grim and less beardy Ahdadinejad to speak, he chooses Wallace as well. To be expected really. Many of Ahdadinejad's moves deliberately echo Khomeini's.
That massive letter Ahdadinejad sent Bush in May, encouraging Bush to reform his corrupt ways and come to Islam was an imitation of a similar letter Khomeini sent Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989. (Khomeini's letter itself was modeled on the letters the Prophet Mohammed sent to various rulers of his day.) And that notorious passage about "wiping Israel off the map"– actually, the line was more like erasing Israel from the pages of history– in one of Ahdadinejad's speeches was a quote from one of Khomeini's speeches. Following Khomeini, Ahdadinejad said that God would do the "wiping out" or "erasing" or whatever... and I suppose that's what really made the speech so threatening. Because in the Old Testament, which all three of the major monotheisms revere (in differing degrees), God shows Himself to be rather bloodthirsty when it comes to wiping out peoples.
I can think of a handful of examples off the top of my head.
Deuteronomy 2:26-37, sample passage:
And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.
Deuteronomy 3:1-11, sample passage:
So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
Joshua 6: 20-27, sample passage:
And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
And, of course, 1 Samuel 15: 2-9, sample passage:
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Am'alek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
Now go and smite Am'alek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Now, in each of these cases, God, rather than men with swords, gets the credit for the slaughter. Think of it as a theological version of the NRA's mantra: swords don't kill people, God kills them (using guys with swords). All of which means, there's no real contradiction between belittling the power of nuclear weapons, as Ahdadinejad does, and harboring a willingness to engage in a bloodbath if God gives you the greenlight.
So, let's just hope that Ahdadinejad is convinced that "Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue and cultural exchanges" and remains so, because the world doesn't need any more people hearing God calling them to go and smite. There are plenty of those already– in fact, maybe that's what the drudges at Drudge had in mind: by speaking reasonably and rejecting the idea of war being useful, the leader of a religious republic was subtly mocking a certain leader of an allegedly secular republic who believes that God wants him to wage war.
But that's unlikely I suppose, since The Drudge Report doesn't do subtle.
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