3: Startling Vision Confronts the Apostle
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw the woman, drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls…
Interestingly, some of the above passage relates by way of contrast with a passage further ahead:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. (Revelation 21:9-11)
Both passages feature one of the seven Judgment Angels, and the pattern is similar. The angel “carried” John “away in the Spirit” to ”show” him another “great city”. But there in chapter 21 the apostle beholds, not the ugly Harlot of Babylon, filled with corruption, but the true Bride and her heavenly City which is “holy”. He views the Kingdom of Heaven, the real thing in a new Age, where Love and Light will reign instead of the hatred, greed, and oppression of the former Age with its counterfeit utopia – the Harlot, “that great city Babylon”. (18:10,21)
I will show you the judgment of the great harlot. (17:1)
The Great Harlot has suffered many collapses throughout history but always rebounded to continue her corrupting influence. (See Appendix 2.) At the End of the Age, however, comes her final and most horrific collapse. Why it must be so is a question that much of the rest of chapters 17-18 answers by detailing how her crimes and corruption have earned her the judgment that is to come.
The great harlot who sits on many waters. (17:1)
Verse 15 states, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” Similarly, the Beast also was pictured earlier as “rising up out of the sea”. (13:1) So the Beast and the Harlot are the systems (personified) that have been ruling “the waters” or “the sea” of nations and peoples throughout the world and throughout history. In verse 3, the apostle notes, “I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast.” And then in verse 18, the guiding angel explains, “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Logically, that would mean that the Harlot is sitting, not only on the people, but also on the governments who are ruling over the people – the Beast.
The kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. (17:2)
A harlot who knows her business will be skilled in the practice of loosening up her clients and their purse strings with alcohol. The metaphor illustrates the Harlot’s ability to attract and seduce nations and people, using her earthly enticements and treasure and a vast trading/financial network by which she is able to gain control over everyone else’s wealth.
By and large, the rulers of our present world are obliged to “commit fornication”, that is, get “married” to the forces of spiritual Darkness, who work furiously to downgrade nations to Harlot status, to get them devoted to the religion of Materialism; and by so doing, divorce them from their Creator. And the people, “the inhabitants of the earth”, having swallowed the Harlot’s “wine” – her Materialism – are also guilty. (17:1) It doesn’t matter what religion or non-religion one professes, a person is either devoted in spirit to the pursuit of wealth and material abundance, or to the pursuit of God and godly activities.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness. (17:3)
John goes on a spirit trip and lands in the “wilderness” (desolate place), an appropriate setting for that barren utopia, the empire of the Harlot Babylon who is riding on the empire of the Beast. The next time John gets “carried away in the spirit” he lands, not in a desolate place, but on “a great and high mountain” from where he beholds “the great city” – the stupendous and glorious heavenly abode for the righteous. (21:10)
And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (17:3)
At this point the apostle sees the Beast in the uncomfortable position of having to bear the weight of the Harlot. This is the same Beast introduced in chapter 13, who also has “seven heads and ten horns.” (13:1) The “seven heads” represent the seven empires that have controlled and will control the people of Israel, starting with Egypt and continuing on to Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final empire. And a couple of details are there – the “ten horns” and (in verse 11) a mysterious “eighth” head. These peculiar features of the Beast are small clues that will help to pinpoint the historical era, the specific places and empires, which were symbolized in this startling vision of a Harlot sitting atop a seven-headed, ten-horned Beast.
And it would appear from the symbolic picture here that the Harlot has been riding the Beast(s) (the governments of the world) for a long time. Nothing so unusual about that; it’s a pattern repeated throughout history. To better understand the broad historical panorama, see Appendix 2, which traces the presence of the Beast-Harlot’s existence from ancient times up to our present day.
And if the Harlot is pictured as riding on the Beast, then we may assume that she is a freeloader, a parasite, who is using the nations of the world to feed herself and live in luxury. See Footnote 1 (various news articles with analysis of how this is happening in the modern world).
Full of names of blasphemy. (17:3)
To claim divine status for oneself, in the Jewish religion, was the worst form of blasphemy. Throughout history emperors have done it, even in modern times – in a peculiar secular form of adulation – such as in the reigns of Hitler or the communist demagogues of the 20th century. No wonder then that the Beast is “full of names of blasphemy.”
This practice of claiming divinity for oneself serves to cement a leader’s authority by capturing their people’s religious devotion, which otherwise would be diverted in some way towards a Higher Power other than the emperor. Interestingly, this final Beast is often referred to as the “Antichrist”, a word which in the ancient Greek meant “instead of Christ”.
Arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. (17:4)
Like many a prostitute, the Harlot is finely attired in order to lure customers. The symbolic description here shows the Harlot to be very powerful (“purple and scarlet”, color of royalty) and very rich (”adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls”).
A golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. (17:4)
But her “golden cup”, which looks beautiful from the outside, contains inside “abominations” and “filthiness”, as well as the “blood of the saints and… martyrs of Jesus.” (17:6) We’re starting to look now beyond the façade and get a glimpse of the Harlot’s corrupt state. This awful brew is the “wine” that she drinks and serves to the nations, making them also “drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (17:2)
Further ahead, we learn that this cup of oppression she serves is served back to her. “In the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.” (18:6)
In the Scriptures, the “cup” symbolism would often express a person’s or a nation’s divine destiny.
By a figure common to Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and not unknown to Latin writers, one’s lot or experience, whether joyous or adverse, divine appointments, whether favorable or unfavorable, are likened to a cup which God presents one to drink. [from Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1889, pg. 533]
Example of a joyous destiny: King David declared,”My cup [of blessing] runs over.” (Psalm 23:5) An adverse destiny: “Great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” (Revelation 16:19)
God’s cup of “wrath” contains His indignation against evil; it is pure and fully justified, while the “wrath” in the Harlot’s wine is only madness and deranged violence. The apostle observed that she was “drunk with the blood of the saints and… the martyrs of Jesus.” (17:6) Her cup is full of “abominations and the filthiness of her fornication”. (17:4)
Whatever that is, it certainly can’t be good. For we read, further ahead, “God has remembered her iniquities… the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication.” (Revelation 18:5, 19:2) And not only this but, according to the angel, her corrupt influence has spread everywhere: “all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (18:3)
In place of honoring and loving God, the Harlot (and her allies) have committed “fornication”. She has dishonored God. In her economic-political-military activities, she has blindly pursued the acquisition of wealth; and this has resulted in considerable oppression, economically and militarily, over the poorer nations of the world.
If the Harlot were the true Bride, she would be helping to lift the poorer nations of the world to prosperity. Instead, having departed from Her Husband, she has become a Harlot, who is oppressing the world – stealing their wealth, waging war against nations to maintain her empire.
But she makes one awful blunder: sitting on and oppressing the Beast. Instead of engaging in fair, win-win trading practices (which could have brought peace), she has done everything she can to fleece the Beast for all he’s worth and to threaten him militarily. (See Footnote 2 for news articles on that subject.)
Under communist rule, the Soviet Union was “full of names of blasphemy”. Now Russia has pulled away from that to some extent. But instead of welcoming her into peaceful co-existence, America, the supposed bastion of Christianity in the modern world, has done just the opposite. Her transformation into a Harlot, unfaithful to her God, has driven America into spoiling and squandering the precious opportunity that came up in the 1990’s to create a peaceful world situation. (See Footnote 3 news articles.)
Her greed pushed her into pursuing a policy of taking advantage of Russia in her weakened state after the fall of communism. Will it be any surprise then to see Russia once more take on a “name of blasphemy”? (See Footnote 4.) And, in alliance with her Ten Horns and with China (also “full of names of blasphemy”), will it be any surprise to see Russia become the Beast who will mete out on the Harlot the chastisement that she needs and deserves?
Alas, American foreign policy has spiraled ever downwards, in direct opposition to Christ’s teaching to “love your enemies”. And this is sure to cause long-term resentment, resulting finally in the Harlot’s catastrophic downfall. (Matthew 5:44)
And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (17:5)
Here is what one teacher has to say about this:
It was customary for Roman prostitutes to wear a headband with their name on it (cf. Jer 3:3) parading their wretchedness for all to see. The harlot’s forehead is emblazoned with a 3-fold title… (from The MacArthur Study Bible: Revised and Undated Edition, pg. 2016)
At this point the vision was a “mystery” to the apostle, but the angel says in verse 7, “I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast.” (17:7) What the angel explains further ahead no doubt cleared up much of that mystery for the apostle. However, there was much also that could not be understood until this Modern Age, and we are only now starting to see the full scope of how this dreadful vision of the future will come to pass in historical reality.
From the sounds of her title – “mother of harlots and… abominations” – it appears that this ruling system reaches its ultimate worst manifestation in the End of the Age era… right now, in other words. If she is the “mother”, then she is the one causing other nations to follow in her footsteps to become “harlots” who indulge in “abominations”. How then might this passage apply to our modern world? For one thing, through her…
An all-encompassing term, and tops on the abominations list: our weapons of war – to be utterly banned in the coming Age of Peace when no more “shall they learn war”. (Isaiah 2:, Micah 4:3) Related to this are the violence-filled influences emanating from American media productions. No surprise then that, over the last several decades, America has led the way in the warmongering arena – in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, even Yemen. And many Western nations have shown themselves to be fellow “harlots” by contributing their “abominations” of military resources to fight in these conflicts. (News article excerpts in Footnote 5 about the extent of America’s war industry.)
Another “abomination” is the financial skullduggery inherent in America’s capitalist economy – the practice of profiting from the labor of others, of squeezing the wealth out of the laboring classes and poorer nations of the world. To maintain this kind of favoring-the-rich status quo requires that wars be fought to keep nations in line and in subjection to America’s economic interests. (News article excerpts in Footnote 6 explain how this works in today’s world.)
Perhaps the phrase “abominations and filthiness of her fornication” conjures up thoughts of immoral acts, idol-worship, petty criminal behavior, that sort of thing. But the greatest immorality, the greatest idolatry exists in those nations where war and greed reign supreme. When ancient Israel went astray, God said “For they do not know to do right… who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.” (Amos 3:10)
“Violence and robbery” – those special domains of the Red and Black Horses of war and greed (in Revelation 6) – these rank as the highest and worst level of “abominations and filthiness”. And sad to say, America has wallowed in it for decades. She has allowed herself to be overcome by those dreadful Horses of war and greed.
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (17:6)
False religion has killed millions of believers over the centuries. As brought out in Appendix 2, the usual pattern for Beast empires is that in their declining stages they would transform into Harlot-type empires; and in the process become oppressors over the people of God – the truth-tellers who were viewed as religious rivals, subversives, threatening the status quo that the Harlot was trying to maintain.
The first Head of the Beast was Egypt who welcomed the tribes of Israel in the days of Joseph. But some generations later, a new Pharaoh became their oppressor and tried to defy the God of Israel. Greece under Alexander spared the Israeli nation from brutal conquest, but generations later, the Greek king from Syria raised persecution and slaughter and tried to impose the Hellenic culture and religion on Jewish society. The religious hierarchy in Israel viewed Christ Himself as a threat to their wealth and power and had Him crucified. Ancient Rome was indifferent to the rise of Christianity and often came to its rescue when it fell under Jewish persecution, but in time the Roman Caesars saw Christianity as a threat to their “divinity” and raised extensive persecution.
When ancient Israel descended at times into Harlot status, she persecuted and killed the prophets who were trying to get the nation back on track. Similarly, during Medieval times the Church had become more interested in wealth and power and became the Harlot and oppressor of true Christians, especially during those shameful years of the Catholic Inquisition. During the Colonial Age, it was the whorish, moneyed interests from the Christian European nations who exploited their foreign colonies and made it difficult for European and American missionaries to carry on with their work.
All through history, the pattern has repeated itself. The Harlot, who controls the Beast, urges governments to slaughter and persecute the saints.
And who are the “saints”? In our modern, secular culture, what do we really mean by that word? Some of the definitions from the ancient Greek include terms like “different”, “set apart”, “persons whose services God employs – apostles, angels, prophets”. (See Footnote 7.) Who then are the truth-tellers, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the merciful, those persecuted for righteousness’ sake? These were Christ’s standards for saints, who are supposed to be “not of the world” and as a result are hated by the world. (Matthew 5:1-12, John 15:19)
From this, we would have to include as “saints” many righteous men and women who, although they may not claim to be Christian, are living according to the standards that Christ laid out. For an example, Mahatma Gandhi, who never claimed to be a Christian, lived a Christ-like life, and his truth-telling words encouraged non-violent change and peace amongst his people; and like many Christian saints of the past, he also died a martyr’s death by the hand of the established religious order. (See Footnote 8 discussion: Is it possible for non-Christians to achieve sainthood?)
In this modern era the Harlot influence is as strong as it ever was. And as it was sometimes for ancient Judaism, the Harlot metaphor pictures the kind of stifling, compromised version of Christianity that is all too common nowadays. In Revelation 3 Jesus reprimanded the Laodicean church for being rich and increased with goods, thinking they had need of nothing, when in fact they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” in God’s eyes. He even went so far as to say, “I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:16-17) Clearly, the Harlot’s Materialism had infected this Church to its core.
From that passage we can understand how it is possible for Christian Churches, especially those that are wealthy, to spiral down into a pitiful state. And if those who claim to represent the God of the Bible have become corrupted like this and apathetic to the needs of the world, and a bad example, then God has no other choice but to allow them, His people, to go through the fires of chastisement.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” is a well known passage of Scripture. (Psalm 23:3) And sometimes, to get back on the path to righteousness, God has to allow His people to endure severe correction.
And that, sad to say, is the state of much of modern, western Christianity; it has become a Harlot. In its epicenter of America, the Christian church has turned away from being the conscience of the nation. Instead, Christian leaders have approved of America’s extraction of the world’s wealth for herself and of the military violence that goes along with it; they have watched in silence as the nation transformed into the warmongering tyrant of today. (Yes, “warmongering tyrant” is a serious accusation, but the journalistic evidence is plentiful and is presented in the various Footnotes.)
Truth-tellers, willing to expose these evils, are hard to find among Christians these days. On the other hand, many who call themselves atheists or agnostics, have bravely risked their lives “striving against sin”. (Hebrews 12:4)
We live in a secular, non-superstitious age. In ancient times an emperor could establish himself as a god, and the people would worship him by engaging in various religious rituals. Nowadays, a ruler cannot follow those former customs. Take the example of Adolph Hitler who enjoyed much secular adulation; the usual religious trappings were absent. Nevertheless, it was a form of worship.
We tend to apply the “saint” designation to those who bring the Gospel to a region hostile to Christianity. That is true enough. But “sainthood” includes also those who bring godly change into society through their wisdom and actions. In recent U.S. history, persons like Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Kennedy brothers were assassinated because of their struggle against the powers that be and their efforts to bring about a more just society: Mahatma Gandhi, another example; Jamal Kashoggi, journalist, brutally assassinated for exposing problems in America’s client state of Saudi Arabia.
These men were promoting social causes, not religious ones. Nevertheless, their attempts to bring reform were introducing the values and standards of the Kingdom. By promoting righteousness in their spheres of influence, they were modern day versions of saints.
And where else do we see the martyrs of today? In the Middle East untold numbers of Christians have died for their faith at the hands of Isis and other terrorist groups. And how did those groups come into being? In their efforts to de-stabilize Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, America employed the services of Al-Qaeda, whose extremist philosophy inspired the Isis movement in Iraq. America’s conquest and mishandling of that oil-rich nation led to the vicious backlash of Isis, whose murderous mujahideen carried out mass beheading operations against Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis.
(News articles in Footnote 9 explore this question of how America has caused the martyrdom of Christians in the Middle East and also the question of where are the truth-tellers in America’s mainstream Christian population.)
So even in this modern day, the Harlot system has lived up to the gruesome portrayal given in the Revelation Book: “drunk with the blood of the saints and… the martyrs of Jesus.” In America, the saints and prophets are those who’ve tried to get the nation back on track; in the Middle East, the slaughtered communities of “martyrs”. These are some of the modern day victims whose blood the Harlot has been drinking. (17:6)
And to grasp the full magnitude of the Harlot’s crimes, we find out that “in her was found” not only “the blood of prophets and saints,” but the blood “of all who were slain on the earth.” (18:24) How many millions have perished as a result of America’s wars in the 20th and 21st centuries. (See Footnote 10 for the long list of inexcusable atrocities perpetrated on various nations by the American superpower.)
It behooves us then to ask, when a political leader attends church services, would that person be willing to confront evil, even if it costs them their popularity, position, wealth, or even their life? Or is he or she just there to please a certain voting bloc? Real saints, it seems, have to operate outside mainstream Christianity these days in order to avoid being associated with a religious system that has become irrelevant and corrupt; and have even suffered rejection from the established religious order as a result.
In the United States, religion and politics have become inseparable. To lend authority to their views, presidential aspirants of both parties regularly press God into service. They know what he intends. (America: With God on our side by Andrew J. Bacevich, 16 October 2011, Los Angeles Times)
A similar situation existed in ancient Israel. The prophet Isaiah received a message, expressing clearly what had gone wrong in the nation – a message which could be applied also to the state of Christianity in many rich nations of today’s world. In the message the people are complaining because, in spite of their religious observances and fasting, God doesn’t seem to be listening to them. God responds, saying,
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7)
Similarly, American society projects a polished veneer of religiosity, yet the poor of the land are suffering. And America’s behavior on the international scene has caused misery in the world at large – the complete opposite of what the above Scripture recommends that a godly nation is supposed to do.
It doesn’t take a great deal of insight to know that history will repeat itself. As ancient Israel went astray from the godly principles on which she was founded and fell before the rising powers of those days (Assyria and Babylon), so also America is destined to fall before the rising superpowers of today (which looks to be the Russia-China combine).
America’s only salvation, if she could ever bring herself to do it, would be to humbly submit to the demands of the rising powers of our day. Long ago the prophet Jeremiah advised the Israeli kings to “bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! Why will you die?” (Jeremiah 27:12-13) Israel’s kings refused to submit, and Jerusalem was destroyed as a result. And we are seeing history repeat itself; America has no intention of submitting to the rising Russia-China world order. By resisting it so fiercely, the end result for America will be catastrophe. (See news articles in Footnote 11.)
I marveled with great amazement. (17:6)
It is difficult to see the forest for the trees sometimes. When in the middle of it, one may gain a vague sense that something’s terribly wrong with the world system of government. But when the apostle could see it from the spiritual vantage point – how ugly, awesome, and horrible it was – the sight caused him to “marvel with great amazement”.
The Quiet Imperialism by Francis Lee, 5 September 2020 for the Saker Blog
‘‘The US economy lives as a parasite off its partners in the global system, with virtually no national savings of its own. The world produces while North America consumes… The fact is that the bulk of the American deficit (on Federal and Current Account) is covered by capital inputs from Europe and Japan, China and the South, rich oil-producing and comprador classes from all regions in the Third World – to which should be added the debt service levy that is imposed on nearly every country in the periphery of the global system. The American superpower depends day to day on the flow of capital that sustains the parasitism of its economy and society.’’ (Beyond US Hegemony – Samir Amin – 2006)
This was written by Amin back in 2006, but the US’s drive has not really altered that much in the interim. If anything it has become even more bellicose in pursuit of its quest for world hegemony…
The TOTAL DEBT [is coming to] 2000% in the not too distant future. This according to a CNBC report by Jeff Cox, September 09, 2019. This whole process [of transferring dollar purchases into U.S. debt] has more or less been on track since the demise of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. The date was significant since this was when the US defaulted on its gold IOUs handing its trading partners paper dollars, or near dollars such as US Treasuries (Bonds) which it insisted were as good as gold. As a result the holders of this US government paper have been subsidizing the US and its economy ever since. The ability to palm off its trading partners with green paper meant that the US has been able to buy stuff from the western world without actually paying for any of it. It gets better. The US has been able to buy foreign made goods with monies loaned to them by foreign governments! The ultimate free lunch! …
Against this backdrop the foreign policy of the US becomes clear. Its purpose is loot pure and simple. The south must continue to be plundered for cheap inputs and raw materials and in order to do this comprador elites must be promoted who are friendly to US interests. Economic development of course cannot take place in this context… Markets must be opened up to the rapacious incursions of US and other western capitals. Possible rivals – Russia, China – must be regarded as long-term enemies and will be divided and marginalised…
Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire: Interview with Michael Hudson, 21 October 2021, The Grayzone
…the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created as a means of imposing a neoliberal, anti-government structure on the world to prevent other countries from regulating their industry or from regulating their agriculture.
The function of the World Bank basically was to make Third World countries, the Global South, dependent on the United States for their food supply, by only funding export agriculture, export plantation crops, not growing their own food.
The function of the IMF was to use debt leverage to force other countries to impose austerity on their populations, and to essentially say we will control what government you have, because if your government does something that the United States officials don’t like, we’re just going to raid your currency, force of austerity on you, and you’ll be voted out of power.
…Super Imperialism is about how America is different from European colonialism by controlling the world financially and covertly, politically, not by military force.
So basically, America wants the ability to say we have one power, we can wreck your economy. If you don’t do it, we say, we can make you look like Libya… Iraq… Afghanistan.
… We don’t have productivity…. competitive power. But we can destroy you, and we’re willing to destroy you, because otherwise we’re going under.
And we’re not going to feel safe unless we have the power to destroy you and prevent you from having the power to fight back and protect yourself.
So it can only do this if it can control the financial system that recycles all of this military spending abroad in the United States…
So America essentially has painted itself into a corner as a result of its military spending. It has lost its industrial advantage. It has lost its international competitiveness. And the only thing that it has left to do is the power to destroy, if other countries don’t essentially surrender their economies to control by the US, pretending to be objective and non-nationalistic by saying, we’re not controlling you, the World Bank… IMF… international organizations are controlling you.
That’s the kind of food strangulation that the United States has sought through every country. And it has used the World Bank and the IMF and the international banking system to impose sanctions, and to only make loans for industries and agriculture and sectors that do not compete with the United States, but actually end up serving the U.S. economy as inputs.
So other countries are turned into economic and trade satellites of the United States. That’s the aim of the U.S. control of the World Bank, the IMF.
And that’s why the United States will not join any organization in which it does not have veto power. It insists on being able to veto any policy of other countries acting in their own interests independently of the United States, or in ways that do not actually enable the United States to be the main beneficiaries of foreign countries’ growth.
The algebra of infinite justice by Arundhati Roy, 29 September 2001, The Guardian
Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven’s sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America’s new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.
Is the US a Global Leader Anymore? August 13, 2020 by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog
…during the last couple of decades, the US policies witnessed a deviation from Global responsibilities.
The US was leaving International organizations and treaties, one after another, ignoring its global obligations and escaping from global responsibilities gradually.
The article goes on to list the various organizations from which the U.S. has withdrawn:
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations International Court of Justice
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
United Nations Global impact on Migration
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
UN Human Rights Council
Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes
Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
Open Skies Treaty
World Health Organization
The American Empire: A Finale by Justin Raimondo, 23 March 2009, Antiwar.com …the entire ring of former Soviet states bordering the battlefield will take on new strategic significance as the central arena in America’s endless war on terrorism shifts eastward.
This means an all-out confrontation with Russia, and the groundwork has already been laid for that…
With NATO troops stationed practically at the gates of Moscow, and NATO’s massed armies protected by a missile shield, Putin is staring down a gun barrel… Yet Putin is unlikely to cooperate in isolating Iran, abandoning Syria, and allowing Georgia to invade its neighbors and kill UN-sanctioned Russian peacekeepers at will. The price of dropping that gun to his head is that he must forget about forging an independent foreign policy in a multi-polar world, because that is what represents a real threat to the imperial restoration project undertaken by the present American administration.
There can be no doubt that the U.S. has been engaged in a long-term project to encircle the former Soviet Union and make inroads where opportunity presents itself–or can be created. That’s what the so-called color revolutions were all about. Funded and supported politically by U.S. government agencies, and given plenty of cover in the international media, these supposedly “spontaneous” rebellions that installed pro-U.S. governments from in Georgia, Ukraine, and elsewhere, were and are a direct threat aimed at Moscow, with the ultimate color revolution meant to take place in Russia itself…
Western Hypocrisy and the Russian Election by Justin Raimondo, 6 March 2012, Antiwar.com
The last thing Western NGOs—and their governmental paymasters—want is a strong, united, and relatively free Russia. They much prefer the corruption and chaos of the Yeltsin years, when a perpetually intoxicated “leader” and his… cronies helped the West and the former communist elite seize the country’s “privatized” assets, and let the nation crumble around them. Putin saved Russia from dissolution, and those who were hoping to pick up the pieces were not at all pleased. This is the reason for years of relentless anti-Russian cold war era propaganda, the charges of “authoritarianism” leveled against a nation emerging from a 70-year-long nightmare, and the revived hype about a Russian “threat.”
What if Putin is Telling the Truth? by F. William Engdahl, 17 May 2015, New Eastern Outlook
Putin stated bluntly that in his view the West would only be content in having a Russia weak, suffering and begging from the West, something clearly the Russian character is not disposed to. Then a short way into his remarks, the Russian President stated for the first time publicly something that Russian intelligence has known for almost two decades but kept silent until now, most probably in hopes of an era of better normalized Russia-US relations.
Putin stated that the terror in Chechnya and in the Russian Caucasus in the early 1990’s was actively backed by the CIA and western Intelligence services to deliberately weaken Russia. He noted that the Russian FSB foreign intelligence had documentation of the US covert role without giving details.
What Putin, an intelligence professional of the highest order, only hinted at in his remarks, I have documented in detail from non-Russian sources. The report has enormous implications to reveal to the world the long-standing hidden agenda of influential circles in Washington to destroy Russia as a functioning sovereign state, an agenda which includes the coup d’etat in Ukraine and severe financial sanctions against Moscow.
With the former Soviet Union in total chaos and disarray, George H.W. Bush’s Administration decided to “kick ‘em when they’re down,” a sad error. Washington redeployed their Afghan veteran terrorists to bring chaos and destabilize all of Central Asia, even into the Russian Federation itself, then in a deep and traumatic crisis during the economic collapse of the Yeltsin era.
Algebra of Infinite Justice by Arundhati Roy, 29 September 2001, The Guardian
The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America…
Enemy of the Year: Why Russia? by Justin Raimondo, 28 February 2017, Antiwar.com
When Putin came to power one of the first things he did was go after the infamous oligarchs who had backed–and manipulated–his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. Under the drunken Yeltsin, these “entrepreneurs” had used the State apparatus to “privatize” (i.e. loot) what had previously been the State-owned economy, gobbling up entire sectors at unbelievably cheap prices. Putin moved to disassemble what was a competing power center, and the result was the flight of the oligarchs to the West. Having put their ill-gotten gains in Western banks and holding companies, they shacked up in London, New York, Switzerland, and the French Riviera, where they plotted Putin’s overthrow and their triumphant return.
… Newspapers, think tanks, and various other vehicles for the molding of public opinion are financed by this Russian Diaspora… They act as a lobby on behalf of the arms industry, and the political forces that stand to gain from the anti-Russian campaign…
We’ve met the ‘enemy within’ – and he’s us by Francis Lee for The Saker Blog, 17 September 2020
But the cherry on the neoliberal/globalist cake was the fall of the Soviet system and seemingly the triumph of the west. US meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state – Russia – were manifest. Particularly during the Yeltsin period ‘reforms’ were overseen in Russia by a group of senior state officials headed by Yegor Gaidar, advised supported and encouraged by senior figures from the US administration, as well as by senior American ‘experts’. Moreover, according to the American scholar Janine Wedel the Russian reforms were worked out in exhaustive detail by a handful of specialists from Harvard University, with close ties with the American government and were implemented in Russia through the politically dominant ‘ Analtoliy Chubais clan’. Mr Chubais is having recorded as having officially engaged foreign consultants, including officers from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to fulfil leading posts in the State Property Committee.
(Neo)Liberalism and its Discontents by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog, 17 September 2021
These events [collapse of the Soviet system in 1991 and the fall of the Berlin wall in the same year] led to a complete destabilization of the Soviet/American geopolitical deadlock. The US unipolar moment had arrived complete with the neo-liberal baggage with which we are now familiar.
… The US’s hegemonic ambitions were unleashed on a global scale: first target, Russia, which was on its knees, and would be kept on its knees with the US puppet – Yeltsin – at the helm. Second target, the global south and its aspirations and struggle for freedom. This was to be stopped, by all-means possible, including assassinations (Allende, Lamumba, Arbenz, Qaddafi, Hussein) and removals (Sukarno, Nyrere, Manley, Milosevic) to name a few…
Ten Ways to Create a People’s Military by William Astore, 29 July 2021, TomDispatch
During the Cold War, I took it for granted that this country needed a sprawling network of military bases… to “contain” the communist pathogen…
And then the Soviet Union collapsed — and nothing changed in the U.S. military’s global posture.
Or, put differently, everything changed. For with the implosion of the USSR, what turned out to remain truly uncontained was our military, along with the dreams of neoconservatives who sought to remake the world in America’s image. But which image? That of a republic empowering its citizens in a participatory democracy or of an expansionist capitalist empire, driven by the ambition and greed of a set of oligarchs?
A few people spoke then of a “peace dividend.” They were, however, quickly drowned out by the military-industrial complex… [which] eagerly moved into the void created by the Soviet collapse and that of the Warsaw Pact. It quickly came to dominate the world’s trade in arms, for instance, even as Washington sought to expand NATO, an alliance created to contain a Soviet threat that no longer existed. Such an expansion made no sense, defensively speaking, but it did serve to facilitate further arms sales and bring U.S. imperial hegemony to the very borders of Russia.
… After 1991, however, the main foreign enemy had disappeared and… our new enemy would prove to be domestic, not foreign. It consisted of those who embraced as a positive good what I’ve come to think of as greed-war, while making no apologies for American leadership, no matter how violent, destructive, or self-centered it might prove to be.
In short, the arsenal of democracy of World War II fame had, by the 1960s, become the very complex of imperialism, militarism, and industrialism that Eisenhower warned Americans about first in his 1953 “Cross of Iron” speech and then in his more famous farewell address of 1961… The complex would then only serve to facilitate the war crimes of Vietnam and of subsequent disasters like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, among so many others.
… War is what empires do and it’s what America has become: a machine for war.
Hagel Didn’t Start the Fire by Patrick J. Buchanan, 24 November 2014, Creators Syndicate
The great triumphs of Reagan and Bush 41 were converting Russia into a partner, and presiding over the liberation of Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the old Soviet Union into 15 independent nations.
Unfulfilled by such a victory for peace and freedom, unwilling to go home when our war, the Cold War, was over, Bush 43 decided to bring the entire Warsaw Pact, three Baltic states, and Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. For this project, Bush had the enthusiastic support of McCain, the neocons and the liberal interventionists.
Since 1991, we sought to cut the Russians out of the oil and gas of the Caspian basin with a pipeline through the Caucasus to Turkey, bombed Serbia to tear off its cradle province of Kosovo, and engineered color-coded revolutions in Belgrade, Tbilisi and other capitals to pull these new nations out of Russia’s sphere of influence.
Russia’s rising young Communists pose an unexpected new threat to Putin’s grip by Robyn Dixon, 6 October 2021, Washington Post
A candidate for the Communist Party in Russia’s parliamentary elections, Mikhail Lobanov, went overnight from being an obscure university math lecturer to being the new face of a rising threat to the Kremlin.
Russia’s Communist Party has long been known for its compliance, never threatening the Kremlin, in return for state funding and perks. But some young communists and leftist allies did not get that memo. They are starting to behave like a genuine opposition.
With a generation of elders fading, a new cohort of outspoken, social-media savvy communists is rising. They don’t wave red flags or speak in stale ideological jargon; they take issue with Putin’s regime over corruption and poverty…
“This is one of the really powerful tectonic plates in Russian politics that is beginning to shift,” said London-based analyst Mark Galeotti, an honorary professor at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University College London.
The Riptide of American Militarism – Lessons from the Natural World on Washington’s Unnatural Wars by William J. Astore, 9 July 2019, Tomdispatch
…over the last 50 years, the most fundamental things have remained remarkably consistent: militarism, violence, the endless feeding of the military-industrial complex, the growth of the national security state, and wars, ever more wars, always purportedly waged in the name of peace.
Ten Ways to Create a People’s Military by William Astore, 29 July 2021, Tomdispatch
I know what it wouldn’t look like. It wouldn’t look like today’s grossly inflated military. A true Department of Defense wouldn’t need 800 foreign military bases, nor would the national security state need a budget that routinely exceeds a trillion dollars annually. We wouldn’t need a huge, mechanized army, a navy built around aircraft carriers, or an air force that boasts of its global reach and global power, all of it created not for defense but for offense — for destruction, anytime, anywhere.
Why is the United States always fighting a war somewhere? by Ed Finn, 1 June 2018, The Independent
…The only way to find the answer to this question is to pose the ancient Roman question: Qui bono? Who benefits from perpetual warfare?
The answer — although never acknowledged by U.S. political leaders, and seldom by even the U.S. media – is the country’s military industrial complex. The big arms manufacturers profit enormously from wars and other armed conflicts. In fact, without continuous and prolonged warfare that requires the deployment of their guns, bombs, tanks, warships and submarines, they would go out of business.
These corporations depend on the United States being continually at war against some country somewhere – and now against terrorists everywhere. The weapons of war they produce are made to be used, not stockpiled. If world peace were ever actually to be achieved, they would be bankrupted, unless they could switch to manufacturing things that aren’t designed to kill people.
So it’s not surprising that these corporations keep beating the war drums, keep donating millions of dollars to the election campaigns of warmongering politicians – or even politicians who fear the economic collapse that could result from the closure of the country’s war plants and the consequent loss of a million or more jobs.
Defense Contractors are Tightening their Grip on Our Government by William D. Hartung, 16 July 2019, The Nation
When pressed, Raytheon officials argue that, in enabling mass slaughter, they are simply following US government policy. This ignores the fact that Raytheon and other weapons contractors spend tens of millions of dollars a year on lobbyists, political contributions, and other forms of influence peddling trying to shape US policies on arms exports and weapons procurement. They are, in other words, anything but passive recipients of edicts handed down from Washington.
America’s Merchants of Death: Then and Now by Sam Pizzigati, 24 August 2021, Counterpunch
…Many of America’s moguls, they [peace-keepers] soon realized, were getting ever richer off prepping for war. These “merchants of death” — the era’s strikingly vivid label for war profiteers — had a vested interest in perpetuating the sorts of arms races that make wars more likely…
On Capitol Hill, the Democratic Senate majority set up a special committee to investigate the munitions industry and named a progressive Republican, North Dakota’s Gerald Nye, to chair it. “War and preparation for war,” Nye noted at the panel’s founding in 1934, had precious little to do with either “national honor” or “national defense.” War had become “a matter of profit for the few.”
The tag “merchants of death” has long since disappeared from our American political lexicon. But the problem Nye named remains. Our contemporary corporate moguls are continuing to get rich off the preparations that make wars more likely and massively multiply death counts when the actual shooting starts. America’s longest war — the war in Afghanistan — offers but the latest example.
Munitions companies, that committee found, have exploited “opportunities to intensify the fears of people for their neighbors and have used them to their own profit.” They have ignited and exacerbated arms races by constantly striving to “scare nations into a continued frantic expenditure for the latest improvements in devices of warfare.”
“Wars,” the Senate panel summed up, “rarely have one single cause,” but it runs “against the peace of the world for selfishly interested organizations to be left free to goad and frighten nations into military activity.”
Do these conclusions still hold water for us today, a new special committee could ask, and, if they do, what can we do to remedy the situation?
Some members of the original Senate panel apparently wanted to nationalize what we now call the “defense industry.” That didn’t happen, and today’s complex of military contractors dwarfs the size of the merchants-of-death network that Americans faced back in the 1930s.
Our Pentagon and military, Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project points out, currently “take up more than half of the discretionary federal budget each year,” and over half that spending goes to military contractors. Most of these contractors, adds Heidi Peltier, the director of the “20 Years of War” initiative at Boston University’s Pardee Center, essentially operate as monopolies. The excessive profits that status helps them grab are widening America’s core inequality…
IMF who? Lagarde shows ECB is the top dollar job in the QE age by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog, 17 July 2019
The dollar’s dominance is what allows Washington to impose murderous, illegal sanctions on countries like Iran, Cuba, Korea and elsewhere, which is why many are so keen to end it.
The dollar’s imposition began after World War II, when the war-ravaged powers were forced to accept equating US paper with (but actually above) gold, a move which Charles de Gaulle bitterly referred to as the “exorbitant privilege” of the United States. The logic is simple: a $100 dollar bill cost Washington only the price of a piece of paper, whereas everyone else still had to mine, barter, earn or steal $100 worth of gold (or its equivalent in goods) to acquire that banknote.
The expensive US failure in Vietnam caused Richard Nixon to end this policy in 1971, but QE [quantitative easing] – printing money out of thin air – was opposed back then, so a replacement tool had to be quickly found in order to maintain US empire. The solution to effectively maintain the Bretton Woods system was found with the “petrodollar” agreement of 1973: every barrel of Saudi oil sold to anyone had to be purchased in dollars, and surplus Saudi profit would be invested in US banks and in US debt securities (“petrodollar recycling”, per Henry Kissinger)
Washington had no qualms about propping up the ruthless, reactionary House of Saud to maintain US economic hegemony. The system expanded to other oil producers to the point where no dollars? No oil.
The petrodollar keeps money flowing into the US and allows the US to “print gold” – it finances their huge budget deficits, high demand for the dollar fights off their inflation, it gives their banks a source of income for which they do zero genuine work, and the US themselves [sic] can buy “as much oil as they can print” from the Saudis. This is obviously a tremendous bargain for the US – the only reason the Saudis accept it is because they know they have absolutely zero legitimacy and would be deposed instantly without US arms and military support.
But the great deal is only for some in the US… from 1980 onwards the US elite funneled these huge monies into Wall Street and other asset classes which only their fellow elite can touch, as opposed to intelligently and patriotically using the income to improve the overall conditions of their own nation, or even just raising wages…
Once again, only the wealthy are profiting from shady capitalist practices… paid for by the… policy of QE which has failed the average Western citizen and continued the economic misery of the developing world…
Bernays and Propaganda by Larry Romanoff, 6 February 2021, Saker Blog
…America would love for there to be a Yeltsin figure in China to say, let’s just give all of the railroads that we’ve built, the high-speed rail, let’s give all the factories to individuals and let them run everything. Then Americans will lend them the money or buy them out and thus control them financially. China’s not letting that happen. And Russia stopped that from happening. The fury in the West is that the American financial system is unable to take over foreign resources and foreign agriculture. It is left only with military means of grabbing them, as you are seeing in the Near East, and you’re seeing in Ukraine right now.
…As one author noted, “The wealthy in America have created an inherently imbalanced system that is exploitable by the wealthy and they are working through the use of propaganda and misinformation to convince Americans that the system is just, or, if anything, unfairly biased toward the poor.” And again, “The economic system that America has developed is dependent on the exploitation of foreign countries and the acquisition of foreign resources, which is why (the US) pursues a strategy of global preeminence.” He went on to state that the foreign policy of the American Right-Wing has been developed through extensive propaganda and exaggeration of foreign threats in order to maintain the conditions for public support and to justify the suppression of dissent.
The Quiet Imperialism by Francis Lee, 5 September 2020, Saker Blog
…This whole process [transforming purchases into U.S. debt] has more or less been on track since the demise of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. The date was significant since this was when the US defaulted on its gold IOUs handing its trading partners paper dollars, or near dollars such as US Treasuries (Bonds) which it insisted were as good as gold. As a result the holders of this US government paper have been subsidizing the US and its economy ever since. The ability to palm off its trading partners with green paper meant that the US has been able to buy stuff from the western world without actually paying for any of it. It gets better. The US has been able to buy foreign made goods with monies loaned to them by foreign governments! The ultimate free lunch!…
Against this backdrop the foreign policy of the US becomes clear. Its purpose is loot pure and simple. The south must continue to be plundered for cheap inputs and raw materials and in order to do this comprador elites must be promoted who are friendly to US interests. Economic development of course cannot take place in this context as there will be an outflow of capital from South to North. Markets must be opened up to the rapacious incursions of US and other western capitals. Possible rivals – Russia, China – must be regarded as long-term enemies and will be divided and marginalised or possibly in 1970s geopolitical jargon ‘Finlandised’. And uppity allies in Europe – like France – must be slapped down and brought to heel.
(from HELPS Word-studies, 1987, 2011)
hágios – properly, different (unlike), other (“otherness“), holy; for the believer, (hágios) means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world.”
The fundamental (core) meaning of (hágios) is “different” – thus a temple in the 1st century was hagios (“holy”) because different from other buildings (Wm. Barclay). In the NT, hágios (“holy”) has the “technical” meaning “different from the world” because “like the Lord.”
[(hágios) implies something “set apart” and therefore “different (distinguished/distinct)” – i.e. “other,” because special to the Lord.]
(From Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1889, pgs. 6-7)
ἅγιος, , (from τό ἀγός religious awe, reverence; ἄζω, ἅζομαι, to venerate, revere, especially the gods, parents (Curtius, § 118)), rare in secular authors; very frequent in the sacred writings; in the Sept. for קָדושׁ;
1. properly reverend, worthy of veneration:
2. set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively his… a. of things which on account of some connection with God possess a certain distinction and claim to reverence, as places sacred to God which are not to be profaned… b. of persons whose services God employs; as for example, apostles… angels… prophets… worthies of the O. T. accepted by God for their piety…
3. of sacrifices and offerings; prepared for God with solemn rite, pure, clean…
4. in a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright, holy…
In this secular age, there are many who are disillusioned with what they have seen in church congregations because they were not addressing the burning issues of the day for fear of persecution or loss of financial support. As a result many a righteous person has felt they had to turn away from mainstream Christianity in order to uphold the truths and convictions that Christ Himself would have taught. Many call themselves atheist or agnostic, not so much out of antipathy towards God, but as a way to separate themselves from the kind of shallow Christianity they have seen that seems irrelevant and ineffective.
It is almost unbelievable that in this day and age, many who are not officially Christians are the very ones proclaiming the Kingdom by standing up for truth, encouraging righteousness and love and peace amongst their peoples, nations, or circles of influence.
They may not be Christians in the usual sense of belonging to a church, or being baptized, or even having a “born again” experience. We cannot know how God looks at things, and for all we know, He has honored many non-Christians with the rank of “saints” – by virtue of the fact that they were yielding to their conscience, listening to and obeying the Spirit of God, following the Light of Christ, even if they didn’t know Who it is they were following.
We know that the Spirit of God will lead people to Christ eventually, but many are in what could be called the pre-Christian stage. By proclaiming and living truth, righteousness, peace, and love, many folks, even though not Christians officially, would – in God’s eyes – be counted as “saints”.
The apostle James made note of something similar long ago; in the Early Church he saw that for many, their faith was more for show, and they were neglecting to live out their faith. “Show me your faith without your works,” he wrote, “and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18-19) Christ Himself taught, “Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:21, NIV) Both of these Scriptures place emphasis on what a person does and how they live, rather than on their belief system, as the measure of whether or not they are coming “into the light”, of their standing with God (their sainthood).
Good-bye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult By Mike Lofgren, Truthout, 3 September 2011, Truthout
The Old Testament abounds in tales of slaughter, and since American religious fundamentalist seem to prefer the Old Testament to the New (particularly that portion of the New Testament known as the Sermon on the Mount), it is but a short step to approving war as a divinely inspired mission. This sort of thinking has led, inexorably, to such phenomena as Jerry Falwell once writing that God is Pro-War.
It is the apocalyptic frame of reference of fundamentalists, their belief in an imminent Armageddon, that psychologically conditions them to steer this country into conflict, not only on foreign fields (some evangelicals thought Saddam was the Antichrist and therefore a suitable target for cruise missiles), but also in the realm of domestic political controversy. What does it matter, anyway, if the country defaults?—we shall presently abide in the bosom of the Lord.
I left Capitol Hill because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country’s future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them.
Christians, Stop Supporting Wars That Harm Your Christian Brethren by Joshua Mawhorter, 2 September 202, Antiwar.com
Washington has long engaged in a strategy of allying with radical Islamists and local criminal elements to the detriment of Christians in the region. Washington has supported radical Islamic jihadists and local criminal elements at the expense of Christians in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East for several years.
The US invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a boon to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and would later help facilitate the rise of the Islamic State or ISIS in the region in general and in Iraq in particular…
Conservative evangelicals were some of the most vocal proponents in support of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, not knowing the disaster this would unleash on Iraq, the region, and their fellow Christians. American Christians had no way of knowing the extent of the consequences and cannot be blamed for being misled by the propaganda of the government and their allies in the media…
The US government allied with, funded, and armed radical Islamicists in Syria in order to overthrow the Assad regime. Not only did this lead to destabilization that contributed to the rise of groups like ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Not only is this a fact, but a declassified report confirmed it and, in fact, the Pentagon predicted this might be the outcome. This was so prevalent that Tulsi Gabbard sponsored a bill entitled the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” in 2017.
Nevertheless, the settled policy goal was to remove Assad who is still in power today and was one of the major bulwarks against ISIS in the region. Whatever may legitimately be said about the Assad regime in Syria, it served as a block against the rise of radical Islamicists rather than giving them money and weapons. In the Syrian civil war, the policy of the US government was to support the “rebels” (often radical Islamic terrorist groups) against the forces of the Assad regime. Needless to say, this had a devastating impact on the Christians in the region…
The bombing of Libya, the funding of “moderate rebels [radical jihadists],” and the encouragement of the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime led to disaster in Libya and in the region, for everybody in general and for the Christians in particular. These arguably illegal actions (extension of military action past the provisions of the War Powers Resolution Act) furthered sectarian civil war in Libya, served to further destabilize the region and allowed for the rise of forces like the Islamic State, led to the reopening to the slave trade, and condemned many of the Christians there to persecution and death.
Traditionally, a foreign intervention directed by Washington in other countries have led to adverse outcomes for Christians, yet American Christians have been unaware, remained silent, or supported the intervention…
Christ Almighty! US Foreign Policy vs. Middle Eastern Christianity – American tax dollars fund anti-Christian pogrom by Justin Raimondo, 8 August 2012, Antiwar.com
Persecution of Libya’s Christians has remained the one constant since the fall of Gadhafi, and vigilante violence is on the uptick.
In Syria, the anti-Christian jihad is well underway, churches are being occupied and ransacked by the rebels and Christian communities targeted in a sectarian “cleansing” campaign:
“Asked whether it was the Free Syrian Army that was telling Christians to get out, Agnes Miriam, Mother Superior of the Monastery of St. James at Qara in the Diocese of Homs, said, ‘Yes … it was the commander on the ground, Abdel Salam Harba, who decided that there was to be no more negotiations with Christians.’
“She said Christians refused to back the rebels, so the rebels used them as human shields.”
Washington’s playing the Sunni card condemns the peoples of the Middle East to the tyranny of sharia law: it means the utter destruction of ancient Christian communities from Tripoli to Chaldea. This has been a consistent pattern of US foreign policy since the Bush administration, which, after all, launched our disastrous invasion of Iraq and thus condemned its heretofore safe and relatively free Christian community to death.
… it is fair to say that one of the main consequences of our “successful” policy has been and will continue to be a regional Christian pogrom…
So where are the much-vaunted and politically powerful “Christian” groups in the US, who are supposed to exert so much influence over the Republican party and its candidates? While the Christians of the Middle East are sinking beneath an Islamist wave, as Washington cheers (and funds the jihadists), such Christian “leaders” as the Rev. John Hagee are too busy anticipating World War III and supporting Israel to notice.
As this administration pursues a policy that puts the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa in mortal danger, where oh where is the so-called Religious Right? They’re [encouraging]… the US to openly arm the Syrian rebels…
… Have we completely lost our moral compass, or is the triumph of militant secularism so complete that we can comfortably ignore our own government’s war on Christianity in the Middle East?
The Moral Implications of Bloodlust, White Supremacy, Christian Nationalism by Wendell Griffen, 25 August 2021, Counterpunch
History will not be kind to the political and military leaders who counseled the nation to commit itself to that misadventure [the Afghan War]. And history will not be kind to religious leaders in the United States who cheered and counseled the nation to go along with it.
Religious leaders did not warn the nation about the moral and mortal dangers of bloodlust. Some religious leaders even blessed the bloodlust even as they offered pastoral support to grieving families and to people maimed and scarred by the physical, emotional, social and spiritual wounds of warfare.
Religious leaders cannot blame the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, Pentagon and political parties for failure to discern and denounce the patriarchy, misogyny and militarism that drove so-called Christian evangelical conservatives to champion war in Afghanistan a decade after Bin Laden was killed. Meanwhile, the same Christian evangelical conservatives railed against the Taliban and other Muslim extremists. Prophetic discernment should have led more clergy in the United States to know and declare that these forces are merely different sides of the same hateful faith coin.
The failure of prophetic discernment and activity concerning the war in Afghanistan did not honor the tradition of the Hebrew prophets. It did not honor the tradition of prophetic men and women who condemned bloodlust in later centuries. It did not honor the tradition of prophetic people who challenged the imperialist aims of the Crusades.
That failure also disregarded the example of clergy who challenged the war in Vietnam three decades before 2001…
Somehow, religious leaders lost the moral, spiritual and ethical ability to understand that times of societal turmoil — such as during a war — demand that we not only function as pastors and priests, but that we also discharge the duties of prophets.
More religious leaders prefer pietistic popularity and abhor prophetic perseverance than we dare admit.
Too many religious leaders — clergy and laity — are more committed to being comfortable than conscientious about love, justice and peace.
Too many religious leaders equate love of empire with love for God.
Too many religious leaders love empire more than God.
Propaganda and the Media — Censorship, or Burning the History Books — Part 6 by Larry Romanoff for The Saker Blog, 18 June 2021
…Few people are aware today, even in Japan, that the Americans fire-bombed Japanese cities incessantly after an offer to surrender and prior to dropping the atomic bombs. For an entire year, the Americans waged a fire-bombing campaign that eventually included nearly 100 Japanese cities, devastating Japan’s fragile wood-and-paper-constructed communities. This campaign killed exponentially more civilians than we are told about for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (35) This is the same Curtis LeMay who would boast only a few years later that he had carpet-bombed and killed as much as 40% of the civilian population of North Korea – for no reason whatever.
In the most celebrated case, “Operation Meetinghouse”, US bombers conducted a night raid on Tokyo that destroyed 50 square Kms of the city. The downtown Tokyo suburb of Shitamachi had been targeted as the center of this raid because the area contained the highest civilian population density of any city in the world at the time, with some 750,000 people living in the easily-flammable wood-frame buildings in that district. Just after midnight, 334 massive B-29 Superfortress bombers flying at an altitude of only 150 meters, carried out an intense three-hour raid that dropped a half-million M-69 incendiary bombs. These incendiary devices, as with Dresden, created an immense firestorm fanned by winds of 50 Kms per hour that totally razed the Shitamachi district and spread flames throughout the remainder of the city, incinerating at least 750,000 people and quite possibly more than 1 million – regardless of what the NYT tells you.
The bombers carried incendiary explosives that included napalm infused with white phosphorus, perhaps the most vicious and immoral of all weapons ever used on civilian populations, this contribution to humanity having been created and developed by Harvard University. The incendiaries produced firestorms similar to those in Hamburg, Germany, two years prior, and in Dresden only a month earlier.
[The article goes on to describe what happened in Indonesia slaughter in 1965-66 encouraged by U.S. government. Sukarno, a communist sympathizer replaced by Suharto]
Algebra of Infinite Justice by Arundhati Roy, 29 September 2001, The Guardian
…In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was “a very hard choice”, but that, all things considered, “we think the price is worth it”. Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America’s old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel – backed by the US – invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list. [Add to this all who’ve died in Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Yemen]
…a world laid to waste by America’s foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of “full-spectrum dominance”, its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think…
Are America’s Wars Just and Moral? By Patrick J. Buchanan, 26 July 2017, Creators Syndicate
“One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies,” writes columnist David Ignatius.
Given that Syria’s prewar population was not 10 percent of ours, this is the equivalent of a million dead and wounded Americans. What justifies America’s participation in this slaughter?
Columnist Eric Margolis summarizes the successes of the six-year civil war to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
“The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. … 11 million Syrians … driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.
“Two of Syria’s greatest and oldest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been pounded into ruins. Jihadist massacres and Russian and American air strikes have ravaged once beautiful, relatively prosperous Syria. Its ancient Christian peoples are fleeing for their lives before US and Saudi takfiri religious fanatics.”
We overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Moammar Gadhafi in 2012. Yet, the fighting, killing and dying in both countries have not ceased. Estimates of the Iraq civilian and military dead run into the hundreds of thousands.
Still, the worst humanitarian disaster may be unfolding in Yemen.
After the Houthis overthrew the Saudi-backed regime and took over the country, the Saudis in 2015 persuaded the United States to support its air strikes, invasion and blockade.
By January 2016, the U.N. estimated a Yemeni civilian death toll of 10,000, with 40,000 wounded. However, the blockade of Yemen, which imports 90 percent of its food, has caused a crisis of malnutrition and impending famine that threatens millions of the poorest people in the Arab world with starvation.
No matter how objectionable we found these dictators, what vital interests of ours were so imperiled by the continued rule of Saddam, Assad, Gadhafi and the Houthis that they would justify what we have done to the peoples of those countries?
In which of the countries we have attacked or invaded in this century–Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen–are the people better off than they were before we came?
And we wonder why they hate us.
The Collapse of Western Morality By Paul Craig Roberts, 27 September 2010, Global Research
The US government, a font of imperial hubris, does not believe that any act it commits, no matter how vile, can possibly be a war crime. One million dead Iraqis, a ruined country, and four million displaced Iraqis are all justified, because the “threatened” US Superpower had to protect itself from nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that the US government knew for a fact were not in Iraq and could not have been a threat to the US if they were in Iraq.
The West includes Israel, and there the horror stories are 60 years long. Moreover, if you mention any of them you are declared to be an anti-Semite. I only mention them in order to prove that I am not anti-American, anti-British, and anti-NATO, but am simply against war crimes. It was the distinguished Zionist Jewish Judge, Goldstone, who produced the UN report indicating that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of Gaza. For his efforts, Israel declared Goldstone to be “a self-hating Jew,” and the US Congress, on instruction from the Israel Lobby, voted to disregard the Goldstone Report to the UN.
Slaughter Central – The United States as a Mass-Killing Machine By Tom Engelhardt, 13 April 2021, TomDispatch
On this planet of ours, America is the emperor of weaponry, even if in ways we normally tend not to put together. There’s really no question about it. The all-American powers-that-be and the arms makers that go with them dream up, produce, and sell weaponry, domestically and internationally, in an unmatched fashion. You’ll undoubtedly be shocked, shocked to learn that the top five arms makers on the planet — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics — are all located in the United States.
Put another way, we’re a killer nation, a mass-murder machine, slaughter central. And as we’ve known since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, there could be far worse to come…
After all, this country has a historic 800 or so military bases around the world and nearly 200,000 military personnel stationed abroad (about 60,000 in the Middle East alone). It has a drone-assassination program that extends from Afghanistan across the Greater Middle East to Africa, a series of “forever wars” and associated conflicts fought over that same expanse, and a Navy with major aircraft carrier task forces patrolling the high seas. In other words, in this century, it’s been responsible for largely uncounted but remarkable numbers of dead and wounded human beings. Or put another way, it’s been a mass-shooting machine abroad.
Unlike in the United States, however, there’s little way to offer figures on those dead. To take one example, Brown University’s invaluable Costs of War Project has estimated that, from the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to late 2019, 801,000 people, perhaps 40% of them civilians, were killed in Washington’s war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere…
…its [U.S military’s] forces and those allied to it (and often supplied with American arms) have certainly killed staggering numbers of people in conflicts that have devastated communities across a significant part of the planet, while displacing an estimated 37 million people.
An Inauguration Day Surprise? by Justin Raimondo, , 15 January 2017, Antiwar.com
[Regarding America’s foolish provocations on Russia’s border:] This decoupling of policymaking from the facts of reality not only increases the danger of war–it makes conflict virtually inevitable. By either failing to see or deliberately ignoring what is actually occurring, rather than what their propagandists would like us to believe is happening, the warlords of Washington run the risk of accidentally sparking World War III.
Beyond the Dollar by Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson, 7 July 2021, Valdai Papers
The US will not join any system that it cannot dominate and veto, and refuses to submit to decisions reached by what may be thought of as a democracy of nations. If it persists in this mode, it can only watch the demise of its contradictory dollar creditocracy and the rise of alternative systems fostering productive expansion elsewhere.