Dialog among Civilizations: Whytalksfail? Part-1
March 16-17, 2007
(Reformatted Sunday, September 19, 2010, no updates)
Humbly dedicated to the memory of the selfless teacher of 'Moral-Activism', Rachel Corrie (1979-2003), on her 4th anniversary, March 16, 2007.
[ March 16, 2008: See 5th anniversary tribute: Re-Remembering Rachel Corrie ]
© Project HumanbeingsfirstTM. Permission granted to use freely as per copyright notice.
You are forewarned that a moral education can be quite poisonous to the mind and likely get you charged with 'anti-Orwellian terrorism' of obstructing the State in the commission of its monumental crimes – please read at your own risk.
This is a dialog between two friends, me, and my best friend from childhood, Harveyetta. Or simply Harvey, as I like to call her. Albeit she likes to call herself yetta. Harvey is a quintessential realist. She examines the world around her and only makes her conclusions based upon what she observes through her five senses, and only as a perfect Poisson process. What this means is that she soon forgets what she has seen or heard in the past, and concentrates on the reality du jour as it contemporaneously unfolds around her. So sometimes I also call her "Ms. Reality". Of course, as she also happens to be a 7 feet tall gorgeous female Pooka Rabbit who seems to have befriended me for no particular reason, the nonsequitur does not bother me as much. She often disappears for years, and then sometimes shows up out of nowhere becoming my constant companion for days with no explanations for her absence; and I certainly ask for none fearful of learning of her infidelities in strange lands. Except that she always brings back the imprints of the region and the peoples that her travels have taken her, as her own manifest personality du jour. Thus sometimes I get a virtual tour of new peoples and new civilizations and often learn a lot during her short mercurial visits.
So when I serendipitously ran into her earlier today at a local cafe-cum-bookstore sipping Turkish coffee at a table all by herself, and apparently looking for a Fibonacci partner, I was ecstatic! The strangest thing was, no one could see her, but me - what a beautiful mind, huh?
Now me, I am the super surrealist, with an infinitely long memory. I never forget a thing, going as far back in time as the beginning of recorded history, and before that to the passing of verbal history, going all the way back to the Neanderthal period. Thus I am fully acquainted with the tools used to settle disputes over the past 100,000 years! Not a whole lot has changed since the club was discovered by our ancestors to beat the poor harmless Neanderthals into extinction. Thus I perceive the world unlike anyone else ever can, in its full surreal context, with what is kept veiled, as well as with what is made manifest. How much further apart can two friends be?
Even more interestingly, I am an ordinary plebeian of Muslim descent from Pakistan. Harvey is an atheist of blue blood lineage, and is at least 3000 years old, or so she claims! Her last visit seems to have been to the Holy Lands of Galilee in Canaan, for she was acting remarkably like a staunch Zionist du jour, as one might encounter for instance, at DanielPipes.org or Frontpagemag.com, rehearsing aloud the manifesto of "clash of civilizations" but in the variation "It's Not a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians" (see here1). In fact, Harvey amazingly seemed to be a strange amalgam of the neo-cons from AEI, Heritage, and Hudson busily lining the "power-streets" in Washington DC, the liberal "Left", and the conservative "Right", all rolled into one 7 feet tall "ubermensch" friend of Zion!
This time, unlike her previous serendipitous visitations, I had a hard time relating to her because she seemed to be very much against the Muslims, having learnt all kinds of "things" about us. Being a Poisson process, she obviously had no conception of history, nor retained any lingering memories of her travels to vast lands and places over her 3000 year life span. Nevertheless, the moment she saw me, she hugged me quite excitedly as long lost friends, and we started chatting engagingly for several hours on everything under the Sun, except of course, her vast travels. The fact that she could always remember me and could always end up in the same place as me whenever she craved my company, I could only attribute to her fantastic infinite neuronal states in the Hilbert spaces of her hare brain that were apparently only perfectly Poisson when it suited her. And she immediately became my interlocutor!
I had been in Pakistan the previous year on the investigative & social-relief-work beat so to speak, and she especially quizzed me on the topics of "Muslim terrorism", and Pakistan's role in creating "evil jihadis", and "why Pakistanis and Muslims hated Israel and the Jews?", and why Islam was such a "terrorist religion?" and she blanketly asserted that "it needed some major reforming in order to save the Western Civilization"!
Indeed, she rehearsed these thoughts so eloquently that I almost felt that the mighty oracle, Bernard Lewis, and perhaps even Daniel Pipes, were speaking through her (see here2 and here3 for BL, here1 for DP):
'The solution, said Dr. Daniel Pipes, is not to adopt the left-wing policies of discussion and appeasement, which he said were useless against this barbaric foe, but, rather, to defeat it and promote the emergence of an Islam that is “modern, moderate, democratic, humane, liberal, good neighborly, and respectful of women, homosexuals, atheists, and whoever else. One that grants non-Muslims equal rights with Muslims.” ... Radical Islam, sometimes called Islamism, is the problem, he said, moderate Islam is the solution.'
Since I am her exact opposite, I could trivially recall that her speech wasn't new at all, that there was indeed a familiar echo to it, as Moshe Katsav, Israel's former President had so dramatically pointed out about the stone throwing Palestinian Arabs living under Israeli military occupation:
.“There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, they are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to different galaxy.” (Moshe Katsav, President of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001)
And even before that, as I so easily recalled, at the time of the very founding of Der Judenstat in Palestine by its own erstwhile founder, while recalling in 1897 his achievement of the previous year:
.“Were I to sum up the Basle Congress in a word-- which I shall GUARD AGAINST PRONOUNCING PUBLICLY-- it would be this: At Basle I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, and certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.”,
every time he presented his Zionist plans for Der Judenstat to the British gentiles to win over their favor in the expectant hope that
.“The antisemites WILL BECOME our most loyal friends, the antisemites nations will become our allies”,
he would loudly pontificate:
Impervious to the fact that what she was freshly rehearsing was rather stale rehash for someone with infinite uneraseable memory, Harvey also deftly asserted strong linkages between what Israel had been facing at the hands of Palestinian suicide bombers all these years and because of which she insisted that Israeli tanks were now in the West Bank in self-defense, and what the Americans faced on 911 at the hands of the suicided "evil jihadis" and because of which the Americans were now in Iraq and Afghanistan also in self-defense, and soon, Zion willing, perhaps also in Iran. She asserted that now finally, the world would understand what Israel had been facing all these years on its own against a nefarious and barbaric enemy. I did inform her rather tepidly, not wanting to interrupt the outpouring of her new found personality, that Ehud Barak too had made the same comments to BBC that very evening, which was subsequently broadcast repeatedly on American television the very evening of 911 and thereafter.
We also talked about many aspects of 911, Palestine, the "Left" - and Noam Chomsky as its undisputed and "arguably the most important intellectual alive", neoliberalism and the World Bank, and neoconservatism and IMF. I made a statement that sounded rather bizarre to her: neoliberalism and neoconservatism are just two sides of the same imperial coin; and she asked me how that manifested itself today other than as just a fancy conspiracy theory?
In our friendly intercourse, I quickly realized that we both had started from different initial conditions, and we both were talking at different levels from very different comprehensions and information base. Her visit to the Holy Lands had predictably reoriented her, as per her Poisson characteristics, to the manifest reality that was perceived in Israel by the Israelis, and by the Americans in the United States.
She was predictably focusing on what she saw on television, read in the newspapers, and experienced in her daily reality, that how evil Muslim terrorists had done 911, and Madrid, and London, and Pan Am 103, and how they had killed Daniel Pearl (www.danielpearl.org), and how she had attended Pearl's funeral and profusely cried when she read and heard about the beautiful relationship between the husband and wife that had so brutally been ended by "evil jihadis" in Pakistan.
I casually asked her if she also cried when Palestinian homes were mowed down by Israelis and machine gun and sniper bullets riddled young children in the eyes and head (see here5) or as they were strip searched at Israeli checkpoints (see here6), or whether she had also cried upon hearing of Rachel Corrie's brutal murder under an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza (see here7, here8, here9, here10, for how the world remembers her, and here11 for how David Horowitz's Frontpagemag remembered her on her first death anniversary and summed it up as "a useful idiot for, and one more victim of, Palestinian terror"). Harvey didn't know much about Rachel Corrie, nor the fact that she was as Jewish as Daniel Pearl; and had no response to the Palestinians dead at the hands of Israeli occupation forces except to say that there are also plenty of empty place settings at dinner in Tel Aviv. But being genuinely concerned about my unfortunate failing of not being acquainted with Daniel Pearl's despicable murderers, Harvey immediately attempted to rectify it by gifting me "A Mighty Heart", Daniel Pearl's sad story as told by his distraught and grieving widow, Mariane Pearl. Having instantly read it faster than the computer who wore tennis shoes, I too am burdened with sadness at the additional empty chair at the dinner table in yet another loving family.
On my part, I must frankly admit, at the time I had not paid much careful attention to the gruesome Daniel Pearl murder despite it being all pervasive and sensationalized in the media (and still is today). Hundreds of innocent but apparently "less worthy" people are being killed daily in Iraq and Afghanistan by American made bombs, or in Pakistan by C4 explosives strapped to suicide bombers. To me, the "worthier" American journalist dead by terrorist action was just one more skewed statistic - 1:10000 - all as the result of terrorist action by the pirates and the emperors respectively. And if I were to ask any run of the mill plebeian Pakistani, they'd pretty much opine the same way. I only knew of this unfortunate case sketchily that how the American had been lured by the pirates in Pakistan and brutally killed, and how quickly his murderers were caught and brought to justice.
But on the other hand, I had indeed attended the young 23 year old college student Rachel Corrie's funeral in 2003 (www.rachelcorrie.org), and remarkably, today, as Harvey and I were getting reacquainted, is also her fourth death anniversary. But few people in America even knew about it four years after the incident. I had also carefully read Rachel's detailed letters to her mother that had been made publicly available at her funeral in a booklet, in which Rachel explained what she was doing in Palestine (see here12). I had also shed a few real tears, and still do even today on her fourth anniversary, especially since so few tears have been shed in America for this extraordinary American Jewish girl who displayed the sort of unparalleled courage to stand up to an Israeli Army D9 Caterpillar bulldozer with a megaphone in hand, that one might perhaps only read in Biblical stories, aka David and Goliath. The fact that Rachel Corrie had voluntarily staged this supreme battle in the same Biblical Holy Lands, and in favor of a beleaguered peoples against her own peoples, had struck a definite chord within me. So Daniel Pearl out investigating a story on behalf of the emperor and is killed by the pirates, Rachel Corrie out protesting the crimes of the emperor and is killed by the emperor's army!
And perhaps it was indeed this crucial difference - Daniel Pearl killed by the pirates already demonized, and Rachel Corrie killed by her own emperor's powerful occupying army that is fully funded and directly supported by the world's supreme glorified might whose every action is beyond reproach and only an act of preemptive self defense to perpetuate its "preeminence" - that had emotionally and spiritually attracted me to the Moral-Activism of this young woman who dared to teach the uncourageously bespectating silent world a lesson of Biblical proportions. And I have since been waiting for her story to also be told in the American nation with the same humanizing fervor, and her murderers also brought to justice with the same wrathful judgment.
Indeed, I am still waiting for the stories of all the thousands and thousands of innocent victims of collective punishments and "collateral damage" to also be told, their deaths mourned, their kin "adequately compensated", and their perpetrators brought to "justice". And I often wonder what that "adequate compensation" and "justice" could even possibly be! I still haven't figured out the difference between the innocent being mercilessly butchered by a jihadi suicide bomber, a bomb dropped from an American F-16, and an Israeli army D9 Bulldozer. What does it matter to the innocent terrorized victims, who is the source of their terror, or at whose murderous hands they meet their maker? Is it really more honorable to be murdered one way than another? Nor have I figured out why some victims are more worthy of sympathy and mourning, and others not. Why some get more press coverage and their stories repeatedly told, and others quite ignored, or merely mentioned in statistics. It's not that they don't have husbands and wives and children and parents! In the Pearl vs. Corrie case, both were Jewish, and both were Americans, and both have families; what caused one to stay in the news persistently, and the other hardly mentioned except for a few fully 'Poisson-articles' devoid of perspective right after the event? And I frankly still wrestle with why some murderers are called "terrorists", and others not.
Unable to answer these questions myself, being only of limited and humble plebeian intelligence, I had started searching for answers in the wisdom of others many years ago, in carefully dissecting history, and in the plenitude of intellectual capital that is freely and quite easily available to anyone in this society who seeks it.
Whereas I sensed that the highly astute Harvey clearly wasn't interested in asking these questions. She only saw one terrorist, the one showed to her on television, the one she said she was acquainted with through her own experience in the Holy Lands, and in Washington. I surmised that she had passed through Washington before visiting me and perhaps lived on "power-street". She insisted that "radical Islamic terrorists" were on a rampage inexplicably, reciting a long history of selective terrorism that she had apparently only recently acquired on her trip to the Holy Lands, from Pan Am 103 to 7/7, and wondered what was going on in Pakistan that was creating these "Islamicist terrorists", and that something had to be done about it right away or the existence of the entire Western civilization would be jeopardized. An eminently reasonable proposition as commonly projected in the American and Western society by its all pervasive news media and intellectuals. Thus she had every right to be concerned about terrorism as indeed must all normal peaceable peoples, the fact that Harvey is only a Pooka notwithstanding!
And this dichotomy of emphasis revealed to me that some common ground had to be established. As it was, I sensed Harvey was describing the leaves, and I was tracing past the roots into the very DNA of the tree. I even pointed to a physical tree and suggested as much to her. There is no denying that leaves exist, anymore than there can be any denying that the color of the leaves is solely determined by the DNA, and in order to grow the leaves, one has to water the roots of the tree and carefully nurture it, and more importantly, it requires a gardener and someone to pay the gardener who in turn may be employed by someone else as the visible paymaster of the gardener.
To me, the real question has always been, who are the invisible paymasters and where does the buck start and stop? While some call this "conspiracy theories", I prefer to call it "covert-operations" and "primacy and its geostrategic imperatives". The art and science of investigating current affairs as breaking events unfold themselves, and without getting bogged down by the deliberate and "endless trail of red herrings" strewn along the way, is to keep the historical perspective continually in focus as one tries to make sense of things happening so close in time that one often cannot bring perspective to bear on it otherwise.
Who could have thought of Iran-Contra covert-op of the 1980s in which in order to continually get the two brotherly Muslim nations of Iran and Iraq to keep killing each other for eight long years, both sides were continually armed. Iraq officially with Rumsfeld vigorously pumping Saddam Husain's hand, and Iran covertly by the CIA drug running in South America and providing arms from those proceeds to Iran, along with Israel being the only other covert arms supplier to this beleaguered nation of Iran at the time. Incredible you say? Undeniable recorded facts of history. Had it not been revealed through scandalous disclosures, it would have appeared quite fantastic a conspiracy theory to the uninitiated. When one "wage[s] war by way of deception", the deception part is to put layers of cloak over the "covert-operation" which is the "war".
And some of the best cloaking devices have been invented by the most brilliant minds - here is one for instance from Ezra Pound: "invent two lies and have the public keep arguing which one of them might be true". Another is by Leo Strauss – the erudite teacher of the majority of the neo-cons - called "Noble Lies" and it can be quickly understood here13. A third by the White House, often referred to as "plausible deniability", okay may be it was invented by the DIA, the grand-daddy of all intelligence agencies. This thinly veiled euphemism for deception to protect the leadership if things go badly in covert-operations became public knowledge during the Iran-Contra scandal, the televised coverage of which had gripped the American nation for months, including myself. What are these conspiracies, if not covert-operations?
Possessing infinite uneraseable memory, the previous covert-ops are indelibly etched upon it, like: Operation Ajax, Operation Mockingbird, Operation MKULTRA, Cointelpro, Islamic Jihad or the CIA Intervention in Afghanistan, Charlie Wilson's War, CIA's Secret Army, Pan Am 103 Libya or covert-op?, The Lavon Affair (also history for dummies here), The Other Side of Deception, Israeli Spy Ring Scandal, Israel's Sacred Terrorism from The personal diary of Moshe Sharett (also confessions of an Arab Jew here), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The final chapters on Pan Am 103 have not yet been written, as with the Israeli Spy Ring in America which seems to have become an ongoing bizarre saga in the American-Israeli marriage-of-ideological-convenience and political-mistrust landscape. The CIA's secret Army, the SOG, is a capability; we shall only hear of their nefarious exploits in a few years just as we know of operation Ajax and the Lavon Affair today as common knowledge!
So are all these conspiracy theories or covert-operations? Actually both. In the public discourse, they are lumped in with kookish conspiracy theories to escape timely detection when something can be done about them, and they become covert-ops once they are discovered, or sufficient time has lapsed to make it inconsequential if it gets known - all too late!
Indeed World War II was launched with a covert-op: Operation Canned Goods, World War III was ended with a covert-op: "The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan", and was the "World War IV" also begun with a covert-op? Only an adversely indoctrinated mind would accept the fundamentalist proposition of blindly trusting the popular Government sponsored mantra du jour without even examining their largely uncontested axioms, only to write erudite papers later with an all knowing cynical nod of how Governments use deception to prosecute their otherwise untenable agendas. But when the cynicism is actually needed, it is not too surprisingly, invariably absent.
Given the top secrecy that surrounds covert-operations, how could anyone from the public ever experientially know the skullduggery and subterfuges while they are going on - they are covert by definition and hence not easily knowable by the public!
One will certainly not see a successful one on CNN, or read about it in Time magazine while they are occurring! And in order to seek them out, one at least first has to acknowledge that they could exist given their Machiavellian empirical evidence that only conveniently emerges in a retrospective after the dastardly deeds are faits accomplis, and secondly, go in search of them through much intellectual vigor and detective pursuits. That is the only way to uncover them, or to even legitimately suspect that the probability of their existence is non-zero. The only way to know for sure however, or to find the smoking gun while the iron is hot, is for someone courageous like Daniel Ellsberg to leak the new "Pentagon Papers" (http://ellsberg.net).
Unlike the Pink Panther however, the covert-operatives today rarely if ever leave their calling cards behind; most vestiges are kept verbal, and the rest shredded or classified under "National Security imperative". The public exposure of the Iran-Contra Affair brought that home in spades to the American peoples, except for their short term memories; as did the leaking of the "Pentagon Papers" and Oliver North's otherwise efficient secretary's botched-up shredding job bring it home to the Pentagon and the White House, and they have surely gainfully employed these lessons in their subsequent covert-ops and the passing of the Patriot Acts!
Historians uncovering monumental crimes 20-30-50-100 years later when things are eventually declassified post faits accomplis, does nothing to stop these monumental crimes while they are happening, and nor does it bring back the victims once they are dead! The only useful thing lessons of history do, apart from making its authors rich peddling their narratives post faits accomplis, is give clear heads ups to rational peoples for next times around.
Well, we already have plenty of heads ups from the many previous times around - the fact of our convenient short term memories not withstanding. Only recently we saw the WMD deception so unconvincingly enacted on the shadow screen, and yet gobbled up by the populace. This is what the 2005 Presidential Commission on intelligence failure, Iraq Study Group, disingenuously concluded in its March 31st report (see here14):
.“We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure,”
The precedence of Gulf of Tonkin is of such immediate and pressing concern that even the honorable Ron Paul, the maverick Republican from Texas, noted only a few weeks ago on the House floor (Jan 2007 speech here15):
.“The truth is that Iran, like Iraq, is a third-world nation without a significant military. Nothing in history hints that she is likely to invade a neighboring country, let alone America or Israel. I am concerned, however, that a contrived Gulf of Tonkin- type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran.”
Thus to ignore pretexts is to condemn a new generation of victims to death! Therefore, to not ask whether this can be the present: "9/11 and the "War on Terrorism", and dissect the point cause that became the pretext for this lifelong perpetual war ingenuously labeled "World War IV": "A Physics Professor Speaks Out on 9-11", and critically and rationally examine the rebuttal to its critics keeping unconscionable self-interests out of it: "9/11 and The New Pearl Harbor", is not just being complicitly ignorant, but monumentally criminal with the blood of millions of innocent upon ones' hands!
Indeed, those who deliberately distract from pursuing such investigations, and those who deliberately keep dropping "the endless trail of red herrings", are directly complicit in the aiding and abetting in the commission of monumental crimes against humanity!
In vain, the clarion call of conscience, "never again"?
Thus if it is axiomatically asserted that there is no such thing as a real conspiracy theory, then that really works wonderfully in the interest of the cloak-makers because it makes one forget the perspectives of history.
And with the short term memory of the modern generation, especially in America, this works great - only allege conspiracy theory and history vanishes from the consciousness. Hence I am always suspicious when axioms are put forth that are beyond scrutiny. More such "fundamentalist" unexamined axioms are thrust into my face, the more curious I get. And in case of 911 and all its aftermath, it was interesting for me to note how many students of Leo Strauss, the father of "Noble Lies", were the direct influence peddlers and the prime architects of war, both in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, the perpetual war. See "Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neocons, and Iraq".
And it was even more remarkable to me that the duration of this new perpetual war coincidentally just happened to match the period that had been noted was available to the United States to mold the world according to its own geostrategic advantage before a new multi-polar world would emerge to create a new détente. I had not only endeavored to read their own words very carefully, but gone all the way back to their teachers by some generations, to the very edge of time, to uncover the underpinnings of their ideologies that had largely originated in Europe and brought to the shores of this Republic by the remnant ideologues of previous European empires.
Such remarkable intellectual capital - it is indeed quite an education! And surprisingly, it is freely available to anyone who has the patience and the acumen to seek it; a generous harvest of Western freedoms, resources, and leisure time. And indeed, with only a few notable exceptions, a majority of the modern intellectual descendants of this wave of white Europeans that reached the shores of America in the early twentieth century, interestingly, also exhibit very open Zionist aspirations that somehow are remarkably always displayed quite publicly, never hidden. Indeed, Ariel Sharon had himself openly boasted so on Israeli radio to Shimon Perez as they probably argued over to what further extent they could visit more of their Zionist munificence upon the beleaguered Palestinians:
.“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” (Ariel Sharon heard on Israeli radio while talking to Shimon Perez in October 2001)
To me, all manifest events post 911, given all the intellectual narratives that had unabashedly been put forth in public view and never kept hidden unlike in past totalitarian systems, plainly indicated that two birds were being killed with one stone. The superpower geostrategic agenda and the Zionist agenda had conveniently lined up in the hegemonic service of "empire". I could easily witness this undeniable imperial primacy imperatives of the former so devilishly at play post 911 in the guise of "war on terrorism" here16, here17, here18, here19, here20, here21, here22, here23, also here24, here25; and here26, here27, here28 for the none to subtle agendas of the latter. Both, sharing the same exponents (and I endeavored to preserve their distinguished names here29 for a "Robert H. Jackson" to arise some day, see here30), and united by the Machiavellian mechanism so astutely voiced by Ben Gurion:
.“what is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times”!
What is this 'empire' (catch a glimpse here31 and here32 for EHMs tell it, and of course must see here33 for President George Bush tell it)? How did it manifest itself (see here34 for a self-paced study course)?
Recalling Thomas Friedman's now incredibly famous quote from "Manifesto for a Fast World":
'The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. ''Good ideas and technologies need a strong power that promotes those ideas by example and protects those ideas by winning on the battlefield,'' says the foreign policy historian Robert Kagan. ''If a lesser power were promoting our ideas and technologies, they would not have the global currency that they have. And when a strong power, the Soviet Union, promoted its bad ideas, they had a lot of currency for more than half a century.'' ', (Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times March 28, 1999, see here35)
was it "suddenly, a time to lead" for President George Bush merely a serendipitous happenstance as Norman Podhoretz presented "In Praise of the Bush Doctrine"? Or was it indeed time to nudge the "market" along to win the jackpot Grand Prize for a new "Pax Americana"?
The unanswered questions that weren't being asked, and are still not being asked, concerning the primal enabling event for all this (see here36, here37, and here38) were killing me enough that I had re-read William Shirer's voluminous masterpiece "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" soon after 911 as bombs had started to descend on Afghanistan in a profoundly surreal "algebra of infinite justice" that clearly brought home statesman extraordinaire, Henry Kissinger's realpolitik honesty (or one often attributed to him): "it can be deadly to be America's enemy, it is fatal to be its friend". As Winston Churchill had shrewdly noted: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a body guard of lies" (see secretsofwar), how hard was it really to separate the secretive mistress from her public guardians and witness her naked beauty or abhorrent ugliness, first hand?
Was I just being delusional, given that my best friend is a 7 ft. tall Pooka Rabbit that no one else can see, or were the perspectives of history and a bit of rational commonsense trying to teach a lesson before it was too late - one day at a time? A time to act? But act how? The whole world was and is fighting the "war on terrorism" against the "Islamic evil jihadis" that President Bush says "I don't think you can win it" (see interview here39).
But they must persist in fighting it precisely in the same way to create more of it, until the new détente arrives on the Grand Chessboard as predicted by Brzezinski that it invariably shall, when the World War IV will indeed miraculously vanish into a new multi-polar world, once again effectively stalemating each other with 'MAD'ness! His shrewd wisdom of realpolitik from his book explains how to make the “sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power” congenial to the palate of a “populist democracy” in order “to perpetuate America's own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer” as its only window of opportunity:
.“It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is defense spending), and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.... Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat... More generally, cultural change in America may also be uncongenial to the sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power. That exercise requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment, and patriotic gratification.” (Zbigniew Brzezinski in "The Grand Chessboard", New York, Basic Books, 1997)
Indeed, “That exercise requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment” to keep fighting a perpetual war, namely, against "radical Islam" and the "evil jihadis". The latter will very likely be made to magically disappear and dismissed as some inconsequential "stirred up Moslems" once again when the geostrategic imperatives have been achieved, just as they were magically conjured up to win World War III by the CIA to start with!
Brzezinski, or perhaps his venerable ghost will proudly appear in the year 2038, and will once again glibly claim:
'Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. What is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Moslems or the conquest of Eurasia and its natural wealth and stalemating China at the end of the war on terrorism? It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.' (Noted by a future historian in 2038 at the conclusion of World War IV)
The following is what Zbigniew Brzezinski had confessed ten years after the conclusion of World War III, in 1998 in an interview:
'B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?' (Interview of President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski on CIA's covert Intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 - given to the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21, January 1998, see here40)
And the world will merely spectate on in 2038, just as it did in 1998 when the covert operation that led to the destruction of Afghanistan as a consequence of "giving to the USSR its Vietnam war" at the mere expense of "some stirred-up Moslems" was revealed. The new generation of erudite scholars will hurriedly compose their distant remorseless histories of faits accomplis of how the 'world was craftily won' as the desired stratagem on the Grand Chessboard was trivially purchased with the tabula rasa of innocent peoples who did all the suffering and dying for the "Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" of the handful of 'Hectoring Hegemons' in Washington:
.“... the U.S. Policy goals must be un-apologetically twofold: to perpetuate America's own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer.”
To me, this efficient reuse of the same 'contraception' device seemed incredibly original, which perhaps only the modern day Straussian imperial thinkers could have possibly conjured up - giving the devil its due - use it effectively one way, then turn it inside out and still make it work even more effectively a second time!
First ABUSE ISLAM one way with “God is on your side” (it is shocking to see Brzezinski goad on Afghan mujahideen to "Islamic jihad" here41, and Ronald Reagan gleefully honor them at the White House as “moral equivalent of America's founding fathers” for their wonderful "jihad" against the "evil" Soviet empire here42) to screw a competing superpower from the backside to win "World War III" at the expense of “Some stirred-up Moslems”.
Then, dexterously turn the same “stirred-up Moslems” inside out after 'day-1' of god's work is done and "radicalism" that was so carefully nurtured throughout the 1980s has finally taken firm root in the wild untamed frontiers of that region at a heavy price to the indigenous peoples themselves, and MAKE IT WORK AGAIN on 'day-2' in the service of empire in a new Great Game by fanning its mutated form for now achieving "full spectrum dominance" (see Chapter 3 of Joint Vision 2020 available here18 or here43) in the guise of fighting "RADICAL ISLAM" (see here44) in a perpetual "World War IV" (see etymology here45, more details here46) because shrewdly enough, “democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization ... except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being"! And not to forget that the much coveted military "transformation" for "full spectrum dominance" and "imperial mobilization" by the "military-industrial complex" required a dramatic increase in defense spending which had lamentably dwindled after the Cold War, and an increase in which wasn't possible unless “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”!
'Genesis' did take 6 days – we are only into day-2 of its 'transformative' re-genesis for 'full spectrum dominance' by some of god's choicest chosen peoples!
Thus the surreality behind the "war on terrorism", and the reasons for the on going "doctrinal motivation" of maligning Islam - a world's great religion of 1.5 billion peoples - by the despicable ideological drum beaters like Daniel Pipes and Bernard Lewis et. al. who hide behind the legal covers of academic freedom of speech to spread hatred and fear in order to continue making the "sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power" congenial to the peoples of their "populist democracy", is only as secret as clicking here16 to read the American Mein Kampf Part-II – "Rebuilding America's Defenses" September 2000, a Report of the Project for the New American Century (see here47):
.“Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn. ... Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”
.“The Price of American Preeminence: The program we advocate – one that would provide America with forces to meet the strategic demands of the world's sole superpower – requires budget levels to be increased to 3.5 to 3.8 percent of the GDP.”
.“... Also this expanding perimeter argues for new overseas bases and forward operating locations to facilitate American political and military operations around the world.”
.“... Keeping the American peace requires the U.S. Military to undertake a broad array of missions today and rise to very different challenges tomorrow, ...”
Keeping the American peace – indeed! The American Mein Kampf Part-1 noted it similarly:
.“... the ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community.” (The Grand Chessboard, 1997)
Hitler too merely wanted to keep the 'German peace'! And the Israelis too similarly only want to keep the 'Zionist peace' (as noted here28), and both the hectoring hegemons du jour "truly" wish to "shape" a "cooperative global community" cooperating with them on their terms so that Thomas Friedman's euphemistic "hidden hand" can stay ready-but-sheathed - unless some obdurate nations or a spirited peoples dare to not be a part of their suzerainty - since it “is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation.”
And of course also since "that exercise requires" a lot of extra coordinated work at all levels on the "doctrinal motivation", "intellectual commitment" and "patriotic gratification" fronts along with suitable "conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being" existing. Or propagandistically crafted, as was so audaciously instrumented keeping a straight Washingtonian face with the 'WMD' mantra for setting up the Iraq invasion in 2002-2003 before its own gullible peoples; and for the rest of the world, "its capacity for military intimidation" was unsheathed with the Goebbellian "either you are with us, or with the terrorists" threat!
But all of this extra work is of course still preferable due to the “Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity” at opportune moments as dictated by the “primacy and its geostrategic imperatives” of the lone superpower because, primarily, the “victor will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth or not” (Hitler)! In the invasion of a systematically disarmed sitting duck, or a lame duck, by the world's most fearsome nuclear armed military might, victory is always imagined to be a sure bet! Daarth Vaider could not have imagined an easier victory with his Death-Star!
The lead chief American prosecutor at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals had found it so easy to un-hesitatingly condemn the bespectating world and the "Good Germans" for their ignorance of Hitler's plans after the Nazis had been comprehensively defeated:
.“The plans of Adolf Hitler for aggression were just as secret as Mein Kampf, of which over six million copies were published in Germany”, (Justice Robert H. Jackson in his closing speech at Nuremberg, on Friday, 7/26/1946: Morning Session: Part 3, in Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal. See here30)
and indicted the Nazis so unequivocally for their aggression by passing death sentences:
.“We charge unlawful aggression but we are not trying the motives, hopes, or frustrations which may have led Germany to resort to aggressive war as an instrument of policy. The law, unlike politics, does not concern itself with the good or evil in the status quo, nor with the merits of the grievances against it. It merely requires that the status quo be not attacked by violent means and that policies be not advanced by war. We may admit that overlapping ethnological and cultural groups, economic barriers, and conflicting national ambitions created in the 1930's, as they will continue to create, grave problems for Germany as well as for the other peoples of Europe. We may admit too that the world had failed to provide political or legal remedies which would be honorable and acceptable alternatives to war. We do not underwrite either the ethics or the wisdom of any country, including my own, in the face of these problems. But we do say that it is now, as it was for sometime prior to 1939, illegal and criminal for Germany or any other nation to redress grievances or seek expansion by resort to aggressive war.”
.“But justice in this case has nothing to do with some of the arguments put forth by the defendants or their counsel. We have not previously and we need not now discuss the merits of all their obscure and tortuous philosophy. We are not trying them for the possession of obnoxious ideas. It is their right, if they choose, to renounce the Hebraic heritage in the civilization of which Germany was once a part. Nor is it our affair that they repudiated the Hellenic influence as well. The intellectual bankruptcy and moral perversion of the Nazi regime might have been no concern of international law had it not been utilized to goosestep the Herrenvolk across international frontiers. It is not their thoughts, it is their overt acts which we charge to be crimes. Their creed and teachings are important only as evidence of motive, purpose, knowledge, and intent.”, (http://www.courttv.com/archive/casefiles/nuremberg/close.html)
that one is left to wonder if that is what it takes for the 'Mein Kampfs' du jour and the “goosestep[ing] the Herrenvolk across international frontiers” into Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps now into Iran, to be unequivocally recognized and condemned as such?
That this appears to be true even when the aggression planners un-apologetically call themselves “hectoring Hegemons” in the characteristic 'in your face' arrogance of all chauvinist "ubermensch" as they continue to rehearse the "doctrinal motivation" of "war on terrorism" against "radical Islam" for the public in order to keep sending America's patriotic sons and daughters to their slaughter, never mind what they do to the "lesser" peoples "goosestep[ing] the Herrenvolk across international frontiers", should be disconcerting for any non-hare brained person in the world, but especially for the American public themselves.
The following is a snapshot of "Document Summary" of the PDF property of "Rebuilding America's Defenses". The author's field says it all (see here29 for a detailed expansion of this author's field and their various doctrinal contributions to what only Dr. Goebbels would feel proud, as in here48):
What will it take for the un-courageous bespectating world to call a spade a spade? A victor's justice?
The power of "Noble Lies", and the "ubermensch" imperatives of its Nietzscheian exponents that blinds the commonsense of any "Good Germans"!
Those able to see through this thin charade plainly, and are conscionable activists enough to want to protest or speak-out, are being systematically marginalized with various labels, from "conspiracy theorists" to "trouble makers", to perhaps even "terrorists" with the blessings of the New USA Patriot Acts as the new legal cover.
Indeed, the FBI and the Homeland Security agents themselves had shown up at my home, twice, just before the "hidden hand of the market" was once again about to unload its gentle largess of "operation Iraqi Freedom" in 2003, to question me, ostensibly in hot pursuit of some unknown "terrorists" whose name "string matched" mine in a few letters of the alphabet - or so they said. I had been covering all the major protest marches at that time, being both participant and very visible photographer, and usually in the very front row, right behind the police lines and often chatting with them developing a rapport and friendship in preemptive self-defense just in case some agent provocateur decided that the protests were too darn peaceful! It was trivial to ID me - as I wasn't making any attempts to keep a low profile, to the contrary, cut an interesting and very visible figure with three small kids in tow in the very first row, juggling the camera gear and their small hands with tears of anguish down my cheeks for another defenseless civilians about to experience American "shock and awe".
And it was as a consequence of their unwelcome visit to my home that broke the camels back, so to speak, and I penned my first book in April 2003 in an Herculean night and day effort where the words just seemed to flow effortlessly like a dam burst as Baghdad burned with Colin Powell's "Shock and Awe" and the Euphrates turned red with the blood of the innocent. The smoke and mirrors deception was all too obvious to me, but not to the American peoples. At the time, no publisher picked up my manuscript, six outright rejected it (among the seven who responded, about two dozen didn't bother to respond), and this despite a generous letter of commendation written by the famous American Historian, Howard Zinn, on my behalf! And in 2005, the Iraq Study Group reached the same findings after the dastardly crime was fait accompli and a civilization lay in ruins, but quite disingenuously couched it merely as oops, "a major intelligence failure"!
An ordinary person, moi, smarter than all of America's and Britain's vast intelligence agencies with their billions of dollars in funds and spyware to monitor and surveil the globe? When did that happen? Is Alice awake or asleep?
How could I possibly explain all this years of accumulated hysteresis and silent anguish in my surreal brain to my realist hare-brained best friend as she impatiently questioned me, even if only as a glimpse into my own surreal world but nevertheless still like jumping into the middle of a fast paced Tom Clancy or Dan Brown novel, and have any realistic expectations of the sweet thing believing me?
Harvey's long sojourn in the Holy Lands had entirely bestowed upon her a different world view, one of whatever that was plainly manifest on the shadow screen: 19 "evil jihadis", stone throwing Palestinians, Israel under siege, "radical Islam", "militant Islam", and a massively nuclear armed superpower put under orange alert Defcon-10 by a man on a dialysis machine from an underground cave 20,000 miles away! It was exactly as if Hitler had come back from his shallow grave to reassert:
.“[I will] give a propagandist reason for starting the war [and don't] mind whether it was plausible or not. The victor will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth or not. In starting and waging a war it is not the right that matters, but victory.” (Adolph Hitler)
Except that the new version was even more potent. There was a real devastating 911 enabler to back it up! Was it another operation "Canned Goods"? Especially since it became sacrilegious to even think this question starting the very day it happened, that how could it have possibly happened? People still look at you funny today six and a half years later if you raise it in polite company, think you are a kook, and wanna have nothing to do with you. Even your best intellectual friends get angry at you, as did one very prominent and brilliant Pakistani theoretical physicist who has several degrees from MIT and claims to have been a major anti-war activist in the 1970s and continually posits himself as the quintessential gadfly. He "scolded" me and even refused to read an earlier version of this presentation that I had sent him for his kind comments.
The biggest names whom I had been inspired by all my life, left me standing alone on the most pivotal question regarding the first cause enabler of the most momentous monumental international crime of naked aggression against defenseless nations that can ever be faced by anyone in their life that they could actually do something about to unravel and stop dead in its tracks while it is still occurring.
Even Noam Chomsky, my erstwhile distinguished professor when I was a student at MIT, "arguably the most important intellectual alive" according to the epithet adorned on him by the New York Times, refrained from discussing the "How" and focused on the "Why" in his best selling booklet "911" that became the international "cliff-notes-to-911" from supposedly the "chief dissenting priest" in the West. Indeed, all of a sudden, all the major well known intellectuals of the proverbial "dissent space", after spending a lifetime drawing attention to the lies and deceit of incantations of power, discovered the new religion of trust and faith in the statements coming out of the Pentagon and the White House concerning 911. Many of them have surely made incredible wealth writing and selling books outlining various scenarios on "Why" 911 occurred wherein not a single one asks 'How could it have possibly occurred in the first place?' Perhaps they may donate 100% of their proceeds to the widows and families of the victims of 911 worldwide?
Most "experts" have now miraculously become exponents of Harvey's own original intellectual contribution to this discussion space, the "chaos theory", as the likely "how". Even the distinguished journalist whom almost everyone touts as the most profound and courageous journalist of our time, the fearless Robert Fisk, tepidly stays away from "conspiracy theories" and continually keeps reminding his audience about the "why" part, never the "how" part for which even he takes the word of the war party who benefited the most from the shocking crime of 911. Indeed, in 2003, I had publicly put this question before Robert Fisk in the question answer session after his talk, and his deflecting response so indelibly etched in my infinite memory: "I live in the land of conspiracy theories [in Beirut, Lebanon, but he meant Arabs in general have this proclivity], and since there is no concrete evidence to demonstrate there is one [covert-operation or some complicity due to ample pre-warning as had been noted by the French writers Brisard and Dasquié in 'Forbidden Truth', 2002], I am not going to go there"!
Right! If a journalist of the caliber and reputation of Robert Fisk won't go there until there is evidence in hand, then he can conveniently wait for faits accomplis before he will receive his evidence on a silver platter from the state's declassification engine 50 years later to write and sell more books! If all that the "empire" has to fear are "dissenting priests" like Chomsky and Fisk, the imperial planners in a "populist democracy" are in fat city. I had in fact stopped reading these guys' erudite works of 'literature' once this realization had dawned upon me in 2003. Arundhati Roy had once written about Noam Chomsky as the very lonely person for his dissent. While that may certainly have been true in the past, Chomsky and Harvey today both enjoy a great circle of very influential friends in Washington from Donald Rumsfeld to Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes et. al., all of whom willingly back up their faith in the Government's version of 911 of a surprised invasion from abroad by '19 evil jihadis' (see "Responsibility of Intellectuals - Redux" and "Open Letter to Amnesty International, USA" on the useless facade of dissent and its ineffectual outcome in the absence of penetrating focus on the 'right order bits').
Therefore, how could I possibly address all of my sweet long-eared companion's pointed questions when we none-too-surprisingly shared none of the same axioms? The leaves through the DNA to the king-makers are just way too many layers to comprehend simplistically for a "realist" who acquires her reality from the shadow play being concocted on the shadow screen as axiomatic, and even any questioning attitude deftly skirts around fundamental unexamined axioms as the extent of intellectual "free thinking" debate on the matter. It is thus impossible to try to explain such matters in an animated conversation to a self-righteous Pooka just returning from living in the Holy Lands and expect to achieve any degree of coherency or congruency.
Thus I felt both of us somehow had to start from the same "initial condition", i.e., from the same level of abstraction in a hierarchy of levels, i.e., both parties had to have at least the same minimal knowledge base of facts and data, in order to construct a foundation upon which reasoned logical discussion could stand coherently. And this foundation had to be laid brick by brick, ab-initio, with no unexamined and unscrutinized axioms.
How to do that? My hare brained friend is easily distractible, and can never concentrate long enough to carry an argument down to its very axioms and then to critically examine the axioms themselves. Harvey has lots of axioms. And I suppose, I too have them.
So I invited Harvey into undertaking a joint study, in a study-group between the two of us, as rational scientists, magically transported to Mars and transformed into the March Hare and the Mad Hatter looking down upon the Earth and the earthlings to figure out what the hell is really going on as a black box. Look at what's observable, and come up with a model of the black box transfer function to explain what is making it so. Some also call it science when applied to physical phenomenon. Some call it engineering when analyzing complex systems. And some call it medicine when studying the manifest symptoms to diagnose the un-apparent disease. But when applied to political primacy and its shenanigans, it acquires a new name, conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, science, engineering, and medicine it is. But its difficulty is inherent when trying to observe things related to self where it can get a bit challenging. Indeed, this idea, not original to me, I have tried to use myself when I am looking at something that I am emotionally biased towards, in order to adjudicate on the matter rationally, fairly, and with no a priori axioms that are beyond scrutiny. I move to Mars. Not an easy thing to do, and I only have mixed successes with it.
Thus I am never fully convinced for instance - as a mere ordinary plebeian not claiming the intellectual prowess of the "ubermensch" atheists who know it all to deny what they don't perceive, to themselves, and deny what they do perceive, to others - that my being a Muslim is an indoctrination of my culture and upbringing, or is it my deliberate choice based on my own half-assed study and superficial reflection. If I was born a Jew or Christian or Hindu, or even Zionist, would I have still become a Muslim? Only then I could, with veracity and weight, assert to my own mind that yes I have chosen my world view rationally and my causes deliberately, and it isn't indoctrination or socialization effects. The same thing is true for nationalism, flag-waiving "united we stand" and "with us or against us" doctrinal motivators to rally around "war on terrorism" for a lifetime of wars, and Zionism vs. Palestinian issue of justice and fairness where the Palestinian massacre is happening daily right before the very eyes of the "civilized world" even as I write this, but no one stops it. Those who are Zionist want one thing, Palestinians want another, each is beleaguered, one somewhat more than the other, but who is right?
What is "right"? What is just? What is fair? What is moral? Who is victim and who is aggressor? Or is there even a moral dimension to supremacy, to hegemony, to the Nietzscheian "ubermensch" morality of "might is right"?
How can these things be reasoned morally, justly, fairly, "King Solomon-ly", rather than obsequy one's self to the power of indoctrination, self-interest, or socialization, each pulling one's own prejudice, sometimes openly showing one's bias, sometimes disguising it in intellectual mumbo-jumbo and double speak?
When the "Hectoring Hegemons" are burning down Iraq and Afghanistan, and are eagerly advocating doing the same to Iran and Syria and the entire Middle East to bring them "democracy" and to bring America "security", "prosperity" and "greatness", Zbigniew Brzezinski justifies the "American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives" by asserting "Hegemony is as old as mankind"! And Thomas Friedman says it even more poetically - "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist". But the Project for the New American Century asserts it the most brutishly in its Statement of Principles (from its website circa 2003):
.“... we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles. Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.”
Should any decent moral human being accept such euphemisms of "moral clarity" from people who identify themselves as "Hectoring Hegemons" and who have been the prized pupils of the father of 'Noble Lies'? What's wrong with it? Should we reexamine our definitions of the words "decent" and "moral"?
Indeed, has it become necessary to formally redefine these already colloquially re-semanticised terms of "decent" and "moral" to better cater to modernity? Or are there perhaps some simple moral truisms that represent the best collective wisdom of all humanity across its breadth of civilizations and histories the tampering of which may permanently mutate us from one form of creature to quite another?
All these issues crop up once one opens this Pandora's box. But hopefully, when one digs right inside it, all the way to the very bottom, one is promised that one will find the solution that supposedly solves all the can of worms.
With all of the preceding matter as the nagging backdrop in my mind for several years, and while it remained unarticulated in our conversation, I suggested to my huggable friend Harvey that instead of trying to convince each other of our respective world views, I would much rather like to explore my own views through her gorgeous eyes, and perhaps she could try doing the same through my tired ones, so that we could each learn for ourselves. She gleefully agreed, fully excited I am sure to finally teach me about the "real" world that is plain has hell for everyone else to see but me. She seemed most anxious to put me straight about my priorities in life and felt I was too ensconced into the worn out pages of dusty old books and should come out and live a little bit in the "real world" and experience it for what it is instead of always looking for meaning behind its events and things.
So as the first step in this direction, in exchange for the generosity of her lavish gift of "A Mighty Heart" so that I could get acquainted with the real world evil terrorists in Pakistan, I gifted her John Perkins' "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" to start collecting data on how "neoliberalism manifests itself" - a question she had asked me earlier - and Zbigniew Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard" to understand how "neoconservatism manifests itself" in its present geostrategic dimensions so that she could quickly become conversant with what I was calling "empire" and the monumental crimes of emperors that had been deftly reclassified as simply "foreign policy initiatives" since the end of World War II. With such pedantic employment of language constructs, the subject matter had been relegated to the profound ken of the know-it-all experts in Washington and thenceforth none of the business of the ordinary peoples in the "populist democracy" whose main purpose in life had been crafted to keep them always perennially busy, endlessly chasing down their "American Dream". Even Harvey showed some consternation at having to do so much reading - there was going to be back to back episodes of "Friends" on this rerun night and she wanted to catch up with them. She really only wanted to talk and lovingly educate me, not really spend time reading and studying. Too few hours in the day for that. Busy busy busy Harvey!
But we parted for the evening, and excited I was, as we now each had just the opposite characteristic interlocutor to sanity check ourselves with - no incestuous self-reinforcement here!
And only a couple of hours later, I sent Harvey my first message on the subject, pointing out even more readings to do (I am certain to her consternation), and picking a first topic upon which we had briefly deliberated earlier, 911. And she had especially quizzed me why the Pakistanis and other Muslims subscribed to these fantastic "conspiracy theories" that 'the US did it to itself', or that 'the Israelis did it', or that 'Jews were not killed in the collapse of the towers because they had miraculously received some text messages from Israel to vacate the buildings just before the attack', etc., etc. Or even that why 'some Muslims claimed that planes actually had not hit the towers', that it was 'missiles' or 'lethal ray guns from outerspace', or something really wild, like say, 'controlled demolition'.
Harvey had felt that the "chaos theory" explained all the unexplained facts around 911 satisfactorily, including why the top notch American military had failed to intercept the four simultaneously hijacked attacking airliners despite NORAD's and FAA's standard operating procedures that are automatically and routinely triggered for such emergencies without incurring additional bureaucratic impediments. Apparently while in the Holy Lands, my hare-brained lovable Harvey had also learnt software engineering and worked for a while in Haifa for a high tech American subsidiary writing Fibonacci sequences to a millionth iteration as a new 'highly secure' cryptographic protocol for her company's products. So she explained to me her vast corporate experience wherein the Israeli CEOs, and the top management of her company, often had no clue about what was going on down in the company ranks! And the American Government was vastly bigger! In fact, she felt it was a miracle that it managed to function at all!
During our conversation as she asked me all these questions, I had felt a lot of intellectual complexity in responding to Harvey coherently, because like most things these days, there is so much falsehood mixed with half truths, some truths, and spin doctoring, that it is difficult to figure out what is what. Deliberate deception of the genre described by Ezra Pound cannot be unraveled easily, let alone straightforwardly explained to someone like Harvey who is wont to self-righteously base her world view entirely upon her own sensory experiences even when she might be skeptical by nature, rather than on critical examination of others' experiences as well. To Harvey, symptoms are the manifest reality, there are no hidden diseases - what you see is what you get. And given the Poisson hare-brain, that is indeed all one will ever get because history has been deftly eliminated from one's perspectives.
And this complex Machiavellian deception game bears exposing fully: invent two or more lies, not just one, and keep the good hearted well meaning peoples in the "populist democracy" occupied debating which one of them might be true, for it would hardly matter what conclusions they reached. And wherever they ended up, to perhaps yank one of the lies from underneath them by conclusively showing it to be false thus conveniently demonstrating a baseless "conspiracy theory" in order to keep that notion alive in the public imagination. This consequently delegitimizes in the public mind serious researchers' efforts in uncovering any covert-operation while its secrecy is of paramount necessity. Afterwards, after faits accomplis, after statues of limitations expiring, it makes little difference if historians and con-fession artists make a pecuniary gain peddling what is inconsequential history to the newer evolving realpolitik du jour. This is what was precisely happening with any serious investigations into how the towers fell on 911. And this is also precisely what my long time friend Harvey had asked me, whether I believed in this and that fantastic theory as noted above, and had quickly lumped every single 911 investigation with the bizarre, all in one convenient easily dismissive 'kookish' category.
Thus somehow, one had to start ab-initio to reconstruct, by first dismantling and dissecting. Deconstructing is not easy. Especially when one is immersed in a global psy-op to 'wage war by way of deception'. In the "Art of War", that is a key ingredient, and also its first ingredient, and that has been the case for as long as Hegemons have existed, which according to Brzezinski, is "as old as mankind". And clearly there is a global lifetime of wars being waged. Thus it had not been possible for me to respond coherently to Harvey at that time because I couldn't think of an appropriate basic and simple abstraction to begin with that Harvey would understand right off the bat.
And I thought of it when I got home, and thus I sent Harvey my first letter. It can be read at "Whytalksfail? Letters and Replies".
This short series of letters and replies in which Harveyetta and I went back and forth that night, took the best part of the entire night, with me doing much of the typing, and Harvey coming back with tangentials and not responding to what I had asked her to study. Until I realized that this wasn't working, at least for me, because one of us, or perhaps both of us, were not inclined to do the study, but argue. I would say one thing, and instead of following up on it, Harvey would say another. And I would insist on my first thing said and not feel like following up on what Harvey had replied as I felt Harvey was deflecting or not paying attention to what I was asking her to do in terms of some pre-reading work to build up the set of common fundamentals. So finally tiring, I got off the treadmill.
Later on I felt really frustrated and couldn't sleep. Why had it not worked? And staring at the letters and replies angrily, I realized that this is exactly how almost every single dialog on contentious issues is like!
And so I decided to collect these email exchange here because it contains some interesting elements that - while I have already summarized in depth in the Preamble above - may be of interest to others who can perhaps use it to study how even two close friends sometimes cannot come together to reach common ground and continually talk past each other because of "beliefs" which become axioms that cannot be examined. Obviously we all know and have experienced self-interests and emotional attachments that can make us obstinate and unreceptive even in our own loving families, but we rarely think that failure to communicate and reach closure can also be because there are no rules laid out ahead of time for how dialogs on contentious issues should be conducted and how all axioms must be examined. This is actually a problem statement, not a mere observation. Thus there must exist some rational solution for it.
Otherwise, how are we, the ordinary peoples from different tribes and nations on this vast and diverse planet, to rationally discourse with each other - in order to understand each other, in order to resolve our disputes justly and fairly rather than through the alpha-males "might is right" clubbing the weaker into submission - in order to come to live in congruent harmony?
We are in the first decade of the 21st century and still really only employing the art of discourse learned in the Neanderthal times, of the one wielding the biggest club winning the argument, despite all the wisdom and all the lofty teachings of the sages through the ages since then. A period of a zillion thousand years! Is this pathetic or what, that the Homo sapiens, with our vast and fancy accomplishments, have experienced absolutely no evolution in our basic characteristics in the last 100,000 years. "Hegemony is [still] as old as mankind", as Zbigniew Brzezinski unabashedly admits when arguing the "American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives"!
Or is hegemony indeed an inevitable evolutionary condition? Unable to evolve past "might is right" because it's a prerequisite to propagate the strong, the master races, the hectoring hegemons, for the survival and enjoyment of the fittest in the greatest creature comforts and luxury? After all, the standard context of evolution is indeed "natural selection" of dominance, isn't it? Thus every free nation, and every free person, must now eagerly possess the 'Sampson Option', as it is the only rational path to survival - since not all can be dominant - by credibly threatening the annihilation of everyone else we acquire a bizarre equilibrium of stalemate where all can at least survive and live as free men and women in free nations in any status quo, justice or not. Some remarkable legacy to leave our progeny!
I invite the astute and careful reader to examine this brief email exchange. Not for its contents per se, although he or she may follow up on that too if it's interesting to them on its own merit, but mainly as a detached judge or an impartial first grade school teacher on why Harvey and I talked past each other, what role did our respective beliefs play or not play, and what were those beliefs, whether implied or stated, and despite an earlier lofty understanding of seeing things from the interlocutors eyes to inform one's own self, why did we fail? What might we have done better?
If a rational penetrating dialog between two close childhood friends, even if one of them happens to be a gorgeous female Pooka Rabbit, cannot occur on matters of grave political concern when they bring vastly different perspectives, what hope is there for the general populace, let alone a peace makers dialog among nations and civilizations already at daggers drawn with each other?
All this talk of 'dialog among civilizations' to avert what some chauvinists have projected as the inevitable "clash of civilizations", is doomed to be just an eyewash - and perhaps even a deliberate red herring - without considerable thought to the "process" to productively enable such dialogs.
Before such dialog can fruitfully take place, some "rules of engagement" for the dialog must be defined that are agreeable to all parties, and then all parties must stick to them. But how is that to be enforced when self-interests and hidden agendas might be at play, and when one party among the participants is overwhelmingly wielding a big stick?
Just sitting around a table and chatting likely does not bring one closer to any better understanding and appreciation of why the other person is the way they are, why they think that way, is there any merit to the way they think that inspires respect or further evaluation? When there is no such merit, as one perceives it, how is one to proceed?
Should one just say "I am not going to talk to you because you a priori believe so and so", or not believe such and such? Is just agreeing to disagree sufficient to foster understanding of each others' world views? How is it sufficient to create any understanding whatsoever if one is so axiomatic that one will not objectively scrutinize the other's positions? What axioms must be beyond scrutiny? Should any axioms be beyond scrutiny? Why? How are the "initial conditions" for any dialog to be determined?
Indeed, when one civilizations heroes are another's villains, which is often the case, especially in these modern times with Alexandrian adventurers and wars a plenty, how is there to be any mutual understanding at all, if each one does not scrutinize each others heroes and villains, using the exact same yardstick and criterion? How is a common definition of "virtue" and "vice" to be arrived at, and coerced upon the participants in the dialog, in order for the dialog to have any substantial meaning at all and not have it degenerate into charges of double standards and hypocrisy?
What rules are required to really productively engage in rational dialog whose outcome is actual comprehension and better overall understanding among all peoples, and which actually points towards reasoned solutions that are "just" and "fair" and unhypocritical, and not just dictated by the chauvinist prerogatives of "might is right"?
As in the pursuit of science and problem solving on physical matters, defining the set of "initial conditions" that all participants can agree upon in political matters, while non-trivial, is certainly the only hope of productively addressing the dialog among civilizations. And as in science, beyond the initial conditions, 'the process' that moves the research, investigation, or dialog forward must be well defined and rational for the explicit purpose of efficaciously uncovering truth from falsehood in all matters, with all sides exhibiting fidelity to the process. Otherwise, as in science, disqualification for fraudulent practices must occur within the process itself by virtue of its very design, and the chauvinism of the culprits exposed to all the peoples to whom the dialog matters.
Then as in science, it is my belief, that the outcome of such a process of dialog, will automatically lead to objective and verifiable results. It is indeed my belief, that in this political space, these objective results will also automatically point to "just" and "fair" resolutions to the most pressing and dangerous conflicts among mankind. This will help us, all the ordinary peoples of this planet, at least to learn "what is the just and fair resolution" to this or that insoluble political problem du jour. Beyond that, it is up to the world's peoples to act to force its realization, or not.
Today much obfuscation surrounds every issue precisely because people are not able to discern what is indeed the right solution. A recent example can illustrate this better than many more words from me.
Former American President Jimmy Carter's new book: Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" has attracted a lot of attention. Regardless of which side of the opinion stream one might fall on, this interview piece in NPR's "Morning Edition" dated January 26, 2007 is very illustrative of the issues of obfuscation that bedevils the ordinary man. I found the following dialog most amazing. This is a snippet of an interview with Prof. Kenneth Stein, a historian from Emory University, who quit his fellowship from the Carter Center in Atlanta in protest to Carter's book. "Morning Edition's" Steve Inskeep asked him:
'Q: A layman might look, though, at some of the facts, and let's emphasize some of the facts, here, and say, "well we've got this area, it's under Israeli occupation (that's the United Nations definition), you've got barriers, you've got segregated communities, you've got segregated highways connecting those communities to one another, why not call it 'apartheid'?" A layman might ask that question.
A: A layman would have every right to ask that question. But that doesn't mean, if it looks like a duck and it smells like a duck and quacks like a duck, that it's a duck.
Q: And the difference to you is?
A: The difference to me is, that part of this problem is that the Palestinians have chosen to use terrorism. And every time they've chosen to use terrorism, the Israelis have come into the territories, or they have closed the territories, and they have made it more difficult for the Palestinians to have regular life. There's not doubt that the Israelis have confiscated Palestinian lands, confiscated Palestinian lands illegally. But if you tell the Arab-Israeli conflict, and you tell the history of it, you cannot unpack it in such a way that one side is just seen to be responsible. History always tells us that truth is some place in between.'
NPR's interview with Kenneth Stein is at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7022490
Kenneth Stein's full rebuttal to Carter's book is at: http://www.meforum.org/article/1633
NPR's interview with President Carter is at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7004473
Well, in a genuine dialog among civilizations with agreed upon "initial conditions", and fair "rules of engagement" that were fervently abided by, the right solution would be manifest and not subject to the above obfuscation. The poor "Morning Edition's" host did not have either the wherewithal or the courage to dissect this response further: "History always tells us that truth is some place in between." Perhaps the host had not heard of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, and the established principles of accountability such as "All the evil that follows" to apportion responsibility, based upon which, the German Nazis where held accountable for all the bombings of German civilian centers by the American Allies, including the death of millions of innocent non-combatant German civilians at Allies' own hands (see my letter to Amnesty International here49 on red herrings). It would have been interesting to pursue this line of questioning to unravel and identify the primal first cause here, the highest order bit, so to speak. And even if the "Morning Edition's" host had, the guest was still free to continue in the same vein as there were no binding agreements on how to conduct such a dialog.
It is not surprising to note that in the above interview with NPR, Kenneth Stein almost mirrors Harvey in her positions. Indeed, it is interesting to read the other two references cited above to uncover further curious things in this debate. NPR's Steve Inskeep and President Carter have this exchange, on January 25, 2007 in "Morning Edition", where the former American President is openly and un-apologetically echoing a thread similar to what some Palestinians might express:
'Q: Mr. President, perhaps I could begin with the title of your book, which has caused a bit of debate. Could you just make, briefly, the best case you can for the why "apartheid" is the best word to use?
A: Well, I'll try to make a perfect case. Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the West Bank, and it's based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land. It's not based on racism. Those caveats are clearly made in the book. This is a word that's a very accurate description of the forced separation within the West Bank of Israelis from Palestinians and the total domination and oppression of Palestinians by the dominant Israeli military.'
But note that the antagonists of President Carter are not being as forthright in identifying their affiliations openly in this dialog. Indeed, President Carter's American detractors invariably present themselves as being objective in their critique of his book, and their own cultural, social, political, or religious affiliations and attachments to the other side remain publicly unidentified in the dialog, either by the media, or by themselves.
Thus for instance, it would be interesting to examine the affiliations of all those who resigned from the Carter Center in protest to determine their so called "objectivity" or partisanship in the positions they have taken against Carter's book. And one might rightly wonder why is it so important to continue challenging Carter in this way which largely echoes the official position of the State of Israel and its Zionist supporters, and not identify it as such? Indeed, even the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has also criticized Carter's book. It would be worth visiting her speeches to the AIPAC in 2003 and 2005, and understanding the hidden in plain sight dynamics here50, here51, here52, and here53, to glean her own political attachments and partisanship. Here is one example each from her two AIPAC speeches:
.“I'm so pleased to be joined by three of my colleagues-Congressman Howard Berman of California, Congressman Sander Levin of Michigan, and Congressman Bob Matsui of California. All are strong supporters of Israel. Thank you to all the members of AIPAC, especially those who have traveled so far from California and the Bay Area. The special relationship between the United States and Israel is as strong as it is because of your fidelity to that partnership and the commitment of every person in this room today. I am honored to be here to speak about something that can never be said enough: America's commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel is unwavering.” (Pelosi, AIPAC 2003)
.“One thing, however is unchanged: America's commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel is unwavering. America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship” (Pelosi, AIPAC 2005)
Some of the a priori axioms that are plainly visible in those speeches remain critically unexamined by their interlocutors in the press to put the antagonism of the detractors in their proper perspective. Thus an impartial observer may easily note that the vested interests in the loud opposition to an American President's controversial book that is sympathetic to one side and clearly apportions the blame to the other side, are entirely being ignored as the hue and cry aliases itself as an objective scholarly critique.
So let's just say that we, the conscionable readers of this Preamble, are smarter than all the talking heads in the news media and have unpeeled the top few layers of the onion to correctly note the respective affinities of the participants in this dialog. So here is a second example, serendipitous in its timing with my own conversation with lovable Harvey, of a dialog among civilizations where the two participants, it may be convincingly argued, are the self-appointed but knowledgeable exponents of the two sides in this conflict. A former President of a superpower nation who once had first hand access to all the classified and top secret information any history detective would salivate over, and who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pivotal role in bringing the two sides together for an Accord; and a history professor who is intimately familiar with the subject through some first hand experience of his own as President Carter's close colleague. And yet, the dialog remains as obfuscating and frustrating to witness as my own with Harvey. Why is it failing?
Should we put this conversation to the same litmus tests and analysis? What a priori axioms remain unexamined and unscrutinized? What questions should be brought up for discussion that are not? What assumptions are made, or not made, and disclosed, or not disclosed? What seems to be the intent in engaging in this dialog? What are the "forces" at work in the environs within the civilizational constructs of the participants - they obviously do not work in a vacuum - that is creating more obfuscation than already exists? This could have been an excellent opportunity to open up a genuine dialog on the real issues in the conflict due to President Carter's surprising and unexpected book with such an interesting title, seeding the debate. But the dialog has largely become only about Carter and his book, not about Israel and Palestine. Why? See Stein's detailed critique of Carter's book, as well as follow some of the links in the NPR interviews to witness the incredibly bizarre scope of this debate - all strewn with red herrings a plenty (also see "the endless trail of red herrings"). What shape or form would the positions of Kenneth Stein and President Carter respectively take, if a full contextual civilizational dialog along the much sought after "rules of engagement" imagined here, with well specified "initial conditions", were in force?
The astute readers, sociologists, scientists, moralists, and all non-hare brained peoples of conscience and in full possession of their thinking faculties are invited to reflect on these questions. The exploration of these issues with a critical mind contextualizes the deliberate scope-containment of this discussion that the American audience is being shown in public.
Okay, a cynical reader might argue, let's imagine we did have such an honest dialog, with all the "initial conditions" and "rules of engagement" in place. And let's grant the optimistic premise that it led to an understanding of the 'right thing to do', and automatically pointed to the "just and fair solutions space". So how could merely knowing the path to "just and fair resolutions" make any impact whatsoever? If the "just" solution is against the grain, against the interests of the power-brokers, against the interests of those who wield the biggest sticks, how is to be implemented? A reasonable person may further argue that the power brokers and hectoring hegemons are least likely to accept solutions or outcomes of such dialogs that are against their own vested interests, even if such dialogs are forced upon them or allowed to occur in the nation in public view by magic. Is this simply a Utopian epiphany, the stroking of the mind, of little practical significance in real life?
No! It makes an immediate impact because this is why well intentioned peoples continually 'not learning the right thing to do' is so necessary in order for the few hectoring hegemons to perpetuate their hegemony and vested interests!
Conscionable peoples knowing the right solutions, the just and fair solutions, positively yank from underneath the hectoring hegemons, the very power base with which they rule over ordinary peoples - the power to deceive. From Machiavelli to Nietzsche to Strauss, and the emperors before and after them - the supermen beyond the pale of ordinary morality who tell Noble Lies to rule over the lambs - deception has been the real source of their power.
The power to deceive, and the power to corrupt in order to create accomplices, are the twain weapons of any ruling elite. Disarm them of one of their most primary potent weapons, and the hectoring hegemons are left naked, unmasked. Does it also make them impotent? Whom will they send to fight wars if the peoples know and comprehend the real intents behind the wars and understand all the pretexts that create the conditions of war and conflict?
Every conscionable peoples must indeed demand, create, and force such genuine civilizational dialogs upon the consciousness of their nations (as opposed to the faux one being driven in the United Nations under the bombastic name “Dialog Among Civilizations”).
A battle initiated with intellectual capital, can also be ended with intellectual capital - the only peaceable way. The alternatives are too horrible to contemplate.
What is the point of this dialog analysis and all this verbage?
The point is a matter of life and death for nations. That is the point of this. Let me be very precise.
Either the United States, or Israel, are poised to attack Iran, as noted by many commentators in the World press, and as was also noted by the honorable Republican Congressman from Texas, Ron Paul in his speech in January 2007 (see here15):
.“As I said last week on the House floor, speculation in Washington focuses on when, not if, either Israel or the U.S. will bomb Iran-- possibly with nuclear weapons. The accusation sounds very familiar: namely, that Iran possesses weapons of mass destruction. Iran has never been found in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and our own Central Intelligence Agency says Iran is more than ten years away from producing any kind of nuclear weapon. Yet we are told we must act immediately while we still can!”
Even the inexplicable Zbigniew Brzezinski, unabashedly candid as always, as in his chauvinist Grand Chessboard, plainly stated the following on February 1, 2007 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reading from a carefully prepared statement (here54):
.“a plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a "defensive" US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan”
If you are like me, you likely will share in these imperatives. Hence show your support to your own conscience and to your own moral imperatives, by considering doing the following, in your own respective local spaces, worldwide.
I would like you to seed peaceful and rational conversations among the public on any and all topics of contention - a dialog - to figure out what "rules of engagement" are needed in a genuine dialog whose intent is to reach amicable and just settlements of contentious and fractious issues, and how to expose and unmask the criminal bully when the intention of one or many among them in their pretentious participation in the talks is merely to deceive, or to buy time.
I would like to have the following coarse grained recipe for conducting a dialog refined with wisdom gleaned from your own experiences - now that you have become cognizant of the layers upon layers of issues involved.
This initial coarse grained 5 step commonsense algorithm - “HumanbeingsfirstTM Dialog among Civilizations Algorithm” – may be summarized as follows:
Step 1. There must not be any undefined, unexamined, unagreed upon axioms. Thusly, before anything, reach specific and documented agreement on values - how to define various "value" concepts with a consistency that is applicable to all sides. Thus for instance, a definition for what do these terms mean: "good", "bad", "just", "unjust", "terrorism", "truth", "falsehood", "aggressor", aggressee", "preemption", "self-defense", or any other fundamental concepts that may become axioms for the dialog. If new axioms are uncovered during the dialog whose definitions have not been agreed upon, suspend the dialog immediately, and return to this step 1. Good starting criterion for defining these terms might be the Universal Golden Rule: "do unto others, as you have others do unto you", and the Universal Principle of First Cause: "all the evil that follows".
Step 2. There must not be any undefined, unexamined, and unagreed upon rules on how to conduct the dialog, the rules for presenting evidence, what constitutes evidence, how the discussion is to proceed in terms of cycle of response and counter response to evidence, and how to ensure that all sides abide by these rules. A policing mechanism has to be agreed upon through which all parties will be compelled to stick to these pre-agreed upon rules. These "rules of engagement" must be as completely defined as possible before proceeding to step 3 to start with. If in the process of dialog, it is discovered that new or additional rules are required, or need to be fine tuned, suspend the dialog immediately and return to this step 2.
Step 3. Define the set of "initial conditions" for the dialog after both steps 1 and 2 have been completed and written down. There must not be any dialog that is conducted outside the band of "initial conditions". This foundation, like any other foundation, must be enacted first, and in order to do so, make diligent attempt to establish the relevant set of "initial conditions" that is acceptable to all sides, and document these set of initial conditions. The dialog must not be initiated until steps 1-3 have been agreed by all parties. The policing mechanism of step 2 must be employed to ensure compliance with the "rules of engagement" while defining the "initial conditions".
Step 4. Once Steps 1-3 have been signed and agreed upon, explain them to the public. Only then must the actual dialog be commenced. This is what will keep the dialog honest and accountable. Be this any dialog - between husband and wife quarreling over marital problems - in which case making public means explain it to the policing mediator who may also be the witness, or family members may be the witnesses; or between "US and Iran", or "Israel and Palestine", or "India and Pakistan", or "Shia and Sunni", or "Catholics and Protestants", or "WMD and false pretexts", or "globalization and anti-globalization", or "war on terrorism and war on freedom" - all quarreling on clever spins and entirely and purposefully obfuscating the real issues from surfacing before the ordinary peoples of this planet. The policing mediator in all these cases could easily be the UN, and the witnesses, the world's public.
Step 5. Commence the actual dialog and allow witnesses to observe - if it is between husband and wife, a mediator must be witnessing it and acting as the policing party to ensure "rules of engagement" are followed to rationally arrive at the honest and just solution. If it is between US and Iran in the United Nations for instance, or around a round table, the world public must witness this exchange, be able to provide their input if they perceive the agreed upon and documented "rules of engagement" are not being followed, or the "policing" itself has been compromised by it showing a bias for one side or the other. Do not allow any party to quit, without forfeiting their positions, or reaching whatever logical end conclusion that is the rational outcome as the natural output of this process. That outcome is the 'right solution space' and the "right thing to do'.
How long will it take? I refuse to accept that this is an NP complete algorithm. But I do concede that it will likely be difficult to get past even steps 1 and 2 in a highly contentious situation such as Israel-Palestine, or US-IRAN, where one side is overly powerful and insists on "might is right" defining the terms. And this is precisely the point of this algorithm, that all 5 steps are entirely conducted in the global public view so that all can see, the milk easily separating from the adulterating water!
It is my humble belief that following this HumanbeingsfirstTM Rules of Dialog among Civilizations, in contrast to the Hectoring Hegemons arbitrary rules of "might makes right" engagement, all issues among mankind can be resolved to the point of "knowing the right thing to do" space. There will no longer be any confusion of who is right, and what is "right", who is the aggressor, the oppressor, and who are the aggrieved, and the oppressed. At that point, whether or not the right thing to do is pursued further, is up to the members dialoging, their respective constituencies, and their moral imperatives if they are human beings first.
So how do we get to the "right thing to do space"? How do we implement such a dialog between US and IRAN, or between Israel and Palestine with this algorithm?
Public pressure, from all human beings first!
I know of no other way! Such pressure, non-linearly applied, can even move the earth, as noted by Archimedes.
This document will be attempted to be submitted to the United Nations for their kind consideration - as the voice of an ordinary humanbeingfirstTM - to use it to seed the process for establishing worthwhile and meaningful dialogs in the UN.
If you would like to assist, please contact (write a letter, send an email, call, fax) the United Nations Secretary General's office and request, very politely, that they, as representatives of human beings in this august international body, represent you, the human beings, espousing the ideals of humanbeingsfirstTM over hectoring hegemons, in the manner of your own choosing. Namely, that they conduct their deliberations according to the algorithm outlined here. Get them to read this document. Get your own government leaders, congressmen, lawyers, doctors, scholars, and the talking heads in the media, to talk about how to dialog using ideas gleaned here. If 50 million people make this contact with their leaders in every nation, and leave a distinct paper trail of their making the contact, it may yet be a ray of hope for mankind that we are indeed a bit more evolved than the Neanderthals. Whether we actually are or not, will entirely depend on how we act subsequently.
Additionally, it is of immense importance to engage the honorable and erstwhile scholars par excellence, Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, the progenitors of the notion of "clash of civilizations", by attempting to seed public discussion both at Harvard and at Princeton Universities, the former for his decade old book, provocatively titled "Clash of Civilizations", the latter for his book, again interestingly and provocatively titled, "Crisis of Islam - Holy war and Unholy Terror". If you are at these campuses and would like to help, go for it.
I would like to seed some discussions at MIT, quite prominent in the Vietnam anti-war movement but now laying dormant as dissent is out of fashion in most American Universities and Colleges. MIT is also the distinguished home of my erstwhile and luminary Professor, Noam Chomsky, with whom I have many disagreements. I would love to engage him based on the process disclosed here in a rational non-fundamentalist dialog among civilizations in the context of his publicly stated positions on Israel-Palestine and the two-state solution, or even his best selling booklet, 911, the former an excellent example of profound double standards, the latter of unexamined axioms based on new found faith in his Government.
It would indeed be interesting to conduct such dialogs among civilizations on many American college campuses among the many proponents to the various solutions on Israel-Palestine, vocalists for "war on terrorism", and vocalists for "empire", inviting David Horowitz of Frontpage magazine, the famous academic Alan M. Dershowitz, the notable founder of Campus Watch, Daniel Pipes, and the erstwhile founder and editor of neo-con's influential Weekly Standard, William Kristol - all outspoken champions and exponents of American and Israeli primacy and its geostrategic imperatives - to participate.
Dare they accept the challenge of ordinary human beings first? Do we matter, or are we just fodder at the altar of Noble Lies?
Indeed, a brand new series of interviews conducted by NPR with former President Jimmy Carter and his detractors, on his book "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid" would be mighty illuminating, now that we have seen above how such dialogs only added to the public's confusion without benefit of the rules developed here.
Please write to both NPR's correspondent Steve Inskeep and President Jimmy Carter, politely suggesting that they review what is disclosed here in order to mitigate all the obfuscation that has surrounded "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid".
If you are in America and would like to seed small debates among civilizations in your own universities and communities, do invite the organization Campus Watch (see here55, here56, here57, here58) - nicely - and have them participate. That is the entire point of a debate, to learn to talk to each others' antagonists in a productive way, either unmasking them before an audience, or reaching a state of enlightenment for the "right thing to do" space. This is easier said than done however as was witnessed at Columbia University in 2004 (see here59, here60, here61, here62). The same professors and participants involved can perhaps consider engaging in a more productive dialog using the algorithm developed here.
Indeed, If you are at UCLA, invite the pro-war Republican groups that invited James Woolsey to speak, where he deployed the ingenious catch phrase "World War IV" in 2003 at a pro-war rally, to participate.
If you are a Republican, invite your Democrat brothers and sisters and fellow Americans to dialog employing the steps outlined here on any topic of contention but especially on 'war on terror' and the Democrats equal if not greater zest for bombing Iran; if you are a Pakistani, invite your Indian fellow human being to dialog; if you are a Mainland Chinese, invite your fellow Taiwanese brothers and sisters to dialog; if you are a Muslim, invite your fellow Jews and Christian brothers and sisters to dialog; if you are an Israeli, invite your Palestinian neighbors to dialog; and if you are a presidential candidate in any country that has elections rather than selections and appointments or outright usurpations, invite your worthy opponents to engage using the algorithm of rational and fair discourse developed here to really enlighten the audience on the global issues that impact all of us today.
The two most bedeviling situations in the world today, apart from the superpower primacy and its geostrategic imperatives, are Israel-Palestine, and India Pakistan over Kashmir, both generous legacies of the British. And their talks continue to fail bringing misery to the ordinary peoples on the ground who continue to live and die under brutal occupations. Is it possible that new dialogs are seeded with the algorithm developed here, and conducted entirely in public? Can it be tried? Yes it can if ordinary people start demanding it, start doing it themselves in their communities with their arch nemeses, some superstars pick it up, and the media catches on! Okay "I am a dreamer, but I hope I am not the only one"!
The best place to start is in the academe!
If you are an academic, a teacher, a professor, please consider teaching/developing the art of civilizational dialog in your own classes. Make this document an assigned reading for your English class, or writing class, or humanities class, and get them to critique it, and hence indirectly expose them to the concept of why the "process" of dialog itself almost invariably always determines the success or failure of any dialog on any contentious topic. For instance, you may consider using the straightforward analysis presented in "The endless trail of red herrings" to seed your own objective classroom debates on Israel-Palestine as a case study for the new dialog process, and make the contentious discourse actually productive for a change.
Consider initiating a new class, or evening seminar in your organization for "dialog among civilizations" - in elementary school, high school, university, even graduate school, adult education center, as an extra curricular activity - as the most essential and crucial lesson to teach and learn for the 21st century to the members of our communities. Use role playing in class - using the dialog among civilizations algorithm developed here - and show the two parallel cases to the class, one where these rules are not employed, and one when they are.
Encourage the class to write letters to the United Nations Secretary General, and to their President, as a class activity, sharing the light bulbs that go on in their heads after such role playing, and requesting, politely as always, that as their representatives, these leaders employ the same devices for conducting their own deliberations with other nations as what appear to be intractable problems in foreign affairs can become amenably and very peaceably tractable overnight without requiring endless wars and trillions of dollars in defense budget that can now be better utilized in building more libraries and better public schools for them.
Unless we can teach our new generations the genuine "art of dialog" when they are brimming with idealism and aspire to do good in the world, after they become cynical adults corrupted by the realpolitik, it may be too late for internalizing the concepts. We are only constrained by our imagination in how many ways we can learn and teach the concepts outlined here. With a renewed emphasis in almost all nations on rational dialog with the "war on terrorism" on, this is a great opportunity to actually make a tremendous difference - and yes just by talking, but not randomly, and not by shouting past each other!
We have a profound saying in my native Pakistani language, Urdu, in transliteration: “dood ka dood, aur pani ka pani” – loosely translated it means, separation of the adulterating water from the pure milk. Watch all the milkmen run! Will there be any milkman left standing at all after the world really learns why talks fail, and why indeed does uncovering fair and just resolutions continue to bedevil many of us?
It's our job, as human beings first, to force contestants in our respective societies into the lab of humanity for a fair and honest, rational and scientific measurement of their products - the lives of civilizations, nations, millions of peoples, long suffering at the hands of hectoring hegemons of all shades and stripes, depend on it!
Only a constructive and genuine dialog among civilization can avert the pain and suffering that the fiction of "clash of civilizations" is bringing upon ordinary peoples of the world. If you want to avert it, and not perpetuate it, your imperatives have been made manifest here. Do we lead forth with our conscience for the sake of our children and grandchildren as human beings first, or remain silently bespectating as impotent zombie bystanders while a mere handful of monumentally criminal hectoring hegemons continue to reign supreme in our names?
If you, dear reader, participate in such dialogs among your friends, interest groups, campuses, community centers, in the media, or if you witness them, and uncover pieces of wisdom that can fine tune, optimize, or transform this algorithm for conducting productive dialog among civilizations to make it even more productive - please do not hesitate to share them.
Often we ask, "what can I do?", "I am just an ordinary human being!". Here is a proposal that can possibly strip all hectoring hegemons buck naked, without firing a single shot! Please try it before someone puts on that vest, or gets into that F-16, as mere pawns, and victims, and monumental murderers, on the Grand Chessboard!
Why do I call this document Part-1? Because I hope 'human beings' will exist to write a Part-2!
The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by six publishers and can be read on the web at http://PrisonersoftheCave.org. He may be reached at http://Humanbeingsfirst.org.
All material copyright (c) Project HumanbeingsfirstTM, with full permission to copy, repost, and reprint, in its entirety, unmodified and unedited, for any purpose, granted, provided the URL sentence and this copyright notice are also reproduced verbatim as part of this license, and not doing so may be subject to copyright license violation infringement claims pursuant to remedies noted at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html. All quotations and excerpts are based on non-profit "fair use" in the greater public interest consistent with the understanding of laws noted at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. The rights of the author to express these views are based on inalienable rights noted at http://www.hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html, and to do so freely without suffering intimidation and duress is based on the new anti-terrorism laws discussed at http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=10786 which presumably supercedes excellent theory noted at http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.overview.html. Full copyright notice and Exclusions at http://www.humanbeingsfirst.org.
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Dialog Among Civilizations 50 / 50 Whytalksfail? Part-1