Religious Fanaticism and the War Machine – The Last Interview of Ambassador Joe Wilson pt5/6

On Reality Asserts Itself, with Paul Jay:

Amb. Wilson says right-wing evangelicals and other Christian extremists, who welcome the apocalypse, have infiltrated the military at the highest levels.

Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA officer by VP Cheney’s office after Wison exposed lies that lead up to the Iraq War. The story was depicted in the movie “Fair Game”, Wilson was played by Sean Penn. Joe Wilson died Sept. 2019 PT (05/06)

Transcript

Paul Jay

Welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself I’m Paul Jay. We’re continuing our discussion with Ambassador Joe Wilson. So, explain to me, if you can, the mindset of military planners behind a seven hundred and sixty five billion dollar budget. As I mentioned an earlier segment, the secretary defense justifies it that it’s all about China. You hear language from Pence and other generals talking about when we fight the next war and the whole strategy now. If you read the justification of the military budget, it’s all about big wars against big powers. This isn’t about asymmetrical warfare because you can’t spend six, seven hundred sixty five billion to go fight al-Qaeda. You can’t build, I think they’re planning a dozen Ford class aircraft carriers at 14 billion a piece. You don’t need that to go fight some local fight somewhere. Are they seriously thinking they’re going to have a fight with China? 

Joe Wilson

If you if you build the military and you buy all the toys, you’re going to want to use them. And that ends up being the problem. That we’ve got all this. Use it or lose it. And if you don’t use them, you don’t get to replace them. And if you don’t get to replace them, you don’t get to spend any more money. No, it is. If I were president of the United States, the first thing I would do is I would fire every four star general in the military. And I would bring in guys like like Doug MacGregor, who Is a military guy who’s been highly critical of the military to help me think through how we right size what our military presence should be. At a minimum, we should build it down by about at least 50 percent. We’re way over built. I mean, let’s not forget, we really only have one foreign border. And Donald Trump is building a wall along that border, 1.7 billion dollars per mile. But we’re blessed with geography. We’ve got two oceans between us and our nearest enemies. We need, what we need to do is spend more on diplomacy and a lot less on strutting around with our military medals and our hats and our oversized egos.

Paul Jay

Since there’s a kind of unholy alliance, if you will, between the neo cons and some of the hawks in both the Democratic and Republican Party.  I don’t think the Republicans have an exclusive on that.

Joe Wilson

No, they certainly don’t. 

Paul Jay

And even a section of evangelical and religious movements that are active in the military, even up to some of the highest leadership levels, some of whom are apocalyptic in their view. So kind of neo cons and military industrial complex people love almost war. But you have people on the evangelical side that, if you believe in the apocalypse, might not mind that it ends up in a nuclear war. 

Joe Wilson

They take this crap seriously. Totally. No. For the neo cons and the military-industrial complex, it’s a.. it’s  an alliance of convenience. For the evangelicals, not only is it is it a way for them to get back to the plains of Armageddon for the last great battle of the apocalypse, but they’ve managed to use this as a way to infiltrate the highest ranks of the military and to try and convert the military from an organization, the defense and national security of the constitution of the  country, consistent with the constitution. And they’ve tried to turn this into a military force fighting for their vision of Jesus Christ. And they have penetrated the chaplaincy corps in ways that are absolutely disgusting. Where the chaplain used—-Their responsibility was always to minister to the needs of the soldiers and their families in times of need, either in the hospital, grieving or whatever, not to impose their their view of what the right religion should be. And now these guys, are —all they do is not minister. They proselytize. So if you’re a young kid at the Air Force Academy where Trump gave, I guess is his graduate address.

 bless especially our keynote speaker and the president of these our United States, President Donald Trump.

Joe Wilson

You’re a 20 year old kid and you’re in the chain of command. And somebody above you is a member of an organization, Ambassadors for Christ or something like that. And they tell you, come to our Bible Study Group on Friday. You can’t say no. And it’s a workplace violation, but it is also a violation of the fundamental separation of church and state. And it is a perversion of what the military’s mission is, which is defend the national security of the country and not to take Jesus Christ around the world.

Paul Jay

What is their version of Jesus Christ? Because my reading of Jesus Christ is not very compatible with any military. 

Joe Wilson

They haven’t read the good parts of the Sermon on the Mount. That’s not- it’s really basically kill everybody who doesn’t believe in your view of what—

Paul Jay

it’s  the al-Qaida view of Islam.

Joe Wilson

 Well, it is. Of course it is. And it’s highly patriarchal. It’s very, very anti-feminist. It’s very, it’s sort of Old Testament big biblical without without any real sense of the peace and love that, of course, was a bit the beginning of the  Christian movement. It’s Constantine’s sword. It’s basically Christianity fom the time Constantine took the religion and militarised it; took it from a, you know, a peaceful bunch of guys running around the Middle East, spreading peace and love and turned it into a sword, basically.  A military thing, 

Voice Over

 Religions and military power are coming together. It’s a warning. And I hear it getting louder. 

Paul Jay

I once interviewed a Canadian general, Lewis Mackenzie, and in a very frank moment said to me, “We need soldiers who don’t know history, who aren’t very well educated and who will go kill and die somewhere, whenever we tell them to.” Is this part of that?

Joe Wilson

Yeah, well, I wouldn’t put it quite the way General Mackenzie put it, but I think,  as I say, about some of the soldiers. We hire them because they’re willing to butt their heads against brick walls until the brick walls fall. But at the end of the day, we have an obligation to those we put in uniform and ask to do that duty. And one of the obligations is to be there for them, for their spiritual needs, and not to try and change their religious beliefs, or change their patriotism from country to, you know, some version of of Jesus Christ.As a Jewish friend of mine once pointed out to me, you know, it’s amazing. We had this smart, young Jewish rabbi, and now he’s the Messiah for all the Christians.

Paul Jay

Well, it’s also ironic so much of this is support for the right wing of Israel, but come the apocalypse, most of the Jews in Israel would end up in hell. 

Joe Wilson

When the bloods, when the rivers flow with blood after Armageddon, it’s going to be the Jews who haven’t converted, who are gonna be, who’re gonna be right there. 

Paul Jay

Talk about unholy alliances. 

Joe Wilson

Best bumper sticker I’ve ever seen  was one that said “After the Rapture, can I have your car?”  And the other one was,  “Look busy. Jesus is watching.”

Paul Jay

How successful have they been in infiltrating the military?

Joe Wilson

Way too successful.  We fight that fight every day. 

Paul Jay

And you’re saying at the highest levels?

Joe Wilson

 Oh, yeah. Oh, sure. Oh, yeah. We were in the middle of a fight with a brigadier general now who runs a command. And it’s all about Jesus. It’s all about his vision of Jesus. And we’re, I think we’re in the middle of a legal fight with him right now —-some sort of—-

Paul Jay

Who’s we? 

Joe Wilson

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  I sit on the board with, among others, Larry Wilkerson. And it’s run by a guy by the name of Mikey Weinstein, who is Jewish, and who has suffered every possible indignity you could imagine from these evangelical nuts, including having dead rabbits thrown onto his property, having swastika signs painted on his wall. Yeah, it’s, um. They’re nasty. They’re a nasty crowd. 

Paul Jay

There’s another religious force, not evangelical, but on a similar page, which is the right wing of the Catholic Church, the organization that’s best known, Opus Dei. 

Joe Wilson

Yep

Paul Jay

And they’re right now in a fight to try to bring down Pope Francis. Steve Bannon is very close to Opus Dei. I don’t know if he is Opus Dei, but he certainly works closely with Cardinal Burke and others who are very anti Francis and are advocating this cathartic war against the east, against Islam, against China.

Voice Over

And I believe that we’ve come horribly off track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. And we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe strongly, is a crisis, both of our church, the crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, and a crisis of capitalism. And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict.

Paul Jay

And it was Islam and China. It’s about the whole of the East in defense of Christian values. 

Joe Wilson

And they’re very present in Washington, and they’re very secretive. But they’re present. They are a force to be reckoned with, and at least the evangelicals  are out in the open. Opus Dei is a really closed group. I can’t, I wish I could take you into the inner workings, but not even me. As an old Washington insider who fought these guys for a decade, I can’t penetrate the veil.

I know it’s there anytime I see a Catholic being named to the Supreme Court. I sort of scratch my head and wonder, but I can’t quite get you. I can’t get you there. But, man, if I was an enterprising reporter, I’d spend a lot of time doing it. And the other group in Washington was C Street, which was run by a guy, a friend of mine, Doug Coe. And they were equally intrusive into the secular life of the country.

Paul Jay

There’s another part of this unholy alliance which has a certain billionaires who use the Neo-Cons, who use the evangelicals. The Koch brothers obviously are the best known Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, as essentially a creation of the Koch brothers. Mike Pence, the vice president there, person in the Trump administration. I think it’s pretty well acknowledged that one of the ways Trump got the Republican Party to support him once he was nominated was taking Pence, which gave the Koch brothers blessing.

Robert Mercer, who is another billionaire who owned Breitbart, Bannon, used to work for him. Kellyanne Conway worked for him. And Bannon not only funds Bolten, but a lot of far right evangelical organizations. It’s all the ingredients of a rising fascism. Yeah, it is. It is. It is.

Joe Wilson

It’s gonna get worse here before it gets better, because we’re not yet at the point where we’re ready to have a revolution to overthrow the plutocrats and those who are who now have enormous control over our government. But but but, you know, I. One of the I was sort of like the revolutions of 1870 when the Italians rose up against all the landowners and they formed their new the new alliance. And and and we’re not quite there yet. We’re at the point where where that that ultra wealthy class that is that is so destructive for broader society, they have way too much power.

But we’re not yet there. We’re at the point where we’re going to really take them on as.

Paul Jay

And the problem with the timing of all this is climate. The climate crisis. There isn’t time to get there. Where we have such a short window, a matter of less sort of apocalyptic version I heard was from a Harvard emeritus press scientist who says within five years there may be no permanent ice naras. How did these guys not face up to such a crisis? How do they. And I understand the public denial, but privately they must know this is true.

Joe Wilson

 One of my dear friends is Jay Inslee, who’s now governor of Washington State, who is twice a congressman from two different districts in Washington, and he’s now running for president.

Jay Inslee

Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time, defeating climate change. This crisis isn’t just a charter graph anymore. The impacts are being felt everywhere. Jay Inslee and I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority. We can do this.

Joe Wilson

And his whole campaign is based on climate change. And you may never have heard of him because as devoted to climate, to fighting the climate change crisis as he is, you just can’t get that on the on the agenda. 

Paul Jay

Corporate news is just not interested. 

Joe Wilson

 I keep waiting for the debate to come to him and it’s just not happening. And you know, when Al did An Inconvenient Truth as Professorial and kind of wordy and and nerdy, as as as his presentation was, there was nobody who is more prescient on climate change in a political position than Al Gore was.

And yet it was 25 years ago, 20 years ago. And it’s still we’ve still got a we’re still fracking here in New Mexico. We’ve we’ve made the choice of going to frack for shale oil. And it’s going to take all the water from the state to do that. And I don’t know whether it was a book written when I was when I was a kid called Small is Beautiful, written by. I think Robert Schumacher. And it was it was the days when we we started the first in my environmental studies program at University of California, Santa Barbara.

And we all thought, oh, man, we’re going to get there. We’re gonna we’re gonna go after the environment and and God, what, 50, 60 years later now? And what we’ve got three out. Yeah. I look at my grandkids and wonder wonder if they’re going to if they’re going to what they’re going to see and what they’re not going to see. The majesty of the earth that I grew up in. On. Yeah, I’d say that’s not a subject we’re gonna be able to solve here at this table today, but oh my God, if we don’t really address it seriously soon, we’re all we’re all screwed.

Okay. We’re going to continue our discussion with Ambassador Joe Wilson and reality asserts itself.

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  • “When the priest reaches out for power make no mistake about what it portends: a will to the end.” -Nietzsche