228) The Latest Drivers

George W. Bush Rides the Next White Horse Into A New World Order

  • White Horse: led America through 9/11/2001 to become greatest military power in world history. Conquered fear of vulnerability against terrorism – “No president in the history of Gallup’s approval ratings has seen a higher rating than Bush did right after the attacks.” Two weeks afterward, nearly 9 in 10 Democrats and independents approved of the Republican president, with Democratic approval trailing Republicans by only 10 percentage points.
    • As much of the nation was just starting the day on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four East Coast flights, crashing three of the airplanes into targets in New York and Washington, D.C., with the fourth plane slamming into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back. 
    • In the end, 2,977 people died…prompted President George W. Bush to declare a global “War on Terror” military campaign, in which he called on world leaders to join the U.S. in its response…Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists…” 

I’m not even discussing the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job for the purpose of rallying the American people behind their President. “A 2016 study from Chapman University in California, found more than half of Americans believe the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks.” Just saying, the resulting rallying of the American people behind their President’s declaration of war was spectacular.

Only a remnant of true believers recognize the works of darkness lurking behind the false savior on a white horse promising peace and security to his followers.

Cillizza: Herschel Walker was cheered by a social conservative crowd over the weekend, just days after he acknowledged he has four kids, [three by women he was not married to in addition to]…the one most people thought he had. What gives?

Du Mez: We really shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore…

in the case of White evangelicals, we’ve witnessed a dramatic reversal in the last few years in terms of how much personal morality matters when it comes to their support for political candidates. In 2011, just 30% of evangelicals believed that a person who commits an “immoral act” could behave ethically in a public role; in 2016, 72% thought this was possible [according to polling from PRRI/Brookings]. Walker is only the latest Republican man to reap the benefits of this situational morality...

For decades, conservative White evangelicals have championed a rugged, even ruthless “warrior” masculinity. Believing that “gender difference” was the foundation of a God-given social order, evangelicals taught that women and men were opposites. God filled men with testosterone so that they could fulfill their God-ordained role as leaders, as protectors and providers. Testosterone made them aggressive, and it gave them a God-given sex drive.

Within this framework, there was ready forgiveness for male sexual misconduct. It was up to women to avoid tempting men who were not their husbands and meet the sexual needs of men who were. When men went astray, there was always a woman to blame. For men, misdeeds could be written off as too much of a good thing or perhaps a necessary evil, as evidence of red-blooded masculinity that needed only to be channeled in redemptive directions.

Within evangelical communities, we see these values expressed in the way organizations too often turn a blind eye to abuse, blame victims, and defend abusers in the interest of propping up a larger cause – a man’s ministry, an institution’s mission, or the broader “witness of the church.”

In 2016, we heard precisely this rhetoric in defense of Donald Trump. Trump was a man’s man. He would not be cowed by political correctness, but would do what needed to be done. He represented “a John Wayne America,” an America where heroic men were not afraid to resort to violence when necessary in pursuit of a greater good. Evangelicals did not embrace Trump in spite of his rough edges, but because of them…

81% of White evangelicals…voted for Trump…

Donald Trump worked hard to maintain an acute level of threat among his base throughout his four years in office. He railed against immigrants and protestors and warned of various threats to “real Americans” and their children…

Even though the Christian scriptures are filled with teachings about turning the other cheek, loving one’s neighbors and one’s enemies, and although the Bible instructs Christians to cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control, many conservative Christians have instead embraced an “us vs. them” mentality that requires a warrior masculinity. Good guys with guns need to protect their families, their faith, and their nation – by which they mean those deserving of protection, “real Americans,” Christian America.

We see evidence of this rhetoric from Christian pastors and worship leaders, throughout the Christian publishing industry, and even on the shelves of evangelical big-box retailer Hobby Lobby, where one can find wall plaques celebrating the Second Amendment, decorative guns to mount on walls, and charming décor warning, “If you don’t support our troops feel free to stand in front of them,” and, “WE DON’T CALL 911.” This goes beyond mere rhetoric. White evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to own a gun; they are bigger proponents of gun rights, more likely to carry a gun with them, and more likely than other Americans to feel safer with a gun in their household. Daniel Defense, a Christian family-owned gun manufacturer…advertised their assault weapons by pairing them with a Bible, a cross, and a young child…

A recent [PRRI] survey revealed that 60% of white evangelical Protestants believe the 2020 election was stolen, and that more than a quarter (26%) believe that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country.” With the fate of Christian America hanging in the balance, for many, the end will justify the means.

Presidents Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump, Biden

  • The Red Horse

The War on Terror is a permanent state of war in which the US is directly involved. Our war on terror…will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”“(1) the U.S. government’s deadly foreign policy of interventionism to kill “terrorists”would inevitably generate a constant supply of terrorists who would be seeking to retaliate; and (2) the U.S. national-security establishment would wield the omnipotent, non-reviewable power to determine who is a “terrorist” (or a “bad guy”), a power that would enable it to always have a steady supply of “terrorists” all over the world.” Today, the…Cold War and the war on terrorism have coalesced to ensure a permanent state of crisis and emergency and, of course, ever increasing budgets and power for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.”

The United States launched the war in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks… Investigators determined the 9/11 attacks—in which terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, crashing two into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and one in a Pennsylvania field—were orchestrated by terrorists working from Afghanistan, which was under the control of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic movement. Leading the plot that killed more than 2,700 people was Osama bin Laden, leader of the Islamic militant group al Qaeda. It was believed the Taliban, which seized power in the country in 1996 following an occupation by the Soviet Union, was harboring bin Laden, a Saudi, in Afghanistan…

In his first few months of office, President Donald Trump authorized the Pentagon to make combat decisions in Afghanistan, and, on April 13, 2017, the United States dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb, called the “mother of all bombs,” on a remote ISIS cave complex.

In August 2017, Trump delivered a speech to American troops vowing “we will fight to win” in Afghanistan. “America’s enemies must never know our plans, or believe they can wait us out,” he said. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”

The Taliban continued to escalate its terrorist attacks…Still, the United States and Taliban signed a peace agreement on February 29, 2020, although Taliban attacks against Afghan forces continued, as did American airstrikes…

The fourth president in power during the war, President Joe Biden, in April 2021, set the symbolic deadline of September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as the date of full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan…But By August 2021, the Taliban regaining power two weeks before the United States was set to withdraw all troops from the region. Overall, the conflict resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and a$2 trillion price

The conflict lasted two decades and spanned four U.S. presidencies, becoming the longest war in American history.

  • Black Horse:

the number of hungry people in the world is on the rise.In 2016, 815 million people were undernourished, an increase of 38 million people from 2015. Almost 500 million of the world’s hungry live in countries affected by conflict.

• The number of people who are acutely food-insecure (in need of emergency assistance) rose from 80 million in 2016 to 108 million in 2017—a 35 percent increase in a single year.

• Over 65 million people are currently displaced because of violence, conflict and persecution—more than any other time since World War II.

• Increased migration and the spilling of conflicts beyond borders has led to a proliferation of, and interest in, “fragile states”—states defined by “the absence or breakdown of a social contract between people and their government.”

• By 2030, between half and two-thirds of the world’s poor are expected to live in states classified as fragile. While a decade ago most fragile states were low-income countries, today almost half are middle-income countries.

Meanwhile, the international system of governance, as defined by the nation state, is evolving. A main “weapon” of modern conflict is information, allowing non-state actors to undermine traditional nation states in more consequential ways, attacking their legitimacy rather than their military power. Non-traditional security threats—like food insecurity—can serve as drivers of recruitment for non-state actors, furthering destabilization. Such threats cannot be addressed through military responses alone.

Many political and military leaders, acknowledging this new reality, have recognized the importance of “smart power” in the form of foreign assistance, especially food assistance and agricultural development. “Show me a nation that cannot feed itself,” remarked Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), “and I’ll show you a nation in chaos.”

American investigative journalist Alfred Henry Lewis (1855-1914) famously said, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” …What he means is that hunger dispels the illusions of a polite society and unleashes the desperate animal-like nature that lurks inside all human beings. A starving man trying to feed his starving children will at some point abandon all law and order, doing anything necessary to keep himself and his children alive, including engaging in robbery, assault and murder.

  • Pale Horse: Death on a massive scale

 “A series of new reports document an alarming escalation of civilian casualties caused by U.S. operations in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia — and with it, a pattern of U.S. denial about the scale of the problem. The result is a global war on terror that persists in killing and injuring civilians — including children — in ever rising numbers.

ISIS claimed the city of Raqqa, in north-central Syria, as the capital of its so-called “caliphate” in January 2014…But it was the U.S.-led bombing campaigns in Raqqa for which civilians and their city paid the highest price…The assault was relentless. “One U.S. military official boasted about firing 30,000 artillery rounds during the campaign — the equivalent of a strike every six minutes, for four months straight — surpassing the amount of artillery used in any conflict since the Viet Nam war,” the report…documented 1,600 civilians killed by U.S.-led airstrikes on the city, limiting their count mostly to those the organization and its partners were able to reasonably verify on the ground. “Raqqa’s soaring civilian death toll is unsurprising,” the report concludes, “given the Coalition’s relentless barrage of munitions that were inaccurate to the point of being indiscriminate when used near civilians…”

in Afghanistan…more civilians had been killed by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces than by the Taliban or ISIS….Eighteen years of war and occupation haven’t eliminated the Taliban — while the U.S.-backed Afghan government fades under a morass of corruption and incompetence...

The largely invisible U.S. war on Somalia…have included Special Forces and other ground troops hunting for al-Qaeda, al-Shabab and other militant organizations. Beginning under the Obama administration, the main focus has been an air war carried out largely by drones…“The toll from bombs, drone strikes and firefights is only the tip of the iceberg.

Not included are the hundreds of thousands killed in war zones around the world by U.S.-imposed economic sanctions, by hunger stemming from food system disruption, and by disease resulting from the bombing of water treatment facilitieshospitals and clinicsAnd they are being killed by the very soldiers and pilots, bombers, National Security Councils, congressional war-funders, parliaments, prime ministers and presidents who claim to be liberating them.” “Around 90% of all deaths in war are civilians.

All these [four horsemen events] are [just] the beginning of sorrows.”

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