The Center for an Informed America NEWSLETTER #16
September 16, 2002
What's It Really All About?, Part III
Greetings, once again, to all subscribers!
Believe it or not, I'm finally getting around to writing the third and final installment of the "What's the War on Terrorism Really All About?" diatribe, and I'm only a few days shy of getting it posted in time for the one year anniversary of the events that allegedly triggered the war.
Some of you were probably hoping that I'd gotten down from my high horse and moved on to other things. And some have probably been wondering if I was ever going to get around to wrapping this thing up. Some of you likely have wondered if I have kept postponing it for the rather obvious reason that I don't really know what the war on terrorism is really all about.
And you're right. I have no clue. The answer then to the question of what it's really all about is: it beats the hell out of me.
There. I'm all done already. That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Whew! What a relief! I'm glad we got that over with.
Well, that's all for this outing. See you all next week ...
What's that, you say? You expected a little bit more?
Well ... all right then, I'll see what I can come up with. But first, I must comment on the latest musings from the man whose writings inspired this series to begin with: Jared Israel of The Emperor's New Clothes. On September 11, Emperor's posted a piece - apparently the first in a new series - that ended with a rather provocative observation. After reiterating various peculiar actions, or non-actions, taken by various officials in the Bush administration in response to events that unfolded the previous September 11, Israel writes:
"The incriminating behavior of Bush and Co. on 9-11 resulted from a fact whose implications nobody has yet discussed. Namely, the plans for American Flight 77, which we are told hit the Pentagon, clearly went wrong. This in turn rendered the plans of Bush, General Richard B. Myers and other conspirators obsolete. Forced to improvise, but confused as to how to handle multiple dangers, they made blunders which point to their guilt."
I would have to say that Mr. Israel may very well have provided a key piece of the puzzle here -- specifically, the notion that this was not a perfectly executed series of attacks, but was in fact largely a bungled operation. I realized upon reading this insightful passage that I had stumbled close to this realization when composing the Pentagon attack newsletter (http://davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr7.html), when I had questioned why the Pentagon wasn't the first target to be attacked, given that it was the target closest to the origins of the hijacked flights, and given that it was strategically the most obvious first target of attack.
As U.S. military and intelligence types know better than anyone, the first objective, always, is to disrupt or destroy the enemy's military command and communication structure, leaving him vulnerable to subsequent attacks. Why then wasn't the Pentagon targeted first? Flight 77, after all, took off from Dulles Airport at 8:17 AM, 28 minutes before the first WTC tower was struck.
Mr. Israel is quite likely correct in concluding that something went wrong with the plans for Flight 77. Exactly what it was that went wrong is not entirely clear, but that issue will presumably be addressed in the new series of Emperor's postings. It occurs to me though that it is rather obvious that something also went wrong with Flight 93 -- it was delayed for 40 minutes on the runway.
It has been widely claimed that Flight 93, which allegedly crashed in rural Pennsylvania, was headed towards the White House, or some other significant target in Washington. And there were initial media reports of explosions at the U.S. State Department and/or at the White House.
Could these have been pre-planted stories for an event that never occurred -- never occurred because the flight didn't get off the ground in time? It seems entirely possible that Flight 77 and Flight 93 (which finally got in the air at 8:42, just minutes before the first tower was hit) were supposed to constitute the first wave of the attack, taking out the Pentagon and a target in Washington, possibly even the White House (the primary occupants were, of course, out of town).
These initial 'surprise' attacks would then have been quickly followed by the spectacular, and quite telegenic, attacks on the twin towers. Such a sequence of events would have raised far fewer questions about the lack of a military response. But it wasn't meant to be, as both 77 and 93 encountered difficulties, while the twin tower strikes proceeded on schedule -- leaving a dumbfounded Bush sitting in a classroom in Florida wondering why the Pentagon and White House hadn't been hit yet, and wondering if someone was working on the script of what he was supposed to say after he could no longer stall by consulting with his grade school advisors.
It is quite possible, to speculate just a bit further, that someone then came up with the brilliant idea to substitute a cruise missile for the errant Flight 77, attempting, perhaps, to somehow render the military retroactively incapable of responding to any of the attacks.
And what of Flight 93? It was hopelessly behind schedule. By the time it began making its way to Washington, the show was over. There was really no longer any reason to take out a perfectly good chunk of the White House. What to do then? Shoot it down, of course.
Such a scenario seems entirely plausible. It would explain some of the mysteries surrounding the events of that day, including: the rather bizarre behavior of Bush and many of his underlings as events unfolded; why the cover story is so transparently thin, and was seemingly cobbled together; why evidence indicates that the Pentagon was not in fact hit by a commercial airliner; why there were erroneous early reports of additional attacks on targets in Washington; and why there is every indication that Flight 93 was shot down.
I'm not sure that this is the direction that Mr. Israel is heading, but it will be interesting to see how he fleshes out the compelling arguments that he has sketched in his most recent postings. But now, without further ado, I must attempt to come up with some sort of answer to the question of what this war is really about.
This journey began, as you will recall, with a critique of a series of postings on The Emperor's New Clothes that argued that the war wasn't about oil, but about geopolitics. It was argued here (in Newsletter #11: http://davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr11.html) that it was in fact about both, and that geopolitical theory itself may have been initially based on emerging oil concerns.
It has also been argued (in Newsletter #12: http://davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr12.html) that there are other goals being pursued as well, some of which, including control of the regional drug trade, have been identified by Mike Ruppert. And, speaking of the local drug trade, I see here that Afghanistan seems to be awash in a sea of poppies this year. Funny how that works.
It shouldn't be too long then until a whole lot of cheap heroin begins hitting U.S. streets, and a lot of dirty money begins flowing through U.S. banks.
I have argued that, while it's not fair to say that it isn't about oil, it also isn't fair to say that it's only about oil. Stan Goff though seems to be saying exactly that, in "The Infinite War and its Roots."
Stan Goff is an interesting guy. His withering attack on the official 9-11 story was among the first to be widely distributed on the Internet. It first arrived in my in-box as an untitled e-mail. It soon surfaced on NarcoNews as "The So-Called Evidence is a Farce." It was later posted on various sites under various titles.
Under any title, it was and is a provocative piece of work. But Stan Goff has a rather troubling background. In 1996, he retired from military service and was reborn as a political activist, authoring a book exposing the brutality of the 1994 U.S. military intervention in Haiti, in which he participated as a Special Forces operative.
All well and good, except that the Haiti intervention came at the tail end of Goff's rather lengthy Special Forces career -- after he had plied his trade in Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Peru, Colombia and Somalia. These were not the kinds of places, it's safe to say, where Goff would have been sent on humanitarian missions.
Now I don't want to piss Mr. Goff off here, because I'm sure that he is very good at what he used to do, but it does seem a little odd to me that it took Stan twenty-six years to figure out that performing assassinations for Uncle Sam, while cavorting with death squad leaders and druglords, was not the way to make the world a better place.
So I'm not entirely convinced that I should accept Stan Goff as the ultimate authority on what this war is all about. Surely there must be more to it than just oil. And more to it than just oil and drugs. More even than oil, drugs and geopolitical domination.
Ruppert has suggested that the war is also a means of propping up a failing economy. It is certainly a means of funneling vast amounts of money into the hands of corporate America via grotesquely bloated 'defense' and 'intelligence' budgets, and of lining the pockets of virtually every member of the Bush administration and most of Congress.
But it's not, in the final analysis, really about money. It's not really about oil, either. And it's certainly not about religion. This isn't a holy war against Islam. Religion is largely irrelevant. It just happens to be mostly Muslims who have the misfortune to be living in a very strategic part of the world.
That doesn't mean that Muslims won't be demonized to advance an agenda. But it isn't really about religion, just like it isn't really about money, despite the fact that we have all heard it repeated ad naseum that all wars are fought over money and/or religion. These though are really just tools -- a means to an end.
One aspect of the 'War on Terrorism' that neither Jared Israel nor Mike Ruppert have had much to say about is the battle that is being waged on what is perhaps the most important 'front' in the 'War on Terror' -- the home front.
The attacks upon the rights of American citizens have been dizzying in number and breathtaking in their audacity. American society is being fundamentally transformed, with the September 11 attacks used as the legitimizing factor.
Yet both Israel and Ruppert have concluded that the U.S. government had to have had some level of complicity in the September 11 attacks. Certainly then the domestic crackdown can not be viewed as a legitimate response to an unforeseen 'terrorist attack.' Nor is it, as many on the supposed 'left' claim, a reasonably well-intentioned overreaction to an unforeseen 'terrorist attack.'
What it is is the institution of authoritarian, police-state measures as a matter of preexisting policy, not as a response to a triggering event -- which raises the question of why there is such a strong desire by our duly appointed leaders to move the nation quickly towards acceptance of an authoritarian state.
It should be noted, of course, that we were already well on our way there, but we were taking baby steps compared to the great strides we have taken since September 11.
It should also be noted that this is not a phenomenon unique to America. As the UK's Telegraph noted in a recent posting concerning a report issued by a European civil liberties group (which apparently has considerably more legitimacy than most U.S. civil liberties groups, which have offered muted criticism, if any at all, of the Bush team's stunning rollback of civil liberties):
"The European Union has taken advantage of September 11 to curb dissent in what amounts to a 'war on freedom and democracy.' according to a report published yesterday.
"The civil liberties group Statewatch said the EU was acquiring draconian powers to harry protesters and carry out surveillance of ordinary citizens, but lacked the normal safeguards to prevent their abuse ...
"Tony Bunyan, head of Statewatch, said the emerging system 'utterly blurs the distinction between terrorism and resistance to oppression or political dissent."
The harsh reality is that there is no distinction between terrorism and resistance to oppression. By the definition of the U.S. government and its allies, resistance to oppression and political dissent, whether at home or abroad, is terrorism. They are one and the same.
Any discussion then of what the war is really all about has to include consideration of the war being waged against the American people (and the rest of the world's people) by their own government. The question to ask is not "why are we at war in Afghanistan?", but is "why are we at war with ourselves, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Colombia, the Philippines, ...."
As the World Socialist Web Site recently noted: "Any objective consideration of the political changes that have taken place since the attacks of September 11, 2001 must lead to the conclusion that the tragic events of that day were the starting point for a vast change in American domestic as well as foreign policy ...
"The police-state measures undertaken within the US by the Bush administration and its drive to war, from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond, are two sides of the same policy, pursued by the same political forces, in the interests of the same financial elite.
"The remnants of American liberalism are in a state of denial. They continue to treat the offensive against democratic rights as an aberration or misunderstanding. They seek to obscure from the American people the fact that a fundamental shift has taken place in the direction of dictatorial forms of rule."
I don't really have much quarrel with any of that, except that it is not necessarily the case that the mouthpieces of American 'liberalism' are "in denial"; many of them are no doubt well aware of the fundamental and permanent changes taking place in this country, but it is their job to not share that information with the American people. And they perform that job rather well, I must say.
In other words, you won't find too many answers in the writings of such 'lefty' icons as, say, Noam Chomsky. In a piece that appeared last week in Australia's The Age, entitled "What Americans have learnt - and not learnt - since 9/11," Chomsky began:
"September 11 shocked many Americans into an awareness that they had better pay much closer attention to what the United States Government does in the world and how it is perceived. Many issues have been opened for discussion that were not on the agenda before. That is all to the good."
Talk about putting a positive spin on things ...
"Many issues have been opened for discussion that were not on the agenda before"??? What issues, pray tell, might those be, Professor Chomsky? I would think that any reasonable observer couldn't help but conclude that, in the stifling post-September 11 environment, anything resembling actual discussion of any issues has been sacrificed on the altar of false patriotism.
As for Chomsky's advice to pay close attention to what America does abroad -- that will only provide a part of the answer. It is as important, if not more so, to pay close attention to what the Bush administration does here at home -- a subject about which Chomsky has nothing to say in his anniversary missive.
Indeed, Chomsky writes that "Today, Americans do themselves few favors by choosing to believe that 'they hate us' and 'hate our freedoms.' On the contrary, these are people who like Americans and admire much about the US, including its freedoms. What they hate is official policies that deny them the freedoms to which they, too, aspire."
Beyond the fact that Chomsky makes no mention of our supposed freedoms as Americans quickly disappearing down a black hole, he distances himself from the official Bush line only by changing "they hate us for our freedoms" to "they envy us for our freedoms." 'They' don't really hate us at all. 'They' actually like and admire us very much. But sometimes 'they' kill us so that we will know that 'they' want to be just like us, because of course everyone secretly aspires to be just like us.
Thanks for clearing that up, Noam. And thanks as well for jumping on board with the Bush administration in stating that what Iraq really needs is some new leadership -- or what George likes to call a regime change (http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/marketing.html). It's a good thing that we have voices of sanity like that in these troubled times.
And, by the way, couldn't we have learnt (hey, it's not my choice of words; talk to Chomsky about it -- he's the linguist) more from the events of September 11 if there were ever an actual investigation into what exactly happened that day? Isn't a logical first step towards learning from an event undertaking some kind of effort to determine what it is that we are supposed to be learning from? Chomsky though has nothing to say about the blatant year-long stonewalling of any investigation by Team Bush.
So where does one find a definitive answer to the question of what this war is really about? The mainstream media certainly isn't the place to look. They'll tell you some fanciful story that's so full of logical gaps and so thoroughly built on a bed of lies that you'll just walk away shaking your head, wondering how in the world they expect anyone to take the leaps of faith that are required to blindly accept their manufactured reality.
The so-called 'progressive' press isn't much better. There you will find guys like Marc Cooper, who could teach the 'mainstream' media boys a thing or two about how to cheerlead a war. Or you might find someone who wants to educate you as to all the reasons that Arabs have to be pissed off at America, to help you to understand, though certainly not to justify, of course, the attacks of last September 11.
And the various Internet-based researchers haven't really provided a satisfactory answer. They tell you it's about oil, or that it's not about oil, or that it's about oil and drugs, or that it's about the final deconstruction of the former Soviet Union, or that it's about geopolitics, or that it's about ensuring a Republican victory in the coming elections, or that it's about rescuing a struggling economy, or ...
Some of them will also tell you that it was actually Israel, or maybe China, that planned and executed the September 11 attacks -- as though Israel or China has the ability to stand down America's air defense systems, or force high-level FBI and CIA officials to look the other way as warnings of the impending attacks came flooding in, or engage in some speculative trading through a CIA-connected brokerage in the days leading up to September 11 and have such highly irregular trading somehow escape notice, or do any number of other things that, individually and collectively, point to a somewhat different culprit.
So I had nearly given up on my search when I stumbled upon someone who seems to be very close to providing a definitive answer, so much as a definitive answer is possible, to the question of what this war is ultimately all about. The man who provided that answer is a Canadian philosophy professor named John McMurtry.
It is difficult to do justice to McMurtry's arguments by picking them apart into sound bites, but I will attempt here to present some of the highlights of the professor's rather brilliant dissection of the war, entitled simply "Why Is There a War in Afghanistan?"
McMurtry notes early on that: "I am going to consider 'America's New War' as the latest expression of a much deeper and wider terrorist campaign of an emergent totalitarian pattern of instituting world corporate rule with no limit of occupation or accountability beyond itself."
There are two important points made here: first, that the 'new' war isn't really new at all, but is rather a natural progression of forces that were at work long before September 11, 2001; and second, that a primary goal is instituting a system of unaccountable global corporate rule -- an argument that, if I'm not mistaken, I put forth in a previous posting entitled "America Through the Looking Glass."
McMurtry further observes that: "Under the financial dictates of the corporate market backed by rising extremes of armed force, citizens everywhere are subjected to a low-intensity campaign of destabilization and fear that leaves no aspect of their lives secure."
Again, there are two important points being made here: first, that the victims of this war are not just those poor souls residing in Afghanistan, but that this is, in essence, a war against all mankind; and second, that this war is largely being fought by means of psychological warfare -- a primary tactic of which is, as I have noted before, 'the politics of fear.'
McMurtry acknowledges that what we all live under is "an increasingly global reign of terror," and then adds that, "our disconnection from the meaning is its triumph."
What the professor seems to be bemoaning here is the inescapable fact that the emerging totalitarian state is succeeding precisely because of the enormous disconnect that exists between the reality that is America, and the perception of the country that has been so successfully etched in so many of our minds.
For many of us, it is impossible to fathom that American militarism isn't the solution to problems, it is the problem. "As in all protection rackets by terror and financial manipulation, the greatest threat to life comes from the very system of armed force, surveillance and attack which is said to be protecting citizens from it."
There is an ultimate goal being pursued, which McMurtry explains as follows: "There is a prize for all this, and it is a prize without end - all free existence which corporate vehicles can reconstruct to extract profit from. In the end, the global corporate gang wages a war on life organization itself."
In the brave new world of the future, everything is a commodity, everything has a price tag. And everything must be controlled. For that is what it is really all about: control. Control of everything. Control of real estate, control of markets, control of resources, control of society, control of information, control of knowledge, control of life and death, control of our reality.
"The new totalitarianism ... depends throughout on keeping knowledge silenced and repressed. This is its Achilles heel. As soon as people see through it to flag it to surrounding community, the collective trance which it depends on begins to come undone."
Ahh, yes. Control of knowledge, information and communications is of paramount importance. So too is the shattering of social bonds, the atomization of society that leaves us all so susceptible to the non-stop barrage of propaganda that spills forth from our televisions, radios, computers, newspapers, magazines, schools and churches.
Those social bonds have been so thoroughly severed already that most of us feel no sense of community, and are therefore largely at the mercy of the pabulum that is force-fed to us, about which we have little or no opportunity to engage in any sort of meaningful discussion or debate. There's no need to chew ... just swallow.
"The new totalitarianism is, ultimately, an American corporate confidence game which rules the world by images and projections of power."
Of course it is. But it is an exceedingly well planned and well rehearsed confidence game that is backed by the most powerful political, military and economic forces on the planet, which have a stranglehold on virtually all avenues of the media, thereby ensuring that the only images that we see are the ones that they want us to see, and the only interpretations of those images that we hear are the ones that they want us to hear.
"To sustain acquiescence in the sacrifices it requires, a totalitarian movement must keep all its subjects off-balance by a nonstop succession of disruptive changes and demands."
As I have said before, the easiest way to achieve control is through fear. Frighten the flock, then promise them protection, and they will, with a few exceptions, generally do as they are told.
"Beneath communication, totalitarianism is a pathological solution to insecure and atomized life bearings which it appears to remedy with a homogenised unity - as we saw in the 1930's, or after the 9-11 crisis."
Of course, it is the embryonic totalitarian state itself that shatters social and community bonds, thereby producing "insecure and atomized life bearings." Like any good protection racket, Big Brother then steps in to 'solve' the very problem that it has created -- created precisely so that it can then step in to offer a solution.
"The most notorious characteristic of totalitarianism is 'the big lie' - a pervasive overriding of the distinction between fact and fiction by saturating mass media falsehoods ... The big lie - in the sense of omnipervasive lie - is disseminated by round-the-clock, centrally controlled multi-media which are watched, read or heard by people across the globe day and night without break in the occupation of public consciousness instead of national territories. Group-think, not soil, is the breeding ground of the new totalitarianism."
And here, at last, in a nutshell, is what the 'War on Terrorism' is all about. It is not about money. It is not about oil. And it is not about religion. It is about control. And the ultimate level of control, the type of control that is necessary in order to completely manufacture the reality that we all perceive - the reality that is so far at odds with the objective reality of global corporate rule, otherwise known as global fascism - is control of the human mind.
This is, ultimately, a battle for control of the human mind -- a battle to determine whether we all individually control our thoughts, our emotions, our dreams and our desires, or whether Big Brother will be doing that for us. It is a war over the control of thought -- a war to, in essence, eliminate our ability as thinking beings to envision any other reality than the artificial one that is presented to us through our government and its institutions, including the media, which is without question nothing more than a propaganda arm of the government.
It is a war to render public opinion, in the words of Barry Grey of the World Socialist Web Site, "entirely synthetic."
"Lies and half-truths have become the ingredients of a perfected system of manipulation that is only remotely connected to facts and has virtually no reference to the concerns and moods of the broad mass of the population. Public opinion is nothing more than the manner in which the corporate oligarchy and its government agents package their own outlook."
And that, for better or worse, is about all that I have left to say about what this war is really all about. The objective? Control. And the battlefield? In a very real sense, the most important battlefield is in your head.
And with that, I bid you farewell until next week, when I will attempt to sift through the mountain of links that have piled up whilst I was preoccupied with this missive. But before signing off, I leave you first with these words from Professor John McMurtry:
"In the old totalitarian culture of the Big Lie, the truth is hidden. In the new totalitarianism, there is no line between truth and falsehood. The truth is what people can be conditioned to believe."
And, as a final parting shot, the words of Peter Schrag from his 1978 book, Mind Control, which were written in a somewhat different context, but which are most appropriate here:
"The ideal ... is the paranoid's dream, a method so smooth that no one will know his behavior is being manipulated and against which no resistance is therefore possible ... There is no longer a set of impositions which he can regard as unjust or capricious and against which he can dream of rebelling. To entertain such dreams would be madness. Gradually, even the ability to imagine alternatives begins to fade. This is, after all, not only the best of all possible worlds; it is the only one."