Generally, that level of stupidity simply leaves me with a blank mind; nothing is elicited in response. Not only does this statement about the Viet Nam war ("The experience of having fought in such a war is absolutely useless to any American today and has no bearing on any thinkable fight in which the United States could now become engaged" given in "Not So Swift, John Kerry's dubious Vietnam revisionism," Slate, August 23, 2004) discredit everything Christopher Hitchens has written about Kissinger's culpability, as the journalist is clearly woefully uninformed about the Viet Nam war, but also draws into question everything he writes or is likely to write about contemporary affairs, as just as clearly he has little understanding of what is going on in the world around him. One thing beyond doubt happening today is early stages of the Viet Nam war and associated Cambodian holocaust on a global scale; not a Viet Nam war in Afghanistan; not a Viet Nam war in Iraq; not a Viet Nam war in Palestine: planetary insurgency war against the very idea of the nation-state, ultimately against the very idea of market-driven forced-draft urbanization as efficacious means of culture assassination (mercantilism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, globalization: fours words for the same market-mediated process -- the involved markets functioning under singly-logically-valued monetary units -- at different degrees of elaboration of uniformizing technology stripped of all organic cosmological metareference). On one level, you could place the Viet Nam parallel in the pre-Popular-Front, pre-WWII period, as there undoubtedly will be yet another global war amongst nation-states independent of the growing and metastasizing global insurgency -- just as world war intervened into and facilitated the Vietnamese anti-colonial struggle. On another level, you could establish the parallel in the immediate post-Tet-'68 period, in that the present counter-insurgent has handed the present global insurgent control over the strategic variables, space and time. Where the latter parallel breaks down is that in past conflicts the insurgent has not been able to wrest control over the space and time variables without successfully transiting to the strategic offensive; whereas, in the present case, only an incremented tactical offensive was required (the several terrorist actions leading up to 9/11). The fact that the counter-insurgent reacted in the hysterical fashion it did to a mere tactical offensive indicates just how vulnerable -- and how quaking in fear -- the counter-insurgent is to factors not directly related to global insurgency: in order of immediacy, threats to dollar confidence, passing of oil peak, prospective loss in anticipated confrontation with Greater China, et al., the psycho-socio-sexual dimensions of the fear being at more fundamental levels.
Quite assuredly, I am an American anti-American by every conceivable neocon criterion, as I hold that the American national interest is not in the human interest, while the human interest is in the interests of all Americans.
History is the whole man, but not only the whole conscious man; the whole man primarily governed by the unconscious, but not only that unconscious-governed whole man; such a whole man holographically transparent with his embedding population corpus, and his embedding natural surround, but not only this transparent whole man; the unconscious-governed transparent whole man whose unconscious is governed by the fundamental physical constants regulating general process in nature: history is nature personifying itself as the transparent whole man writ small as form in process.
My psychodynamic historiography, my philosophy of history, is by no means my innovation. People generally are just not well informed in this area. By way of illustration, let me quote from the preface to a great book I first read in 1963 under tutelage of Elspeth Rostow, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth, by Henry Nash Smith (Harvard U. Press, 1950):
I use the words [myth and symbol] to designate larger or smaller units of the same kind of thing, namely an intellectual construction that fuses concept and emotion into an image. The myths and symbols with which I deal have the further characteristic of being collective representations rather than the work of a single mind. I do not mean to raise the question whether such products of the imagination accurately reflect empirical fact. They exist on a different plane. But as I have tried to show, they sometimes exert a decided influence on practical affairs.
I read this book in process of preparing a freshman paper for Elspeth on the Hamilton-Jefferson debates on the national debt, debates that would determine the path taken by the new nation, the path -- given outcome of these debates -- to the bitter end, which, presently, is entering realms of certainty. Today, looking at the issue of dollar confidence, I find that the only reservation I have concerning this statement by Smith is that I would change decided influence to decisive influence. My only original (I doubt even this, as every time I have thought I have made an original contribution I have later found someone else has already written a book on the subject: which fact, too, is a part of my historiography) has been to hypothesize that the physical constants are m-logically-valued and an integral aspect of what C. G. Jung regarded the archetype-in-itself, which may be interpreted a Whiteheadian mathematical relation-structure. If the physical constants are, indeed, m-logically-valued, then any possible relativistic-quantum theory applies equally to an infinite number of scale levels, and, if so, we have no further to look for an explanation as to why the Westphalian nation-state system has, for a century, been deader than dead: only endgame remains. And this endgame will involve only competition between absolutely worst-case scenarios. If you wish to seriously contest this assessment, you will have to find some intelligent statement by some leader located somewhere on this planet. This is a challenge I think the odds are strongly against your being able to adequately meet.
In my estimation, we are not talking unresolvable technical difficulties here; we are talking people problems: the ideological impress people have placed upon the technical issues which have prevented the required solutions from effectively emerging -- even those solutions that have already been discovered. There are no technical fixes to people problems, and one can entertain no optimism about people resolving their ideologically-governed myopias. Pick any area you wish. Even those very few who actually understand the fundamentals behind the current global crisis are unwilling to act in relation to those fundamentals. People do what they can do, not what they can't do. Can't do and won't do are mantras of the times. Fixation syndrome. The species is transfixed by the abyss which has opened before it due to shattering of the Umwelt occasioned by the paradigmatic whipstall. No one is going to talk the human species back from the edge of the precipice, talk it out of jumping.
I would suggest that it is not, as you say, that I have no positive constructive ideas about how to deal with international terrorism -- which I argue has begun its transit to global insurgency outside Afghanistan, outside Iraq, outside Pakistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand -- but that there is nothing the Cartesian-Newtonian nation-state, its supranational agglomerations, and its privatized transnational mercs can do to dissipate the threat or even manage it well over time. Whatever actions of interdiction taken by such entities will, over the period of protraction, only strategically facilitate the global insurgency -- even though the counter-insurgent forces will be able to make a case for having won every battle, which is to say for having prevailed tactically. This perspective is unacceptable to whatever powers-that-be not on matters of fact or fiction, but because the objective of such interdiction efforts is to sustain the Cartesian-Newtonian nation-state system and associated economic processes in face of the myriad -- largely non-terrorist, non-insurgent -- assaults being made upon it within virtually every prevailing dimension of human activity, and increasingly also by the processes of nature. Collective expressions of psychological displacement and personification are involved here. The terrorist threat stands-in for the myriad assaults and usurps the social structure of attention, thus preventing real solutions. The concrete ideas I have about what needs to be done do not involve actions by nation-states, as I do not entertain the objective of preserving (even in formaldehyde, as seems the present case) the Cartesian-Newtonian nation-state system. I would not, for instance, recommend resurrecting the CORDS model of a single-manager system as a way of overhauling the U.S. intelligence framework and thus bringing its many agencies under the control of one man. Please ask Christopher Hitchens to compare the CORDS model and the circumstances within which it was brought forth with content of the current congressional proposal for overhaul of U.S. intelligence and the circumstances within which it was brought forth. Then see how firmly he reiterates his statement about the Viet Nam war: The experience of having fought in such a war is absolutely useless to any American today and has no bearing on any thinkable fight in which the United States could now become engaged. The U.S. is repeating to the letter absolutely every mistake made in Viet Nam, the only significant difference being the scale of application. The fact that people are scale-level blind, that they cannot transpose principles across scales of application, is a paradigm-inflexibility-related issue derivative of the prevailing insistence upon maintaining the notion of a classical limit. Wherever there is a cognitive problem the physicists are to be found nearby. Not surprising that those identified (i.e., introjected to Umwelt) with the Cartesian-Newtonian institutionalization should suffer this particular sort of blindness. Visualizing transforms in combinatorial topology is not exactly prerequisite to ascension to public office in America or to becoming a successful journalist.
It is hard to be enthusiastic about such articles and the books they review (Simon Sebag Montefiore's A Great Betrayal, The New York Review of Books, July 15, 2004, reviewing Norman Davies' Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw), as they promote the very thing they purport to decry. As Montefiore says (p. 18): Norman Davies has written a masterful, readable, and poignant narrative, filled with heroes, villains, battles, slaughter, poetry, and peerless courage in a book dedicated to (p. 18) all who fight tyranny regardless. This sounds laudable, but is fighting this or that tyranny within a system the very defining characteristics of which make tyranny inevitable the way to end tyranny? Or is the way to actually achieve this objective to be found in changing the very defining characteristics of the system as a system qua system? Fighting this or that tyranny only perpetuates the system in question, as such fighting and the lauding of such fighting substitutes for and prevents actual efforts to change its very defining characteristics. This is one of the main themes of MOON and why this Viet Nam war novel is not a combat novel. Moreover, Montefiore not only enthuses over content of Davies' book, he appears more an advocate of fighting this or that tyranny than does Davies himself, given that Montefiore criticizes an aspect of Davies' book suggestive of attempts to change the very defining characteristics of the system in question (p. 18): Davies has a modernist taste for structural 'models' that he calls 'nonlinear,' so the text is peppered with 'capsules' containing excerpts from memoirs that might in a less forceful book shatter the narrative and irritate the reader. The reader thus irritated is the reader identified with heroes, villains, battles, slaughter, poetry, and peerless courage, not the reader intent upon finding an authentic way to actually end tyranny. Where is to be found the innocent civilian?
You've gotta be kidding. Of course we are in Iraq because of deeply held consensuated values, worldview constructs, a commonly fostered set of self-image attributions. How can I be so certain of my psycho-babble historical globalony? Because me and mine have been in the American fold since the early 1700s: yeoman farmers, evangelical ministers, military men, volunteers to most every war America has fought. I've been into American Psychological Studies since infancy. How far back do you want to look? Consider the following excerpt from a letter written in 1846 by William Gilpin, follower of Thomas Hart Benton, who was a follower of Thomas Jefferson (published in Mission of the North American People, Philadelphia, 1874, quoted in Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land, Harvard U. Press, 1950, p. 40):
The untransacted destiny of the American people is to establish a new order in human affairs to regenerate superannuated nations to stir up the sleep of a hundred centuries -- to teach old nations a new civilization -- to confirm the destiny of the human race -- to carry the career of mankind to its culminating point -- to cause a stagnant people to be reborn to shed a new and resplendent glory upon mankind -- to unite the world in one social family -- to dissolve the spell of tyranny to absolve the curse that weighs down humanity to shed blessings round the world.
Is this George Bush speaking 100 years before he was born about the American mission in Iraq and global war on unregenerate terrorists? If not, I could easily have been fooled, if not for the erudition. The notion of nation building is not a 21st century original foist upon a reluctant neocon belligerent; it goes back to the railroads of the trans-Mississippi that were to bridge Europe to the Asiatic trade which had always carried great nations to the summit of wealth and power -- before they fell, each in their turn, at feet of the inexorable march of history.
I find little to disagree with Anonymous in the first half of the book, Imperial Hubris (Brassey's, Inc., 2004), as his assessment of the U. S. invasion of Afghan and its continuing dynamics is somewhat similar to my own: essentially, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have performed well there and the U.S. is caught in a double-bind: can't succeed by staying, can only make everything even worse by leaving. Setting aside all the larger paradigm-shift issues and the deeper psychological dimensions, which are completely opaque to Anonymous, where I would differ with him within the more limited area of his focus is on the question of organizational phase transitions and their implications. Granted, he uses only non-classified materials; nonetheless, an experienced analyst still should be able to discover evidence of intelligence analysis. However, it is virtually impossible to find a statement in either of Anonymous' two books that can be projected back to an authentic analytic algorithm. The closest he gets in Imperial Hubris to making observations about organizational issues is to concur with commentator statements about bin Laden being an accomplished CEO type. There is not a suggestion of insight into the paramount strategic importance of the details of organizational phase transitions. This failure, I believe, is prefigurative in a most negative fashion, as illustrated in the second half of the book, and the progression of metaphors and similes employed in Through Our Enemies' Eyes to those used in Imperial Hubris. In the first book, bin Laden, for heuristic value, is compared to America's Founding Fathers and the insurrectionist runaway slave, John Brown; in the second book, the comparisons come to dwell upon the strategies and tactics utilized during the American Civil War.
Granted, again, no classified sources are employed, but on the basis of the fundamental features of the overall assessment offered, not only how it is justified, it is clear that, just like during the Viet Nam war, Anonymous has placed too high a value upon, and taken too literally, policy documents and statements -- thus neglecting the very much more difficult task of intensively analyzing nuts-and-bolts documents or their current equivalents. The type of analysis I am speaking of is not undertaken to obtain actionable intelligence, but to arrive at the strategic insight upon which policy formulation should be based. Analyzing bureaucratic nuts-and-bolts to gain strategic insight, of course, requires knowledge of what connects the two -- which, clearly, Anonymous does not have. Absent such knowledge, there is no impetus to conduct such analysis. One mistake this leads to is misassessment of Al Qaeda's orientation to and use of the strategic variable, space. He quotes favorably (p. 141) Steven Simon's and Daniel Benjamin's The Age of Sacred Terror:
A core tenet of al Qaeda's strategy is that radical Islamists must gain control of a nation [as] a prelude to knocking over the dominoes of the world's secular Muslim regimes The craving for territory is one reason al Qaeda carries out its own terrorist attacks and supports so many national insurgencies.
This is surely an artifact of Cartesian-Newtonian thinking on part of Western analysts (a psychological projection) and is just as surely no part of bin Laden's thinking, regardless of what might be said in policy statements of the day, internal or made for public consumption. If the publicly available information on history of bin Laden's activities is to be believed, he has from the very beginning been the single-most-catalytic influence for a trans-nationalization of the Islamist movement; in fact, his whole career can be viewed in terms of the progress he has made selling to other Islamists this perspective, a perspective, judging from sophistication of his action choices, clearly based on deep consideration of the fundamental strategic variables, space and time, in insurgency warfare. It was bin Laden's actions in wake of the collapse of the U.S.S.R. that most helped quench much of state-supported terrorism, not counterterrorism initiatives; it was the emerging anti-national focus of bin Laden's movement that distanced the state sponsors and changed the forms of organization employed. He has no linear, step-by-step, conquering-of-land-or-national-geographies strategy for accomplishing his goals. "Attacking a whole civilization" does not require pursuit of geographically-focused objectives: look, for instance, at the effects of the internet on integrity of national boundaries. The global situation has progressed well beyond national-liberation struggles; bin Laden knows that. Even many Palestinians know that: if they are acting locally, they are increasingly thinking globally, in no small part due to bin Laden's influence. It was bin Laden's 9/11 strategy to draw the U.S. into invading Afghanistan so as to facilitate a global organizational phase transition away from forms required to support international terrorism toward those required to support global insurgency that led to the Taliban's loss of control over Afghanistan's national territory. It is ridiculous to believe the Taliban leadership did not know about this strategy ahead of time and concur with it. This global phase transition was entered upon by giving up control of a nation, not by gaining it. Were bin Laden to adopt a control-of-a-nation Sandinista-type strategy, he surely would fail to achieve his goals. There is no reason whatsoever to suppose bin Laden and his lieutenants do not understand this. If I learned anything from Abdul Aziz Said at AU's SIS, it is this: traditionally an emirate was not a nation-state in anything remotely like prevailing Cartesian-Newtonian terms, and the Caliphate no agglomeration of such nation-states. Bin Laden's goal is precisely to get away from such terms. Concretizing a new Islamic system does not involve modeling on 17th century European forms. Moreover, traditionally, like in Southeast Asia, for instance, there was no idea of geographical boundaries in the modern sense of a closed circle absolutely distinguishing inside from outside: that was imposed by the West and a projected expression of binary Western logic and its concomitant sense of individualistic self-identity, both anathema to poetic Islamism, if not algebraic Islamism (though quite cozy with a relativistic-quantum account of reality). Samuel Huntington's notion that a core state is sought by Islamists through which to resurrect the Caliphate is a mere self-polemic, a railing against the projection subsequently introjected, purely an internal affair, if a wet one. As a result of the fact that quantum-relativity theory has sundered Cartesian-Newtonian presuppositions, thus the metaphysical foundations of the Westphalian state system, and that this unacceptable circumstance is denied and suppressed, self-attributes are projected onto the created adversary, then introjected so as to simulate internal coherency, the created adversary being railed against as a surrogate for the self-attributes one cannot accept and authentically integrate. Real assessment of bin Laden's goals, objectives, and strategies cannot transpire without sorting out such internal affairs: intelligence analysis involves introspection no less than extrospection.
The larger consequence for Anonymous of over-valuing policy documents and statements is that it leads him into concluding that the U.S. has only two choices as to how to effectively counter Al Qaeda's assault: (1) change U.S. policies so as to meet the demands stated in bin Laden's policy statements or (2) adopt a global strategic and tactical posture similar to that employed in the American Civil War. Anonymous prefers the first alternative, but recommends the second if the U.S. fails to, or cannot, adopt the first. If the U.S. were to change its policies in the appropriate fashion, Anonymous believes, the Islamist threat to American national security would dissipate. The policies the U.S. must change, enunciated by bin Laden, are as follows (given on p. 241):
- U.S. support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall.
- U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.
- U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- U.S. support for Russia, India, and China against their Muslim militants.
- U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.
- U.S. support for apostate, corrupt, and tyrannical Muslim governments.
If these policies are not changed, according to Anonymous, then the U.S. must take the only remaining option. This option is stated on pages 241-42, and is worth quoting at length. In the words of Anonymous:
To secure as much of our way of life as possible, we have to use military force in the way Americans used it on the fields of Virginia and Georgia, in France and on Pacific islands, and from skies over Tokyo and Dresden. Progress will be measured by the pace of killing and, yes, body counts. Not the fatuous body counts of Vietnam, but precise counts that will run to extremely large numbers. The piles of dead will include as many or more civilians as combatants because our enemies wear no uniforms.
Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Roads and irrigation systems; bridges, power plants, and crops in the field; fertilizer plants and grain mills -- all of these and more will need to be destroyed to deny the enemy its support base. Land mines, moreover, will be massively reintroduced to seal borders and mountain passes too long, high, or numerous to close with U.S. soldiers. As noted, such actions will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugee flows. Again, this sort of bloody-mindedness is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America's only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world.
It is well to remember that this statement comes from one of the foremost critics of the Bush Doctrine.
In stating the second option as he has, Anonymous may well realize there is little chance the U.S. will meet bin Laden's demands in the specified fashion, regardless of who enters the White House. Because of the larger paradigm-shift issues and the deeper psychological dimensions, which are completely opaque to Anonymous, as well as other contemporaneous factors like nuclear weapons proliferation, passing of peak in oil production, tenuousness of dollar confidence, prospective confrontation with China, and associated certain evolution of events, assuming no end to history, it seems very unlikely that the indicated changes in U.S. policy would, indeed, dissipate the Islamist threat to American national security: that threat cannot be separated out from the other factors in the way Anonymous' assessment implies. As Al Qaeda and Associates is caught up in the evolution of events no less than the rest of us, their policy statements of the day, even if, as is unlikely, adequately capturing conscious intent and subliminally-mediated collective impulse, cannot possibly be accurate predictors of future intentions. So, that being the case, according to Anonymous, we are left with only the second option. And his statement of this option may actually prefigure evolution of U.S. actions.
Anonymous does not mention the use of tactical nuclear weapons in describing the features of this option. He appears to assume that this would not be necessary, because, were the U.S. to pursue this option vigorously, the threat to U.S. interests would be dissipated. This does not seem a well-considered proposition on numerous points, two of which are most important: (1) sustained employment of such means would precipitate a vast global transformation of allegiances that surely would add many new dimensions of threat to U.S. national security; (2) these new dimensions would undoubtedly bring the U.S. under authentic existential threat in a fashion that was not present, for instance, during the Viet Nam war, existential threat sufficient, in a way that did not emerge during the Viet Nam war era, to justify use of tactical nuclear weapons. To mention only one such threat: continued dollar-denomination of oil transactions and the dollar's status as primary international reserve currency -- both of which underpin the globally-unique U.S. ability to engage in liability financing (printing fiat dollars for international circulation) -- are in the hands, not of America, but, primarily, of Japan, China, and Russia. Loss of their good will, and collusive action in international markets, would be an authentic existential threat.
It may well be that, for many reasons, the U.S. eventually will conclude -- likely by avoidance, procrastination, ambivalence, subliminal forcing, and as the result of the evolution of events, Islamist-related and otherwise -- that the options presented by Anonymous are the only two options it has, the first of which is unacceptable. There are a lot of current indications and historical behaviors suggesting this is possible, perhaps even likely. Another major terrorist event on U.S. soil could be the decisive decision factor. Authentic options beyond these two, options available, if not to the U.S., then to the human species as a whole, can only become visible through consideration in depth of the larger paradigm-shift issues and the deeper psychological dimensions which are completely opaque to Anonymous.
The article in the June 2004 issue of Harper's on the Dervish orders in Istanbul (The Turn, Rafi Zabor) is one of the better things I've read recently. Zabor's discussion of the relation of Islamic practice to cultivation of identity transparency and its role in terrorist acts is exceedingly insightful -- and provides the lens through which Al Qaeda's amorphous organization is best viewed. all that Islamic heat The passage (pp. 57-8) is too long to quote and not easily fragmented, but the central issue is given as follows:
Unless you've experienced the power and directness of what Islamic practice offers in the Islamic alembic, in a single heat animated by a single fire, everything is cooked to singularity, to monotheism taken whole if the Hayy could blow away the particularized forms of living beings in a supervening wealth of metaphysical fire, how large a step was it, for a crudely stoked understanding, to the obliteration of actual living beings -- those nothings, those mere apparencies
The criticism/self-criticism sessions practiced in communist insurgent infrastructures -- which likewise burn away the existential claim to separate self-existence -- had their origins in religious practices, Christian in this case, adopted by utopian socialists and transmuted by Marxism. Clearly, in their raw religious form, such practices are more potent than when politically transubstantiated. Contemporary Islamism, in adopting for political purpose its traditional forms, appears not to have freeze-dried the practices -- and, thus, the spontaneous order elicited by the resultant state of identity transparency is likely to be more coherent than that which was achieved in Marxist insurgent networks.
High credibility cannot be given independent of direct personal verification; therefore, very little can be credited highly. I personally conclude this because in the course of my existence I have observed that degree of professional training, higher enculturation, career status is inversely proportional to measure of the humane, the mature, the trustworthy -- such values being radically devalued by the aforementioned training, schooling, career. I long ago concluded, for instance, that peace with honor via Vietnamization was not a credible explanation for the Nixon-Kissinger prolongation of the Viet Nam war, its geographical expansion and resultant Cambodian holocaust. I knew there were deep psychoneurotic, even collective psychotic, dimensions. More concretely than this, and very likely a fully conscious objective of prolongation, I concluded, was to develop sufficient justification for terminating the gold-exchange mechanism of the Bretton Woods monetary system, which put constraint upon U.S. ability to freely engage in liability financing of its foreign obligations. Similarly, today, I do not believe the Bush invasion of Iraq had any significant components of motivation related to Saddam, WMDs, or the economics of oil (except in so far as those economics impinge upon the issue of dollar denomination of oil transactions); rather, the motivation for invasion related almost exclusively to prospective confrontation with China and the not temporally distant militarization of oil that that confrontation will entail. I, therefore, do not share the concern of Anonymous for the access given Bob Woodward in course of writing Bush at War, as I do not believe the account provided by Woodward accurately depicts what transpired: such books are always a form of black self-propaganda (as the opposition is rarely taken in, which in the present case we know to be the case by virtue of published quotations from high-ranking Chinese military officers regarding import of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq).
Since you specifically asked, I will -- certainly quite foolishly -- venture a pure WAG, based on an orientation I've had ever since soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and considerably reinforced by Al Qaeda's actions over the past year (including the recent grizzly tragedy at the Russian school). Bush and the neocons are considered foremost Al Qaeda & Associates assets and everything in AQ's power will be done to help them remain in office (though this may have become moot, as Kerry's profile and behavior under fire potentially make him even more an AQ asset: a personal history of flying in tight formation in the National Guard suggests greater stability in face of challenge than does swift-boat stunts). The WAG: no major event on U.S. soil soon; they will maintain the presumption of immediate threat to stoke American anxiety and associated bureaucratic centralization; they will maintain a modicum of Afghanistan-Iraq pressure and occasionally hit hard elsewhere to sustain awareness of how serious the AQ & Associates' threat is as well as to continue dispersal of their opposition's forces and to continue driving the exponential growth curve in that opposition's required resource commitments, thus reinforcing the American impetus and that of other major nation-states to play military hardball (next to impossible to stay away from all the usual American metaphors: at least I am aware of them and their pre-metaprogramming nature whenever they come out). Another large-scale action on U.S. soil will transpire only when AQ & Associates' need for its next major organizational phase transition has peaked AND an extra-U.S.-soil situation has ripened as catalytic of that required phase transition (possibly the Saudi situation, possibly Iran). They secretly pray, God willing, for a U.S-Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, which would pre-empt the need for self-initiated action to catalyze the next major phase transition (just as the gift of the invasion of Iraq did earlier). They will continue to try to entice other nation-states into becoming catalysts like the U.S. has been. The central strategy of bin Laden -- his superiors, subordinates, and associates -- for undermining Islamic puppet states, a strategy apparently formed in the early-'90s, is to provoke evermore destabilizing U.S.-Israeli and other nation-state actions, because to the degree the nation-state system falters, to the same degree can movement through AQ's projected organizational phase transitions be accelerated (totally re-organizing the 1.2-billion-person recruitment base being the supreme strategic goal from which everything else follows). These notions probably started to get very concrete and elaborated during the conflict in the Balkans. As I say, a pure WAG.
Thanks for the books Recondo (Larry Chambers, Random House, 1992) and Generation Kill (Evan Wright, Bantam, 2004): interesting comparison and contrast between then and now, Vietnam and Iraq. War fighting for the individual elite troop remains pretty much the same; the problems continue predominantly to be with command incompetence, technology, supply and materiel. I would like to observe that there is a not-quite-conscious theme in common between Recondo and Anonymous' Imperial Hubris, wherein Anonymous ridicules the powers-that-be for believing there is a strategy way out of the present dilemmas presented by bin Laden, et al. The way to accomplish what is required, according to Anonymous, is either to change the policies or fight it out on the ground in as thoroughly a bloody-minded fashion as historical precedent allows. Strategic thought, strategic issues, are demeaned and dismissed; all the emphasis is basically tactical or field-craft oriented. In Recondo, we see not only this emphasis but disregard for the mission as well. I would say this compares favorably with the Blackhawk Down story, where disregard for the immediate mission killed the whole country mission. In Recondo, for instance, the Contreros LRP was to locate and take out a (to) COSVN radio transmitter (the author did not know what COSVN was or where it was located). But this mission was completely lost sight of, was never mentioned after the initial paragraphs of the chapter, and the Contreros LRP mounts an unnecessary ambush, ultimately getting itself wiped out in the process. Earlier in the account of the operation, there are exhibitions of competitiveness over macho display, highest body counts, and so on predisposing to the unnecessary ambush that was 100-percent antithetical to fulfillment of the mission (stealth being the bulk of the requirement). Even in the post-op debriefing no mention is made of this by anyone at any level of the command. In fact, there is no account of an operation given in Recondo where the mission was a focus of attention -- except in that op the purpose of which was to create a situation for using the soundtrack to the spaghetti-Western film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for so-called Psyops purposes, and the Special-Forces-directed-and-graded Recondo School pre-graduation live-against-the-enemy operation. The author doesn't seem to be aware of this absence of concern for mission. The values, self-images, collectively-reinforced role attributions and personas showcased by Hollywood make a most important contribution to establishing and maintaining the anti-strategic bias (which has its deeper origins in an unwillingness to consider ANY fundamental whatsoever, because the dissimulated paradigm shift has KILLED the metaphysical assumptive foundations of prevailing institutional systematics). Anonymous, with all his metaphor-and-simile focus on Early America and the American Civil war seems especially vulnerable to this. The story told in Generation Kill just carries it into the present under influence of additional factors like video games and internet. Even those commentators (including Anonymous) who now see the U.S. effort in Afghanistan as not successfully interdicting Al Qaeda, feel that going into Afghanistan was necessary, and view the transformation of Al Qaeda into an amorphous network as having been caused by the U.S. invasion, something imposed by U.S. actions, imposed against the will or choice of Al Qaeda. I recently read an article where a retired CIA case officer, who had worked with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets, described the present organization of Al Qaeda as a bowl of spaghetti where some tentacle (mixed metaphor) can reach out and touch you anywhere (doubly-mixed metaphor). There appears no real understanding that 9/11 and the prior stepped escalation was a sting operation with the precise objective to get the U.S. to invade Afghanistan. To recognize that (even after the fact) requires a focus on strategy-type issues. Anonymous doesn't do, or propose doing, the type of intelligence analysis required to enhance strategic comprehension -- and this is with good reason. The actual circumstance, however, is that there is no such thing as real intelligence analysis without preoccupation with strategy issues, as the analyst has to be constantly testing EEI against intuition of strategy and reading both relative to the growing intelligence data base, which, if it is large, has to be filtered in terms of EEI changing relative to evolving intuition of strategy. Otherwise, there is nothing but a totally unmanageable, unindexed, and unanalyzable data-base dump -- regardless of the computing power available.
I remember a long discussion I had in Itaewan in 1989, I think, with a Special Forces recruiter and Delta veteran about Delta's physical training test requirements. I argued that these over-muscle-bound physical standards were a great mistake, that I couldn't have passed them while in peak condition in Training Group, and that their effect was to pre-select physical and temperamental types pretty much limited to type-A mesomorphs. He, a type-A mesomorph, said, Well, we want everyone to be able to do everything with peak excellence. What you surely get instead, however, I argued, is a single-mindset take on everything, and absence of a wide range of insights into whatever problem, insights only the full spectrum of temperamental types could provide. I see this strong type-predilection not only as an effect of Hollywood image making, but the resultant anti-strategic bias as a self-destructive product of the one-type selection process.
With the statement by the commander of Russian forces that Russia will preemptively attack AQ & Associates anywhere on the planet, it now looks, in aftermath of the school-hostage action, like Russia, too, is about to volunteer to become a catalyst for organizational phase transitions of the GLOBAL insurgency (not just of insurgencies within the former-USSR bailiwick). Not a bit surprising! given how willingly the Soviets played the fall-guy in Afghanistan. No nation-state or agglomeration thereof, upon being brought to its threshold, will avoid becoming a mark. Putin's publicized reaction and comments during and after the school-hostage meltdown, which appeared to be quite spontaneous, clearly indicate how little he comprehends what is going on. Pretty interesting looking at a map exhibiting the location of Chechnya relative to Baghdad and Teheran, particularly when looking at the whole arc from Bosnia to China's backdoor. I would characterize this NOT as a geopolitical objective of AQ & Associates, but as a geopolitical provocation in context of U.S. building to confrontation with China.
The only way AQ & Associates can bring the nation-state system down is by provoking the major state actors to use the force available to them to accomplish the task for AQ & Associates. Finding the requisite provocation requires moving through a targeting-criteria search algorithm on part of AQ & Associates. It looks like they may have recently, with the school-hostage action, found the Russian threshold, whereas the Madrid train bombing didn't do it for the EU. Turkey's entrance into the EU would help AQ & Associates with this. If AQ & Associates' goals were limited to the six stated by Anonymous, they wouldn't be conducting their targeting-criteria search in the fashion they are.
Clearly, the historians still have little insight into actual origins of the world wars. The Big One, a review article describing recent scholarship on World War One (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, August 23, 2004), illustrates this very well. The closest approach Gopnik makes to the perspectives outlined years ago in Echo of the Mockingbird is the following statement (p. 82):
The intellectuals of 1914 didn't want the moral equivalent of war; they wanted war as a way of driving out moral equivalence -- ending relativism
The back-reaction was historically so immediate -- relativism having had it formal technical beginning in 1905 with Einstein's first paper on the subject -- one cannot contemplate the notion these intellectuals did not understand exactly what they were doing. One can conclude the same about intellectuals today, in spite of Gopnik's mistaken assessment of American understanding (p. 82):
How a great power [Britain] at the apex of its influence, with no obvious rivals in sight grew convinced that it was beset by an overwhelming existential danger is difficult for contemporary America to understand, of course, but somehow that was what happened.
And somehow -- Mockingbird describes the deeper aspects of how -- that is exactly what is happening again.
The level of vincible ignorance -- to use a term coined years ago by Douglas Pike to characterize the generalized refusal to comprehend modes of function of the Viet Cong's terrorist network -- presently cultivated by a wide range of people composing the global leadership elite and their military paladins has moved well beyond merely the stupid notion that terrorism is just a military tactic. This notion indicates complete lack of knowledge, or more accurately an unbridled insolence in failed acknowledgement, of how orchestration of the whole litany of subsistence and administration -- to use Clausewitz's phrase -- involved in mounting terrorist acts is employed primarily as a tool catalytic of recruitment-base induction and self-organization, and only very much secondarily as a means to entice the adversary into deploying massed force: the actual act of terrorist violence is almost incidental to the means by which the war is promulgated. As Clausewitz also says in On War in his chapter End and Means in War: All, therefore, that relates to forces of war -- all that is connected with their creation, maintenance, and application -- belongs to military activity. A clear indication of what should be regarded as categories of enemy strength. The recent Newsweek (September 20, 2004) article on Iraq, Worse Than You Think by Scott Johnson and Babak Dehghanpisheh, is worse than they think. Quoting page 18:
Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a phase two insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting -- a step up to phase three.
The definition of three-phase insurgency war offered here by the U.S. command to the reporting media: phase one: stage of recruitment accompanied by sabotage; phase two: characterized by sudden ambushes (maybe slow-motion ambushes are part of phase one) with shrapnel injuries predominant; phase three: insurgent stands and fights, with bullet wounds amongst the counterinsurgent becoming more frequent. This is an utterly astounding formulation, given the body of literature that existed on insurgency war in 1960 -- not to mention what has been written on the subject since then. This isn't even a well-formed tactical formulation; it's a PFC-in-the-field-without-prior-experience point of view. The implied degree of absence of strategic thought is truly staggering in its implications. But consider what, in conjunction, becomes even more staggering. Quoting Time, September 20, 2004, Mission Still Not Accomplished by Johanna McGeary (p. 53):
The Pentagon once assumed the insurgents numbered less than 5,000; now its analysts privately estimate there are 20,000 or more. The deputy commander of coalition forces in Iraq, British Major General Andrew Graham, estimates there are 40,000 to 50,000 active insurgent fighters.
Consider this statement in relation to the following exchange accurately presented, if fictionalized, in MOON as having transpired in Saigon in 1968 (Vol. 2, pp. 196-7):
Don't ask Toussaint took a big swallow of his wine. I had no sympathy for the French action there. My father died in that war. I don't like to aggravate old emotional scar tissue But I will give you a few facts that tend to help your arguments. The population of Algeria in 1954 was well under ten million, about two-thirds the number of people in South Viet Nam at the time the French lost their war in Indochina. Algeria's population grew during the period '54 to '62, but not nearly so much as the population of South Viet Nam grew, which, by '65 when the U.S. buildup came, was about sixteen million. By 1960, counting everybody, the French had an armed force of 800,000 in Algeria, including troops assisted by helicopters, artillery, and close-support aircraft: that's almost half again as many U.S. troops as we have in Viet Nam right now. And we both know what happened to the French in Algeria.
Jesus! said Derek, I had no idea the French had that many combatants in Algeria Let's see. Assuming, say, twelve million, that's somewhere near one troop for every fifteen members of the civilian population Amazing! During World War II, the areas most heavily occupied by the Nazis never had a ratio better than 1 to 80.
Where the hell do you get figures like that?
Special Operations Research Office, sir. That kind of significant figure sticks in my head.
Well, unfortunately, that's only the half of it. The FLN never had more than 60,000 armed guerrillas.
Really? But I wonder what their political infrastructure numbered. Ten, twenty, or thirty times that number, I'd wager -- depending on who you want to count, of course. Derek laughed electrical arcs at his own joke. You know, it would really be fascinating to do a comparative study of the political apparat of the FLN with the VCI: see what differences emerge between communist apparats and non-communist infrastructures utilizing preexisting ecclesiastical frameworks. Might be useful knowledge someday for other parts of the Middle East or even for Latin America.
Sounds pretty removed from any practical applications to me.
The present worst-case estimate number for Iraq, using the British general's highest estimate and the largest historical tooth-to-tail ratio for insurgents, is: 1,500,000 members of the Iraqi insurgent political infrastructure. The best-case estimate number, using the low current Pentagon figure and the lowest quoted (highly improbable) historical tooth-to-tail ratio, is: 200,000. One must bear in mind that, historically, publicly stated numbers have always been way under what the actual figure truly is. But the strategic myopia implied here relative to Iraq -- not actually a war, only one battlefield in one theater of a global war -- is a mere pittance in the eye compared to the actual implied myopia, for who can doubt that the involved vincible ignorance is also being expertly applied on a global scale where the real action is presently transpiring independent of Iraq and Afghanistan?
Anyone who kept vaguely informed over the past couple of decades on the output of, say, The World Watch Institute, should a long time ago have been able to see coming down the track something like current events. I don't believe this institute was more informed than, say, the major governments of the world, many of which undoubtedly subscribed to this institute's publications or listened to its presentations at international symposia. Recent global events clearly are not of recent vintage: despite polemics of partisan politics, contingency plans relative to projected overall political impacts of oil production peak being passed as global demand spirals upward, increasing pressure on natural resource stocks in general, climate shift dynamics, pollution impacts, consequences of continued population growth, likely epidemiologic developments, projected decline in quantity and quality of world food production by region due to soil-quality deterioration and erosion, increasing potable water problems, impact of desertification upon agricultural output, destruction of tropical forests, surge in inter-regional and ethnic conflict, and so on have likely been reassessed periodically ever since soon after the end of World War Two. First contingency plans for population control measures in face of projected civil disorder related to these global factors clearly were made in America during the Eisenhower administration, not only relative to what the government clearly knew -- given the clearly known extreme imbalance of forces, imbalance in the U.S. favor -- was an unlikely first nuclear strike by the USSR. Exactly what facilitative actions were taken and were not taken so as to create or allow to be created circumstances wherein the populations of this or that country could be prepared to accept the measures governments deemed necessary as the projected global situation evolved probably will never be publicly known to any close degree of verisimilitude. Certainly, people were thinking about likely consequences of oil peak from the mid-1950s, and projecting out what government response would need to be.
U.S. government representatives could not, of course, just come out and say: My fellow Americans, given estimated planetary oil reserves and projected global consumption patterns, as well as other economic, monetary, political, and military considerations, a major confrontation with China and possibly other states seems likely, possibly as early as two decades into the future. We, therefore, see no alternative but to bring under our direct control the strategic military resource, oil. We have thus put into motion a policy trajectory that will accomplish this outcome at minimum cost relative to the magnitude of the task within the next two decades. Success in this undertaking will not, however, dissipate the basic problem, and, once oil is declared a controlled strategic military substance, the consequences for global urbanization patterns, involving economically-forced out-migration, will manifest quite rapidly. Our direct control over this strategic petroleum resource will greatly soften, certainly defer, and ultimately partially allay the impacts sustained by our great nation -- giving us the requisite time to adjust. Nonetheless, the adjustment required will be considerable, so, anticipating the possibility of significant civil disorder in response to evolving circumstances, it will be necessary to implement various domestic population control measures heretofore not contemplated by freedom-loving Americans. It is our firm belief, and our sincere expectation, that these measures will be employed only over the short-term and will be progressively dispensed with on a timely basis as circumstances permit.
Prevailing circumstances have reached the current level of elaboration because of resolute clinging to the Cartesian-Newtonian-Westphalian paradigm throughout the 150-year period since its metaphysical death. Patterns of response to evolving circumstances by nation-states, supranational agglomerations of nation-states, and mega-corporations are by now abundantly clear: continued clinging to the failed paradigm; falsification and suppression of contrary orientations; violent competition for control of resources; use of media technology, threat, and whatever violence is required to maintain state control over popular responses and evolution of events become ever-less controllable. Simply put, the energy foundations of the civilization are foundering. One cannot reasonably expect any substantive change in these strongly forecast response patterns which mandate that no non-state initiated modification in fundamentals will be countenanced, thus insuring that the prevailing failed paradigm will not be superceded. Judicious anticipatory mutual support activities at this late date would project themselves toward the likely loci of out-migration.
Somebody recently handed me Lost Over Laos by Richard Pyle and Horst Faas (Da Capo Press, 2003), which I have now read with enjoyment. An interesting story about interesting people, along the lines of Two of the Missing about Dana Stone and Sean Flynn. I never go out of my way to find such things, but they are frequently brought to my attention. I don't much sympathize with the "full accounting" commemoration-of-the-person orientation; Harp of Burma seems a more efficacious response to death in war, but that's just my not-so-personal perspective. The book is relevant to the context of the present discussion for several reasons: how poorly does understanding travel; how lousy contemporary understanding is, even by those regarded experts on the scene; how great is resistance to revision of poor understanding. The book is about four journalists (photographers) killed when the helicopter they were passengers in was shot down during Lam Son 719, the ARVN's February 1971 incursion into Laos. I would note that Lam Son is a person named relative to significant history, a very interesting personality, whose relation to the naming of this operation is not exactly clear. Context setting by the authors involves brief discussion of issues related to the strategic goal of the campaign: putting a block across the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation was undertaken at U.S. instigation and carried out by ARVN troops with U.S. air support. It was another Kissinger campaign, another instance of Kissinger culpability like Cambodian incursion, like the waves of B-52 bombing raids ostensibly to destroy COSVN, the communist headquarters for the South located in Cambodia. By late-'67 analysts at CICV-Targets (Vietnamese as well as Americans, CICV being a combined intelligence center) knew beyond all doubt that COSVN (Central Office for South Vietnam, in translation, of course) was inherently unbombable because it was wholly nonlocal, being (except for underground storage bunkers, hospital tunnel complexes, et cetera, having nothing, really, to do with operation of the headquarters) an ensemble of three-man cells in virtually constant motion spread out over hundreds and hundreds of square miles of triple-canopy rainforest, a block of geography that could easily move west to another block if interdicted with area denial CBUs -- cluster bomb units -- or infantry assault and garrisoning. Putting down boxes with B-52 arc lights was absolutely useless against such a target; only the rarest of chance events could be momentarily significant, such as the death of Nguyen Chi Thanh. With all their years spent in Saigon, Pyle and Faas apparently never obtained this understanding. Similarly, relative to Lam Son 719. How poorly does understanding travel! Had Westmoreland gotten the 200,000 more U.S. troops requested and denied, their use would very likely have been put to a Lam-Son-719-like incursion into Laos. Absolutely nothing about this will not be contested -- regardless. In the nature of the case: exactly why we are in Iraq today. One reason why this did not transpire in those days-before-Kissinger was because of what was then known about what a successful such incursion would almost certainly provoke. Pyle and Faas don't mention Lang Ve (proper transliteration) Special Forces Camp, where the PAVN first used tanks against U.S. forces -- where one of my friends was killed and two others maimed -- located in the area from which Lam Son 719 was later mounted against the NVA. But that piece of history was really small potatoes (though a significant indicator) compared to the density of LBNs, letter-box number codes, known to have spread themselves like a fungus, not only across Laos toward Savannakhet, but deep into Isan in Thailand -- and well beyond. A successful block across the Trail would only have moved the Trail west, ultimately into Thailand, an event that would have been omni-transforming. Preparations for dealing with such an eventuality, clearly, had long since been sketched out by the Vietnamese communists. What else was The War That Is and the War that Will Be in Thailand all about? Known all-too-well by early-1968; ostensibly forgotten by early-1971. Never briefed in the Five O'Clock Follies, of course. Pyle and Faas, like so many others, also never got the terminology right, and not having gotten the terminology right MEANS whole continents of understanding were never adequately assimilated. These were the long-term resident experts. And this terminological hiatus was not a disease transmitted by JUSPAO briefers. Pyle and Faas, decades later -- meaning never rectified -- confuse (translation of) communist and US/GVN/FWMAF designators. From their glossary (the easiest to quote) on page 251: Military Region I (a.k.a. I Corps, Eye Corps): South Vietnam's five northern provinces. MR II included Central Highlands and coast; MR III, Saigon region; MR IV, Mekong Delta. This glossary entry is simply all wrong. And very significantly so, almost tragically so. Here's another such glossary entry (again given on p. 251): NLF (National Liberation Front): South Vietnam's Communist insurgency, made up of People's Liberation Armed Front (PLAF), a.k.a. Viet Cong, and Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG). This, too, is all wrong. Even Douglas Pike, who knew better, persisted in misusing this term. I'm not going to explain the provocative claim here. Read MOON if you can. How lousy contemporary understanding is, even by those regarded experts on the scene! In 1990, if memory serves, I sat at dinner for a whole evening in Kyoto with Stanley Karnow, a most knowledgeable (Potomac-resident-type) person on history of the Vietnam war, as all informed (non-Potomac-resident-type) persons should know. For those who need contextualization, Potomac is Dale City kitsch raised to the nth-degree (I should know; I did several hundred gardens in Potomac, if a far lesser number in Dale City). One member of the dinner party had simply to get up and depart on a breath mint covering disgust. After several minor probes, I decided simply to sit and listen. What an extraordinary display! This man clearly knew everything there was to know about the Vietnam war. It was not the case that whole continents of understanding had simply eluded him. No. This was the true walking encyclopedia. I was reminded of Douglas Pike. Four years earlier, my wife and I daily using his archives, had shared six months of lunches with Doug. Throughout the period, I had gingerly thrown lunchtime provocations which Doug had resolutely parried. As far as he was concerned, everything of importance was already known about the war: "There will be no new revelations." Don't mistake me: no more than Sam Adams was I an anti-war type. I had, and continue to have, the utmost respect for Doug Pike's contribution to our understanding -- which was considerable. But! There were whole continents of understanding that simply eluded him. How great is resistance to revision of poor understanding! Read MOON, if you think you know who the Viet Cong were and why the U.S. fought them. I would suggest that Kerry, far more than Bush, thinks he knows who the Viet Cong were and why the U.S. fought them -- and has generalized this certainty into his adaptable assessment of the current global situation. Let me quietly suggest we have not yet had our Bad Day at Black Rock.
In Color Me Khaki (Vanity Fair, September 2004) James Wolcott begins with a very good question he does not answer: What is it about World War II that stunts the minds of would-be men? Consider the notion that there is so much to conceal about that war which has never been resolved that a continuous ongoing unwavering effort of dissimulation is required. Drone, drone, drone -- so no one dare pose a wrong question. One would do well to contemplate Why Postwar Historiography is Anti-Historiographic.
You will notice that I have not strayed far from the Viet Nam war in discussing issues associated with Al Qaeda. The average reader will conclude that this is posted by just-one-more Viet Nam vet who can't think past the end of his thirty-plus-years-ago tour in that country: generalizing the Viet Nam experience into the present situation where it has no real relevance. Actually, my purpose in staying close to the Viet Nam war is rather different from that, converse even. I have tried to use context of the evolving present situation as a way to draw attention to aspects of the Viet Nam war historically dissimulated and/or suppressed. Why would I wish to do that? First of all, I am pretty fluidly capable of discussing a given issue on multiple levels, embracing the tacit assumptions of a given level of discourse and staying within the accommodating schemata permitted by recursive extension from those assumptions. I have, for the most part, done that in discussing Al Qaeda issues. By inverting the prevailing pedestrian purpose for comparison of Viet Nam war and GWOT (global war on terrorism), I have tried to draw attention to little-known aspects of the earlier war which exhibit general properties of war qua war, not merely of Viet Nam war or GWOT. And in doing so I have stayed within the assumption set carried to this subject matter by the global media and spokespersons of nation-states. But the truth of the matter is, I don’t' accept unqualified validity of this assumption set and when I think thoughts for myself, for my own purposes of gaining actual insight, I in large part think on an altogether different level, a level suggested by the content of MOON.
The sections of MOON involving 1967-'68 conversations on America's Containment Policy were written in 1986-'87 from notes made much earlier on. This was before collapse of the Soviet Union. The novel was not finished until 1994, well after demise of the USSR. Nothing was rewritten with hindsight provided by this historical change and resultant end of the Cold War, and most readers of MOON will conclude: How wrong history has proved this account of Containment to have been! Derek argues that Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe was in large measure dictated by existence of the atomic bombs and their use on Japan. He predicts there will be no significant change in status of the Soviet occupation until some change in the nature of global strategic weaponry makes garrisoning of Eastern Europe by USSR no longer necessary. History has proven that prediction wrong. Or has it?
One could arrive at an assumption set based on the notion that this prediction was not wrong and then develop a scenario on that basis. There is very little that has happened post-1989, if anything, that would not fit very well into such a scenario. The scientific breakthrough leading to the changed nature of global strategic weaponry came in the early-1970s. Details of the outcome of the Viet Nam war were not unaffected. U.S.-China relations were not unaffected. Moreover, by the early-'70s, there had already been fifteen years of projections as to when oil production peak would arrive and global conflict over remaining reserves -- oil no longer merely a commodity to be kept at low price, but increasingly a scarce tactical military resource -- would rapidly ensue. Population control under crisis management conditions became a projected issue of increasing concern to those nation-states aware of the evolving circumstance. U.S. moves in Central Asia relative to the projected oil issues began in the mid-1970s, resulting five years later in the first Afghan war. The changed nature of global strategic weaponry came in the mid-1980s. Top-down decision by Soviet leadership to jettison Eastern Europe was taken, but that leadership was unable to adequately manage the ensuing population dynamics. The transition process got completely out of hand, leading to collapse of the Soviet Union. This was a major object lesson for all informed nation-states, particularly China. First move of the U.S. relative to militarily-indispensable oil reserves in the Middle East came in this context of a collapsing USSR. That move was stalled by on-the-ground issues and failure to re-elect the President. A modus vivendi was arrived at amongst the major players: it is a world fundamentally changed wherein resource base of the whole global civilization will undergo major phase transition, new practical applications technologies lagging behind current requirements throughout transition, producing major shortfalls, disruptions, dislocations wherein global population control issues will loom largest. Given magnitude of the issues -- the certain economic and military effects of differential loss of access to required and/or desired quantities of oil, the levels of expected civil disorder, the difficulty of putting adequate population control measures into effect on a timely basis -- the surface posture of modus vivendi never generalized itself as regards matters of substance. Moreover, terrorism was increasingly viewed by nation-states globally as a potential godsend with regard to justifying implementation of the population control measures anticipated to be required. It was also found that acts of terrorism, potential acts of terrorism, and proliferation or potential proliferation of outmoded WsMD could be used to publicly justify changes of global posture relative to the oil-peak issues. Stalled U.S. actions relative to militarily-indispensable oil reserves in Central Asia and the Middle East were reinitiated under such pretexts. The obvious had also, during this period, become a matter of consideration inescapable: global population growth in 400 years from hundreds of millions to nearly six billion was simply beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. No one wanted to become involved with decisions as to which categories of persons the planet needs and which categories it does not need. Dynamics (including epidemiology) of the civilization-wide resource-base transition would largely be allowed to make such determinations -- with certain caveats, of course. The major threat to be avoided was recognized as precipitous collapse of the nation-state system with its primate-mega-urban-regions urbanization pattern. As drawdown on post-peak oil reserves continues and proliferation of new technologies of transition lags well behind requirements, as is known certainly will be the case, the greatest risk is that incendiary conflict over those oil reserves will lead to a circumstance of catastrophic shortfall. In a matter of mere months, cities globally could be emptied as their energy requirements went unmet: energy-resource-forced urban evacuation (as opposed to the politically-forced Khmer Rouge case). Consideration of the of-course caveats on planetary population reduction and the profoundly unacceptable near-species-suicide-level risks of allowing conflict dynamics to establish differential global allocation of post-peak oil was seen absolutely to demand another alternative: a situation must be created whereby oil can globally be rationally rationed relative to the only-partially-predictable changing dynamics of the coming civilization-wide resource-base transition. The world's sole remaining superpower must take it upon herself to establish such a situation, however great the sacrifice the involved actions may entail.
Another level of discourse on these subjects, a nesting level, involves stalled-worldview-construct-transition dynamics and their collective psychological dimensions. Factors involved with this level could radically alter play-outs of scenario components on nested levels.
Actually, much of this is quite old stuff, I mean really old. As I have repeatedly stated, the most interesting people of any culture, for sometime now, have been living in another culture, any culture not their own. Content of their conversation is worlds away from what you read/hear/see in any culture-bound transnational multicultural media outlet, what you receive from any intellectual ethnocentric cosmopolitan fundamentalist academic podium. Foci of contemporary The Banquet Years keep moving around the planet. Bop, bop, bop beep, bebop. Not exactly the international hippie/yippy/yuppie/purple-pretty-people-eater circuit. That's part of what's currently happening on this globe as the civilization winds into universal belief-system terminal meltdown -- due to evolution of very complex historical factors. Deep, even. Talk to anybody seriously studying contemporary global migration patterns. Patterns prefigure in any form in process, any process informed. Let's leave it at that. As a concrete example, a long-time friend is an expat petroleum engineer whose career was spent working at various locations in the Middle East. Forty years, mind you. Oil esoterica is the conversational given. Flaring and ozone depletion. Wildcatting algorithms and a fisherman's guide to general systems theory. Oil peak political dynamics and belly-dancing. Sufi spiritualism and dousing dragon-currents. So, really, in the early-1970s, it was not a new world only by virtue of a fundamentals-altering scientific discovery. It was clearly multiple whammy! Setting cognitive climes into regressive under-drive clinger dynamics. Oil discovery peak started to spiral down in the mid-1960s. Tet-'68 burst one expectation bubble and the gathering inflation-driven run on gold-on-sovereign-demand (due to the way the Viet Nam war was financed) forced LBJ immediately after the offensive to implement currency controls. Then the U.S. oil peak comes in the same year as Nixon is forced to separate (or relished separating, given his history with the Bretton-Woods' White) the dollar from gold: close of the gold window and U.S. oil peak in 1972. Together, mind you. Pebble of the Vietnamese David hitting Goliath in the money-changer's Temple, as well as energy foundations, as Jehovah is my witness. Death of the Bretton-Woods monetary system by decapitation of the gold-exchange mechanism. Immediately followed by devaluation of the dollar, and (within a matter of months), AS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of devaluation, emergence of OPEC's oil crisis, as the producers try to recoup the massive projected losses explicit in devaluation of the currency that petroleum transactions are denominated in. Followed immediately by, you know the answer: petro-dollar recycling and the Third World debt crisis. Followed immediately by, you don't know the answer: no longer constrained liability financing, as the monetary gurus name it, by free printing (merely keyboarding) of un-backed fiat dollars for international circulation to cover foreign obligations of U.S. Government (hush, hush, sweet Whomever: borrowing the necessary funds from those upon whom the global U.S. agenda is to be imposed). Not a neocon invention, as the paleocons and the lefties claim, absolutely consistent extension of Cartesian-Newtonian HAMILTONIAN constitutional democracy (there are REASONS why Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause was a lost cause: by enunciating some of these reasons in 1964 to Elspeth Rostow in a paper on The Hamilton-Jefferson Debates on the National Debt, I was soundly disciplined with a C-). In the early 1970s, put all that together with a scientific breakthrough known soon to alter global strategic MAD. Whew! It's clearly a new world. How did everybody miss that fact? And since so many missed it, they will insist to their dying day that they never missed it because it never happened, even if their and/or their children's deaths depend upon it. In August of 2004, Harper's Magazine has Paul Roberts brief us on The End of Oil. Without explicit clear indication that recent U.S. behaviors in central Asia and the Middle East -- whatever or however ridiculous the explanations publicly offered, global political realities being what they are -- are directly the consequence of, or in anticipation of, long-known-to-soon-be passing of global Hubbert oil peak (conflict conundrums not necessarily waiting for the actual fact of peak). Harper's, of course, in fulfilling its public trust could not allow such a notion to appear in its pages, a notion that, by direct implication, would undermine quality and substantiveness of its moral upbraiding (that which Noam Chomsky has so excelled at while making no significant contribution to political, economic, or social SOLUTIONS theory). No. Such ideas fall to ex-career-Green-Beret left-wing radical activists like Stan Goff. This brief by Roberts comes immediately following a Harper's briefing on possible problems within the U.S. military due to maltreatment of national guard and reserve troops (who expected to serve their country at home, and weren't into the uniform for the easy extra check arriving regularly in the mail: ha, ha, ha aha!). Given the evolution of very complex historical factors referred to above, apparently not understood even by the likes of a Samuel Huntington, who has never seriously studied quantum physics, for instance, but which are frequently debated by expat petroleum engineers, amongst other sets of those living outside their own cultures -- hint: real expats don't work for multinationals or multilaterals; they live off the local economy in the local culture pretty much, if not exactly, at the local level -- uh, given such evolution, all the way back into the late-1960s there were voicings to the effect that a time will come when an American army will mutiny in the field, probably in Latin America, and try to walk home just like the Russian army did during WWI. Keep your rucksack packed! Maybe Rummy-and-the-Rest secretly know how the all-volunteer army types (indoctrinated for decades on superiority of the professional soldier to the citizen soldier who is, nonetheless, superior to the career soldier: at least that is the way it was told when I was a Special Forces trainee, when Special Forces had already stopped being Special Forces: same generation as Larry Friedman, whom Stan Goff could not have helped but have known) will deal with draftees. Just imagine the dynamics! Military proselytizing will surely come into its own. They'll have to bring in the NYPD. Maybe people aughta start looking at the very complex historical factors people like Samuel Huntington can't get their heads around.
Either Kerry or Bush, Bush or Kerry: the collective social corpus is still seeking political answers within one or another binary solution set; not exactly an enlightened strategy, given all the non-binary logics in events crashing down upon us. If Kerry is elected, the global euphoria likely will last no longer than six months. It will be a lot longer than that before people acknowledge that the global event-gradient is not substantively modifiable by leadership decisions and implementation-from-above. Efficacy of representation as a means of governance being another question; efficacy of governance as a means of organizing the polity being yet one more question presently needing consideration.
We all like to be optimistic; it makes us feel good. I certainly do not wish to argue against fellow feeling, feeling groovy, the power of positive thinking, and all that. Nonetheless, realistic assessment while heading into winter is not altogether a bad thing. As the proverbial saying goes: it is better to be prepared for a frigid winter and find oneself pleasantly surprised by a warm one than not to have anticipated a barrage of blizzards and accordingly to have grooved through the spring, summer, and fall.
The trouble with these strength estimate figures is that there has never been such a tooth-to-tail ratio in the history of insurgency warfare. As the recent International Herald Tribune reprint (U.S. pushes upward its estimate of Iraq rebels, Saturday-Sunday, October 23-24, 2004, page 1) from the NY Times (written by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker) indicates, the old estimate of from as few as 2,000 to a maximum of 7,000 fighters in the Iraqi insurgency has been superceded by hardcore resistance numbers from 8,000 to 12,000 people, a tally that grows to more than 20,000 when active sympathizers or covert accomplices are included. Here we have evidence that senior American officials are publicly committing themselves to a tooth-to-tail ratio of approximately somewhere between 1-to-2 and 1-to-3. Historically, there is no precedent for such a ratio and, I would submit, anyone who knows something of how insurgent and/or terrorist actions are brought up and carried out would never for a second entertain such a ratio. Think in ratios somewhere around 1-to-30 if one wishes to get a real feeling for the thing -- depending on the categories of sympathizers and accomplices one wants to count, of course. Ha-ha-ha! It also might be worthwhile considering that the strength estimates put out by senior American officials in Viet Nam via the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office were consistently one-quarter to one-fifth of the actual best-guess estimates produced by the principal strength analysts on the intelligence staff at MACV Headquarters. A downsizing which still boondoggled the American public up to, through, and long after the Westmoreland versus CBS trial.
The closest analogies I can think of, poor as they may be, involve: (1) the North Vietnamese decision to initiate, and preparations for, the 1968 Tet offensive, and (2) the Soviet decision to jettison Eastern Europe and the subsequent meltdown dynamics which occurred in process of attempted implementation. If the principal American policymakers some 15 years ago, around the time of the first Persian Gulf war, did, in fact, initiate a policy trajectory designed eventually to put the U.S. in a position to dictate a rational planetary rationing strategy for post-peak oil production, looking first and foremost very well after numero uno, of course, than it is reasonable to assume that those policy principals could not simply have announced such a policy. Over the coming decades we will be taking over your oil resources by whatever means necessary; we will be putting into place measures for population control that circumstances sure to be associated with the foundering energy foundations of this global civilization will demand. Such a public statement could not possibly have been made, as attempts at discourse would have precipitated counteractions, among other unpalatable events. Just as the North Vietnamese policy principals could not tell their subordinate echelons that the recalcitrant local-autonomy nuts within their communist Southern apparat were to be purged during the coming Tet offensive -- so as to avoid a Cultural-Revolution-like event in post-revolutionary Viet Nam, there being no real possibility of losing the war as of mid-1966 because successful organizational phase transition had been made back to the status quo ante associated with the near victory in 1964 which had provoked the U.S. troop buildup -- by lateral transfer into the military meat grinder, and that this real reason for the country-wide unprecedentedly large numbers of transfers of long-experienced and irreplaceable political cadres was to be veiled by a massive black propaganda effort forecasting a final and triumphant popular uprising in response to the offensive, an uprising the North Vietnamese policy principals knew would not transpire, this self-propaganda campaign being carried out by internal policy documents and briefings, so the U.S. policy principals could not tell their nested echelons the real reasons for forthcoming policy decisions, and official policy documents like Iraq: Goals, Objectives and Strategy (noted in How U.S. mission went awry in postwar Iraq by Michael R. Gordon, International Herald Tribune, October 20, 2004, page 1) had to be promulgated within the American government and military as internal kiem thao, institutional black self-propaganda, and to the larger population and international audience as a white propagandistic setting of the terms of debate on the war in Iraq. Just as during the Viet Nam war, recently and presently, relative to Afghanistan and Iraq, the mainstream global media and press have clung to, and continue to cling to, the terms of reference for debate set by the U.S. Government. Even critics who put money where the mouth is, like George Soros, for instance, to this very day still maintain that the invasion of Afghanistan was necessary and fully justified -- directly and clearly implying that there was no more-intelligent politico-military policy response to 9/11 available. Question of UN sanction or no being a non-issue, really, as, implementing unilaterally or multilaterally the given prevailing politico-military concepts of operation will yield the same ultimate global-insurgency-warfare result: a circumstance where the only actual choice is between capitulating and killing them all with the abundantly available means. At each nested echelon, the omnipresent internal American kiem thao leads to the appropriate and/or apropos anomalies of assessment and proclamation, which the press dutifully airs and debates. In the article by Michael Gordon, referenced immediately above, we have, for instance, Jay Garner, the first civilian administrator in Iraq, saying: We did not seal the borders because we did not have enough troops to do that, and that brought in the terrorists. This is ostensibly criticism of the Bush Administration, but is actually consequence of internal kiem thao raising a dust storm to help conceal the real goals, objectives and strategy. How many million U.S. troops would be required to actually seal the borders of Iraq, when any authentic such effort would catalyze changes of strategy and resource commitments on part of the opposition and its supporters? Before answering, consider how much of everything was required to fail to seal the borders of Viet Nam by sea, from southern Cambodian ports, and from Ho Chi Minh Trail. Commitment of several million U.S. troops would not have sealed the borders of South Viet Nam, only moved boundaries of the conflict into central Thailand and northern Burma. Gordon also quotes retired General James Marks, onetime chief intelligence officer for the land war command as stating that in Iraq: We did not have enough troops to conduct combat patrols in sufficient numbers to gain solid intelligence In insurgency warfare, is solid intelligence generally collected by the conduct of combat patrols? Not hardly! Schmitt and Shanker, in the article on strength estimates referenced above, quote General John DeFreitas, a former chief intelligence officer for the American military in South Korea and for the secretive U.S. Special Operations Command, as observing about the Iraqi insurgency: What we don't see yet is a unifying leader of the insurgency. The local-autonomy nuts in the communist Southern apparat politico-militarily beat the U.S. military machine in Viet Nam by mid-1966 -- the time the strength estimates controversy went into high gear, eventually, years later, leading to the Westmoreland versus CBS trial -- by using thousands-of-years-old algorithms of internal village anarchism and voluntarism tied to injun cuntry non-simple-identity transparency, non-locality, and other animistic-quantum properties of the peasant corpus demanding absence of a unifying leader of the insurgency. This demanded absence, in the Southern apparat, dictated all aspects of bureaucratic function to such a degree that the Northern bo doi, for all sorts of historical reasons, were sufficiently spooked as to inflict a purge on those unrepentants responsible (the purge being successful, the fate of pre-doi-moi post-revolutionary Viet Nam was thus settled). Talking to Southern female village party committee chairwomen, one could see that the involved vagina dialogue went all the way back to the tribal matri-system social order of the pre-Hung-kings period. Emergence of a unifying leader of the Iraqi insurgency will indicate a regressive organizational phase transition suggesting that the insurgency is failing. DeFreitas' statement, therefore, has little to do with realities of insurgent organization, and constitutes a piece of black propaganda servicing American psychological commitments to the notion of individualistic simple-identity inherent in Cartesian-Newtonian perspectives on political economy. Cognitive blowback of internal kiem thao. This cognitive blowback at all echelons of the American establishment is behind the inability to well-manage the actual, but externally and internally unstated, policy of the policy principals, increasingly responsible -- in direct parallel to the Soviet case upon decision to jettison Eastern Europe -- for the meltdown dynamics occasioning attempted implementation. Given the prevailing concepts of operation, the given goals, objectives and strategies, this meltdown trajectory will unfold regardless of whether implementation is unilaterally based or carried out under a magically-conjured multilateral umbrella. The judgment has long since be made that rational rationing of post-peak oil -- yours truly receiving what it considers just over-consideration -- must be imposed and cannot, in the nature of the case, be arrived at by negotiations -- issues of such impossible negotiation being life-and-death matters to the Cartesian-Newtonian nation-states involved.
How not to imagine that Putin's treatment of Yukos, i.e., preventing it from coming under control of a non-Russian-dominated multinational, as well as Gasprom's efforts to maintain tight control over energy supplies to Eastern Europe (Russia tightens grip on energy supply to East Europe, by Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune, October 2-3, 2004, page 1) are not part and parcel of the post-peak oil scramble and prerequisites to developments which, at late stages, will precipitate formation of a Germano-Russian bloc? The challenge here is to register the pattern of likely developments that will be taking place on a largely non-rational basis of low-grade collective hysteria transiting to whatever it is it is transiting to -- considering both cause-push and teleological-pull by the chaotic attractor (whatever that attractor might be).
The CDEC documents found by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth in Doug Pike's Indochina Archives, transferred from UC-Berkeley association to Texas Tech in Lubbock before the death of Pike (reachable through the links provided in review articles posted by WorldnetDaily: Discovered Papers: Hanoi Directed Kerry and Another Document Ties Kerry to Hanoi), are particularly focused late examples of captured-enemy-document discourse on the anti-war movement in the U.S., but they are far from unique. This sort of commentary -- incorporated into strategic assessments, if not, early on, the sole subject of a given report -- increasingly found its way into enemy documents from mid-to-late-1966 as concrete planning for the Tet-'68 offensive proceeded. Such documents were frequently part of echelon party committee historical archive stockpiles captured by FWMAF units in the post-Tet period. Though during the six months of eight-hour days in early 1986 I spent with this archive I was not particularly interested in the U.S. anti-war movement or its interactions with Vietnamese communists, I ran across periodic references thereto, just as I had in 1968 while almost daily visiting CDEC from Strategic Research and Analysis at MACV-J2. In 1986, I was more interested in researching Vietnamese communist relations with U.S. military stationed in Japan and the Japanese anti-war movement (which I had first become aware of while recuperating from wounds at Camp Zama Hospital in late-'67). In 1968, of course, I was focused upon Vietnamese communist strategy. It is not generally understood that, to the communists, the Tet-'68 offensive represented shift to general counter-offensive stage of the war, and that planning for this shift implicitly began with the 1965 U.S. troop build-up. Sufficient progress at nationwide organizational phase transition forced by the U.S. troop build-up had been made by mid-to-late-1966 that evidence of concrete planning efforts for the Tet-'68 offensive appeared in nuts-and-bolts bureaucratic-administrative-detail-type documents dating from this period (those documents generally ignored by decision makers in the U.S. command and in Washington). An offensive in the Vietnamese communist understanding was not primarily conceived as military in nature; it was a surge of the whole movement, locally TO GLOBALLY, across all aspects of functioning, undertaken so as to drive the system to higher levels of self-organizational competency. In my experience, people can be hit over the head for years with this notion of offensive activities and never register its actual import because such registration flies in the face of their cherished assumptions and because they are transfixed by the concreteness of the violent events they are psychologically identified with. International efforts were an integral part of these offensive activities from the beginning of the Vietnamese anti-colonial movement and continued until end of the American period of the war. It was well understood by mid-1968 at Strategic Research and Analysis, MACV-J2, that coordinating activities with the U.S. anti-war movement -- as it existed in the U.S. military and in the domestic American arena -- was a part of the military and civilian proselytizing responsibilities of the international mass associations supporting the Vietnamese communist cause, and particularly so of the NVNese/Southern-VCI liaison cadres seconded to these mass associations. Specific control by a NVNese covert intelligence agent over a given U.S. anti-war activist -- military or non-military -- may or may not have been efficacious, depending on specific circumstances and the involved risks of exposure. What needs to be understood, however, and which is not generally understood, is that -- whether Kerry was or was not a controlled NVNese agent of influence by virtue of contacts with Nguyen Thi Binh, or to whatever degree the former circumstance may have been the case (the cited CDEC documents, and released FBI files, in no way establish a firm assessment) -- the war was not won to significant measure as a result of U.S. anti-war activity: it was won on the ground in Viet Nam by Vietnamese communist actions. The stab in the back myth is an American myth, no less than it was a myth for the Germans following WWI. And American mass behaviors riding on the back of this myth are isomorphic with those German. The American anti-war movement played a minor role in endgame; the organizational factors determining outcome were well in hand prior to the Tet-'68 offensive -- otherwise that offensive could never have been launched -- and were clinched by the countrywide organizational phase transition which that offensive catalyzed. Those persons interested in the details of this, and the wealth of available documentation, may refer to the account provided in MOON, to include indexing numbers of the numerous intelligence documents quoted or cited.
Anyone doubting that the first Persian Gulf war was intimately tied to collapse of the Soviet Union, and that the involved subterranean dynamics continue to this day, would be well advised to consider the information provided in the recent Washington Times article Russia Tied to Iraq's Missing Arms by Bill Gertz.
Bin Laden's video release just before voting transpires in the 2004 U.S. presidential elections is quite significant and revealing. No new attack on America -- yet -- because planetary organizational phase-transition circumstances, Part Two, are not ripe, yet, but there is no resisting the opportunity for a global photo-op and the chance to influence outcome of the elections, if only for the propaganda value. Bin Laden has conformed, virtually exactly, to the characterization provided by Anonymous -- maybe as a result of realizing how useful it would be to cultivate the Founding-Fathers characterization Anonymous has projected upon him and publicized for worldwide consumption. Round and round it goes! Such is the nature of the transference. The American people can avoid being again attacked if they comply with the stated demands, as listed by Anonymous: so, clearly, hints bin Laden in his videotape. Almost certainly this will redound to Bush's favor, to lesser or greater degree. There is nothing in the American temperament predisposing to meeting imposed demands. Humph! sorry, but one simply doesn't see oneself submitting to Robert McNamara's attempts to escape his reincarnational retribution. Nuts! is the governing tradition. Bin Laden surely knows that and whether he knows it or not he has been for Bush all along, as no one has done more to further bin Laden's agenda than has Bush. Having lived the Iliad in my youth, and graduated to the Odyssey, I know history has had few Hectors to spare, none of which have been properly appreciated. No Hectors hereabouts, not this epoch! With one cheap video, bin Laden may largely have cancelled out the multimillion-dollar efforts of George Soros. We'll see. Bin Laden is clearly a genius on some levels -- and not-so-smart on others. He, for instance, gives no indication of understanding the full-factor prefiguration-precipitation characteristics of the collective hysteria he is probing, and, therefore, most probably has no suspicion of the magnitude of indiscriminate violence likely eventually to result. Rational realms are not at issue here. Bring on Achilles! Bring on The Punisher! But that would be crazy. Shear lunacy! Well I wouldn't base my expectations on the assumption that regressed collective behaviors have a rational basis, that leaders manage collective hysterias rather than being born-borne of-by them. Bin Laden styles himself acting on behalf of the Islamic oppressed -- Back Off! on his rear bumper, probably -- but the tacit dimensions of his global strategy manifestations indicate a much larger agenda. He (the field commander logistician) is vying, on behalf of his backers, to place an impress upon the post-transition condition, the global circumstance prevailing in aftermath of collapse of the militarily imposed planetary institutionalization of the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm -- vying, it appears, without having gotten measure of its full-factor prefiguration-precipitation characteristics.
Actually, Derek Dillon has no opinion on Chalmers Johnson's suggestion that the CIA be retired (Abolish the CIA!, 5 November 2004, Common Dreams News Center), for this proposal has nothing to do with the real world, as CJ very well knows. A realistic suggestion is a name change as the Agency continues to assume domestic responsibilities and thus gains direct access to FBI files -- a dissimulative name change, one must countenance, like that between the War Department and the Department of Defense. Though CJ certainly no longer receives a monthly check from the CIA, his former employer as the credits to the article proudly state, clearly he is still producing the required black propaganda under his own cognizance (as this, obviously, was the driver for academic career success he resolutely followed: certified by how closely ever since the Korean war his publications have stuck to the prevailing fad changes). The weakest aspect of Steve Coll's book, Ghost Wars, summarized by CJ, as a piece of black propaganda (and what else would a Washington Post correspondent be writing on the basis of information provided by the U.S. Government and ex-CIA employees speaking on the record under the constraints they are subject to) derives directly from the subtitle to the book: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden FROM THE SOVIET INVASION to September 10, 2001. As I mentioned in my earlier commentary on Coll, the most glaring glitch of the book is its failure to sufficiently divert the reader's attention from the issue of how the war actually came into being (BEFORE THE SOVIET INVASION, an invasion which cannot be actually dated as it transpired by degrees and by levels of visibility). CJ's review article helps Coll by stating that the U.S. jumped the gun by six months (prior to the Soviet invasion) of aid to those opposed to the Afghan communists (the same Afghan communists Daoud MYSTERIOUSLY, of his own cognizance, on the spur of the moment, without some years of persuasion, turned upon in early-1978), aid of a non-lethal sort, according to Coll (those opposed rapidly, not over a period of years, bringing themselves into being by their bootstraps, late help from Zia, of course). This is not exactly a horrid admission, as providing such aid was well within the Congressional mandate originally given the CIA (and also under the modified rules requiring a finding directly signed into law by a president, as the quotes from Brzezinski and Gates employed by CJ do not fail to specifically point out the liberal Jimmy Carter provided). So long as people believe this was the extent of U.S. instigation of the war, actual origins of the war (in the time of the Kissinger-Nixon opening to China, details of which will not be discovered by the investigative methodologies employed by a Coll, and not by anyone who accepts the standard interpretation of the ending of the Vietnam war, and how that war was not the same war as its continuation under the rubric Afghan war, which war continues in Iraq unto today, substitutions being periodically made, the ballpark used -- cognitively imposed boundary-value definitions -- occasionally changing) will not be publicly aired. Such public airing would begin a meltdown wherein the other subject, which CJ -- more subtly, in expert propagandist mode -- provides cover for, would sustain risk of discovery: how the Soviet Union actually collapsed. Notice CJ debunks bin Laden's claim that actions of the mujahedeen brought down the USSR (and therefore, by implication, can bring down the USA) by attributing most of the responsibility for that to Gorbie (the interpretation most appealing to the left-leaning upper middle class yuppie or suburban or academic house and three car mutual funds sustain your lifestyle at all psychological costs idealistic blue state liberal: whom present U.S. foreign policies protecting dollar confidence financially service far better than the few remaining non-service-sector -- servicing whom? -- blue-collar workers left in America). There is no substantive policy difference between blue state and red state; actual difference is a matter of self-image and how that is reflected in personal style (whether Umwelt incorporation of a BMW, an SUV, an upwardly mobile Kerry, a Mercedes, a mudslinging luxury pickup, or a hobby-ranch brush-cutting Bush completes the selfhood). A fine basis, I think, for vertical restructuring of the borders of North America. Hmmm. So late in the day. Even when bullets with names on them and indiscriminate climate shift and so on.
Concerning the question you raise about where OBL appears to be not-so-smart: there is a very high likelihood that in course of future developments, however improbable it may appear, however irrational it may seem, that the U.S. will use nuclear weapons on multiple Islamic POPULATION CENTERS. This will be merely one set of events within a collection of horrible developments. Such a meltdown path is likely regardless of the personalities who assume leadership of state and non-state entities, and multilateral organizations -- whatever the political orientations of these personalities. ((Note added later: the above was written before an Iranian opposition group released the report asserting that Iran's nuclear weapons development program is physically located beneath a suburb of its capital city.)) Let me start concrete and then go abstract by way of explanation as to why this is likely, and how it relates to falsification of self-referential propositions. I quote from my journals, circa 1971, as printed during 1994 in MOON (Vol. 2, p. 349):
You know how cats and dogs are: sometimes the ol' tomcat just gets fed up with the infernal yapping of the mutt; unexpectedly he springs up from his lazy languor and speeds into the woods. The dog takes off after him barking up a storm. Moments later the cat returns, stretches, and lies down in peace. The dog can be heard crashing through the woods creatin' a horrible row. Both are happy: doing what comes natural to them. If you get the idea in the full context of the contemporary urban environment, I wouldn't be surprised to see your hair standing on end!
Now let me quote from bin Laden's recent videotape wherein he vows to bankrupt America with a war of attrition (as reported in Agence France-Presse, 11/01/04):
It only takes sending two mujahedeen to the far Mashreq [east] raising a piece of cloth bearing the name of al-Qaeda for the [US] generals to scurry there, causing American human, material, and political losses without any gain to speak of, except some benefits for their private companies.
There are currently thousands and thousands of people scattered over the planet who understand to one degree or another the strategy, tactics, and organizational details by which this can be accomplished. But what is important here is not that Al Qaeda & Associates have become experts at insurgency warfare or that they have learned to accurately read and effectively manipulate the American temperament. No. What is interesting is WHY American generals (and presidents) so scurry. This why relates to falsification of self-referential propositions. Is it simply because of a build up of frustrations at swatting terrorist gnats that American generals scurry or start compulsively dumping ordnance upon ordnance regardless of the ineffectiveness of such dumping? Or that an American warship, after ineffectively swatting at small boat attackers, shoots down an Iranian airliner in a state of terminal frustration? Hardly. The inability to find, fix, and finish has subliminal associations related to metaphysical fundamentals psychologically laden with a huge investment of affect-charge. It is this affect-charge tied to factors that remain unconscious which drives the impulse to dump ordnance regardless of outcome. My article on who caused the Cambodian holocaust is not about how U.S. bombing provoked a holocaust; it is about WHY American generals (national security advisors and two presidents) in a spiral of barely contained rage threw ordnance after ordnance in full awareness that such bombing could not possibly achieve its ostensible purposes. The article is written from the perspective of a targets analyst working at CICV-Targets where B-52 strike locations were chosen.
The metaphysical fundamentals psychologically laden with a huge investment of affect-charge are the non-simple identity and non-locality (subliminally associated with the properties of insurgent gnats) brought to issue by Schrödinger's wave-function. There is such a burden of affect-charge because march of experimental verification in physics, the gathering failure of the institutions analogically embodying the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm, and the collapsing energy foundations of the present global civilization constantly remind that the basic metaphysical assumptions upon which constitutional democracy is based have irretrievably foundered. The implications of this are so ominous and so omni-transforming that they are kept in denial, and any concrete factors appearing on the scene which remind of that which is in denial MUST be obliterated by whatever means required at whatever collective cost.
These implications so ominous and so omni-transforming were momentarily recognized in higher mathematics during the 1860s and the first decade of the 20th century, and in physics during the early 1920s, each such momentary recognition and immediate suppression giving rise to a sequence of each-greater-than-the-last occasions of collective violence. So much collective hysteria has been associated with this because the non-simple identity of transfinite set theory, m-valued functions, and m-valued logics, and the non-locality of quantum mechanics invoke fear of dissociation (schizophrenic loss of control over self-identity), and the participation mystique of animistic identity transparency -- intense reaction against both of which in the early 17th century was an integral aspect of the rise of social contract theory, and so on. But it is not only the Western reaction against paganism and witchcraft which is subliminally guiding collective behaviors today. The rise of oriental despotism, indeed, the very notions of patriarchal kingship, Brahmanism, Confucianism, the hierarchies of all institutionalized religions, were brought up upon the back of deep-seeded fears of the states of consciousness associated with pagan animism (particularly as it arose out of female cult worship). Discoveries in modern mathematics and physics have brought all this animism back with a vengeance. Anything subliminally reminding of that fact MUST be obliterated.
In such a context as this, how could a wave equation written in a remote cabin in the Austrian alps, by a married man practicing Tantric sexual yoga with two of his paramours, fifteen- and sixteen-year-old sisters, not have been falsified? Public references to this even change the triad into a dyad! Non-dissimulation was simply not psychologically, socially, or culturally possible. The probability-amplitude interpretation of Schrödinger's wave-function removed the non-simple identity transparency -- associated with the sustained state of sexual arousal cultivated by Tantric practice and other forms of female-inspired cosmogenesis-modeling animism -- explicitly described by the equation. The basis of the correct interpretation (the interpretation conforming to the essential self-organizing properties of nature) was already on the scene: the m-valued logics that self-referential propositions are an expression of (and of which the properties of terrorist gnats subliminally remind). It is not rational behavior that is being described here.
The Vietnamese communist triumph in Viet Nam involved terminating the gold-exchange mechanism of the Bretton-Woods monetary system. LBJ was forced to impose monetary controls immediately after the Tet-'68 offensive; Nixon was later forced to separate the dollar from gold. The strategy bin Laden presently pursues with his global war of attrition is a continuation of the Vietnamese strategy (even a continuation of the same war, once it is realized that the U.S. created the first Afghan War with covert actions, sanctioned or not, initiated five years before the Soviet invasion): bin Laden says he will bankrupt America on the exponential growth curve of resource commitments the global counterinsurgent must make in order simply to maintain the status quo. Whether bin Laden lives or not, this objective is very likely to be achieved, as the post-gold-exchange fiat dollar has nothing behind it but dollar confidence and the unique Bretton-Woods-derived U.S. right to liability finance (freely create dollars for non-domestic circulation) its international obligations. If dollar confidence is to be maintained, the U.S. must constantly demonstrate that it sets the global agenda. THEREFORE, the U.S. must respond to all Al Qaeda provocations, if dollar confidence is to be maintained; but doing so, in the end, will destroy dollar confidence. The Vietnam War brought down the Bretton-Woods gold-exchange mechanism, which ex post facto Milton Friedman provided justification for, receiving a Nobel in gratitude; the present global insurgency war very likely will destroy the whole infrastructure of a global monetary system foundering on oil -- which is the objective of Al Qaeda, so it subsequently can recreate the involved economy according to its own interest-free notions. It is well to remember that the U.S. has yet to come under anything remotely like significant existential threat, and yet it is already strongly gravitating upon massively incommensurate response to manifest threats. This is prefigurative of what will transpire when actual existential threats appear.
An insurgency becomes successful by drawing more and more people into its ambience of activities. It takes approximately 20-30 non-combatants to keep one combatant operating in the field. Timing and character of violent activities are chosen primarily so as to recruit and carry the 20-30 non-combatants through organizational phase transitions. The involved underground non-combatant apparat must be driven through many phases as its numbers expand. The character of the activities engaged in subtly shifts as the various phases are transited through. The activities begin with the familiar and move toward the less familiar and later the unfamiliar as the whole apparatus approaches embodiment of the post-insurgency system sought. Ultimately, the whole population base is swept into the emergent ambience of activities. Bin Laden, being a logistics genius, has thoroughly mastered this aspect of a successful insurgency, and transmitted the involved knowledge to those around him. How can this insurgent process be effectively countered? Not by violent suppression, which only feeds it. To quote MOON once again (Vol. 1, p. 149):
War is collective metabolism on a grand scale. Two metabolic processes contend with one another. The outcome is not determined solely by the quantity of food available to each contending process, but is also determined by the proficiency with which that food is used. In this type of war, great specificity of use is required; proficiency is, therefore, much more important than bulk processing -- one look at our fast food industry ought to tell you who is going to win this war.
What was true of the Vietnamese insurgency as a whole is not true of the theater of Afghanistan or the theater of Iraq, but is true of the whole global insurgency war against the very idea of the Cartesian-Newtonian nation-state system and its supranational agglomerations. It will not be acts of the global insurgency that bring down the C-N n-s-s; it will be acts of that system itself -- and overt conflict between major nation-states -- that bring itself down. Regardless of OBL's for-public-consumption statements, the global insurgency is playing for control of the post-collapse environment -- a collapse which is inevitable, global insurgency or no global insurgency, because the informing paradigm has been irretrievably sundered. Continued human survival may well strongly depend upon unabashedly embracing this irretrievable fact.
Talk to such people about these sorts of things? Come on! One may well talk, but not to a person. The person no longer exists, only a collectively conferred role attribution standing in for personhood. Being a military brat, I have always found it a waste of time talking to role attributions. The very way the general rises up from the chair. Ugh! Such body language. No person present.
Thanks for directing my attention to Alan Cullison's Inside Al-Qaeda's Hard Drive (The Atlantic, September, 2004), as content of this article greatly illustrates many of the themes I have earlier discussed. While in Kabul, Cullison came into possession of two Al Qaeda computers containing documents written by OBL and Ayman al-Zawahiri. After receiving the computers back from the CIA, he had the material on the hard drives partially decoded and translated. Early in his article, Cullison summarizes what he found. This summary illustrates well that Al Qaeda's primary motivation for undertaking 9/11 was to catalyze a needed self-organizational phase transition. Quoting (p. 58):
The blow [9/11] against the United States was meant to put an end to the internal rivalries, which are manifest in vitriolic memos between Kabul and cells abroad. Al Qaeda's leaders worried about a military response from the United States, but in such a response they spied opportunity: they had fought the Soviet Union in Afghansitan, and they fondly remembered that war as a galvanizing experience, an event that roused the indifferent of the Arab world to fight and win against a technologically superior Western infidel. its [9/11's] aim was to tempt the powers to strike back in a way that would create sympathy for the terrorists. As Arab resentment against the United States spreads, al-Qaeda may look less like a tightly knit terror group and more like a mass movement. And as the group develops synergy in working with other groups branded by the United States as enemies one wonders if the United States is indeed playing the role written for it on the computer.
Cullison does not pursue the implications of this last statement, his wondering. Let me do that here by providing some background on statements made by bin Laden later quoted in Cullison's article.
One aspect of the Viet Nam war inadequately explored by the historians was factionalism within the Vietnamese communist movement. Explored not at all was the fact that overcoming consequences of this factionalism was one to the primary motivations for undertaking the 1968 Tet offensive. This theme is explored in considerable detail in MOON and I invite you to read that exploration which is based on analysis of captured enemy documents quoted in the novel. Comments one finds on this subject in the historical literature are basically debunking statements: there was little factionalism and what little there was had nothing to do with the Tet offensive. The military authorities on the scene and the historians after them got it wrong because they did not read the documents, as Sam Adams never tired of pointing out during the Westmoreland vs. CBS trial.
The paper analyzing strategy for the Tet-'68 offensive -- written at Strategic Research and Analysis (SRA), MACV-J2, in 1968, suppressed by the command which strongly disagreed with its analysis, and published 25 years later in MOON -- presents the strategy as having been developed largely on the basis of correlations established with Truong Chinh's analysis of the French situation in 1950, as described by Chinh in his book The Resistance Will Win, a book that went largely unread by the American military. Giap's Peoples' War, Peoples' Army was on the shelves of the MACV intelligence library; none of Chinh's books were to be found there. On-the-ground preparations for the Tet-'68 offensive, as described in great detail by the SRA paper, were derived from Truong Chinh's exposition as given in his book The August Revolution. There can be little doubt that while studying Mao, OBL came across the writings of Truong Chinh -- or, more likely, he has certainly arrived at similar principles on the basis of similar experience.
One thing the successful insurgent must do is identify and isolate the enemy. Quoting Chinh speaking in The Resistance Will Win:
The reactionary French Colonialists are our deadly foes, our main enemy. We are not fighting against France because France is a democratic country. Are we fighting against the French people? No! Because the French people have no desire to invade our country… we are only fighting against the French reactionaries who scheme to use force to subdue us The more we fight the more clearly will the relatively less reactionary colonialist elements realize that the aggressive war in Vietnam is harmful. They will oppose the stubborn reactionary colonialists and advocate a peaceful settlement and cooperation with us.
Now let us hear from bin Laden's computer wherein he writes a letter addressed to the American people in an attempt to identify and isolate his enemy (quoted by Cullison on p. 70):
Our current battle is against the Jews. Our faith tells us we shall defeat them, God willing. However, Muslims find that the Americans stand as a protective shield and strong supporter, both financially and morally. The desert storm that blew over New York and Washington should, in our view, have blown over Tel Aviv. The American position obliged Muslims to force the Americans out of the arena first to enable them to focus on their Jewish enemy. Why are the Americans fighting a battle on behalf of the Jews? Why do they sacrifice their sons and interests for them?
Beyond catalyzing self-organizational phase transition and pushing forward isolation of the enemy, initiation of an effective general counter-offensive must decisively present the adversary with a clear choice. Quoting CDEC Bulletin 12,317, dated 4 March 1968, wherein the Central (Hanoi) Military Affairs Party Committee said:
They [the U.S.] must be compelled to follow one of these two paths: (1) to carry the war to other parts of S.E. Asia; (2) withdraw from SVN.
The U.S., of course, did both.
Now let us hear from bin Laden's computer wherein he writes a letter addressed to Mullah Omar in an attempt to explain the choice he has presented to America (quoted by Cullison on p. 70):
3. Keep in mind that America is currently facing two contradictory problems:
a) If it refrains from responding to jihad operations, its prestige will collapse, thus forcing it to withdraw its troops abroad and restrict itself to U.S. internal affairs. This will transform it from a major power to a third-rate power, similar to Russia.
b) On the other hand, a campaign against Afghanistan will impose great long-term economic burdens, leading to further economic collapse, which will force America, God willing, to resort to the former Soviet Union's option: withdrawal from Afghanistan, disintegration, and contraction.
In principle, OBL's Al Qaeda and Associates are pursing on a global scale the same strategy the Vietnamese communists pursued relative to a national territory. This choice of scale gives Al Qaeda far more leverage over the strategic variables space and time (which countervail disparities of available force) than had the Vietnamese communists. These variables are those variables most directly coupled to the exponential growth curve in resource commitments foist upon the counterinsurgent with initiation by the insurgent of general counter-offensive. The more expansive the space of contention and the longer the protraction, the more resources the counterinsurgent must commit in order to maintain a semblance of civil order, such maintenance being the absolute prerequisite to a successful counterinsurgency. Understanding these strategic realities, OBL's Al Qaeda and Associates have focused their strategy precisely upon that exponential growth curve: our intent, bin Laden says, is to bankrupt America. Clean, smart, all energies placed upon the fulcrum. And from that correspondence with the Vietnam war, generally recognized but not understood in detail, it is easy to see why an America, well-stoked on falsified accounts of what transpired in Vietnam -- culmination of the dissimulation process being the false testimony of the policy principles made during the Westmoreland vs. CBS trial, ballyhooed by the media: Sam Adams made a valiant, if certain to fail, try! -- could not have permitted an intelligent response to 9/11, regardless of who was in the White House, neocon presence or no neocon presence, be that response unilateral or multilateral. Early in this global confrontation, as we presently are, the jury is still out. OBL's Al Qaeda and Associates are betting that a well-stoked America will remain well-stoked. Anybody taking odds on this bet?
I was quite excited by the first two pages of Garry Wills' article (What is a Just War?) reviewing Michael Walzer's book Arguing About War, though I knew the insight had to be abandoned at some point given that the article was published in the New York Review of Books (November 18, 2004). In these first two pages Wills reiterates part of Derek Dillon's take as explicated in MOON, and does a much better job of it in that many quotations are utilized which Derek never ran across. It is when Wills starts explicating Walzer that all the insight evaporates, and when he, towards the end of the article, endorses Walzer with (p. 35) So are his [Walzer's] arguments as useless as those of the [just war] tradition? I hope not, he becomes every bit the warmonger Walzer is. How is Walzer a warmonger, when he presents himself as being quite the contrary? Quoting Wills (p. 34):
Walzer says that all war overrides certain moral rules; but even when they have to be overridden they remain moral rules.
This is the statement of a secular Rabbinical warmonger. There is no evidence in human history that moral acts have ever issued from imposition of moral rules. Moral acts are not context independent, as are moral rules. Moral acts issue from generative empathy, not rules. If you want to understand war, listen to Saint Francis, not Saint Augustine. Rules drive generative empathy out of the mainstream of social experience, relegate it to the periphery, and in so doing create collective psychological circumstances wherein massed warfare is inevitable. There is no just war; there is just war, war and only war, war by it own means or war by other means. Law is criminal because it removes the possibility of spontaneous social order that generative empathy in the mainstream of social experience realizes. The generative empathy most required is that with the natural surround, with Nature, with the Kabbalistic tree of life: animistic identity transparency, quantum relative-state. When the rule-regulated Rabbinically-inclined male abstracted himself far enough out of Nature to imagine that Nature has laws, not the patterns immanent in events, as the Taoist I-Ching says, that male created an industrial revolution that made over-population and massed warfare inevitable. To advocate the omnipotence of moral rules is to advocate massed warfare. If you want to end the inevitability of massed warfare, cultivate the prerequisites of generative empathy in the mainstream of social experience. This is not an anti-technological position being advocated: inhumane technological regimes issue out of the collective psychological projection of natural laws; ecologically-adapted technologies emerge from introjection of the immanent patterns in Nature. Which wars Walzer supported and which he didn't, as described toward the end of Wills' article, is wholly irrelevant. Particularly so, as Walzer obviously has no empathy, let alone generative empathy, with those who have found themselves involved in war. Not only does he apparently neglect Trotsky's admonition that Though you may not be interested in war, war is interested in you!, quoting Wills (p. 35), Walzer finds it repugnant to kill others with small risk of being killed in return. Well spoken by a man who has not only abstracted himself out of Nature's tree of life, but also out of the realities of human nature: the will to continue participating in that tree of life.
Yes, the numbers issue is always a political kickball. We have only to look at Yossef Bodansky's recently stated estimates to see an example of that. Quoting Etgar Lefkovits (The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2004, Terror Expert: Qaida WMD Attack on US Likely Soon):
Moreover, Bodansky said that America is losing the war against terrorism, noting the number of recruits bin Laden is able to count on, as his call to arms gains widespread support throughout the Muslim world. In the pre-9/11 world, Bodansky said, jihadists could count on 250,000 individuals trained and willing to die, and 2.5 million-5 million people willing to help them in one way or another. He cited intelligence estimates from this summer that suggest that as many as 500,000-750,000 people are willing and trained to die, 10 million are willing to actively support them, short of killing, while another 50 million are willing to support such a movement financially.
These numbers, I note, are considerably at variance from those given by official spokespersons. I also would observe that the explicit tooth-to-tail ratio at the top end of Bodansky's estimate (depending upon what categories of the enemy you want to include in enemy strength, of course) approximates to in excess of 1-to-50, which is half again too high according to historical precedent; while the lower end, approximating to somewhat over 1-to-10, is historically too low. It is, of course, possible that Al Qaeda could significantly vary from historical distribution, but asymptotically speaking, by non-parametric inference, this is statistically improbable. Why do you think this "kickball" status is always the case?
Let me draw another of my bizarre connections. For quite awhile I've entertained the suspicion that there is likely a correlation between Paul Wolfowitz's political neoconservatism and thematics of his father's professorial career as a mathematician, but never took the effort to look into the matter. Reading Peter Boyer's article on Wolfowitz's defense of the war in Iraq (The Believer, The New Yorker, November 1, 2004), however, was sufficient stimulus to look over the father's career -- a distinguished career, as I am now aware.
Antecedents of the thesis I have been arguing about deep-structure origins of world war being related to falsification of Schrödinger's wave-function first appeared in my awareness during 1963 while studying American intellectual history under tutelage of Elspeth Rostow, the wife of W. W., an ex-OSS officer who was then Director of the Policy Planning Board of the State Department. My first stumbling attempts to describe these antecedents were made during the invitation-only bull sessions at the McArthur Boulevard apartment of Abdul Said, the AU-SIS professor under whom I was then studying theory of the international system. Said's response was to suggest I read Plato's Republic, not for Plato's political theory, but to assimilate his mode of thought. Two years later, the idea was raised with Ernest Nagel and his Jungian analyst wife at their house near the zoo. Nagel had recently written a book on Gödel's theorem. I met Nagel through Elspeth at the Sheraton Park First National Teach-in Against the Vietnam War, which Nagel moderated, and where W. W., in a small unadvertised evening seminar, debated Stanley Hoffman and Hans Morganthau, likely because Mac Bundy had failed to show up for his scheduled afternoon debate with George Kahin. As was her nature, Elspeth graciously introduced me to all these people. (I had already encountered and subsequently became acquainted with Mac Bundy and TK, GH, HHH, DD, SM Mr. Da-Da-Da Goes to Washington. There is a subliminal subtext to personal political action and action of PACs, policy societies, strategy institutes, and American Showa academies; to have penetrated its rhyme and reason between 1963-'65 was sufficient to provoke early departure from the disaster area and to gain insight into the long-wave train governing the event gradient.) Abdul Said, in 1963, had insisted that I read Jung's Modern Man in Search of a Soul, wherein Jung's psychoanalysis of the origins of Nazification was given, as well as A. J .P. Taylor's contrarian Origins of the Second World War. I wrote my first-semester freshman SIS thesis-type paper for Said, which was entitled The Predicament of Existentialism, wherein Gödel figured large (the grad student overseeing the writing of this frosh paper didn't understand nothin' 'bout Gödel, so you can imagine how the paper fared). When I subsequently learned Nagel's wife was a Jungian analyst, I attempted to pursue the matter in discussions at their house, discussions which were catalytic for me, if inconsequential to them.
My bizarre nascent notion regarding origins of world war fleshed itself out considerably at Strategic Research and Analysis (SRA), MACV-J2, during 1968 in almost daily early-morning discussions over omelets in the ground-floor MACV snack bar with the resident expert on enemy strength, the person who had earlier been ordered to debate Sam Adams before the National Intelligence Estimates Board. This person was regarded at SRA as something of a genius because of his knowledge of theoretical statistics. My bizarre idea about origins of world war was taken seriously enough that this theoretical sophistication in statistics was resolutely brought in opposition to the intuitive notion I was trying to explicate and thus forced me to look more fundamentally at the idea than I otherwise ever would have. Absent this informed opposition, the idea likely would have died on the vine. This person, who was most responsible for creation-from-below of the Political Order of Battle section of the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam, also gave me a copy of Watson's recently released 1968 book on DNA, telling me that I would learn a lot about the self-organizing properties of the Viet Cong Political Infrastructure by reading it. My first thoughts about DNA superconductivity, which later reached fruition at Cornell in informal collaboration with a professor there, came at this time in Saigon in relation to my thinking about a different interpretation of Schrödinger's wave-function, a wave-function I had learned something about in honors PSSC physics in high school. The ongoing discussions at SRA constantly jumped between theoretical abstractions and the concrete realities involved with the enemy strength estimates controversy.
Jacob Wolfowitz, Paul's father, was a world-class authority on theoretical statistics who was for a period a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Cornell. I first ran across Emil Post's paper on m-valued logics in the Cornell mathematics library, where I spent a great deal of time. The same library Paul certainly spent time in as an undergraduate. (I had to laugh when Boyer, in the above mentioned article criticizing Wolfowitz propaganda, said (p. 48) Paul had pillaged the Pentagon library -- pillaged, mind you.) Studying Post's paper crystallized my thesis about origins of world war and propelled thoughts on DNA superconductivity. The paper we wrote on DNA superconductivity, published in the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry in 1979, was not well received at Cornell. How a well-trained scientist can come up with such bizarre ideas is beyond me pretty well summarizes it. This, from a professor in the Chemistry Department, when one of Carl Sagan's students brought it to the Department's attention. Media-star Sagan was the unrelenting resident arch-foe of all such departures, be they in atmospheric science or biochemistry. Jacob had long since left Cornell by then, of course. But he, too, surely, would have thought the superconductant DNA ideas bizarre, as the involved interpretation of Schrödinger had nothing to do with probability and statistics. It had to do with what Pauli called "operator time".
The most famous quotation attributed to Jacob Wolfowitz is the following: Let us look at what happens in Euclidian n-space; this was good enough for my grandfather and therefore for me. For me, there are more personal connections here. While John C. Lilly, the neuroscientist creator of the isolation-flotation tank, was at Wright Field developing instrumentation for studying the bends associated with high-altitude flight in the unpressurized cabins of WWII bombers, Jacob was developing statistical methodologies for studying vulnerability of those bombers to attack. Jacob's area of expertise at this time was not only conceptually the WWII equivalent of the Vietnam-era strength estimates problem, but also a concrete precursor to the anti-ballistic-missile issues his son, Paul, later became an expert on. My father was a WWII bomber pilot who, after the war, developed two collapsed lungs from the bends sustained during combat missions over Germany. These collapsed lungs resulted in his being taken off flight status ten years after the war ended. I finished high school in 1963 in Fairborn, Ohio, where Wright Field is located, because my father, then at Wright-Pat, was overseeing the scientists developing flight simulators, those precursors of virtual reality technology. Climbing in and out of flight simulators as a high school kid, and talking with the scientists creating them, prepared me later to climb in and out of isolation-flotation tanks -- and the virtual-reality-related states of consciousness associated therewith, states of consciousness which cannot be accounted for relative to Euclidian n-space. I later became aware of the nature of Lilly's WWII research while surveying and cataloguing, at John's request, his personal scientific archive in preparation for its acquisition by Stanford.
While Jacob Wolfowitz was applying the tools of theoretical statistics to the problem of bomber vulnerability, Abraham Wald -- whom Jacob studied under and was later a colleague of -- created the field of statistical sequential analysis so as to improve efficiency and quality control of wartime industrial plant and assembly-line manufacturing. Requirements of practical application were overwhelming early determinants of theoretical developments. Until the war intervened, Wald's best mathematical work had been in differential and metric geometries and infinite-dimensional vector spaces. This war-driven shift of attention was not markedly different from what was at the time transpiring at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing, where his early focus upon issues in transfinite sets was forced by practicalities of breaking the Nazi codes to shift to a focus upon finite sequences. In consonance with those opposed to the Axiom of Choice -- an opposition embraced by Turing under duress as he created the notion of a Turing machine -- Wald demonstrated the practical assembly-line superiority of analyzing data as it is sequentially produced, as opposed to analyzing it after it is all collected.
The branch of statistical experimentation called sequential analysis is an extension of non-parametric statistical inference wherein observations (or products spit off an assembly line) are taken one at a time, or one finite set at a time, and no presuppositions are made as to the nature of the distribution function: presupposition is distribution-free, i.e., non-parametric. The purpose of non-parametric procedures is to arrive at the functional form of the distribution of random variables, parameters, functionals with a sequence of discrete steps where no prior notion of sample size is entertained. Discrete time versus continuous time. After each increment (observation, product, bit) a sampling decision is made on basis of all prior increments: stop, continue? Stop implies that the sequential probability test procedures have yielded a maximum probability estimate of the involved distribution function. Limiting behavior of estimators with increasing sample sizes; minimaxity in asymptotic analysis due to consistency-convergence and efficiency-rate. Convergence to a point from the numerical neighborhood under the set of maximum likelihood estimators.
Sequential non-parametric statistical inference is tantamount to the quantum logic of the probability-amplitude interpretation of Schrödinger's wave-function, convergence to a point under maximum likelihood estimators being the correlate to collapse of the wave-function: observation is the responsible agency in both cases. Jacob Wolfowitz also contributed significantly to theory of the Bernoulli parameter, which, in the hands of Prigogine, is used to transform the basic elements of matter into the probabilities-themselves (see discussion in peerless2 of how this relates to Schrödinger and recent holocausts).
But how is all this fatherly (and very patriarchal) mathematical theory correlated with son Paul's political neoconservatism -- aside from the stated fact that what was good for the father's grandfather was good enough for the father, and the almost-understandable influence of wartime necessity upon development of theoretical science (even if wartime necessity likely -- by non-parametric statistical inference, that is -- has little to do with the nature of Nature)? Jacob Wolfowitz was born in Warsaw and brought to NYC as a child. Involved with Columbia, he later taught at Cornell. A generation earlier, Emil Post was born in Warsaw and brought to NYC as a child. Involved with Columbia, he later taught at Cornell. Jacob was most known for his work on statistical inference within Euclidean n-space. Emil was most known for his work on m-valued logics, which develop inferences that cannot be mapped within Euclidean n-space. In 1921, in Warsaw, Lukasiewicz produced the first consistent account of a 3-valued logic; later the same year, Post, in New York, produced the first consistent account of m-valued logics. I have seen calculations to the effect that in Boolean logic there are 4 unary operators, 16 binary, 256 ternary, and so on. In that m-valued logic where m = 3, interpreted according to Keene, there are 9 unary operators, 19,683 binary, 7,625,597,484,987 ternary, and so on. As the value of m increases without bound, asymptotically speaking, minimaxity ain't exactly a matter of convergence to any likely numerical neighborhood, let alone one of maximum likelihood. The mathematician is faced with the full Cantorian universe which the Axiom of Choice embraced. A Cantorian universe in logical-values to a given proposition ain't exactly like a Cantorian universe of atomic material particles: it is so scary that Great Scientists simply declare imminence of Final Theory, just as Great Generals simply declare imminence of Total Victory. And the spintronic little-boy working consensus scientists become evermore compelled to focus in upon using the Cantorian universe of SUPERPOSED actual values of a phase digit, calling them possible values, such that the involved relativistic-quantum spin can be used with Boolean propositions so as to create the political environment of Total [information] Control prerequisite to Total Victory [of neoconservative grandfather clauses on reality]. The more undeniable m-logical values become in quantum mechanics, the farther they have to be pushed out into space by cosmology: the multiverse of M-theory. M-logically-valued physical constants of this one and only universe? My god! My god! Out, out, damn spot! By whatever means required, at whatever collective cost.
If, as MOON argues, Schrödinger's m-valued 1925 wave-function is correctly interpreted with Post's and Lukasiewicz's 1921 Polish m-valued logics, not Born's 1926 single-valued notion of probability amplitudes, then, clearly, Jacob Wolfowitz threw his lot with Born, not Post-Lukasiewicz. MOON goes on to argue that this dissimulation of Schrödinger -- along with its 19th century falsifying prefigurative precursors in higher mathematics -- was the straw that broke the camel's back in regards to origins of WWII. As m increases without bound, the notion of truth-value, asymptotically speaking, become valueless, as B. Russell so adroitly, if inadvertently, demonstrated in On Logical Atomism two decades before the event. Though this continues to be avoided like the plague, unlike Boolean logic, where truth-value remains the bedrock upon which inferences -- statistical and otherwise -- are orchestrated, in m-valued logics inferences are about identities that are not self-identical, as the orders of m-valued logics are developed on degrees of self-reference in the involved self-referential propositions. Degree of self-reference is a measure of non-orientability in selfhood, a measure, that is, of the ability of a self to be not-itself while SIMULTANEOUSLY remaining itself: violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction, not only the Law of Distributed Middle. This logical lack of self-identical identity is wherefrom quantum non-locality issues forth as evocation of German Schicksal and Japanese Jijimuge, and all the other animistic-participation-mystique stuff that, after 1926, became a causus belli. Wolfowitzian neoconservatism -- be it mathematical or political -- is no more pro-animism than pro-kabbalah. And it should be of little surprise that such a fundamental falsification of nature would be at origins of world war, or that Paul Wolfowitz should travel to Warsaw to defend a war against the Islamic tribes. M-valued logics are the identity-transparent logics of tribal animism and quantum self-organization in collective and cooperative material systems (superconductivity, superfluidity, et cetera). As Jung describes in Modern Man in Search of a Soul, archetypal processes of the collective unconscious just work that way: compensatory abreactions (wars), synchronicities (next year in Warsaw), and so on. Modern men in flight from their animistic souls.
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