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BOOK REVIEW: Controversial David Ray Griffin Book on 9/11 and ‘American Imperialism’ Puts ‘Christian’ Perspective on Attacks, Which Author Says Were ‘False-Flag’ Plot by Bush Administration

Posted by kinchendavid on October 11, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
Huntington News Network Book Critic

Hinton, WV – When Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2006 he flourished a copy of the Spanish translation of a book by Noam Chomsky while denouncing the “imperialism” of the United States.

He’s on the same page as theologian David Ray Griffin, whose “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action” (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, paperbound, index, notes, 246 pages, $17.95) was published on July 1, 2006, citing the same Chomsky book, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Domination” (2003, Basic Books).

As a friend and occasional contributor to Huntington News Network points out, the reference to Chomsky won’t resonate with Joe or Josephine Sixpack, the average voter who may or may not support the foreign policies of the Bush Administration. My point is that Griffin is reaching out to an audience that already believes that 9/11 is a “false-flag” operation of the Bush Administration – a point Griffin has made in earlier books and ampliflied with what he calls “Christian” philosophy and theology in the latest tome.

My friend has a master’s in theology on top of a law degree and I’m sure he’d be the first to agree that there is widespread disagreement about what constitutes “Christian philosophy and theology.” Christians agree about as much about Christian theology –from fundamentalist Christians to the most far left Episcopalians and Presbyterians, not to mention Roman Catholics who are a league of their own – as do Muslims and Jews. The so-called “Abrahamic Faiths” – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – are riven by sectarian conflicts, as Griffin would be the first to acknowledge. In Islam, the conflict between the Shiites and the Sunnis produces corpses on a daily basis. Sunnis and Shiites agree on hating the Kurds, who are fellow Muslims, and they all hate the Jews and Christians.

By the way, the publisher of Griffin’s new book is the publishing arm of the Presbyterian Church, which has stealthily morphed into a left-wing church almost as radical as the Unitarian-Universalists.

Griffin shows a good grasp of history in his mention of previous “false-flag” operations – staged acts of “aggression” to justify retaliation by the imperial power – be it the Roman Empire or the American Empire. A cluster of false-flag operations were used by Germany in late August 1939 to “justify” the invasion of Poland, which officially kicked off World War II. The Germans used convicts dressed up in Polish army uniforms who were shot and killed at a border radio station outpost in the so-called Gleiwitz incident (Page 5).

The U.S. has used false-flag operations at least as early as the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 (Page 6) to justify the seizure of half of Mexico (today’s New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and parts of Utah and Colorado, as well as the annexation of the Republic of Texas) in a war that both Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau protested and called American aggression.

Griffin says the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 was prompted by attacks by North Vietnamese gunboats on the U.S. Destroyer Maddox – attacks that were deliberately provoked by the Johnson administration to get the U.S. involved more deeply in Vietnam. No “neocons” were involved in this false-flag operation of 42 years ago, as far as I can determine, but Griffin says neocons – mostly but not all from Jewish backgrounds – were behind the 9/11 plot.

He quotes numerous neoconservative writers who urged from the late 1980s on that the U.S. should take advantage of its status as the world’s only “superpower” to bring the blessings of American democracy and civilization to the Middle East. The U.S., he argues, has taken the position once held by the British Empire, which invaded many countries in a pattern established by the Roman Empire and followed successor tyrants.

Griffin is careful to avoid being called an anti-Semite, despite the repeated use of names like Wolfowitz, Kristol, Kaplan, Krauthammer, etc., in his analysis of how Christianity co-opted the Roman Empire as part of Christianity. The original Christians, he says in Chapter 7, “Jesus and the Roman Empire,” despised the Romans for their imperialist ways clad in moralistic – even religious – justification. Griffin points out that the Jews of Jesus’ time didn’t have the ultimate say in the crucifixion of Jesus, since only the Romans ruling ancient Palestine had the power to condemn anyone to death. Crucifixion was the chosen method of the Romans because it was both cruel and unusual – something the Romans could identify with.

When Rome was converted to Christianity, everything changed, with Rome becoming the good guys and the Jews – Jesus’ people – demonized and persecuted, something that continues to this day in the Catholic Church, although various popes have made half-hearted, belated amends.

I’m struck by Hugo Chavez – especially about how similar his views are to Griffin’s about the U.S. and how his speech could have been written by Griffin, professor emeritus of philosophy and theology at the Claremont School of Theology in southern California.

Here are some excerpts from the Chavez speech, placed in context from news accounts:

“The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19. “And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Chavez accused Bush of having spoken “as if he owned the world” and said a psychiatrist could be called to analyze the statement. “As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: ‘The Devil’s Recipe.’ ”

Chavez held up a book by Noam Chomsky on imperialism and said it encapsulated his arguments: “The American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its hegemonistic system of domination, and we cannot allow him to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.”

Chavez also blasted the United Nations, calling the General Assembly “merely a deliberative organ” that meets once a year.

“We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world,” Chavez said.

Griffin makes the point that the U.S. is the real “Evil Empire” because of its past subversion of countries as diverse as Guatemala, Iran, Greece, Chile, Indonesia and now Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m surprised that there is no mention in Griffin’s book of the imperialistic, moralistic meddling in other countries – Mexico, Haiti, etc. — practiced by Woodrow Wilson in his first term, not to mention the ill-advised entry of the U.S. into the Great War. I believe Wilson, the son of a Presbyterian minister, by the way, is the spiritual godfather of both George W. Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair, both of them believing Christians in a world of secular leaders.

What about the 19 Muslim hijackers of 9/11, one asks? Griffin says their names weren’t on the flight manifests and that some – maybe most of them – are still alive. He doesn’t come out and say it, but the implication is there for everybody to see that the four jetliners were piloted by suicide pilots as part of the false-flag operation that included controlled demolition of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He describes the collapsing of the Twin Towers as being similar to the implosion demolition of a Las Vegas casino that’s past its prime.

Griffin supplies much of what he calls evidence to support his argument about 9/11, but the part of the book that intrigued me was the comparison of the U.S. – the “New Rome” – with the Roman Empire. I think he’s on to something here. Could Flavius Josephus (37 A.D. to about 100 A.D.) be the original neoconservative? A good question!

You don’t have to buy into the “false-flag” operation to glean something useful from “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11.”

More about David Ray Griffin’s books and theories:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Ray_Griffin

Publisher’s web site: http://www.wjkbooks.com

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