i invited two iraqi friends to dad's 80th birthday party yesterday. most of the attendees were my parent's church friends. i greeted a couple of men who openly profess extremist views. one of them, named ed, got me really angry a couple of years ago by informing me out of his deep learning that all muslims are commanded to (and accept the command to) kill non-muslims. when i argued the absurdity of this point, he simply responded that the (seemingly) peaceful ones were just 'biding their time.'
people like this are not amenable to reason and evidence: their 'arguments' are no more than acts of faith. they know what they know because they believe in it hard enough.
i wondered as i saw these good christians sipping punch and nibbling cookies whether they really believed the bilge they spew: were they sure that my two friends, sitting together in the living room smiling at and chatting with others in their new english, were merely here to case the house for a terrorist attack?
the only reason these good people are here is because their country was ripped apart by terrorism and war after we invaded for reasons of (nudge nudge, wink wink) 'national security.' not everyone who comes here comes because they worship our country; some come because a parent is assassinated and the whole family's life is in danger. . . which might have occurred because our president decided he wanted to try on the uniform of 'commander-in-chief' and to do that, he needed a war. national security, my ass.
but i do not think these good christian men are interested in the real consequences of their cynically patriotic wars. they are content to attend their parties and ask no questions of the muslims in the corner. this way they can still imagine that america is the only and eternal victim.
even true believers in fantasy must work hard to maintain their fantasies.
fortunately there are members of my parent's congregation who are more inclined to thought rooted in reality. a kind old woman, kay, when my friend F. told her he was from Iraq, put her hand over her mouth and shook her head and said, with real pain, "I'm sorry." and F's face showed the sadness of his lost country -- a look allowed because of the kindness and honesty of an old woman named Kay. "They are war criminals," she said. and F. said, more generously than is warranted, "some people crazy."
but to call these perps crazy is to deny the cynical calculations that went into their evil plans.