19, 2006, Volume 14 Nr. 1, Issue 220
As Human Defect. Faith As Disease
There are two
five-year old dogs in
our family. Both are rescue dogs who were abused and abandoned. The short-hair, chocolate
Labrador retriever, named Berrigan after the peace activist, Father
Phil Berrigan, has been with us almost three
years. He came
our way the same year that Phil passed away. The other dog,
Geordie, a long-hair chocolate lab and golden retriever mix came from a bankrupt farm in Ohio.
Geordie has been with us for about 6 months. He
came our way a few days after we put our long-time companion,
Willie, a fifteen year old, pale yellow, Labrador
retriever to rest a hundred feet behind our Vermont home. Every once in a while, I get overwhelmed over the loss of Willie
dog. The only down side
of having dogs is the shortness of their lives and the
pain of their passing.
I feel the pain of Willie's loss I cannot help thinking of the people in Middle East
who have lost loved ones,
friends and family. People are
daily experiencing the excruciating pain of war. I find it unfathomable that I
kept diabetic Willie dog alive and well for many years, giving
him insulin injections, while thousands of miles away, people were willingly dropping bombs, firing rockets and slaughtering each other. 1,187 civilians in
Lebanon killed, 3,600 wounded. 44 civilians dead in
Israel, 100 wounded. 150,000 casualties in
Iraq. Thousands in Afghanistan. More dead in
Somalia. Dozens of people blown up by people who blow themselves up.
in one direction. RPG fire in the other. Prisoner
abuse. Torture. Soldiers killing a family, and raping a girl. Depleted uranium.
Blood spilled on the sad earth, ad nauseum. And on, and on,
and on. The absurdity and insanity of it all. Just before the cease fire in the Israel-Hezbollah
war went into effect at 0500 hours GMT, 14 August, there was a
final push for maximizing destruction and death. Last licks,
before time runs out. The maximization of casualties is not the
characteristic of a
sophisticated and highly developed species. Quite the
World Health Organization (WHO) defines violence as:
The intentional use of
physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself,
another person, or against a group or community, that either
results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death,
psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.
Capsi A, McClay J,
Moffitt TE, et al. in the Role of genotype in the cycle
of violence in maltreated children, (Science
2002) state that a "universal risk factor" for antisocial
behavior is maltreatment during childhood. If they are
correct, then what can we expect a dozen years from now when the
oppressed, bombed and abused youth in the Middle East become
adults? The combination of nurture (abuse) and nature (human
defect) will continue to exacerbate the cycle of human violence.
Violence—a noxious cocktail of genes and the environment,
Mariya Mosajee, journal of The Royal Society of Medicine, (2003
May; 96(5): 211–214) writes,
In the past, violence
was regarded as an obvious infringement of basic human law and
self-control, but now there are strong pressures to medicalize...there
is mounting evidence that violent behaviour has a pathological
Antiwar Folks and the
United States, many in the anti-war movement advocate violent
resistance as a way to stop aggression. They sympathize with
the oppressed making excuses for violent resistance saying there is
no other way to resolve conflict. Criticizing pacifists for being non-violent,
some anti-war folk say that non-violence by the oppressed only leads
to more oppression and violence. They blame non-violence
for violence. Using violence to end violence does not make sense to me. This
only adds to people's misery and perpetuates humanity being stuck in
mentality where fight or flight are the only options. The
defect of violence has overwhelmed the people of planet Earth, being
passed on generation after generation. And, it is just as prevalent in the
anti-war movement as anywhere
else. It is normal for humans to engage in mass destruction.
It is normal for humans to maximize the kill, to bomb
indiscriminately, use depleted uranium shells, drop thousands of
cluster bomblets, to blow themselves up in suicide attacks in
restaurants and buses. It is normal to seek revenge by
death. It is normal for people to be stuck in this failed
mindset, even though the outcome is always the same: more
violence, war, destruction, disease and death. Violence is accepted as normal
Katha Kelly, writing
from Beirut in Approaching
a Ceasefire (Common Dreams Aug 14, 2006) says,
If equipping an area
with weapons, including nuclear weapons, was a reliable way to
ensure security, Israel and Palestine would be paradise by now.
As we know, they are not.
of the Same
population and population density are stretching the planet's
natural resources and threatening the environment. These
pressures bring about increased tensions which require creative
the world's greatest super-power persists in staying the course,
mistakenly thinking that its incredible military might is the
answer. The events of the recent past are further evidence
that violence only begets violence. People continue to suffer
and die. A great super-power, however, should know better. A
super-power's greatness is not measured by its ability to destroy,
but by its ability to lead the world away from destruction.
George W. Bush, the supposed leader of the
supposedly Free World, refused to call for an immediate cease fire
in war in Lebanon. He insisted that a "lasting peace"
was more important than immediate peace. Mr. Mission Accomplished
cares very little about the suffering of poor and working people,
especially when his agenda is on the line. George W. Bush, the poster child for the
war-making defect that plagues humanity, has yet to attend a single funeral for any
of the over two-thousand U.S. soldiers killed in action in Iraq and
Afghanistan. What do tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian
lives, or several thousand civilian lives in Lebanon or Afghanistan,
matter? What does it matter that thousands upon thousands of
illegal cluster bombs were dropped, or that unexploded clusterets
continue killing children who play with them? It does not matter not at all.
The U.S. public is spared the
horror of its complicity in Bush's war crimes. Brigadier General Mark
Kimmitt offers the following "advice to Iraqis who see TV
images of innocent civilians killed by coalition troops: 'change the
channel' " (Iraq Body
Count). Just change the channel. Have
faith. Believe anything the administration puts out.
Faith As Disease
one listens to Bush supporters, one becomes witness to the same
psychological phenomenon that Bush exhibits. Many Bush
supporters, like Bush himself, have faith. Bush has faith
in religion. Bush supporters have faith in the man that has
faith in his religion in addition to their own faith in their religion. G.W. Bush, perhaps the most incurious president in
United States history, is not much interested in pursuing
knowledge. In a complex, fast-paced, ever-changing world, Bush
prefers absolute answers. Religion satisfies his emotional need for making sense of the world by providing respite from and
for just about everything. Many believers cannot go beyond their emotion-satisfying belief system. Their minds
become entrapped within religion's fabrications. This mental complacency and stagnation is a pathology
of limited options. The disease responsible for it is faith, a
psychological crutch that affects the vast majority of humanity, a
crutch responsible for creating intense and immense suffering
throughout the ages. Keeping the
faith often means staying the course. To the Bush regime and
its supporters it means not letting go of the promise of pie in the
On September 18, 2006,
Frank J. Ranelli, in the OpEdNews.com website in an article
Bush Failed Jesus and the Return of the Christian Crusade",
As the government of the
United States ostensibly wages an unbounded and ceaseless war with
Islamic religious fundamentalists, our current President, George W.
Bush, has proclaimed he senses a "third awakening of religious
devotion" within America. This "third awakening" that
Bush cloaks, but does not conceal, is the return of Christianity as
a crusade. The sheer oddity of pronouncing a rebirth of a feverish
religion, in a country founded on a secular government and not a
spiritual one, is the tenable reality that we have become what we
most fervently oppose, despise, and scorn -- a society ruled by
theocracy and not democracy.
Baker, in Bush Tells Group He Sees a 'Third Awakening'
(Washington Post, Sep 13, 2006) writes that Bush senses a " 'Third
Awakening' of religious devotion in the United States that has
coincided with the nation's struggle with international
terrorists..." Bush said that,
A lot of people in
America see this as a confrontation between good and evil,
including me...There was a stark change between the culture of the
'50s and the '60s -- boom -- and I think there's change happening
here...It seems to me that there's a Third Awakening.
Bush has it right when
he says, "There was a stark change between the culture of the
'50s and the '60s". Bush has drawn many members of his
regime, those who are destroying the United States Constitution,
from his predecessor in crime and corruption, Richard M. Nixon. These include Dick
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
According to Peter Baker, Bush refrains
from framing the so-called war on terror in religious terms.
However, in 2001, he had to apologize for using the term "crusade".
The use of that term is revealing. The apology
was only a political move. Bush flies by faith as do many Bush
followers, regardless of their denials. Bush also has it right more
than he knows when he says that there is an awakening taking
place. There is, indeed. That awakening, however, is the
recognition by ever-increasing numbers of people that Bush and his
corrupt partners have exceeded the crimes committed by Richard Nixon. Nixon had the war in Vietnam. George W.
Bush has what he is calling World War
III. If that appears as alarmist, consider that Newt W. Gingrich, the orchestrator of the Republican
"revolution" in 1994, already running for president in
1998, said that he would,
Insist that Congress
immediately pass legislation "that recognizes that we are
entering World War III and serves notice that the U.S. will use
all its resources to defeat our enemies -- not accommodate,
understand or negotiate with them, but defeat them. (Inter
Press Service, Sept 13., 2006).
The neo-cons have their
faith. They have declared their dogma. It is a dogma of perpetual war for
perpetual power and profit. People who adopt a proclaimed type
of religious faith, such as Evangelical Christianity, must accept
the dogma of the neocons' faith. To be opposed to war is to be
against them. How far this pathology will spread remains to be
seen. Humanity's defect, its proclivity to
violence, and the pathology of faith, may be more than the species
can handle. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I will hug my
dogs. I will mourn and grieve for the suffering and dead, the
multitudes in pain as a result of the twin human barbarisms of
violence and faith. I will work for the overcoming of
the human defect and surviving the pathology of faith. There is
little choice, and little time.
Hand-Boniakowski is co-editor and co-publisher of Metaphoria
along with his life partner and wife, JeanneE. He is 30-year
veteran retired teacher and a member of Veterans For Peace.
His writings have appeared in Metaphoria,
After Downing Street,
Corner, Rense.com, Omni
Center, Rutland Herald,
Times Argus, and others.