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Happy New Year to you all. Here is a link to a recent study that… 
2nd-Jan-2006 11:47 am
Dilbert
Happy New Year to you all.

Here is a link to a recent study that says "Sizeable Minorities [in the US] Still Believe Saddam Hussein Had Strong Links to Al Qaeda, Helped Plan 9/11 and Had Weapons of Mass Destruction":

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=623

What we can see here is that people are too quick to believe what the authorities tell them, particularly those with whom they identify (in this case, Bush voters), and the second problem is that once people started to believe something it is very hard to "unlearn" an idea they have become accustomed to and have become fond of. This is particularly true for "simple explanations". Nobody wants to hear the complex truth. Simple and black/white is much easier.
Comments 
2nd-Jan-2006 01:24 pm (UTC) - And you wouldn't...
And there's still groups in the US believing that the USA won the war in Vietnam and that VN tried to attack America... fact is, some people just believe what they want to, and if someone affirmed their opinion once, that's enough to engrave them in stone forever.
2nd-Jan-2006 09:24 pm (UTC) - Bush supporters
Hi,

I am very much a Bush supporter and wish more of our government people would do whatever they can to protect our country and the West and the free world in general. The USA has been shouldering the burden almost by ourselves for the last 60 years. If it were not for free world supporters like Bush, most of the world would be Stalinist or Maoist by now. Sadly, much of the world repays our largesse and blood sacrifice with hatred and such. So please refrain from using the types of examples used. Thank you.
3rd-Jan-2006 08:36 am (UTC) - Re: Bush supporters
Honestly speaking, I believe the communist empire broke together not because of Western politics, but because of their own economical calamity and people had enough of it. Glasnost and perestroika were movemements with origins *inside* the empire. The former GDR deposed their old regime by voting with their feet, not because of pressure from our government. You cannot "force" people to have democracy. You have to change their hearts and minds, otherwise you will not have success as you see in Iraq. Even the Soviets saw it in Afghanistan - brute weapon force and superiority alone cannot produce victory and solve every problem.

This is not to say that you never should intervene with military force. In the case of World War II, it would have been probably even better if the other countries had intervened earlier. The English "appeasement politics" fostered by people like Tony was a terrible failure.

Anyway, I was not talking about Bush's politics but about how easy it is to mislead people by the "authorities" (of the state or of a cult). Even Bush himself and his administration have admitted that 1) there were no WMD in Iraq (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20030606.html) and 2) there was no link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein (http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0409c.asp). But still today, many US citizens seem to believe this, because they *want* to believe it in order to have a justification for the killing and suffering of so many US soldiers (not to speak of the killing and suffering of the people in Iraq which does not seem to be a real issue). Now, even the officials admit that their two main reasons for invading Iraq were simply wrong, but people won't "unlearn" this reasoning. People believe what they want to believe. "We are on the good side, all the other world are the 'bad'." In this, nationalism it's black and white thinking and fixation on a group (the own nation) is somehwhat similar to cult mentality.

It also seems to be very difficult for US people to admit that the climate change problem exists and is serious, even after all that happened in the last year (New Orleans!) (btw just now Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Northern California because of storm floods). Still, the US administration does not want to see the problem (http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=37574, http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/kyoto-protocol-moves-ahead-as) and many US citizens seem to dismiss it as cock-and-bull story. I still remember discussions with ex UBFers from the US on the off topic board when I even mentioned the word "climate change". We need to get informed and make reality checks not only if we are in a cult, but also concerning politics. What the government tells you is not always the truth, even in democratic countries. Get informed, and not only from sources which are pro-government or directly from the government (http://www.ariannaonline.com/columns/column.php?id=760).

BTW, I see a very strong parallel between the reasoning of UBF members ("because people come to God through UBF, nobody may criticize UBF") and the reasoning of US citicizens ("because the US has helped to free Europe in WWII, nobody is allowed to criticize US politics"). It's probably very hard for US citizens to overcome this nationalistic/elitist mindset, nourished and fostered every day in America and in every Hollywood movie.

(Hope I am allowed to openly utter my opinion as a European. We have to learn to speak freely and frankly with each other, even if we may not be in agreement with our opinions. That's what UBF discouraged. Speaking out things which were not in line with the group's overall world view was frowned upon.)
3rd-Jan-2006 04:04 pm (UTC) - Re: Bush supporters
(Hope I am allowed to openly utter my opinion as a European. We have to learn to speak freely and frankly with each other, even if we may not be in agreement with our opinions. That's what UBF discouraged. Speaking out things which were not in line with the group's overall world view was frowned upon.)

Yes, we should be able to speak freely and frankly with each other, even if we disagree. And yes, that is exactly what UBF discouraged.

First, I want to say I am a Bush supporter. At the same time, I want all the facts. Here is the fact sheet regarding 9/11: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051205-5.html

The one point I would like to emphasize over this issue is that Bush met with and worked with the 9/11 commission and accepted most of their recommended changes. There is no evidence that he lied to and deceived the American people or the world (as some claim). He willingly submitted to accountability and answered all questions asked him by the commission. He is acting in the best interest of the country.

Contrast that to UBF. UBF leaders lie, deceive and will not subject themselves to any accountability and will not accept any recommended changes.
3rd-Jan-2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
Another example of how easy people believe things they want to believe is the following chain-letter email I got from a former UBF member in the US. It makes some true and amazing statements about Iraq to open your mind, but then in the end, the climax of the letter is a barefaced lie. However, if you read so far, you may be ready to accept it.

Here is the chain letter I got:

-------------------------------

Read down to the very bottom, you don't want to miss this!

VERY INTERESTING -

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq .

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq , was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq .

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq .

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq !

6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq !

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq .

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq .

9 Assyria , which is in Iraq , conquered the ten tribes of Israel .

10. Amos cried out in Iraq !

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem .

12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq !

13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq .

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq .

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq .

17. The wise men were from Iraq .

18. Peter preached in Iraq .

19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon , which was a city in Iraq !

And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq ! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon , Land ofShinar , and Mesopotamia . The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and ! Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq , means country with deep roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible.

No other nation, except Israel , has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq .

And also... This is something to think about! Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages...

The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran ( 9:11 ) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.

( Note the verse number! ) Hmmmmmmm?! God Bless you all Amen !

I BETTER NOT HEAR OF ANYONE BREAKING THIS ONE OR SEE DELETED This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq . Pass it on to everyone and pray. Something good will happen to you tonight at 11:11 PM This is not a joke. Someone will either call you or will talk to you online and say that they love you. Do not break this chain. Send this to 13 people in the next 15 minutes. Go.

-------------------------------

This was so fishy for me that I immediately looked it up in the Internet, and, yes, of course, the statement about Koran 9:11 was completely false. It is a well-known urban legend (http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_quran_911.htm).

Things like that work because people believe what they *want* to believe and because people are too lazy to get informed. The letter exploits the fact that US people usually do not have a Koran at hand to check for themselves, or are too lazy to look it up in the Internet which is actually easy. Instead, they simply pass the letter on and are unwillingly part of a deception.

3rd-Jan-2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
Please also note how the letter tries to establish a connection between 9/11 (Bin Laden) and the Iraq (Saddam Hussein). That's exactly what US people *want* to believe because it would justify the war. The truth is that there is rather a connection beween president Bush and Bin Laden than between Hussein and Bin Laden (Osama Bin Laden's brother was, through his American representative James R. Bath, an investor in Arbusto Energy, a small oil company run by George W. Bush) (of course one should not make a consipration theories out of this either, but ironically this is a fact). If you want to justify the war, you have to give other reasons than WMD or Bin Laden.
3rd-Jan-2006 06:25 pm (UTC) - At-Touba 9:11
"But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand."


I think its rather ironic that this same verse which (in urban legend translation) is being abused to justify America's invasion of the Iraq by means of typology, in reality is talking about explanation of typology "for those who understand", and a people who aren't even willing to do a penny's worth of research regarding facts surely are not "those who understand" (or, in another translation "those of knowledge").

Ironically, the same verse quoted is dealing with a number of precious issues: repentance, sincere prayers, charity and uoderstanding.
All these issues are acceptible for Christians as well as muslims and are actually referring to "the common ground" that the two religions *should* be having, and why such people should be considered brothers of the faith.
This same verse is explaining why even those in the Arab world practising these things should not see those in the Western world as enemies, but as brothers.
The verse is calling judgment on Osama bin Laden to an extreme extent, and to Saddam Hussein as well. But it does not justify America's invasion for certain. It's much rather something that should give us food for thought why we shouldn't think "Poor American Soldiers, they are in a heathen country and suffer so much" but </i>"In that country there are also people who think the same way about morality as we should be, let's remember them also when we think of this war"</i> (not that I believe the Iraqui government held any of these).
3rd-Jan-2006 01:28 pm (UTC)
Of course, if this works with educated US people, this works all the better with Muslim people. I read the young Muslims in Germany have similar chain letters (or chain SMS) they pass on because they sound good for Muslims. For example the story of a young girl who was transformed into a beastly looking "rat girl" because she enjoyed western TV more than Muslim prayers, complete with a photography of the transformed girl. If anybody would not believe the story, they would say that the photography is a irrefutable evidence.

Here is a Spiegel article about the story: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/schule/0,1518,390750,00.html

This is the original "cursed girl hoax" email:

----- Original Message -----
From: SYEDA
Sent: 06 July, 2005 5:03 PM
Subject: A Girl became Animal in Muscat !

This incident happened in Muscat.

A girl wanted to watch television/she wanted to listen to music but she couldn't because her mother was reading the Holy Quran.

The girl said to her mother to read the Holy Quran in the other room but her mother continued reading.

The girl got angry and she threw the Holy Book on the floor.

Seeing this her mother picked the Holy Book and she started crying holding the Holy Book close to her heart.

At once the girl became like an animal and this is the photo.

Now she is in the hospital and the doctors are trying to treat her but in vain.
3rd-Jan-2006 11:59 pm (UTC) - this is pure opinion
I am not going to post anything other than this on this thread. The US acted in the interests of the US, and Europe acted in its own interests. It would appear that you don't think your interests are the same as the US. Fine, but keep it to yourself. We have heard it, and we don't care to hear anymore about it. We get enough at home from cock and bull publications like the NY Times and the LA Times. (Arianna Huffington is totally discredited in this country. The Harris Poll has proclaimed that most Americans favor Roe vs. Wade and most Americans wanted Terri Schiavo to be starved to death. They are notorious for using false polling techniques. I am insinuating that you are quoting cock and bull news sources) Please refrain from using the examples of what Americans think about George Bush. It would be proper for me to say it is none of your business.

By the way, our opinion of Europe dropped just as much as European opinions of America. And we are supposed to be partners in defending the free world, ala NATO. So please just drop this line of discussion. Thank you.
4th-Jan-2006 08:50 am (UTC)
Nick, just for your information, I HAVE served 15 months as a as part of the NATO during the cold war, as your "partner defending the free world". And German soldiers ARE in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnien-Herzegowina.

According to your wish I will drop this line of discussion, not because I think I have no right to have my own opinion or because I do not have much to respond and rebut, but 1) because it is off topic here and 2) it seems I'm not gonna change any of your opinions anyway.

Actually I, did not even want to discuss the US politics, but give an example of how easy-believing people are in general, and how strong the mindset of "I believe what I want to believe" is in all human beings - a mindset that makes it so difficult to speak with UBFins and open their eyes for the truth. My mistake was to use an example from US politics and mentioning Bush voters, where most members on this forum feel personally attacked, so they drove the discussion in a discussion about politis and not about general weaknesses of the human mind. Still it is amazing for me how you think it is ok and our business to criticize Koreans or UBFins, but when it comes to Americans, you react so ill-humoured and say it's nobody elses business. Unintentionally, your behavior is a good example of what I was talking about. Hope we can stay friends after having said this ;-)

I will stop this discussion for the reasons above, with one last word: You said the US acted in the interest of the US. I would expect from a Christian nation that it acts not only in the interests of its own country, but of the whole world. People are not only human beings with human rights and dignity if they are US citizens. Start to think globally, embracing and respecting all humanity and not only those of your nationality. I know that we Germans of all people in the world have the least right to "teach" others this lessons, still I think many of us have learned it the hard way, very deeply, and therefore I dare to do say this, because I am so deeply convinced of it.
6th-Jan-2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
Hm, one last question: While it seems to be a taboo here to criticize the president Bush, is it also taboo to criticize his younger brother? I recommend googling for

"sun myung moon" "neil bush"

And I think Sun Myung Moon is not really off topic on a UBF discussion board.
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