Bible Thumpers, by Arvind Kumar (old article from 2005)

Bible thumpers – Americans are being increasingly stereotyped as stupid

By Arvind Kumar

 

An email that did the rounds recently in Hungary claimed
that an American tourist had rented a car and ruined it
by driving in first gear for over two hundred kilometres
not realising that it was not equipped with automatic
transmission. The email claimed that the barom (idiot)
American had driven from Budapest to Pecs at a speed of
eighty kilometers per hour burning the engine in the
process. Although the story in the email turned out to be
a hoax, the number of people who believed it illustrates
the point that the stereotype of Americans being stupid
is easily accepted outside the US. How true is this
widespread stereotype? Is the usage of this sobriquet
warranted? An analysis of the behaviour of Americans will
throw light on the causes for the existence of this
stereotype.

The main reasons for the existence of this stereotype can
be traced to the region in the US known as the “Bible
belt”. Comprised mostly of the southern states, where
Christianity has deep roots and the culture spread by
evangelical Christians is all-pervasive, this region has
an undue share of influence on American polity and the
establishments that control political and intellectual
discourse in America. So powerful is the region that it
has become the norm for the two main political parties to
make sure that at least one of the presidential candidate
or his running mate is from this region.

A large section of the media, government bodies,
universities, and non-profit organisations operate in the
framework created by, as the noted American journalist,
H.L.Mencken, termed them, the “Bible thumpers”. As the
rest of the world mostly encounters only these American
institutions apart from the American corporations, a look
at the ideas and actions of these establishments will
give an understanding of the causes that shaped the
opinion about Americans in the rest of the world. Not
always are the employees of these institutions
Christians, but since their agenda has been set by the
Christian fundamentalists, even non-Christian employees
are forced to further this agenda.

The religious nature of the American government has never
been under question. The president and other office
bearers take the oath of office on the Bible, utter the
words “So help me God” as they take oath, their currency
notes and coins have the words, “In God We Trust”, their
pledge of allegiance has the words, “One Nation Under
God”, and chaplains read prayers in the Congress and at
presidential inaugurations.

While these points can be dismissed as either harmless or
minor issues, it becomes worrisome when the government
starts interfering in others’ lives and forces them to
live according to the Bible. Thus, it is truly a matter
of concern that the American politicians base several
policies based on Biblical teaching.

For example, opposition to cloning is a direct result of
the religious right’s opposition to violating the second
commandment in the Bible, which says that one should not
make an image of anything that is in the heavens above,
on the earth, or in the waters. The fact that cloning
would threaten the monopoly their god holds over creation
agitates them.

Another ongoing controversy in the US is the issue of
stem-cell research that could potentially find cures for
many medical disorders. While it is not surprising that
those opposed to stem-cell research thump the Bible in
their defense, a less known fact is that even some of
those who support stem-cell research quote the Bible and
seek to interpret it in their favour. A supporter of
stem-cell research, senator Gordon Smith of Oregon,
quotes a verse from the second chapter of Genesis to
buttress his claim that creation is a two-step process.
According to him, god first created man, and in the
second step, god breathed life into man. He claims that
embryonic stem cells are like the finished product of the
first stage, and placing them in the womb breathes life
into them. He argues that it should therefore be okay to
allow embryonic stem-cell research!

Influence of the Bible on American policy is not limited
to areas that collide with scientific research. It
affects almost every aspect of decision-making, including
its foreign policy. For example, both the left wing and
the right wing hate Jews. While the Left blames the
“Jewish conspiracy” for almost any disaster or
unpalatable event, the Right is guilty of anti-Semitism.
Yet, the US supports Israel because many Americans
believe that the land considered holy by Christians ought
to be in the possession of Jews in order for Jesus Christ
to return. This belief is so strong that they seek to
fulfill the “prophecies” made in the Bible. Thus, in
order to make true the “prophecy” that an all-red heifer
will be sacrificed at the site of the Temple at
Jerusalem, Christian fanatics, who normally object to
anyone other than their god playing the creator, reversed
their position on genetic engineering and decided to fund
the creation of a red heifer using genetic engineering.

Perhaps, Indians who feel irked by the constant hostility
of many Americans towards India, may have more luck in
convincing them to be friendly if they pointed out that
the ninth chapter of Revelation in the Bible states that
those with the seal of god on their foreheads will be
spared of torture by the locusts that will supposedly
arise from the bottomless pit described in this chapter.
After all, many Indians apply Tilak on their foreheads.

Two recent cases in the US Supreme Court that captured
the attention of the nation were both related to Biblical
concepts. The first one was to decide whether it is
acceptable to have the words, “One nation under God”, in
the pledge of allegiance. Those who wanted the phrase
removed argued that it violated the idea of separation of
church and state, and that the god in the phrase was the
Christian god. Eventually, the case was dismissed on a
technicality and the court left the phrase intact. The
second case was about the display of the Ten Commandments
in a Texas courthouse. The Supreme Court gave a mixed
ruling on this case, allowing the display if the motive
was secular. Cases such as these, in which the Supreme
Court does not rule against Christianity, give an idea of
its real stance on the issue of separating Christianity
from the state.

The US Supreme Court is a controversial body with its
judges appointed for life by politicians. The rulings of
its judges are usually aligned with the ideology of the
political party that appointed them. The appointment of a
Supreme Court judge can be a contentious affair with an
intense struggle between the two dominant political
parties and the religious views of the candidate coming
into focus.

In addition to motives for several domestic policies,
justifications for wars waged by the US can also be
traced to Christian theology. Soon after the 9/ 11
attacks, Ann Coulter, a right-wing rabble-rouser who is
not exactly known for high intellect, wanted to convert
Muslims into Christians. In the din of the cheers that
her comments elicited, what was lost was the irony that
such thinking on her part is the result of Arab influence
on the minds of her ancestors who were converted by the
original Arab Christians, and the converted Christians in
turn passing on the indoctrination down the generations.

Religious discrimination is rampant in the US armed
forces. In a recent survey, many non-Christians in the
training institutes of the US armed forces reported being
discriminated against. During the bombing campaign in
Iraq, a chaplain in the US army blackmailed soldiers and
refused to give them water unless they underwent baptism.

Prejudice is so deep-rooted in the US that American
officials routinely refuse permission for setting up
Buddhist or Hindu temples, often citing frivolous
reasons. There are several churches in every
neighbourhood, but American officials place innumerable
hurdles when Buddhists or Hindus, who between them number
a few million in the country, wish to set up temples.

In South Plainfield, New Jersey, a borough zoning board
voted against the construction of a temple claiming that
it would cause traffic congestion. No such excuse is
heard for churches that dot the New Jersey landscape.
What was really noteworthy was that the township council
of the neighbouring town of Edison, which has nothing to
do with the town of Plainfield, expressed its hatred
through official channels by passing a resolution against
the construction of the temple.

The behaviour of many American people is no different
from that of their officials. A few years back, white
supremacist arsonists in Sacramento in so-called
“liberal” California attacked three synagogues causing
material and emotional damage to Jews. A proposed
Vietnamese Buddhist temple in California has drawn
protests from residents who oppose it on specious grounds
such as “environmental impact” and chanting being “noise
pollution”. Hindus who wished to construct a temple in
Chino Hills, California, faced protests from fanatic
Christian residents, and a proposed Hare Krishna temple
in Escondido, California, faced similar protests from
Christian residents in the city.

The weird ideas of Christian fanatics are by no means
limited to people of a specific ethnicity. “Bobby”
Jindal, son of Indian immigrants and a member of the US
Congress, is a staunch Christian and wrote in a
descriptive article how he chanted “Hail Mary” and
exhorted “all demons to leave in the name of Christ” in
order to cure a person afflicted with cancer. Jindal has
held important positions in the health departments of his
home state, Louisiana, and the federal government, and
seems to have ambitions of running for president of the
United States. Imagine the possibilities if Christians
like Jindal wield absolute power; they could decide to
shut down hospitals and replace them with centres to beat
the devil out of sick people.

American sport Academia sets the tune

The influence of “Bible thumpers” has taken such deep
roots in America that they are influential in the
academia which is a very important aspect of America as
it shapes the minds of Americans. The “Bible thumpers”
are so well entrenched that they force science textbooks
for schoolchildren to teach what they call “creation
science”. According to “creation science”, god created
the world around six thousand years ago, exactly
according to descriptions found in the Bible. The
argument goes that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is taught
in schools even though it is just a theory, and so
“creation science” too merits being taught to
schoolchildren in science classes.

In any other country, “creation science” would have been
termed as idiocy and its proponents laughed at in their
faces, but not in America. Instead of the derision they
deserve, the creation-theorists actually find people in
the mainstream media and academia to debate their points
and thus gain legitimacy as their ideas share a platform
with scientific ideas. Such debates discuss “both sides”
of the issue, as Americans consider it a sacrilege not to
have a “balanced” debate that discusses “both sides” of
the question.

After the courts ruled against the proponents of
“creation science,” they turned their attention to
discrediting science, and recently came up with the
bizarre idea of implementing a rule whereby it would be
required to affix stickers on science textbooks with
disclaimers stating that scientific theories were not
necessarily facts. They now peddle creationism under a
new label – “intelligent design.” The result of it is
that the education boards of several states require
textbooks to be revised in order to accommodate the
advocates of “intelligent design.” Such actions by
Christian fanatics only strengthen the common stereotype
of Americans being stupid.

Christian influence in academia is not limited to school
textbooks, but also extends to universities. Many
American universities began as divinity schools run by
churches, whose agenda the humanities departments
continue to push. Recently, Harvard university appointed
a Jesuit priest, Reverend Francis X.Clooney, as a
professor for comparative theology. Professor Clooney has
written that the souls of those who lack union with Rome
are in peril. With such preconceived notions, it is a
matter of curiosity what he intends to compare between
various theologies.

Elsewhere, Bob Jones University in South Carolina states,
“While most secular biologists are committed to evolution
as the basic principle of biology, Bob Jones University
trains Christian biologists who see the living world
indelibly marked with the fingerprints of a God of
limitless wisdom and power.” Needless to say, in their
pre-med courses, they teach Biblical “creation theory”.

In late 2002, an article by Sankrant Sanu, an Indian
thinker, about the Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta entry
on Hinduism authored by Professor Wendy Doniger of the
University of Chicago, spurred Indians to petition
Microsoft to replace the biased entry. Sanu’s piece
pointed out that the entry on Hinduism was of poor
quality, had factual inaccuracies, and was hostile in
tone. He further pointed out that it was written by an
“outsider” (that is, someone who was not a Hindu), while
the corresponding Encarta entries for other major
religions like Christianity and Islam were not only
appreciative of those faiths, but had been authored by
people who belonged to them.

To Microsoft’s credit, after Sanu’s criticism spurred an
outrage and widespread accusations of poor scholarship on
the part of Professor Wendy Doniger, it replaced the
entry by a scholarly piece on Hinduism.

Sankrant Sanu’s analysis of the Encarta piece holds true
about American academics in general. While professors
studying Christianity are usually Christians sympathetic
to Christianity, professors who study Hinduism are
usually Christians who are hostile to Hindu culture. If
they happen to be Indians, they are usually Marxists who
are hostile to these cultures. Even the top universities
are not exempt from this malaise. As we will see later,
this is also true of journalists in the media.

One of the reasons for this situation is that humanities
departments are usually short of funds. Unlike their
counterparts in science and technology departments,
faculty members in humanities departments do not easily
get grants. This also means that humanities departments
do not attract the best brains resulting in poorer
quality of research and as a result, even fewer grants.
Thus, it is a vicious circle of poor brains not
attracting grants and lack of grants keeping away the
good brains. Christian fundamentalists, who have deep
pockets, step in to fill this void by setting up
endowments, and cash-strapped departments and professors
are easy prey for them.

Though the Christian tilt is rampant in humanities
departments and the quality of research in science
departments is generally of high quality, the latter are
not immune from the influence of Biblical ideas.
Recently, Johns Hopkins university (JHU) announced the
results of a “study” that can only be termed as pseudo-
science. Apparently, they had conducted a “joint” study
with Indian scientists and concluded that circumcision is
an effective weapon against AIDS! The Bible requires
human males to undergo circumcision, and this “study” did
nothing but provide fodder for those who claim that the
idea is backed by science. It is not uncommon to come
across “scientific studies” in America suggesting that
human males are quirks of nature and imperfect creations
needing correction in a manner described in the Bible.

What really raised the suspicion about this “study” is
that the JHU “scientists” seemed more than eager to give
credit to their Indian collaborators and term the “study”
as an international project, even though it is unusual
for American scientists to involve others and share
credit with them when they are on the verge of
discovering something important. A closer look at this
“study” is revealing. While the Indian scientists were in
charge of data collection and manuscript preparation, the
JHU folks were the ones who interpreted the data.
Reaching conclusions by linking two separate events
without an explanation of cause and effect may be
acceptable in voodoo practices, not science.

Media blows the trumpet

American journalists and most of the media in the US are
products of their education system, which moulds their
thinking. Unlike in other countries, the American
education system is such that it largely determines the
way people think. This has resulted in the phenomenon of
most Americans having predictable views on almost every
issue. Mainstream American thinking can also be
considered subliminally racist in nature, that is, they
are racist without realising that they are racist. Even
the media is not free of this attitude. Captions on
photographs covering the disaster in New Orleans
illustrate this point. While desperate white victims who
helped themselves to food from grocery stores were
described using positive words and were supposed to have
“found” food, blacks in a similar predicament were
supposed to have “looted” the grocery stores.

In a similar display of double standards, Amy Waldman of
The New York Times (NYT) asserts the identity of the
London bombers and repeats the claims of the London
police without providing evidence. In her report on the
terror bombings in Mumbai in 2003, she sought to
rationalise the blasts as retaliation for the events in
Gujarat the previous year, and wrote, “The Bombay police
commissioner, R. S. Sharma, said on Monday night that law
enforcement authorities suspected that so-called jihadi
groups were also responsible for the blasts, although he
offered no specific evidence for that assertion.” In the
same article, she justified the serial bomb blasts in
Mumbai in 1993 that killed hundreds of innocent people as
retaliation for riots that occurred in 1992. No one can
be blamed for viewing this attitude of Amy Waldman as
racism and concluding that NYT considers terrorism to be
terrorism only when there are white Christian casualties.

Amy Waldman may or may not be overtly racist, but there
is no denying that many American journalists are
subliminal racists. This is due to the values they imbibe
from their environment, and much of what they say is
actually sincere conditioned response fitting in with the
framework of mainstream thinking. Thus, when Amy Waldman
tries to obfuscate the issue of Pakistanis and
Bangladeshis being violent by lumping them together in
the non-existent group called “South Asians”, she is most
likely not being deliberately racist. It is due to
subliminal racism that almost every description of Native
Americans involves mention of their mystical beliefs and
projects them as far removed from modernity, while
Christians are treated with reverence even if they
indulge in laughable behaviour. For instance, people in
New Jersey recently claimed that a Sacred Heart of Jesus
statue in a church blinked, and the American media gave
the impression that it might be a miracle.

The prejudice of the media folks in considering American
thinking as the only acceptable form of mainstream
thinking results in a curious phenomenon; they end up
behaving like cheerleaders of their mainstream
establishment. Despite its stated claims of being the
watchdog of democracy, the American media acts as the
propaganda arm of its government. This point was on
display during the bombing of Iraq when the media
faithfully parroted the false claims made by the US
government. Instead of being watchdogs and indulging in
critical analysis, the media behaved like lapdogs seeking
to be petted by Uncle Sam.

The US government exploits this weakness of the media to
its full advantage. During the bombing of Iraq, it
figured that if secretary of state Colin Powell stood in
the United Nations and claimed to have evidence of
chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq, the media would believe it. All he had to do was to
have a couple of CIA agents next to him and this would
lend him credibility.

The next day, The Washington Post’s editorial stated,
“After Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s presentation
to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is
hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq
possesses weapons of mass destruction.” It went on to
claim that he “offered a powerful new case that Saddam
Hussein’s regime is cooperating with a branch of the al
Qaeda organization that is trying to acquire chemical
weapons and stage attacks in Europe.”

While the rest of the world dismissed Powell’s claims,
the media in the US fell for this cheap trick. Leading
Indian journalist Ashok Row Kavi terms this as “desperate
disinformation” – apart from those spreading the
disinformation (in this case Americans), no one else
believes it.

The Washington Post was not alone in falling for the
government propaganda about Iraq. Bill O’Reilly of Fox TV
fell for it completely, and ended up having to make a
humiliating apology admitting that his “analysis” was
wrong. He blamed George Tenet of the CIA for his flawed
claims, and in doing so, made the tacit admission that it
was not his analysis to begin with; he was just parroting
CIA’s bogus claims.

For their part, a majority of Americans believed their
government, and in a stunning response to directions from
their government to stock up on plastic sheets and duct
tapes to seal their homes and shield themselves from germ
warfare, many of them created a mad rush at department
stores. Robert Bartley, an editor emeritus of The Wall
Street Journal, even took credit for having “elaborated
this threat” before the government had done it. For its
part, the government used a colour-coded terror alert
system to control the level of fear in the masses. Merely
by changing the status from yellow to orange, the
government could induce more fear in the minds of
Americans. While this whole setup may seem amusing to
those outside the US, it must be kept in mind that the
government used fear as a mechanism to gain support from
people.

Propaganda on behalf of the US government was also
carried out by the so-called “embedded” journalists who
were attached to the US army and had to get their reports
about the war approved by the US army. That is, they were
acting as typists for the press releases of the US army.

The American media has acted as the mouthpiece of its
government for a long time. A prominent example is the
coverage of the 1988 mid-air bombing of the Pan Am flight
as it was flying over Lockerbie in Scotland. The American
government claimed it was the handiwork of a Palestinian
group in Syria, which was bankrolled by the Iranian
intelligence agency, and the media faithfully carried
these allegations. They even presented “evidence” of a
wire transfer of several million dollars to buttress
their claim. In 1989, after Libya’s refusal to support
the American response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait,
incensed Americans claimed to have found “new evidence”
suggesting that the bombing was actually carried out by
Libya. The American media obediently changed its tune and
claimed that it was Libya after all that carried out the
bombing.

The reason for the media’s behavior is their lack of
knowledge of things in general, and as a result, they
look up to their government for authentication of facts.
Complaints by American journalists that they are looked
down upon by their peers from other countries for no
reason are invalid. If other journalists feel superior
and behave in an arrogant manner, Americans have only
themselves to blame.

The media not only supports the government, but also the
Christian evangelists. While the rest of the non-Islamic
world has advanced, many Americans are still in a dilemma
and have not decided whether women should be treated as
human or sub-human. A Tennessee based newspaper,
Knoxville News Sentinel, actually carried an exchange
between those who wanted to keep women subservient and
those who were against women being submissive. It is
truly remarkable that they are still discussing this
point.

Christianity also finds expression in the form of hateful
articles about other religions. Some time back, Jon
Carroll of San Francisco Chronicle made a factually
incorrect and outrageous claim that Hinduism condones
rape as a just form of punishment. Such ignorance is by
no means an exception; it is rampant among Americans.
Studies repeatedly find that many Americans are ignorant
of geography and are unaware of the cultures of other
countries. Thus, Carroll’s hateful statements may have
been sincere statements made out of ignorance about
Hindus and India. However, what cannot be condoned is
that even after Carroll’s article was brought to the
attention of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a
self-proclaimed media watchdog group, it did not
criticise the publication of this hateful article. There
is definitely an unwritten rule among both conservatives
and liberals in the US, to act as the foot soldiers of
Christianity.

Denver Post, a newspaper in the state of Colorado where
many staunch Christians live, published another shocking
article. According to this article, the central tenets of
Christianity and Islam were charity and love of one’s
neighbour, but Hindu gods were unconvincing and Hindus
were despicable people. The article criticised Hindus for
not surrendering their hard-earned wealth to the
Christians and even termed their wealth as “commercial
spoils.”

Hatred against non-Christians, possibly subliminal like
their racist attitudes, is rampant in the American media.
A proposed Buddhist retreat at Berne in upstate New York
resulted in a weekly magazine publishing a letter from a
pastor, Jay T. Francis, inciting hatred against Buddhists
and claiming that the “spiritual environment of our area
and more importantly the destiny of our souls is at
stake”. Two weeks later, an editorial by Reverend C.W.
Davis of Altamont was published in which he blamed
Eastern religions for leading him into drug abuse in the
1960s, and mocked Buddha for not claiming to have the
powers to cure cancers, broken bones, illnesses, and
mental disabilities, powers that his god supposedly
possessed. It is a well known fact that many Christian
priests are recruited from drug rehabilitation centres
and prisons and this is the reason for their continued
errant behavior.

When a Hindu temple in St Louis was firebombed twice
within days of each other in 2003, the media pretended
that it was not motivated by hate and swept the news
about it under the carpet. More recently, in a chilling
reminiscence of Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan
Buddha statues in Afghanistan, statues at a Hindu temple
at Orlando, Florida, were broken and paint poured into
shoes left outside, but most of the media has not even
bothered to mention the attack.

The same racist attitude made the journalists react with
horror when India conducted its nuclear tests. Not long
before the Indian tests, the French carried out tests in
the Pacific Ocean, and the media found those acceptable.
As noted earlier in the context of American academics,
this attitude is a result of the bias in the choice of
journalists who write about Hindus. They usually do not
have a Hindu background, or if they do, they are usually
Marxists.

American journalists also believe that it is the right of
Christians, Muslims or Jews to be politically active, but
brand Hindus fighting for their political rights as
“Hindu fundamentalists”. So deep is the antipathy that
they do not realise they are prejudiced and consider a
Hindu to be a criminal merely for being politically
active. A reward of $100 was offered to the members of a
journalism related mailing list if they could name just
one organisation that asks for the rights of Hindus and
yet has not been branded “Hindu fundamentalist” or an
equivalent term. The offer resulted in a stunned silence
and put an end to a noisy discussion on the topic. The
reward lies unclaimed to this day and is now open to
everyone. The first person to name just one such group
can send in their entry and collect the reward of $100.
Despite the fact that the media indulges in propaganda on
behalf of the government and Christian fundamentalists,
there is always hope. The New York Times has started
charging a fee for letting readers access some of its
content on the web. This means that at least some of its
propaganda will no longer be distributed for free. Small
mercies, these.

Dangerous results of mindless “experts”

A pertinent question that needs to be raised is why the
US ended up supporting the very people who carried out
the 9/ 11 attacks. The American government seems to have
poor judgment and does not seem to care for morals when
it comes to choosing allies or implementing its foreign
policy. There seems to be a pattern in the kind of people
it trusts and works with – Osama Bin Laden, Saddam
Hussein, the House of Saud, the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan, and a whole bunch of dictators and terrorists.

Why is it that they consistently support terrorists? Is
it not dense of them to lend support to those who end up
attacking them? To answer these questions, we need to
turn our attention to the so-called “think tanks” which
advice the government.

People from the humanities departments of various
American universities form the staff of these self-
described “think tanks,” and each “think tank” has its
own agenda usually defined by powerful Christian
fundamentalists. Much of the analysis by the “experts” at
these “think tanks” is inaccurate and very superficial.
Occasionally, they get something right about another
country, but it is usually well known information easily
available from newspapers published in that country. When
they hit upon such ordinary information, they feel good
about it and brand themselves “experts”. A few years
back, one such “expert” on hearing that the person
speaking to him was an Indian, is reputed to have
exclaimed that it was wonderful that India and Malaysia
were building a bridge connecting the two countries. He
had probably read about a joint project between the
neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.

To gauge the quality of scholars at these “think tanks,”
one just needs to look at the works churned out by them.
In a remarkable piece, William Milam, former Ambassador
to Pakistan and now attached to the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars, argues that Pakistan’s
rulers ought to be rewarded with F-16s in order to pacify
them. In other words, the more violent they are, the more
rewards they deserve. He also claimed that Pakistan was a
“stable democracy.” Even president Clinton, who appointed
him ambassador, did not believe his cockamamie about
Pakistan being a “stable democracy.” During his official
visit to Pakistan, Clinton ducked down, hid from public
view, sent a decoy plane, and had a double walk out of
it, before he quietly arrived by another plane and
entered the country unnoticed.

Another “expert” familiar to Indians is Stephen Cohen of
the Brookings Institution, who was a policy adviser to
the state department in the Reagan administration. Known
for his pedestrian analysis, he goes by the title of
“South Asia expert”. In June of this year, Cohen argued
before the House International Relations Committee of the
US Congress that Pakistan should be supplied with
weapons, and that it had been helpful in its “cooperation
in revealing its clandestine support for the Iranian,
Libyan, North Korean and other missile and nuclear
programs”. The terrorists must have got the message – all
they need to do after supplying nuclear arms to Libya,
Iran, and North Korea, is to call up the South Asia
“expert” at Brookings Institution and reveal their
transactions, and Cohen is sure to argue that they must
be rewarded with more arms! In the very first sentence of
his testimony, Cohen did not fail to announce that he was
pleased to share his “expertise”.

For its part, the state department has been led by people
equally naïve about the state of affairs in other
countries.

The previous secretary of state, Madeleine Albright – who
is supposed to have risen high in the ranks of power due
to her father’s reputation and her marriage to a wealthy
media magnate – supported the Islamist group Kosovo
Liberation Army, a group that has ties to Osama bin
Laden. Condoleezaa Rice, the current secretary of state
who has a PhD in international studies, claimed that Iran
was trying to spread Islamic fundamentalism to the
Taliban, and that it was “doing all kinds of things with
Pakistan”. At the time she made this claim, Iran was
opposed to Pakistan as well as the Taliban. The only
country that continually does “all kinds of things with
Pakistan” is the US. In another display of its famed
stupidity, the US airlifted a number of Taliban fighters
and evacuated them from the war zone.

US support for terrorist groups and dictators is not
limited to Islamists. It also extends to Communists. It
is for this reason that Stalin termed them as “useful
idiots”. That they still support Communists can be seen
from the fact that both conservatives and liberals
support the Bengali Bolsheviks and Nehruvian-Stalinists
in India. In fact, the Indian Communists have American
politicians wrapped around their fingers, and use them at
will. That is how they managed to get the US Library of
Congress to appoint a Marxist from India to one of its
chairs. This control by Indian Marxists over American
politicians was also on display when along with their
Islamist allies, they got the American government to spew
their propaganda about Narendra Modi, the chief minister
of Gujarat, and rescind his visa. Among those who were
used by the Communists and Islamists to act on behalf of
them in pushing this agenda were Congressman Reverend Joe
Pitts, Congressman John Conyers, and the US department of
state. Many clueless Congressmen, including Reverend Joe
Pitts and Dana Rohrabacher, are part of the lobby group
that lobbies on behalf of the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan.

Many of the politicians who act against India are also
driven by Christian fundamentalism. Over the years, US
governments have implemented the agenda of Christian
fundamentalists in their foreign policy as well as their
domestic policies. James Watt, who served as the
secretary of the interior in the Reagan administration,
believed that the end of the world was imminent and
allowed the pillaging of natural resources. During his
Senate confirmation hearing, Watts said, “I do not know
how many future generations we can count on before the
Lord returns.”

Christian fundamentalism in America is not limited to the
right wing. The leftists too support Christianity. The
number of religious people among their leadership over
the years is revealing – Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.,
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton. Liberals
definitely seem more comfortable rallying behind a church
leader. Liberal thinking is also conditioned by
subliminal racism. They have a hierarchy according to
which they view people of various races. During his 2003
anti-war speech in Washington D.C., Bill Fletcher of the
Trans Africa Forum opposed Bush’s policies and stated
that Bush ought to deal with the problem between India
and Pakistan. In other words, Bush was not good enough to
be trusted with policies that affect Americans, but it
was okay to leave Indians in the care of Bush.

An important “think tank” that politicians rely on is the
Rand Corporation – an organisation that works for various
intelligence agencies in the US – which routinely
publishes policy reports that end up as fodder for right-
wing Christian fundamentalists. From an academic
standpoint, most of its reports are of poor quality and
full of factual inaccuracies, but it provides the
fundamentalists with propaganda material. For example, a
recent report authored by Greg Treverton and a few others
made the factually incorrect claims that India was a
“Hindu State” and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS)
was a religious movement that based its philosophy on
hate. It went on to liken RSS with Islamic terrorist
outfits that hijack planes and plant bombs in
marketplaces.

Greg Treverton, former vice chair of the National
Intelligence Council, who has also served on the National
Security Council, runs the intelligence policy centre of
the Rand Corporation. Had Treverton done his homework, he
would have known about the RSS and not ended up with a
shoddy piece of work.

RSS members who are part of the Bharatiya Janata Party at
best indulge in a weasel war dance and make a lot of
noise about restoring the rights of Hindus in India. When
they were in power, they failed to liberate the Hindu
temples from the control of the government, and actually
helped the Islamic cause by increasing subsidies for
Muslims. Gary Brecher, a writer for the website eXile.ru,
made the perceptive comment about the term “Hindu
militant”, that burning Hallmark greeting cards does not
qualify one to be classified as a “militant”. It says a
lot about American “think tanks” that an amateur writing
for a website has a better understanding about India than
the “experts” at various “think tanks” have.

The propaganda against the RSS is the result of
Communists everywhere branding their opponents as
fascists, and Rand Corporation seems to have swallowed
the propaganda fed by Indian Communists. Privately,
Indian Communists themselves admit that they use the
label for political purposes and express surprise that
Americans actually swallowed their propaganda. The ill-
researched documents that the naïve staff members at Rand
Corporation routinely come up with may explain why the
CIA was caught by surprise over the 9/ 11 attacks, and
believed that weapons of mass destruction were buried in
the sands of Iraq.

Interestingly, Rand Corporation is headquartered in a
building shaped like the “Jesus Fish”. The “Jesus Fish”
is a figure that consists of two intersecting arcs
resulting in the shape of a fish, and many Americans
place this figure on their cars in order to make the
statement that they are Christian fanatics. Opponents
consider it a badge of stupidity that advertises the
backward thinking of those who display it. Early
Christians, who had to go underground due to their
violent activities, apparently used this figure as a
secret sign to indicate their meeting place.

The view of Americans expressed here is not a judgment on
the many hardworking Americans who have a scientific
temper, are innovative, and whose contributions have
benefited all of us around the world. Nor is it a
judgment on media outlets like Frontpage Magazine, which
has published insightful articles by writers such as
Serge Trifkovic, or thinkers like Hugh Fitzgerald who
have a good understanding about the world. It is a
judgment on the Christian fanatics. The fanatics must
take responsibility for the “Stupid American” stereotype.

Like their counterparts in the media and academia, those
who work in the “think-tanks” have an inaccurate
understanding of the world and feed wrong ideas to their
politicians. While it is true that many Americans are
intelligent and have a positive influence on the world,
the establishments that form the power structure in
America do not attract the best brains in the country.
American policy is not scripted by the sharpest pencils
in the box, and as a result, things have become dangerous
for everyone in the world. Just as the stereotype of
Americans being arrogant results from interacting with
American corporations, the idea that they are stupid
results from interacting with the American media, “think
tanks,” and policy makers. Between them, they have
managed to make the world a dangerous place.

It is tough to watch the performers and ignore the
dangerous fire started by their clumsy actions, but it
may actually be exciting. After all, when geese dance and
fools versify, there is bound to be sport.