Tag Archives: George W Bush

Why Zero Dark Thirty is not an apologia for torture, or, don’t shoot the messenger

10 Feb

Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero Dark Thirty, the controversial account of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Navy Seals in a CIA-led operation in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, has been described by feminist Naomi Wolf in The Guardian as “the handmaiden of evil,” and a successor to Germany’s notorious first female film director, Leni Riefenstahl.

Riefenstahl’s most famous work was the 1934  Triumph of the Will, regarded by many as an instrument of  Nazi propaganda, as well as by others as a brilliant aesthetic and technical achievement.

It has not taken us long to arrive at Godwin’s Law.

The opening sequences of Bigelow’s movie portray torture, including waterboarding. This is carried out rather genially by the male CIA interrogator and witnessed by the film’s central character, Maya, a young female agent who has made it her mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Initially Maya struggles with her role as witness to inhumane cruelty, but she rapidly overcomes this squeamishness and enters into the zeitgeist. This depiction of Maya’s rapid moral disintegration from someone capable of discomfort in the face of torture to someone who wholeheartedly embraces the process, signifies early in the film the deadening and dehumanising effects of torture on its perpetrators.

Yet here, to me, is where critics of the film have confused the narration of events with apologia. Torture at that time was fully endorsed by the Bush administration, and renamed “enhanced interrogation techniques” in order to normalise the practice and make it publicly acceptable. Interrogators conducted their dark craft fully supported by their CIA masters, and their government. It is not Bigelow who endorses torture. It was the entire apparatus of the state. Bigelow is quite right, when she claims in her defence that her movie realistically depicts the situation that existed at the time, and depiction does not, and should not be assumed to, correlate with endorsement.

Not only do the scenes of torture provoke horror in the viewer, it seems that Bigelow’s refusal to take a moral position  also provokes profound unease. How can she not use this opportunity to convey the absolute wrongness of the act? Why does she veer from the well-trodden path of traditional story telling, in which there is good and there is evil and the author has a point of view?

It’s true that if one stands by and allows certain events to take place, one can be held morally culpable. However, it is a different matter when one is narrating past events, and the climate in which they took place. At that time, the President of the United States encouraged his agents to torture. Do I really need anyone to spell out the horror of that for me? Has Bigelow failed me by not pointing this out in her film?

In declining to impose a moral vision, critics claim Bigelow has opted for what has been described as an “obscene neutrality.”

I am not sure that what Bigelow chooses is an “obscene neutrality” because I am not certain that neutrality in art is “obscene.” I think of The Sopranos, for example. Is David Chase similarly  guilty of “obscene neutrality” because of his morally neutral depiction of the unspeakable violence repeatedly perpetrated by Tony Soprano and his mob? Is it not the creator’s privilege to refrain from expressing a moral viewpoint? Is it not an expression of the creator’s trust in her or his audience to thus refrain, and in so doing, respect the audience’s ability to think for itself without authorial imposition?

Is it inevitably the artist’s responsibility to take a moral perspective in her or his work, and if she fails to do this, can her work be described as “obscene?”

And why, out of all the unspeakable horrors wrought by human beings on one another, should torture be singled out as the one that must not be portrayed “neutrally?”

Slavoj Zizek writes in The Guardian that “to depict torture neutrally – ie to neutralise this shattering dimension – is already a kind of endorsement,” and goes on to say that “with torture one should not think.” Of course he is right in his call for a world in which the notion of torture is unthinkable, however, that is not the world in which we live. Given that torture remains a weapon of the state against its enemies, of course we must think about it, and of course it must be depicted in our art forms. Nobody ever changed or prevented anything by not thinking and not talking about it. That we must have this particular conversation is indeed indescribably sickening, but have it we must, otherwise there will be no opposition to torture. This is our reality. This is the reality Bigelow so bravely portrays. The critics are shooting the messenger.

I also find it difficult to agree with the description of the torture scenes as “neutral.” They were horrific and horribly confronting.  I cannot find any way to interpret those scenes as “neutral,” and I cannot find anything in the film following those scenes that  goes anywhere near “neutralising” them. I find it difficult to understand the mind set of a viewer who allows the impact of those scenes to be ameliorated by subsequent conversation and justification.

Indeed I would argue that Bigelow’s stark depiction of torture conveyed as nothing else could the abhorrent inhumanity of the practice. Nothing she did afterwards could erase that impression, indeed CIA justification only made things worse, as far as this viewer is concerned.

Bigelow seems to me to be a director who makes a conscious decision to withhold moral judgement, at least in her last two movies, The Hurt Locker & Zero Dark Thirty. The former, which is perhaps the most terrifying film I have ever seen, is told without embroidery of any kind: Bigelow embeds her audience with the  bomb disposal squad on its tour of duty in Iraq, and leaves us to make of it what we will. In interviews she’s stated that “what we are attempting is almost a journalistic approach to film” and this approach is supremely successful in The Hurt Locker.  Of course she is referring to journalism as it used to be, before it became opinion.

In Zero Dark Thirty there are later scenes in which Maya is warned that torture is no longer acceptable in the new administration of Barack Obama, indeed, television footage in the background shows Obama famously stating that America does not torture. It’s clear Maya may find herself held to account if she continues the practice, and the original genial interrogator quits in the nick of time and returns to Washington.

Critics claim Bigelow’s movie implies that torture led to the discovery of Bin Laden’s hideout. This is the CIA’s position, though it is increasingly contested within the organisation. The victim supplies his interrogator with a name, over a civilised post torture lunch, after he has been sufficiently broken. This name, together with a myriad of other intelligence, eventually leads the operatives to Bin Laden’s hideout.

Bigelow does not endorse or contest this sequence of events. In my opinion she does not need to, and I would not have welcomed a directorial intrusion at this point. It is obvious that the CIA would justify the use of torture exactly as Bigelow depicts. Bigelow is not inventing this story. She is telling it how it is.

Earlier torture scenes demonstrate the unreliability of information gained through inflicting pain, when the victim claims any of the week as the date for the next terrorist attack as he is forced, after waterboarding and other vile humiliations, curled foetal-like into a hideous box.

Bigelow made her film with extraordinary co-operation from the CIA. There is no doubt the story she tells is the CIA’s story, and indeed at this point there is no other story to tell. One day a Seal or a CIA operative may break ranks and reveal another point of view. It’s hardly likely the survivors of the attack on Bin Laden’s compound will have much to say, and who would believe them?

This has brought condemnation down on her, as if in the very telling of the CIA’s version of events she has inevitably aligned herself with that organisation and its methods. She should have deconstructed the CIA story, she should have critiqued their methods, she should have made another film altogether and by god she should have taken a moral stand, otherwise she is agreeing with it, or so some critics would have it. To me, as audience, I needed no authorial or directorial instruction on the morality of the CIA and its methods in this event. I wanted to know what was done at the time, and the justifications that were made in the context of the times. I didn’t need to know what Kathryn Bigelow felt about it.

I can see how Zero Dark Thirty can be interpreted as an apologia for torture. I believe that is a limited interpretation, and we need to push ourselves harder than that. I don’t believe for a moment that Bigelow intended to make a pro torture film. The director put a great deal of perhaps misplaced faith in her audience. She treated us with respect, and honoured our intelligence. She did not expect to have to tell us that the CIA’s story is horrifyingly flawed, she expected us to recognise that.

It is not Kathryn Bigelow who is the apologist for torture. It was the Bush administration, the CIA and the revenge society that sought to kill bin Laden, rather than arrest him and publicly try him for his crimes. In focussing on Bigelow, the bigger issues are lost. She is the chronicler of the times, not the advocate.

Tankard Reist, motherhood, and men.

4 Sep

Of course we would all love men to come to their senses and begin to lead decent lives like women have managed to for hundreds of years, but at this point in history there’s no indication they’re collectively deciding to do that.

So writes RMIT academic Dr Caroline Norma on Melinda Tankard Reist’s website, in her post titled “The disparaging and belittling of mothers: on mother shaming in the sexualisation debate.”

Her statement wouldn’t get past me in a first year essay.

If there was ever any doubt that Tankard Reist runs a website that promotes contempt of men, this observation certainly does away with it. You’d have to go a long way to see a more outstanding example of gender bias and bigotry.

Then there’s this: On a daily basis mothers are going about their lives with children’s wellbeing and welfare as their top priority, so we could learn from their example.

Really? My mother didn’t. I’ve heard the stories of many adult children whose mothers didn’t. Some mothers do. Some mothers don’t. Some mothers do sometimes.

And who exactly is this “we” who could learn from a mother’s example?

Here we have yet another George W Bush moment of good versus evil: all good women versus all evil men. All men lead indecent lives while all women are virtuous. Dr Norma reduces humans to one dimensional beings governed entirely by our biology. Penis: bad. Vagina: good, and especially good if you have a child.

If you are a woman and you have a child you have much to teach everyone, just because you have a child. If you’re  man with a child, shut up and learn from a decent woman. Your life isn’t decent and never will be  ‘cos penis.

Are we entering a new era of the glorification of motherhood?

And these are the people we are supposed to take seriously about the “sexualisation” of children.

 

 
 

War: what is it good for?

25 Apr

April 25 2012

Last night SBS Dateline reported on how life changes for many military men and women and their families after they’ve seen action in a theatre of war. Post traumatic stress disorder is rife, for example, and the effects of this illness can be horrific. It’s compounded by the stigma attached to those suffering the mental trauma of war, a stigma that can discourage sufferers from seeking help.

Reporter Nick Lazaredes has spent considerable time  investigating the dire circumstances of far too many returned military personnel in the US, and asks is Australia prepared to support and assist our soldiers who come home emotionally and mentally damaged by their service to their country?

This piece has just appeared at The Drum, addressing similar concerns, as does this one by Bruce Haigh.

As well, here at Overland is Jeff Sparrow’s excellent essay on Anzac Day and the celebration of forgetting.

As one observer in the SBS documentary pointed out, politicians like to declare “America is at war!” However, America isn’t at war, he claimed, America is in shopping malls. The military is at war, and America is ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of that when men and women with shattered psyches return to take up an ordinary life. The difficulties they face affect everyone around them, and the wider society.

If politicians are willing to send citizens to war in order to preserve our freedom and values, it seems remarkably short-sighted of them not to ensure the society we’re fighting and dying to protect doesn’t suffer, when those citizens return unable to rejoin it because of their contribution to its protection.

In 2003, then US President George W Bush told then Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas: “God told me to strike al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did.” Our own John Howard supported Bush in this endeavour, as did then British PM Tony Blair.

It seems rather remiss of God not to have told Bush, Howard and Blair to make ample preparation for the care of the military personnel they sent to do God’s work, when they returned from their endeavours broken in body and/or mind. It seems remiss of God not to have commanded the leaders to adequately care for the partners, parents and children of these women and men who risked everything in God and George W Bush’s interests.

It seems remiss of God not to have ordered Bush to have a strategy in place for the period after he toppled Saddam Hussein as well. But there you go. The Bush God is a belligerent, obstreperous and ignorant war-monger. He cares nothing for the lives of women, men and children affected by his witless triumphalism. He rewards only the moral fervour of arrogantly incompetent white alpha males who cherish the delusion that American-style democracy must be adopted by the entire world, and it matters not who suffers in the pursuit of this implacable goal of blind universalism, as long as it isn’t them.

Politicians will always find reasons to send their populations to war, no matter how ill-founded, duplicitous, and opposed by the citizens those reasons are. The invasion of Iraq is proof of that statement. While that situation seems unlikely to change in the near future, what governments ought to be forced to do is made adequate provision for the wounded, in mind, body or both, when they return from doing their duty in whatever hell hole they have been assigned to by their governments. Anything less than this is scandalous.

What we need of course is a paradigm change. We need to cease our participation in what is, to paraphrase John Gray,  the US myth of its manifest destiny as a redeemer nation, expressed in missionary-style politics with the salvation of mankind as the goal.  As Robespierre noted in 1792: “No one loves armed missionaries: the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies. One can encourage freedom, never create it by an invading force.”

I’m encouraged by the perspective of this youthful blogger, who points out that while on Anzac Day we must commemorate those who died in battle, we shouldn’t be celebrating the wars in which we’ve participated. There’s nothing to celebrate in war. War is hell, and it is all too often good for absolutely nothing.

Axis of Arsehats

Hitchens, Iraq and the writer’s voice

19 Dec

The late Christopher Hitchens was a brilliant writer. Even when you loathed his content, his form was reliably superb.

Everyone is entitled to at least one bizarre position on something in their lifetime, and for Hitchens his outstanding peculiarity  was his support of the invasion of Iraq.

Hitch envisioned a “short war,” one in which Saddam Hussein would be overthrown with a minimum of destruction. He vigorously supported George Bush, and when it became obvious to even the most ardent supporter that there were no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Iraq, he claimed that given that was the case the invasion was even more necessary, as it could be undertaken without fear of a nuclear or chemical response. The man was, on the subject of Iraq, crazed.

His loathing of Hussein was profound. He was right that Hussein and his “crime family” maintained “private ownership of Iraq” that ought not to be allowed to continue. However, the same could be said for several dictators, Mugabe, for example, who are left in place. The Bush-led invasion was not preemptive, in Hitchen’s view, but a natural historical consequence of US interest in Iraq’s affairs since 1968, including CIA involvement in bringing Hussein to power.

The post 9/11 timing of the war made sense, he claimed, as the terrorist attacks on the US homeland were an example of “fascism with an Islamic face.” This generalized justification allowed Hitchens to gloss over the reality that the terrorists involved had nothing to do with Iraq, but were mainly from Saudi Arabia. They were the “face of Islam” to him, regardless of their nationality.

So convinced of his rightness was Hitchens, that he titled his 2003 book  “The Postponed Invasion of Iraq.” His view will be, he declared, on the right side of history, while those who oppose both the war and his take on it will find themselves left behind.

Anything is possible of course and if conservatives rule the world in the future Hitch will be proved right, given that the victor writes  history. However, as Foucault argued there is no power without subversion, so in the event of  conservative global dominance, there will be dissenting voices arguing that Hitchens, Bush, Howard and Blair were wickedly wrong.

It’s all very well to predict the right and wrong side of history, but that depends entirely on who’s in charge of writing it.

For me, one of the most powerful pieces of Hitchen’s recent work came in this short essay for Vanity Fair titled “Unspoken Truths.” In it, Hitch gives us a glimpse of the state of stunning vulnerability all humans enter when we have to live with knowledge of our approaching death from terminal illness.

The cancer treatment he was receiving damaged Hitch’s vocal chords, causing him to fear the loss of his voice on both a real and metaphysical level. For a writer, the voice is all, and Hitchens movingly describes his sense of shocked  defeat upon encountering this unanticipated indignity. The essay is also a resonant meditation on the writer’s voice. It was a Hitch maxim that if you can talk well you can write, so for him, to lose the ability to talk well threatened his very identity. “So this above all,” he exorted his students, “find your own voice.”

And as he revealingly notes in the final paragraph of the Vanity Fair essay, quoting W.H. Auden: “All I have is a voice.”

What is also interesting in the piece is how this renowned atheist seems to be embarking on a flirtation with an un-named transcendental exteriority. For example, he quotes the Leonard Cohen song:

If it be your will,
That I speak no more:
And my voice be still,
As it was before …

which leads the reader to speculate who Hitchens imagines he is addressing. We know for the poet Cohen it’s God, but it’s a bridge too far to ascribe that sentiment to Hitch. Contrarian he was, but steadfast in his disbelief.

Hitchens also quotes T.S Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

Hitchens had a voice that could enthrall, whether you were listening to his articulate, mellifluous presentation, or reading his sustained adjectival abuse of those he regarded with contempt. His position on Iraq is to me a terrifying aberration, one that I will never understand, and one that I believe added unjustified gravitas in the eyes of many to what was a vile and unethical war.

Hitchens was as large in his faults as he was in his brilliance. He was a figure of immense complexity, and this is what drew me so powerfully to his work. Our culture doesn’t  encourage complexity, indeed, more often than not it is pathologized. Now and again a figure appears in fiction or reality who embodies our potential and reveals our possibilities, for better and for worse. In other words, humanity’s full gamut. Hitchens was just such a figure, and I am sorry he is gone.

Vale, Christopher Hitchens.

The godification of children; the bizarre marriage of anti raunch feminism with the religious right.

10 Oct

Evangelical Christian children’s pastor Becky Fischer takes several hundred children aged from around six to early teenage, and some of their parents, to a fundamentalist boot camp at Devil’s Lake, North Dakota for a weekend of indoctrination into the principles of  evangelical Christianity (ABC 2, Sunday October 9, “Jesus Camp”)

One of these principles is founded on the belief that there’s a dire need for the merging of church and state in the USA, to be achieved through what she describes as a war to reclaim America for Jesus. This war is a just war, founded in the truth because they know The Truth,the pastor claims, and everyone else is lost to God.

Pastor Becky is taking a leaf out of the Muslims’ book, she reveals. If they can train kids to be suicide bombers for the sake of their God, why can’t she train kids to give their lives for the one true God, albeit metaphorically. She just needs them before they turn seven, she adds.

One extremely articulate and intelligent little girl tells us that some people do die for God and they are MARTYRS. Like, wow!

There’s a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, role model for the successful integration of the two powers. There’s emotion-driven prayer meetings where little kids fall sobbing, wailing and shaking on the floor. The poor little buggers, by now in a state of frightening emotional extremity, cry out their sinfulness, thrash their arms and legs about, and beg Jesus to forgive them. The adults howl praise the Lord as the little ones noisily repent.

Once cleansed by a few drops of water out of a plastic bottle administered by Pastor Becky, the kids are declared born again, welcomed into the Lord’s army, and instruction on their mission as soldiers in the fight to get America back on the path of righteousness begins.

One of the most important battles they’ll face, they’re told, is the battle to stop abortion. They must pray to God to end all abortive procedures, a very creepy man in blue jeans and scarlet tee-shirt with “Life” printed on it in large black letters, tells them. The future of millions of unborn babies is in their young hands. They have the opportunity to make the difference between unborn babies living, or dying before they even get a chance to breathe. Jesus wants them to save the babies.

There’s not a dry eye in the house. The children are whipped up into a state of febrile fanaticism. The adults have no apparent compunction about involving young children in abortion issues, a form of child sexualization that is truly disgraceful, and never mentioned by activists as harmful.

The man in the red shirt  shows the kids little plastic models of a foetus through the stages of gestation. Kids start screaming, swaying, and speaking in tongues. Heavy metal Christian rock music gets them and keeps them in the zone. “We’re kickin’ it for Christ!” the children scream.

The man in the red shirt tapes tiny plastic babies to the palms of the kids’ hands with red duct tape. He next places the red duct tape across the children’s mouths, silencing them. Written on the tape is the word “Life.”

Then he takes the children to Washington to demonstrate against abortion on Capitol Hill.

Meantime, Pastor Becky tells them they must not read Harry Potter, for Potter is a warlock and God hates warlocks and witchcraft. Harry Potter would have been put to death in the Old Testament, she tells them. One child is bewildered and a little unnerved when later at lunch, other kids at his table tell him he looks a lot like Harry. Will he be metaphorically put to death? Maybe he needs to change his glasses?

In their ordinary lives the kids make no moves without first asking if God would like what they’re considering doing. They have no life outside of their religion. Many of them are home-schooled in creationism, and taught that global warming is irrelevant, given that we are on earth for such a short time before ascending to heaven so why worry? In fact some 75 per cent of home-schooled children in the US come from evangelical families, of which there are some 80 million.

In Australia, right-wing Christian conservative and pro lifer Melinda Tankard Reist, editor of the recently released Big Porn Inc, a collection of anti pornography writings, is also an anti free choice advocate. This is a link to an article Tankard Reist wrote for the Canberra Times in 1997, that has recently been posted on anti abortion website  “Abortion Concern.”

In the article Tankard Reist argues that the pro-choice rhetoric ignores the situations of women who’ve had bad abortion experiences.  She calls for the re-examination of the “pro-choice orthodoxy”, citing testimonials she’s collected for her book on the reactions some women suffer after an abortion.

Tankard Reist’s conclusion is that because there are women who suffer as a consequence of abortion, the procedure ought not to be allowed. Which is a little like arguing that because some women suffer adverse reactions as a consequence of marriage, all marriage should be banned. It’s the all or nothing, you’re with us or against us, George Bush fundamentalist mentality that is the hallmark of politically right-wing evangelical Christianity, and Tankard Reist is right in that zone.

Tankard Reist’s lesser known co-editor, academic Abigail Bray, is reputedly a left-wing feminist whom one would expect to be soundly pro-choice, ideologically, emotionally and intellectually opposed to Tankard Reist’s entrenched anti choice and right-wing religious position. Nevertheless the two women have managed to overcome their differences in the production of Big Porn Inc. This union of left wing and sometimes radical feminism, and right-wing Christian evangelical conservatism is an uneasy marriage, one would think, in which both parties are called upon to seriously compromise core beliefs in order to achieve a supposedly greater good, that of preventing pornography and what both parties perceive as the pornification and sexualisation of the young.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Big Porn Inc has received a good deal of promotion from the ABC, and indeed, will be launched in Brisbane later this week by the ABC’s online Religion and Ethics editor, Scott Stephens.

Tankard Reist has been described by UNSW academic Zora Simic in her 2011 paper Anti-raunch Feminism: An Australian Case Study, which can be found on her website and is a very good read for anyone interested in feminism in Australia today, as Australia’s most public feminist voice, dethroning such long time luminaries as Eva Cox of the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

Anti-raunch feminism is a feminist protest against what is perceived as a dominant cultural hypersexualization of women and girls, in which so-called “raunchy” behaviour (pole dancing, for example) clothing, make up, music etc is thought to dehumanize, “pornify” and “sexualize”  women and girls, creating a false sense of empowerment from behaviour that in reality, the protesters believe, is degrading and objectifying.

Zimic informatively unpacks Tankard Reist’s evolution from Senator Brian Harradine’s bioethics advisor during the period when Harradine managed to prevent Australian aid to developing countries from including reproductive education, and also managed to ban Australian women’s access to the “morning after” pill, RU-486.

Tankard Reist went on to found the conservative pro-life Women’s Forum Australia, an organisation supported by then Prime Minister John Howard, Pentecostal Family First Senator Stephen Fielding, and Catholic Opposition Leader and former Coalition Health Minister Tony Abbott. In 2004, Abbott called for a debate on what he termed the “epidemic of abortion” in Australia. Kevin Rudd also endorsed WFA when he was ever so briefly PM and favoured doorstop interviews on Sundays as he came out of church.

As Simic writes, it appears that Tankard Reist, with the assistance of feminists such as Bray and Nina Funnell, has managed to blend an anti-abortion platform with the anti raunch culture some feminists despise and see as a backward step for women. Both parties have apparently decoupled from their traditional women’s reproductive concerns, and neither side is at present anyway, making any reference to the other’s opposing views on abortion, or pursuing their own.

Tankard Reist is currently keeping very quiet about her pro-life beliefs and her connections to the conservative Christian Right. For example on her website where she publishes testimonials from organisations who’ve hired her as a speaker, the Australian Christian Lobby is conspicuously absent, though she has been engaged by them several times.

The marriage of convenience between anti raunch feminism and right-wing religious conservatism is to say the least bizarre. When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas is a maxim that could be employed by either party about the other. Have the anti raunch feminists turned their backs on pro-choice, sacrificing it to some perceived greater good? Have the Christian conservatives temporarily agreed to silence their rabid anti choice rhetoric in pursuit of more mainstream and easily attained goals, such as whipping up outrage about the sexualization of children?  How long can their differences be papered over, given the great big elephants in both their rooms? Is it possible to trust any of them? Do they all have hidden agendas? Are any of them what they seem?

At least with Pastor Becky Fischer, what you see is what you get.

Did Bush claim God told him to invade Iraq? Yes, he did.

3 Oct

On Q&A tonight, News Limited journalist Greg Sheridan insisted, and insisted, and insisted again that George Bush did not claim that God had told him to invade Iraq.

But the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Age, and The Washington Post said this in October 2005:

(In June 2003)…the former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath says Mr Bush told him and Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister and now Palestinian President: “I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.”

And “now again”, Mr Bush is quoted as telling the two, “I feel God’s words coming to me: ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God, I’m gonna do it.”

Those Christian fundamentalists and their imaginary friends.

Those News Limited journalists and their selective hearing.

Those warmongering religious fanatics with God on their side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

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