Sunday, October 15, 2006

General Sir Richard Dannatt revisited

Militant Islam has a lot to answer for...

I'm one of those people who has never bought into the old 'religion is the cause of all wars' cliche.

It really isn't.

However, as long as useful idiots like General Dannatt are on hand, religion can serve as an excellent smokescreen for what's really going on. On top of that, if you can work a religious angle into a conflict it's a damned fine way of neutering potential opposition from the, usually secular, Left.

Afghanistan is a fine example.

The invasion of Afghanistan was all about women's rights you see, so that was alright.

In fact, you can say pretty much anything you like about Muslims at the moment without few, if any, of the usual suspects playing the race card against you. After all, if you speak up for 'The Veil' that must mean you're tacitly supporting religiously-sanctioned wife-beaters. So, as a card-carrying Secular Leftie, you're bollocksed whatever you say.

No such problems for General Dannatt.

He's been coming out with some right pearlers without so much as batting an eyelid or blushing ...

"It is said that we live in a post Christian society. I think that is a great shame. The broader Judaic-Christian tradition has underpinned British society. It underpins the British army."

"Our society has always been embedded in Christian values; once you have pulled the anchor up there is a danger that our society moves with the prevailing wind."

"There is an element of the moral compass spinning. I think it is up to society to realise that is the situation we are in."

"We can’t wish the Islamist challenge to our society away and I believe that the army both in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably wherever we go next, is fighting the foreign dimension of the challenge to our accepted way of life."

Maybe I'm missing something but Sir Richard's thoughts appear to boil down to...

We need to restore traditional values in our own country by blowing up some Heathen Wogs in another country

As fantastically appealing as that sounds, Sir Richard and his supporters will probably need to refine their line of thinking a little as it contains a few teensy weensy flaws.

First off, I'm not too sure what Sir Richard means by 'Judaic-Christian tradition'. There is undoubtedly such a thing as an Abrahamic tradition, shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike - belief in a single creative entity, personal responsibility and accountability, a broadly agreed code of what constitutes right or wrong . All of which could and, on occasions, have served as a basis for followers of all three religions living together peacefully.

but 'Judaic-Christian'?

The last time I looked the No.1 shared belief between all branches of Christianity was a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ (The clue's in the name).

And, I could be wrong, but as far as I can tell Orthodox Judaism discounts Jesus as a fraud whilst Islam doesn't go so far as to recognize him as the Son of God but does credit him with being a prophet and respects his teachings.


The fact that Western Christendom spent most of the last 2,000 years trying to exterminate, expel or convert Jews for their (supposedly) sinful ways is also a bit of a give-away. Or maybe it isn't. Maybe all that race hate and all those theological differences were just a wee misunderstanding all along and now we're bestest buddies who share exactly the same beliefs. Not like those Heathen Wogs...

Second off, Sir Richard really hasn't done a very good job of connecting his perceived collapse of Western Morality and Values with the supposed rise of Militant Islam. Blowing the bejesus out of some foreigners because your daughter's tattooed arse crack is showing out of the back of her jeans and she's maxed out on her credit card buying shit that doesn't make her happy doesn't strike me as being exactly fair, or logical.

The scary thing is that this arsehole is in charge of our army.

Now if Sir Richard would like to reconsider which individuals and institutions need blowing up in order to make things Righteous again I'd be more than happy to help him out


Fidei Defensor said...

With all due respect...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it just seems to me that the main reason you resent Sir Richard is because he is willing to speak about his Christian values. Something tells me that if he kept quiet about this, you'd be cheering him on for wanting to get out of Iraq.

I wonder if the views he expresses are giving voice to a "silent majority" in England, I know that they would indeed go over quite well in the USA (other than on the coasts).

Also I should point out that atleast in America we have a fine tradition of millitary heroes getting invovled in politics, George Washington, Andrew Jackson,Zachery Taylor, US Grant, Truman, Eisenhower, to name a few. Our democracy hasn't suffered.

You are correct to point out that Orthodox Jews think Jesus was a fraud, and you are right the term Judeo-Christian is probably less than 50 years old. The term however is not about theology, it is about ethics. As diffrent as Judiasm and Christianity are theologically, they have a lot of ethical similarities, think the "Ten Commandments" stuff like that.

Why resent people who want our society to have a moral compass?

Bridget Dunne said...

As an atheist I am somewhat bemused by Christians and their ten commandments.

Isn't there one about Thou shalt not kill, and another about not covetting thy neighbours oil ..?

Seems like the original doublethink to me.

Stef said...


with equal respect...

you are wrong

I am very much an agnostic and do not resent anyone who is concerned about the lack of common decency in our world

I resent what the general has said because

- As a serving officer he has absolutely no place getting involved in politics. The generals you mentioned took up politics after they retired from military life. A more relevant example would be Douglas MacArthur who decided that he knew best and that nuking China would be a capital idea - and Truman sacked him

- There are absolutely no grounds for believing that any kind of victory for 'our way of life' is possible in Afghanistan. Quite the opposite

- The general is flat wrong about the nature of the forces that oppose common decency in our society. They are absolutely nothing to do with Islam. As such he represents an extremely useful idiot who would have us all fighting the wrong people, in the wrong place, for the wrong reasons

And, sorry, Christianity shares at least as much common ground with Islam as Judaism. The term Judeo-Christian is racial/ political and is deceitful.

None of my reasons have anything to do with Dannatt's Christian beliefs or whether I resent them or not. As far I'm concerned, adherence to an Abrahamic code - Judaic/ Islamic/ Christian is a perfectly reasonable way to go about life

My problem starts when people start abusing religion, whether consciously or unconsciously, and using it to justify hatred, slaughter and theft.

Stef said...

... how does that Gandhi quote go?

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Something like that

Stef said...

... and if you believe that all these invasions, changes in our laws, and all the rest are anything to do with religion, or a clash of civilisations, or a wobbly moral compass, you're being 'had'

Bridget Dunne said...

Meant to add: another great post Stef.

"We can’t wish the Islamist challenge to our society away and I believe that the army both in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably wherever we go next, is fighting the foreign dimension of the challenge to our accepted way of life."

Wherever we go next? Here perhaps?

Thanks for the Gandhi quote, new one for me, he never fails to reveal the essence of a contradiction imo.

de said...

Rather nice arse by the way.

Stef said...

... not easy lining it up with a mirror and my camera I can tell you