Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism

Burning consulates, dead Americans, it’s a real war scare dear readers, and it could get a lot worse

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I’m proud of how Americans responded to 9/11, especially New Yorkers and their first responders. They are true heroes. For the most I’m disgusted and ashamed of how our government and media and pundits responded to 9/11, they dishonoured the memory of those who died that day. It’s a distinction lost on some people I fear, but just clearing it up for those who can appreciate it. God bless!     —Doug Stych

One of the people being Steve, who blew a gasket over my 9/11 post. No offence was meant, I have friends in New York City, but apparently plenty was taken. I’m flattered in a way. His comment does reveal one thing global though, tensions are very high right now both in the USA abroad, especially the Middle East. And events of the past few days culminating in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, has brought things to a very serious level.

So what the hell went down in Libya? The more or less “official” version in the mainstream western media is some variation of “those crazy Muslims rioting over an insult to their religion killed a bunch of Americans.” This does not really appear to be the case, even in the mainstream versions. Yes, there was anti-American demonstrations because a trailer of a mysterious anti-Muslim movie was translated into Arabic. In Egypt a handful of demonstrators climbed over the US embassy wall, tore down an American flag, and replaced it with an Islamic banner. Islamic slogans were painted on the walls of the embassy. It wasn’t really that big a deal, and we are only talking a few thousand demonstrators out of millions of Egyptians. In Libya, yes, there appear to have been demonstrators. However, at some point a group of professional fighters of unknown allegiance attacked the American consulate in Benghazi. It was a military style attack using RPGs and assault rifles, ten Libyan security troops died defending the consulate before they pulled back in the face of the superior attacking force. The attackers apparently attacked in two directed waves, one directed at the consulate, the second directed at the Americans trying to flee the consulate. Who were these attackers? We don’t know. The Libyan government’s response? They have vowed to bring the attackers to justice.

What the hell is going on here? Damned if I know. What I do know is that many people in the west are rushing to judgment and simply blaming Islam and or Libyans in general for the violence. All I can say is that clearly is what both the attackers, and the people who made the film intended. We can only wonder at the actual motivations of either, until further information comes out. Assuming us worms will ever know in the first place. It’s been suggested the attack was the work of Al Qaeda. Other armed factions in Libya could be responsible. Former Qaddafi loyalists could be responsible. What we do know is that leaders around the globe are now both telling their security people “Find out who is behind this attack NOW,” while simultaneously asking their most trusted advisers “Does this present a danger to us, can we take advantage of it, what can we do?” Some nations may skip the first step. Things like this in the past have led to much bigger wars, this one sure could.

It’s a war scare alright, maybe the biggest since the Russia/Georgia war. There’s things that have ratcheted up the tension, the US election campaign, the US’s current strained  relations with Israel, Israel’s almost strident calling for war with Iran, the mysterious “movie” that seems clearly designed to inflame tensions in the Islamic world, the as yet unsolved bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, and the ongoing strife in Syria, and to a lesser extent in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Tensions were already running high when this Libya thing happened, and several of these factors seem to be deliberate attempts to stoke the flames by unknown agencies for unknown purpose. I am talking about the Bulgaria attack, the attack on the US Consulate, and the mysterious movie. It is safe to say that whoever is behind each is not trying to foster peace and understanding in the Middle East. This is why it’s a serious war scare, there’s some people trying to fan the flames of war.

I hope people don’t jump to conclusions, but they already are of course, seeing all sorts of Islamic hate speech on Facebook. The Drudge Report is outdoing itself. And demonstrations outside the American embassy in Egypt continue. I hope cooler heads prevail. I may update this post if the situation develops rapidly from here.  Feedback welcome.

(The above image is floating around Facebook, so I hope I’m using it legally. Not for profit, etc. Photograph credit: Chris Kotsiopoulos. For a larger version: It’s multiple lightning strikes over twenty minutes combined into a single ex posure. If I saw something like that, yeah, I’d worry. I’m a little worried.)


Written by unitedcats

September 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

War Dreams

with 5 comments

I have to admit that the situation in Syria and the Middle East is a little disturbing. Maybe a lot disturbing. In the normal course of events the rebellion would be crushed in Syria, but we are no longer within the normal course of events. And the Syrian mess is horribly intertwined with Israel’s threat to attack Iran, and the spreading instability from Syria … Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey are already getting spillover. And on the “World News” tonight on TV: The Washington Shooting, Immigration, Domestic politics, and … drum roll … the Loch Ness Monster. Yes dear reader, the sole actual international story on the American news tonight was about the latest Loch Ness Monster hoax. They didn’t call it a hoax though. And then they claimed people have been seeing the Loch Ness Monster since the seventh century. That, in the common or orc speech, is called a lie. Loch Ness Monster sightings date from 1933, which should have ended all the silliness long ago.

Yes, I’m digressing all over the place again. Syria, what’s to be done? I tried writing a blog post. Turns out just understanding the history of Syria is a few blog posts on its own, maybe dozens. Add current events and its a real conundrum. I’ll try and sum it up. Under the guise of supporting a democratic uprising in Syria, the USA and Israel are destabilizing Syria to further isolate Iran, and maybe even force it to capitulate on its nuclear program. Russia and China are supporting the status quo in Syria, and for the moment at least have forestalled direct NATO involvement. No lines in the sand have been drawn yet though. Everyone else in the region is trying to look after themselves, which sadly includes huge numbers of civilians and refugees at this point. And to spice up the mix, Israel is openly talking about a “30 day war” with Iran. And the Iranians responded with stupid sabre rattling of their own.

Fun fun times. It’s impossible to say where this will lead, but I don’t really see how this is going to lead to more peace and stability in the region. Syria, like so many Middle Eastern and African nations, isn’t  a natural nation, just lines on the map drawn by France and England after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War One. That bodes ill for any peaceful end to this. The ongoing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan also bode ill for Syria, ten years after the west “liberated” them they are still failed states with no end in sight. Even Egypt’s new president has called for “regime change” in Syria, while criticizing Muslim on Muslim violence, especially during Ramadan. Encouraging violence while simultaneously criticizing it, I don’t even begin to understand that.

And then there’s Israel’s threat to carry out an extended bombing campaign against Iran. Sigh. The Israelis seem determined to keep themselves isolated and hated among nations of the Middle East, they are so stuck in siege mode that they can’t seem to imagine anything else. Once one has convinced oneself that their enemies are sub-human savages, it’s a short trip to believing that violence is the only option. Again, I can’t even imagine what the fallout from an Israeli war on Iran would entail. Though I certainly don’t imagine it leading to peace in the Middle East and a democratic western oriented regime in Iran.  An Israeli attack on Iran would be Muslim militant fundamentalist’s wet dream though. That’s another aspect of this mess that’s appalling, so many of the actors seem to be deliberately taking steps that will lead to more Islamic militants and more terrorism. Madness, ignorance, or design? Damned if I know.

To me it’s clear that anyone who says they understand what’s going on the Middle East now is a liar or a fool. Decades ago a wag said that “If God is dead, he died trying to solve the Middle East Problem.” Truer now than ever. I think modern propaganda is making the situation worse, it has been a terrible force for polarization and tunnel vision. Having everyone in the region armed to the teeth isn’t helping any either. I also think Israel is one of the worst actors in the whole unwholesome mess, as I think their goal is to create a situation where they can ethnically cleanse the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the name of “national security.” The USA is running  a close second, our foreign policy is so driven by domestic affairs that it has lost touch with reality. I don’t think anyone involved has pure motives though, at least not the major players. And of course I could be utterly wrong about any or all of this.

And here in America in the run-up to the fall presidential elections, we are having a spirited national debate on the wisdom of our militant and aggressive foreign policy. Snort. Nope, we have two war party’s calling the other side “soft on defence.” The one candidate, Ron Paul, actually calling for some sanity in our foreign policy is ignored or hated depending on who’s doing the ignoring or the hating. Lot’s of hating going around, that’s the one constant in all of this, domestically and in the Middle East. Yeah, that always ends well.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law, having been painted in 1872 by Peter Nicolai Arbo, Norway 1831-1892. It’s titled Åsgårdsreien, or in English, The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt is a common myth across Northern Europe, it’s the sighting of a group of spectral hunters and hounds tearing across the sky. Sightings of it are often supposed to be an omen of disaster or war. I think the gentle reader can discern why I found it an appropriate illustration for this post.)

Written by unitedcats

August 17, 2012 at 7:23 am

Israel blames Iran for bus bomb, could this be war?

with 3 comments

A bomb has gone off in a  bus and killed some Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The government of Israel wasted no time in blaming the attack on Iran. They claim “all signs” point to Iran, though they don’t mention what those signs are. It’s possible Iran is behind it, Israel has been waging a terrorist campaign inside Iran for years, so a revenge attack is not out of the question. It seems unlikely though in that it would give Israel a  casus beli to attack Iran, and there’s no indication Iran wants a war with Israel. A more likely group is the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a terrorist group fighting the government of Iran. The attack came on the eighteenth anniversary of the attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina. Who launched that attack has never been proved either, both Iran and the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) are suspects there too. There’s really no way for us worms to know for sure, these are intensely politicized bombings with all sides playing for very high stakes, so some or all parties involved have every incentive to lie and mislead. Even if someone claims responsibility, that doesn’t mean they actually did it. Shadow war.

Fortunately, even if I can never know for sure what happened here, I can still speculate on what will happen next. Israel’s instantaneous condemnation of Iran certainly raises the possibility that they will use this as an excuse to attack Iran. Some have even suggested that the reason for Israel’s campaign inside Iran is to goad Iran into doing something that would give Israel cause for war. If so, an attack could come within days. I’m certainly going to be following the news closely for awhile.

There’s certainly been rumours of an impending Israeli attack on Iran, some suggesting it will happen just before the election so Obama will have no choice but to support it. That strikes me as a somewhat facile analysis, I suspect Israel is just using this as another chance to tighten the screws on Iran. The whole Israel obsession with Iran is sometimes hard to parse, Iran is no threat to Israel, far from it. I assume it’s both to distract the world from Israel’s slow ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, and maybe goading Iran into starting a big war which will give Israel to excuse to expel the Palestinians from the occupied territories. In any case they are playing a risky game, as is everyone else in this unstable mess.

Then there’s the whole Syria situation. The west is clearly pushing hard to bring down the Assad regime, though to what end is again hard to fathom. Partly to stick it to the Russians, partly an attempt to replace an independent government with a western lapdog government I’m assuming. And Israel would love to have an excuse to annex the Golan Heights, or more accurately, get some compliant Syrian government to cede them to Israel, all nice and “legal.”

What none of this is about of course is democracy or human rights, despite the endless western condescending propaganda to the contrary. Even our leftists and liberals in the USA have become cheerleaders for blood and empire, all in the name of “saving” the women of the world. Nothing good will come of this bus bombing, but nothing good ever comes of terrorism. No matter who is doing the killing.

(I sat on this post overnight to see if there would be any new developments. Nothing really, they are claiming it was a suicide bomber with fake American travel documents. And Israel has reiterated its claim that Hezbollah/Iran are behind the attack. Hezbollah has even less reason to get into it with Israel, and has been explicit that they won’t carry our attacks on Israel, so it’s a charge I take with a grain of salt. I’m still of the opinion that an Israeli attack on Iran would be so stupid and pointless and counterproductive that Israel really isn’t seriously considering it. I hope I’m right.)

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from Wikipedia, and frankly I couldn’t figure out how to attribute it from their arcane instructions. It’s a Dolphin Class submarine, built for Israel by Germany. They have four of them, with two more on order. They can launch nuclear cruise missiles. Just one of many reasons while Israel has little to fear from anyone.)

Written by unitedcats

July 19, 2012 at 5:18 am

9/11 Conspiracy Theory Redux

with 7 comments

OK, Wikipedia is down, so I can’t write the post I was planning on writing. Well, maybe I could, it’s not like the whole Internet is down yet. The SOPA thing is getting a lot of attention, so maybe it won’t come to pass after all. However, whatever excuse I may use, I decided the comments on my last 9/11 conspiracy post were … fascinating. I was going to write a comment in response, but realized I could squeeze a post out of it. And, well, people took the time to write a lot of long comments, the least I can do is respond.

Thank you for the comments. That being said, I don’t recall saying anything about my beliefs about what happened on 9/11, I was writing about my take on 9/11 demolition theories. And what people did write about my putative beliefs was wrong. However, that’s not the point. I also didn’t appreciate the few remarks casting doubt on my judgment etc, but, I won’t deny that on some levels I have poked fun at 9/11 Truthers, so, fair enough. And I’m sorry the comment thread devolved into endless listing of the various items 9/11 Truthers use to make their case. Seriously, did anyone think they were posting anything I hadn’t seen a before? I mean really.

So I stand by my original statement, all of the evidence submitted by 9/11 Truthers is interpretive, it’s only evidence because the Truthers say it is. None of it is hard evidence, none of it would stand up in court. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying if Truthers want their theory to be widely accepted, they need evidence that 90% of people are going to look at and say “Oh My God.” Evidence that actually is on point: Who’s idea was this conspiracy? Who were their co-conspirators? Who set the charges?

However, moving past all that, because there’s no profit to be had there, great, the Truthers think the evidence they have is convincing. I have no interesting in debating it, and I’m sorry if I gave that impression.  My point, that essentially every commenter seems to have missed: Convince me the 9/11 Truther Theory is a logical theory, defend it logically. Answer my questions:

1. Why 9/11, when a vastly simpler and far less risky false flag attack would have the same result?

2. Why WTC 7, a building no one had ever heard of.

3. How, exactly, did they recruit people into this conspiracy?

This is just a  logical exercise, right? My questions aren’t rhetorical questions, I don’t have preset answers. I do admit, my lifelong study of how and why humans commit terrible violence played a part in why I ask these questions. Mostly though, just as I said, logic. If 9/11 Truthers are proposing that the Bush Administration committed what would be one of the most heinous crimes in history, they should be able to defend their theory. All of it.

“On your way, Bud,” said Colonel Harper, “and good luck to you”

(The above image is of the US aircraft carrier Bunker Hill after being hit by two kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa in 1945. It’s a National Archive photo, so pretty much public domain under US copyright law. 400 people are dead or dying in this image. 402 counting the kamikaze pilots I suppose. Hell of a thing, suicide attacks.)

Written by unitedcats

January 19, 2012 at 6:42 am

Is the USA going to attack Iran?

with 4 comments

Current events have once again forced me to drop my planned blog, on the mysterious origins of pizza. Yes, the USA has uncovered a dastardly Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador followed by some terrorist attacks. Some have called this an act of war, and the sabre rattling coming from Obama and Washington is as scary as it has ever been. What’s going on here?

Sigh. As usual, even with what information has already been made public, this is a terrorist plot largely concocted by the government. In short they found some whack job who was muttering about kidnapping the Saudi Ambassador. An informant pretended to be an Iranian agent and convinced this hapless soul to not only kill the Saudi ambassador. but to set of explosives as well. How does Iran figure into all of this? Because the government says so, that’s why. Yes, the government of Iran decided to use an unstable American used car dealer from Texas to carry out a plot that was almost sure to fail, risked all-out war with the USA, for no conceivable benefit for Iran!

In other words, this “plot” is basically a joke. Except of course there’s nothing funny about the USA threatening war. Is the USA going to attack Iran? I doubt it. There’s nothing to be gained by attacking Iran, and there are all sorts of ways it could cause us terrible problems, I’ve blogged about this before. I think this more of the same ol same ol. Distraction from our domestic concerns, and more of the continuous  justification (IE propaganda) for endless American military spending/waging wars.

I can’t think of anything in the equation that would change, and make this war scare more serious than the dozen others that have preceded it. Well, other than the heightened instability in the region I suppose. Syria and Yemen are pretty much in a state of insurrection at the very least, with casualties clearly in the realm of war. The Libyan civil war drags on, Qaddafi loyalists striking in Tripoli today. Illustrating something that so many Americans don’t grasp. Just because Washington says that the Taliban, Saddam, and Qaddafi were the bad guys, doesn’t magically mean they don’t have supporters, often fanatical supporters. And another war would also put that much more financial strain on the US right now, something even Washington surely doesn’t want. And the US military does have its limits. Everything has its limits, another lesson many in the USA are not willing to face. And even if one argues how high those limits are, it’s still not wise to push them.

In addition, and it bears repeating amid the drums of war, Iran is no threat to the USA. They are a modest regional power on the other side of the planet, with a small outdated military and zero ability to attack the USA. Pictured above is a squadron of Iran’s front line fighters. They are F-7s, a Chinese made copy of the Russian Mig-21. The Mig-21 was designed and first flew in the nineteen fifties. These and a few dozen similar aircraft are all Iran has to control the airspace over Iran. A single modern American carrier group could take them out without breaking a sweat. Iran’s entire air force.

My crystal ball is cloudier than ever these days though. There’s no doubt that the Middle East is possibly as volatile as it’s ever been since World War Two. So any war scare is not a good thing. And this may be cover for something else. Even as cover for dictatorships crushing democracy movements it’s an ugly thing. I hope it’s nothing worse.

Coming soon, pizza, overpopulation, and domestic terrorism.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, yadda yadda yadda. And while the above planes couldn’t challenge US control of the skies over Iran, they do make very effective one shot short range interceptors, as North Vietnam demonstrated some decades ago. Iran does have the ability to defend itself, another reason I suspect a shooting war is unlikely.)

Written by unitedcats

October 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Posted in Iran, Propaganda, Terrorism, War, World

Tagged with ,

9/11 … The Maddened Elephant

with 2 comments

Just a few more hours and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will be history. Of course in a  sense 9/11 will never be over, we have entire institutions and wars devoted to the memory of 9/11, and they aren’t going to slip quietly into the night. In a way, and not a good way, 9/11 is becoming a cult. I’m sick of it. 9/11 was like a rat biting an elephant on the snout. Yeah, it hurt like hell, and yeah it pissed us off. And we should have squashed the rat and carried on. Instead, we have spent ten years trumpeting and snorting wildly, wreaking havoc around us and wearing ourselves into exhaustion in the process. And even though a few months back we finally trampled on the rat that bit us, there’s no sign of an end to the madness.

Sigh. I’ve avoided most of the news today, but I did catch that Obama said that 9/11 “made us stronger.” No surprise there, this is the guy who claimed that Navy Seals gunning down an unarmed old man in his PJs was one of the “greatest military operations in US history.” Obama’s ability to utter the most egregious nonsense while appearing sober and presidential is what got him elected, and he’s clearly not lost his touch.

No, 9/11 did not make us stronger. Or to be more accurate, our response to 9/11 did not make us stronger, it made us weaker. The Bush administration and a compliant media encouraged the USA to hysterically over-react to 9/1, and we paid and are still paying a terrible price for it. A price in both treasure and blood, a price vastly greater than our losses on that day ten years ago. And the horrors we have inflicted on other lands in the name of 9/11, are these the actions of a Christian nation?

Our costs though. In treasure, it’s been enormous. Three trillion dollars at least for the cost of our wars and increased homeland “security.” And even if we ended the War on Terror tomorrow, there would still be trillions more to go in terms of veteran’s care in decades to come. This is money we didn’t have, it was borrowed from our grandchildren, plain and simple. There’s not any question that we got almost no economic benefit from this spending, aside from obscenely enriching the arms and security industry. This added debt is a huge part of why our economy is on the ropes, how the hell does piles of debt make a nation stronger?

Then there’s the cost in blood. Several tens of thousands of Americans have been killed and maimed in our wars, the actual numbers are muddy because the Pentagon works very hard to conceal and obfuscate them. And hundreds of thousands more veterans will have permanent psychological issues and trauma from their service, about one in three combat veterans never really get over it in one sense or another. This is a terrible cost by any measure, and for what? Propping up two of the world’s most corrupt field states? Sending Americans to die on the other side of the planet doesn’t make us stronger, it makes us weaker.

And then there’s the psychological cost. The hysteria mongering after 9/11 was among the most intense in history. The government left no stone unturned telling Americans that terrible monsters lurked everywhere, and that we had to give the government a blank check, including suspending some of our own freedoms, to fight this new menace or surely a falling airliner or a dirty bomb or germ warfare would be coming soon to a neighbourhood near them. And Americans, traumatized by the endlessly repeated sights of 9/11, fell for this twaddle by the tens of millions and gave the Bush administration the green light to seize control of the world’s oil. And it continues to this day, tens of millions of Americans dutifully regurgitate “our troops are fighting for our freedom” while the administration continues to weave tales of terror and death. Letting fear of a trivial enemy guide our national policy does not make us a stronger nation, it makes us a nation of cowards and sheep.

Lastly, I’m saddened and disgusted by what a narcissistic spectacle 9/11 and the “War on Terror” has become. It’s like when Commodus, the Emperor of Rome, took to fighting naked gladiatorial contests in the Colosseum. And charging the city staggering sums of money for the privilege. All right thinking Romans were horrified. The survivors and heroes of 9/11 should be mourning quietly and privately, not being paraded through the streets of Rome for the glory of the Empire.

It’s really that weird.

(The above image is claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law as it was painted in 1526. It’s a Painting titled “The Fall of the Rebel Angels” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It’s just another way to articulate the situation we find ourselves in: America went mad on 9/11, and its going to get worse before it gets better.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Coundown to 9/11 … The Aftermath

with 2 comments

I’ve explained how 9/11 came to be, why they did it, and demolished all the conspiracy theories. OK, that was a joke. The main pint of the previous posts was to encourage discussion, and lead to the point I made in the last post … ultimately who caused 9/11 doesn’t matter. I mean, if irrefutable proof now showed up that Hitler himself lit the Reichstag Fire, what would it change? Nothing. If video now surfaced showing Cheney and co-conspirators laying explosives in the Twin Towers … would Obama go on TV the next day announcing an end to the War on Terror, withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, an end to the Patriot Act, closing Guantanamo, slashing the defence budget, and disbanding Homeland Security?

Snort. Of course not. This is why I think the 9/11 truthers are at best wasting their time, and at worst making it all too easy for the real conspirators to get away with their conspiracy. A conspiracy that happened in plain sight, a conspiracy that is ongoing to this day, a conspiracy that has become part of our national identity even. A conspiracy that is still backed by millions of Americans. Yes, I am talking about the fact that the American government almost immediately seized upon 9/11 as a pretext to take over the world!

Granted, it’s a little bit more nuanced than that. Let me start over. 9/11 was a terrible crime. It was however, just that, a terrible crime committed by a tiny band of extremists. In point of fact it was a known enemy attacking a known target with a method of attack that had been suggested as early as 1970. It looked spectacular on TV, but it really wasn’t that big a deal. It was just a  terrible crime with a lot of victims. It wasn’t an act of war, it wasn’t a clash of civilizations, it was a sick thug murdering a bunch of people. And that’s how it should have been dealt with.

That’s not how we dealt with it. And this is the part where I start to get really sickened and angry. Within days, if not hours, of 9/11, a cabal of hawks in and out of the administration saw 9/11 as a God given chance to use America’s power and prestige to remake the world. The thinking was that since the USA had “won” the cold war, we should now use our advantage to bring about something called the “New American Century.” In a nutshell this was a world where everyone bowed before America’s might. Inconvenient governments like Saddam and the Taliban would be swept away, America’s corporations would have access to markets and resources everywhere, on their terms. And any conceivable threat to US military global or regional dominance would be pre-emptively destroyed. It was a wonderful vision, a vision that rivalled Rome at its greatest, a vast world wide empire with the USA as a new Rome, giants upon a great hill. We were the good guys, God’s chosen ones, and it was time to act on it.

And yeah, it would have been nice if freedom and democracy and prosperity had blossomed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, we have spent trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives, squandered our 9/11 global good will bonus … and achieved less than nothing. Iraq and Afghanistan are two of the world’s foremost failed states, with corruption and violence that puts mob era Chicago to shame. Attempts to bring Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya into the fold aren’t going very well. And let’s not forget that Americans enjoy less freedom than they did prior to 9/11. This is the legacy of 9/11. Smart intelligent people who should have known better confused being a superpower with having superpowers.

Compared to Rome or other great Empires, we suck. And we haven’t reconnected with reality yet. And that’s tomorrow’s post. Where do we go from here, and some more personal observations.

(The above image appears to be Pubic Domain under current Russian copyright law. It’s the aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad. An event that dwarfed 9/11 in almost every particular. Except the hype.)

Written by unitedcats

September 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Countdown to 9/11 … Why?

with 2 comments

Now we start coming to the parts of the 9/11 saga that make me mad. Like any feeling person, I was horrified on 9/11. Unlike many people, I was more horrified by what this would unleash than by the actual event. Millions of people have died by government and terrorist violence since World War Two, in any cosmic sense 9/11 is just a drop in the bucket, it was spectacular, but the number of victims as very small in the greater scheme of things. I mourn for them, but I more mourn for what 9/11 has done to the psyche of the nation, encouraged by a political class only too willing to use 9/11 to further their own ideological agenda.

More on that tomorrow though, assuming Al Qaeda doesn’t kill us all in our sleep tonight. No, like some people, one of my thoughts after 9/11 was “Well, if this encourages a debate on the consequences of our waging wars in the Middle East, maybe some good will come of it.” I was sadly mistaken. Within days the administration had wholeheartedly endorsed “They attacked us for our freedoms” and the war of civilizations was on. Sigh.

OK, assuming that OBL and Al Qaeda are real, what are their motivations? I dunno, call me crazy, but maybe we should see what they say? And turns out OBL, murderous scoundrel he may have been, did in fact articulate his reasons for taking up arms against America:

  • 1. Our unequivocal and one sided support for Israel.
  • 2. Our support for despotic undemocratic regimes in the Middle East.
  • 3. Our sending troops into the Middle East to wage war. (Gulf War One.)

I don’t see anything in there about “hating us for our freedoms.” And if they really hate us for our freedoms, wouldn’t restricting American’s freedoms be giving them what they want? Sorry, I digress. In any event, my point here, is that if a nation chooses to wage war around the world, as the USA has constantly chosen to do since 1945, we are going to make enemies. Al Qaeda is one of those enemies.  The USA has killed huge numbers of peoples in foreign lands since World War Two, why should it be a surprise that someone chose to do the same to us?

In any event, and a point I have leading to, the motivations of the attackers don’t matter. The me repeat that, the motivations of the attackers don’t matter. What matters, is how the Bush administration reacted to it. This is what changed the world, not a terrible but actually pretty pedestrian crime in any global sense. 9/11 wasn’t analogous to Pearl Harbor in any global sense, in the first case a tiny extremist group got away with a terrible crime, in the later one of the world’s top ten nation states went to war with us. No comparison really.

This is where I think the 9/11 truthers are so misguided, by focusing on a theory that ultimately doesn’t matter, they are obscuring the true conspiracy. This is why the administration doesn’t case about the truthers. For one thing, they know they aren’t ever going to prove anything since they weren’t insane enough to actually blow up buildings. And secondly and more importantly, they are wasting energy and thus providing cover for the true conspiracy, the one that was hatched within days of 9/11.

And this is the one Americans are blind to. It doesn’t matter what Al Qaeda’s motivations were, it doesn’t matter who orchestrated 9/11, what matters is how we responded to it. And this is where the true horror begins. Within days it was obvious that the Bush Administration was going to gleefully seize on 9/11 and use it as a blank check to do anything they wanted. 9/11 was manna from heaven for an administration beholden to the military, the rich, Israel, and the oil companies. This is why I am insulted when 9/11 truthers accuse me of “believing administration lies.” I think the American government (and corporate fawning media) went into “all lies, all the time” mode within about ten minutes of 9/11.

I just don’t think the administration caused 9/11 or blew up any buildings, they just spat on the victims and their families and all decent Americans by using 9/11 to promote their colonial agenda. That however is tomorrow’s topic.

(The above image is claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law. The original copyright belonged to Germany’s Nazi Regime, and they aren’t around to contest it. It is of the Reichstag fire of 1933. Germany’s parliament building burned, Hitler’s Nazis blamed the communists and got them ousted from the government … and thus obtained a majority control of Germany’s government. Historians to this day don’t know if the fire was set by the Nazis or the communists. And it doesn’t fucking matter.)

Written by unitedcats

September 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Osama Bin Laden is Still Dead

with 3 comments

The death of OBL is the most significant historical event I have ever been around to blog about. At least in terms of current American history. For the past decade OBL and 9/11 have been one of the primary themes of the American experience. From almost the hour of 9/11 Osama was made out to be an enemy of almost mythical proportions. Well, the myth is dead. I wonder what else will die with him? This is a very speculative post. I speculate that the USA will take this wonderful opportunity to make the world a better place and totally flub it. In fact the USA will take this opportunity to pursue its own interests in defiance of what would be good for the world and ultimately itself. Still, as with any watershed event, unexpected consequences are to be expected. My ongoing thoughts, in no particular order:

The plethora of conspiracy theories is already a cottage industry. Heck, the fact that his body has already been disposed of is mighty suspicious. In fact, it’s so suspicious … that it’s suspicious. Was the Obama administration deliberately trying to give fodder to conspiracy theorists? Very possibly. This is something that conspiracy  theorists overlook.  The 9/11 truthers and the birthers and such are doing exactly what the government wants … distracting the populace from the real conspiracies. The main one being that since 9/11 the USA has wildly exaggerated the threat of terror in order to justify foreign intervention, military spending, and the consolidation and expansion of federal power in unconstitutional ways.

And speaking of exaggeration, Obama made it clear that the US policy of exaggerating terror is to continue unabated. He made the claim that the death of Osama made the world a safer place. That’s always been Obama’s great strength, he can utter the most transcendentally absurd statements while looking serious and professional and presidential. The world is not safer with Osama dead, because the threat Osama posed was trivial. In comic books and Hollywood movies evil geniuses can destroy the world. In the real world, people like Osama are bit players. His resources were incredibly limited compared to the awesome firepower that say, small governments like Libya can muster. 9/11 was a fluke, as much caused by our own complacency as anything Osama did. If you piss off a midget, and turn your back on him and he sucker punches you, is the midget some sort of evil genius?

Which leads to another point that our government wants us to ignore. Yes, 9/11 was a terrible crime, killing innocents is never justified. However, and it’s a big however, Osama didn’t take up arms against the USA because he was some nutbawho hated us for our freedoms. He was a nutbar who hated us for our support of dictators in the Muslim world, the presence of American troops on Saudi soil, and our unequivocal one sided support for Israel. This doesn’t justify his actions, but it does mean the USA should seriously debate the wisdom and consequences of our foreign policy. “Kill all the bad guys” isn’t a foreign policy, it’s a recipe for endless terrorism.

We’re not safer since 9/11. The opposite in fact. Before 9/11 how any Americans died from terrorist attacks? One a month on average? Now American troops come under attack every day, and just in general the level of carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan is ghastly. Not to mention that we have taken sides in just about every insurgency on the planet. Basically our response to 9/11 was to create failed states and paint a bullseye on the back of every American everywhere. Not to mention stripping Americans of their freedoms. I’ve never understood that one, if they hate us for our freedoms, wouldn’t giving up our freedoms be doing their work for them?

Sigh. And yes, I’ll say it, I am ashamed of Americans who celebrated Osama’s death as if the USA had just won the world cup. There’s just something unseemly about celebrating a death. This wasn’t much of a victory, if any, and it certainly wasn’t justice. Justice would have been Osama getting a fair trial. That’s what once made us the good guys, not killing people in foreign lands. On the plus side at least some are calling for a reassessment of the USA’s foreign policy, especially our involvement in Afghanistan. When Americans start coming home from our foreign wars, that’s when I’ll celebrate.

In any event, this is all I have to say about Osama’s death unless there is some stunning new news. Next, fascism and fundamentalism, will we all be living under sharia law soon?

(The above image dates from World War One and is public domain under US copyright law. Its a dead German soldier mostly buried. I chose it to illustrate that there’s nothing particularly romantic or appealing about killing people, it’s just killing people. World War One didn’t end all wars, pretty much the opposite in fact. I fear Osama’s death will be the same.)

Written by unitedcats

May 4, 2011 at 6:04 am

“The solid human waste matter intersects the rotating turbine blades”

with 7 comments

The post title, my old friend Ralph Johnson came up with that in high school, it never caught on. At least I think he did, memory is a fuzzy thing, it’s a story we tell ourselves more than anything. Ralph also went around for a year saying “devastating” hoping it would catch on, but alas, that too did not lead to fame and fortune. Hopefully he eventually found same, or at least happiness. I have no idea what became of him, and since there must be a few million Ralph Johnsons on line, I don’t even try to find out. Peace Ralph, sorry about the kittens and locking your door. Moving right along, last post I established that atheism is the one true faith, now we move on from there. I kid of course, atheism isn’t a faith. Kinda the opposite in fact. I didn’t establish anything so much as clear up my own thinking. Which oddly enough seems to have been the case on several levels, atheism and talking about atheism does seem to be clearing my head.

Or maybe it’s the spring air. Or the world falling apart. That’s the topic for today. The first point is how deliciously like the apocryphal boiling frogs analogy the world is now. In the eighties, the death of a single American serviceman or civilian overseas was a huge deal, and the idea of stationing American troops in the Middle East was a radical concept. And since then things have been slowly ratcheting up while America slumbers. Americans are killed abroad daily, now American troops are stationed everywhere, and we routinely attack and invade other countries. And now the background level of war has gone up another notch with the outbreak of civil war in Libya. I said when we invaded Iraq that this was the same as the Japanese invasion of China, that eventually theUS invasion of Iraq would be seen seen as the start of what ultimately would become a much large war. The Japanese invasion of China in 1931 was in some senses the start of World War Two, let’s hope Iraq wasn’t the start of World War Three.

In any event change keeps unfolding in the Middle East. In another sense what is happening now is similar to the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 89. The various western backed governments in the Middle East are different only in the most superficial ways from the various communist governments of Eastern Europe. In both cases these governments were wildly unpopular and corrupt, and were only maintained in power by foreign military power. IE in both cases what was basically an unnatural state was kept in place for decades before it finally collapsed of its own dead weight. How far the current collapse in the Middle East will go is anyone’s guess, but despite what they say on the American media, the turmoil continues with no end in sight.

Interestingly enough, after initially being taken off guard by the revolt that spread out of Tunisia and not really knowing what to say, the media and the US government have gotten back on a even keel now. They’ve decided to ignore it and carry on as if nothing is happening. Watching the news is creepy now, it’s back to the celebrity meltdown of the day: wouldn’t it be wild if Charlie Sheen married Britney Spears? Events in the Middle East are barely mentioned. Creepiest of all, the Islamic terrorist fear mongering continues unabated. Congress even now is holding hearings on how the American Muslim community is not doing its part to suppress radicalism within its ranks, and hyping the “threat” posed by Islamic radicals in the USA.

That’s right, the Middle East is falling apart, and Congress is looking into the threat of Islamic radicals inside the USA. This is bizzarro world, surrealand unrelated to reality in any meaningful way. Some background, after 9/11 America adopted the “Islamic threat” as a huge part of our national identity, it was hyped to the moon and back. Islamist terrorists would be blowing up buses and trains in the USA, backpack bombs would be going off everywhere. And of course there was the terrible danger that Islamists would topple governments in the Middle East and create a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. And tens of millions of Americans, even well educated ones, bought into this hype and gave the US government carte blanche to do whatever it could to “protect” us against this terrible threat. Which the US government was only too happy to do, spending money like there as no tomorrow and using military power to shape the Middle East to their liking.

Well, as all but avid Faux News devotees know, it turns out the “threat” posed by Al Qaeda or home-grown Islamic terror was basically non-existent. The “plots” that have been uncovered have vitually all involved the FBI finding some troubled loser or losers, and then  FBI agents talked them into doing radical stuff. And the few cases that haven’t involved that have been so amateurish as to also obviously be the work of troubled losers, not dedicated terrorists. This last guy they caught, which again the media and government is making a big deal about, the guy who was going to blow up all sorts of stuff? How did her get caught? He ordered his bomb making chemicals from a chemical supply house. Think about that. He is either a moron or he wanted to get caught. Hollywood couldn’t make an episode of 24 about that if they tried. It would be a short episode at least. “Jack, you have  a phone call from a chemical supply house!” The next scene they arrest the loser with all his incriminating evidence in his dorm room, and that’s that.

And secondly, notice how radical Islamists are leading the charge across the Middle East? American flags being burned everywhere, American embassies being seized? Sharia law being imposed and a new caliphate in the winds? Nope, turns out that tens of millions of Muslims in the Middle East have been inspired by Islam  … to demand democracy and freedom! And not only have women taken part in huge numbers, they are among the leaders of the revolution. How does this jibe with the “Muslims are out to get us all” tripe of the past decade? It doesn’t.

I’m not saying that terrorism isn’t or wasn’t a threat. I’m saying that OBL and his ilk are a small number of radical thugs, not an existential threat. It’s like when Britain was at war with the IRA. Yes, the IRA was portrayed as evil personified, but the British government never tried to claim that the IRA posed an existential threat to Britain or that the IRA was going to reestablish Catholicism in Britain. In fact such a suggestion would have been laughed at, the British people and government never lost sight of the fact that the IRA was a tiny handful of murderous thugs. And yet Americans were easily convinced that Al-Qaeda was going to be the death of us all, and if Congress’ hearings are any indications, apparently we’re supposed to keep on thinking that. Like I said, it’s surreal.

As for Libya, who knows what will happen. I still think Qaddafi’s days are numbered, but “leaders” who are willing to murder any number of their own countrymen to stay in power often have surprising staying power. I sure hope the USA and the west stay out of it, because intervention would make things worse. I am troubled by one aspect of this that isn’t mentioned. In decades past, private Americans would already be organizing and heading off to fight on the side of the rebels. And yet, I hear none of that? We have become such sheep that we’ve surrendered all initiative to our government? Apparently.

In conclusion, I still think it’s the fall of 1939, Poland has just been invaded, and all hell is going to break loose before its over. Gonna be a fun year people.

(The above image is public domain under US and Chinese copyright law. It’s Chinese deaths from panic during a 1941 air raid by the Japanese on Chungking. They look pretty innocent to me, which is the norm for victims of modern warfare. I used it because so many Americans seem oblivious to the death in the world today, or more accurately, are oblivious about how our government’s foreign policy results in so many deaths. Yes, morbid, I know. I hope I’m wrong about this summer. Next, a nice post on the life review.)




Written by unitedcats

March 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Posted in Peace, Propaganda, Terrorism, War, World

Tagged with ,