Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Archbishop of Cant

So many have asked Cranmer to comment upon the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent comments to the Islamic magazine Emel on the evil of the United States of America, and he can add little to the observations of the excellent Melanie Phillips (from whom he also borrows the title of this post):

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has managed to distinguish himself with yet another set of mind-blowingly silly remarks which effectively offer himself up to the enemies of civilisation as a one-man own-goal weapon of mass self-destruction. In an interview with the Muslim magazine Emel he once again cast America as the enemy and attacked the west while sanitising the Muslim world.

According to the Archbishop, the ‘crisis in Iraq’ has been caused by America's misguided sense of its mission in the world, that it had lost the moral high ground since the September 11 attacks and that it should provide aid to Iraq, stop exploiting its territory and demilitarise it.

We have only one global hegemonic power. It is not accumulating territory: it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That's not working. It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources in to administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that's what the British Empire did in India, for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together - Iraq, for example.

It is hard to envisage a more ignorant set of comments. For sure, many grievous mistakes were made after the fall of Saddam. But the comparison with the British Empire misses the point. America is not an imperialist nation — quite the opposite. It did not go into Iraq to accumulate territory or colonial power but because it believed that America and the free world were threatened by Saddam and by the terror-exporting states that surrounded it. Its whole democracy-promoting doctrine is based on the idea that this is the best way of defending the free world from further attack. Yes, America failed to think through the situation on the ground and made a series of grave strategic errors. But you would never think from Dr Williams’s remarks that the terrible war that has raged has been for the freedom of the Iraqi people and that significant progress is now being made — that the Iraqi people have voted in free elections, that Iraq’s tribal leaders have now turned their faces against al Qaeda, that the violence is decreasing, that thousands of Iraqis are returning to their homes in a free Iraq, and that the Iraqi people themselves are behind the transformation of their society — and that none of this would have happened without the American action in Iraq.

Although Dr Williams does not reportedly describe himself as a pacifist, he simply appears to be against all war: He described violence as a quick discharge of frustration adding:

It serves you. It does not serve the situation. Whenever people turn to violence what they do is temporarily release themselves from some sort of problem but they help no one else. A lot of pressure around the invasion of Iraq was 'we've got to do something, then we'll feel better'. That's very dangerous.

But war to defend free societies is not ‘a quick discharge of frustration’ and to describe it as such is offensive. You would also never think from his remarks that millions of Christians around the world are being persecuted and murdered by Muslims. He made not one mention of this, describing instead the political solutions offered by the Muslim world as not the most impressive.

Thus the Archbishop of Canterbury describes a jihadi campaign aimed at conquering the Christian world and subjugating it to Islam, which has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents around the world. Instead he said he was surprised that the small Christian community in Pakistan was seen as ‘deeply threatening by an overwhelming Muslim majority’, and he condemned the Israeli security wall that cuts Bethlehem in two.

Of course. Never mind the fact that the people who persecute Palestinian Christians are Muslims; the Archbishop’s Pavlovian reflex is always to blame the Israelis instead. And just in case we might have missed the fact that his main target was the civilisation he represents, he observed that there was something about Western modernity that really does eat away at the soul.

Well yes, there’s a lot that’s soulless about western modernity. One of the main concerns is the way in which the principal custodian of the British soul, the Church of England, has helped destroy it over the years by selling the pass over the defence of Christian values and going instead with the flow of the secularism that Dr Williams so reviles.

With defenders of western civilisation like this, who needs enemies?


Anonymous najistani said...

Can anyone recommend a good care-home for aging hippies?

27 November 2007 at 10:15  
Anonymous najistani said...

I wonder why he hasn't signed this letter of abject dhimmitude along with many of the rest of the leaders of Christendom:

"Responding to an open letter in October signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals from around the world, the Christian leaders also asked the Muslim world for forgiveness “We want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the “war on terror”) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbours. Before we “shake your hand” in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world”, they said in the letter which was made available to the press here yesterday."


27 November 2007 at 11:08  
Anonymous najistani said...

Ooops! Bad link also at


27 November 2007 at 11:13  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

America ... did not go into Iraq to accumulate territory or colonial power but because it believed that America and the free world were threatened by Saddam and by the terror-exporting states that surrounded it.

I'll not deny that Rowan Williams is mind-blowingly silly but this remark by the half-wit Melanie Phillips indicates that he is not short of company. The world was and is under greater threat from North Korea but NK has no oil and is well-armed, even by conventional standards. It's hard to define the Iraq invasion as rational from any point of view at any point in time. The oil, Melanie, the oil is the key.

27 November 2007 at 11:18  
Anonymous Adam said...

'You would also never think from his remarks that millions of Christians around the world are being persecuted and murdered by Muslims. He made not one mention of this...'

He didn't mention this as its simply not true. Millions of christians are not being murdered by Muslims as Melanie phillips states. She'd like everyone to believe to satisfy her pre-existing prejudice but this is a blatant lie.

27 November 2007 at 12:44  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

It did not go into Iraq to accumulate territory or colonial power but because it believed that America and the free world were threatened by Saddam and by the terror-exporting states that surrounded it.

Oh, so it "believed" -- even the rabid Zionist Mel P. obviously has doubts about that line. The US went to war on Iraq for Israel's sake. The war helped not just Israel but also one of the terror-exporting states that surrounded Iraq, namely its mortal enemy Iran:

US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.


With defenders of western civilisation like this, who needs enemies?

And with defenders like the neo-cons, it's a case of Scylla and Charybdis.

27 November 2007 at 12:58  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

They say you should not judge a book by just looking at the cover. But when I look at Williams and then hear him speak it confirms what i see. He is not a man of the world is he so he may be in the right job.Another Leftie I would think.

27 November 2007 at 14:26  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

" The oil, Melanie, the oil is the key."

You don't get it do you? Could it be possible, could the leaders of America be so intellectually incompentant??? Yes, they are.

"War for oil", "Halliburton", "Bush lied", these are all gnostic theories that people have created to avoid the realisation that "Universal Freedom and Democracy for all" is actually the primary transcedant tenet that America has wed itself to.

As it happens, Archbishop Rowan is getting close to the truth, but because he's a hippy, he doesn't want to rejuvenate Western civilisation with an uncompromising promulgation of the Christian truth, he simply wants to align himself in an arrangement with other people that produces as little psychic tension as possible.

Here's my theory (and I hope you comment on this Cranmer because I value your opinion)

"The Western Civilization you have bought into is a very recent invention. I wouldn't even call it Western at all.

Here's why,

These days God is other people. This is the unspoken transcendant tenet of "our" civilization. Earlier pre-Christian civilizations would start with transcendent postulates regarding the visible cosmos and then align themselves with the cosmos in an arrangement that would produce as little psychic tension as possible. Hinduism would be a good example, along with the Maya (both are cosmicist). But these days, having the transcendant Christian truth has become "God is other people", and now we allign ourselves into an arrangement that produces as little psychic tension as possible with other people - which is subsequently declared peace and enlightenment. Or "Openness" to "Diversity"."

27 November 2007 at 15:20  
Blogger Jomo said...

You wouldn't mind if he had some sense of historical perspective. Was British India really so bad compared with what followed. Three states, two of them basket cases, and a sub continent drifting towards nuclear war as a result of islamic fundamentalism.

Sadly he has never been up to the job. He lacks empathy with England and the English. Given who passed his name to the Queen hardly a surprise.

27 November 2007 at 15:28  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Melanie Phillips has done a rather nice critique of the Archbishop's foolishness. She managed to cover most of the bases pretty well.

To those who cry, "It about the oil!" let me remind you that there was a previous war in Kuwait. Kuwait has quite a lot of oil, and America certainly did not take over Kuwait. Rather, when the invader (Iraq) was repulsed and the issue settled, America with drew. If America were really out to acquire oil fields in the Middle East, would it not have started with Kuwait? That would have been so much easier.

America has made mistakes, lots of them, but they have not been for the malicious cause routinely attributed to her by those who envy her so much. If it is such an evil nation, why are people coming in such vast numbers as illegal immigrants?

27 November 2007 at 17:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rowan Williams is an ignorant and foolish man who is presiding happily over the destruction of the C of E whilst dhimmifying himself at every opportunity. he has abrogated any right to be taken seriously or to claim to lead the World's Anglicans. Tony Blair, as befits a man about to convert to Catholicism, bequeathed the Church of England the worst leader he could possibly find for it, perhaps as a supplicant gift to Rome.

27 November 2007 at 23:18  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Blair may have done as Anonymous suggests, but I doubt that this is a gift that would really please Benedict. Anything that damages the Christian Church is ultimately damaging to Rome and I think Benedict is smart enough to recognize this. Blair on the other hand may not be that smart, so he could have done just as has been suggested. For whatever reasons, he certainly gave the C of E a terrible disability in his choice for Abp. of Canterbury. This point to a real weakness in the process used to select the Archbishop.

27 November 2007 at 23:26  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Stop looking for gnostic conspiracy theories and secret agendas folks. Blair likes men like Archbishop Rowan Williams because they are spineless and modern and tolerant and most of all ecumenical.

28 November 2007 at 01:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Americans had wanted oil the easier way was to make sweetheart deals with Saddam like the French, Russian or even UN functionaries did. Mr Paul Volcker the monetarist wizard even wrote a report on it, though like anything critical of the UN, it seems to have disappeared into some memory hole.


28 November 2007 at 01:38  
Anonymous mickey said...

The Archbishop means well, which is more than can be said of Melanie Philips.

28 November 2007 at 09:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an agnostic (formerly C of E) I despair of the Archbishop of Cant. If you believe that Christ was the son of God then you cannot embrace diversity. Christianity by definition is unique and is the only way to salvation. Why Christian leaders cannot see this I cannot understand, they appear to be frightened of staing their beliefs unequivocally.

28 November 2007 at 09:40  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Have you seen Melanies piece on Arabpolis. Sorry Annapolis?

29 November 2007 at 01:07  
Blogger Irene Lancaster said...

Rowan seems to flip-flop, as I mentioned in my own blog on the subject here:


First he sets up the Anglican-Jewish commission, says nice things in Jerusalem, gets cross when the Israeli media blow up his earlier views on the separation barrier, send greetings to me via the Chief Rabbi of Haifa (which must mean that he respects me, as I've never met him) and then spoils this all with defamatory comments about both Jews and Christians to a particularly nasty Muslim publication.

When did he vote to divest from Caterpillar? At the very moment that Hamas came to power in Gaza. Hamas has reiterated that if peace breaks out as a result of Annapolis, it will do its best to destroy the State of Israel.

Williams is supposed to be the brightest ABC for 1000 years, so I wonder where his views on American Christians and Jews, including those living in Israel, comes from.

30 November 2007 at 10:26  

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