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by Harry Browne
by Harry Browne
The Bush Administration continues to maintain that its war in Iraq, and its adventures anywhere else, are aimed at ending worldwide terrorism.
But such a feat is not only impossible, it is absurd.
Terrorism is a crime, not a war. Terrorism is committed by gangs of criminals — not soldiers representing a sovereign government. And no one in his right mind can believe that our government can eliminate every criminal gang in the world.
If our government could do that, why wouldn’t it start with the drug gangs that terrorize areas of Washington, D.C.? What a perfect opportunity for the politicians to demonstrate their crime-fighting abilities.
On October 4, 2001, I wrote:
Because the September attacks were a crime, the government's job is to locate and bring to trial any perpetrators who didn't die in the attacks. If some of them are located in foreign countries, our government should request extradition — not threaten to bomb the foreign country if we don't get our way.
I was criticized by some people, who asked, "But what if all the ‘criminals’ aren’t caught"
And yet, here we are four years later, tens of thousands of people have died, and still not all the criminals have been caught regardless. Osama Bin Laden not only hasn’t been apprehended, he isn’t even talked about anymore. As I said in 2001:
If not all the criminals are found and brought to trial, it doesn't mean that bombing innocent people would have brought the criminals to justice.
So why do the politicians talk about a War on Terrorism that makes no sense?
Because it opens the door to all sorts of aggressions against foreigners and Americans.
And it allows the politicians — most notably the leading members of the Bush administration — to pose as noble warriors against enemies that are really only Strawmen.
Charley Reese, in a recent LewRockwell.com article, quoted Dick Cheney as claiming a U.S. pullout from Iraq would leave it in the hands of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama Bin Laden, and/or Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Charley points out that "Zarqawi is a Jordanian, not an Iraqi; he has been denounced by his tribe and his family; and he has killed more Iraqis than Americans. It is just a matter of time before some Iraqi drops a dime on him and he’s packed off to Islamic hell."
But he’s a worthy Strawman, a bogey man, whose name is worth a hundred million dollars or more in Congressional appropriations.
Charley goes on, "As for bin Laden and his Egyptian adviser, they are — assuming they’re still alive — hiding out in some cave or rat-infested village in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They could not control a small town, much less a country of 25 million people of which neither of them is a native."
As we all know, the U.S. government has since World War II been financing and arming various foreign dictators — such as Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, the Shah of Iran, and others — only to denounce and attack them once they become wealthy and aggressive enough to be worthy Strawmen.
It’s also true that the U.S. government has financed and armed various opposition groups that supposedly represent the opportunity to topple the mean old dictators. Often these groups oppose each other, and engage in violence against one another. But no matter, the object of our government is to be doing something to fight a Strawman.
Robert Dreyfuss, in another excellent LewRockwell.com article, catalogs a number of the groups that opposed Saddam Hussein and are now battling for control of Iraq. There is far more than the Iraqi National Congress. The strongest groups are SCIRI (the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution), Al Dawa (The Islamic Call), SCIRI’s paramilitary arm, the Badr Brigade, the Muslim Brotherhood , represented by IIP (the Iraqi Islamic Party) — not to mention Al-Qaeda. The first three originated and are based in — guess where — Iran. In fact, SCIRI was founded in 1982 by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Today these groups are fighting each other as much as they’re fighting Iraqi insurgents, Americans, or Iraqi civilians. They regularly practice torture, assassinations, and other dastardly deeds upon one another. They are fighting to become the rulers of the new Iraq — the "democracy" that George Bush claims to be creating.
Is this what 2,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died for? Is this what $200 billion dollars has financed? Is this why we have given up so much of our freedom?
And whoever wins the battle to rule Iraq will eventually become Strawmen against whom the Bush administration can get on its horses and ride off to protect us.
There is no War on Terrorism. There is only a War on Strawmen, a War on Shadows, a War on Fantasies — allowing George Bush to do whatever he, or his advisors, choose to do.
It is time to quit pretending that the War in Iraq serves any purpose relating to world peace, democracy in the Middle East, the first line against terrorism, or any other salutary goal.
It is simply part of the War on Strawmen.
December 14 , 2005
Copyright © 2005 Harry Browne
The recent death of my grandson, just days before he was to be born into this world, has reinforced a long-held personal sentiment on behalf of the inviolate nature of life itself. The death of our fourth daughter, some three decades ago, was an earlier, painful reminder that life – particularly of young children – is both resilient and fragile. The grief that all of us feel in the death of a loved one – even of one we had not yet come to know – is an expression of the very best of what it means to be a human being: it is not irrelevant to us that others have died; it is not a matter of indifference to be hidden in statistics. We cry because we love; because we can love.
For all the many reasons I hold political systems in utter contempt, this is by far the most dominant: the state is in a constant war with all of life. It always has been and it always will be, and no mouthing by politicians of empty bromides about "caring" will ever change this fundamental fact. Political systems war against the spontaneous and self-directed nature of all living systems, using violence as a weapon to force life to go in directions it does not choose. The state is the most fundamentally indecent of all human inventions, a fact that most of us prefer to keep from our conscious mind, which we obfuscate with lies and rationalizations; anesthetize with drugs or alcohol; or trivialize with entertainment-as-news.
The most contemptible expression of the state's war against life is found in its abuse, maiming, and slaughter of children. I have long opposed abortions, knowing that a "person" – with a unique DNA – comes into being at the moment of conception. (Although I once had a feminist try to convince me that one did not acquire DNA until after he or she was born, a mysterious process she was never able to explain to me!) As one who rejects the state in any form, I am likewise opposed to governments intervening to prevent a woman from having an abortion. "Does this mean," I am sometimes asked, "that in a free society people are at liberty to kill others?" Of course, I reply, but this is equally true in the most tyrannical of societies. To one who regards liberty and responsibility as inseparable, the question always comes down to this: how will you exercise your liberty so as not to inflict harm on others? Whether a society is to be peaceful or destructive will – as Carl Jung and others have expressed it – always be determined by the nature of the inner lives of those who comprise it.
While the war system has long plagued mankind with its organized insanities, it has been in recent centuries that destructive technologies have made all of humanity a target for attack. This is a fact that has still not sunk into the consciousness of most Americans, who do not understand the atrocities of 9/11 as the playing out of war games on a world – rather than regional – stage. Wars are supposed to be conducted "over there:" we even have popular war songs to remind us of this. But to those long victimized by American or British militarism in their lands, New York City and London have become the "over there" battlefields.
All of humanity has become the target of state warfare, and children are now part of a homogenized "enemy" force to be destroyed along with all other members of "them." Frankly, I have no problem with a bunch of lunatics choosing, voluntarily, to engage in mutual head-bashing rituals. If gladiators or knights-in-armor wish to contend with one another out of some twisted sense of "honor," let them do so, as long as there are no spillover effects – what economists refer to as "socializing costs" – and non-combatants are not bound by the outcomes. I would regard such foolishness with the same indifference I have to professional wrestling, pursuits that seem to attract the same nitwitted following of fans.
But I draw the line at dragging non-belligerents into this insane game, particularly when children are affected. If there is any activity that is more of an abomination to even the most meager sense of decency among humans, it is to be found in the systematic and unapologetic slaughter of children. If one chose to personify such a depraved disposition, one could find no more fitting paragon than former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who, when asked in 1996, if American economic sanctions against Iraq were worth the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, replied "we think the price is worth it." Her arrogance and contempt for the lives of the most innocent of human beings is reflected in the sneering lips through which she speaks.
This is what not only America, but other statist regimes, have come to represent. That there were no adverse political or criminal consequences to such actions – just as there are none attaching to President Bush's slaughter of Iraqi innocents – is an indictment of a society that has lost its very soul. The conservatives who answer that "other societies are just as bad" reveal their own moral bankruptcy, as do those who charge critics of governmental policy as "America-haters." I have a great love for this country, but not for the political system – or those in control of it – who seem intent on flushing the country into the same moral swamp that destroyed earlier civilizations.
When societies organize themselves into war systems – which is the nature of all political entities – and purposefully destroy each other's children – be they soldiers or non-combatants contemptuously dismissed as "collateral damage" – they are placing themselves in a state of war with the very future of mankind. The casualties of such a war are not to be measured just in the calculus of young persons destroyed in the process, but in the general diminution of respect for life itself; for the sense of truth and reality upon which life depends; and for the value that is fundamental to any vibrant and decent social system, namely, that neither the dignity nor the will of harmless people shall be violated.
We may not always be able to protect our children and grandchildren from biological forces we do not understand, but we can – and ought to – protect them from the dangers of our thinking, and from the destructive systems that our thinking creates. Right now, there is a tug-of-war taking place for the soul of Americans. We can personify this struggle as one between two mothers, although all of us are contestants. One mother is Cindy Sheehan, who continues to ask President Bush the question he regards it as irrelevant for any American to even ask: "what was the noble cause for which my son died?" The other is Bush's own mother, Barbara, who declared: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
It is easy to understand the different perspectives of these two women. Cindy's son died because of the cascade of lies, forged documents, and other deceptions employed by Mrs. Bush's son to send Casey Sheehan to Iraq. Unlike Cindy, Mrs. Bush never had to "waste" her "beautiful mind" waiting for the knock on the door that informed her of her son's death. During the Vietnam War, Mrs. Bush's son enjoyed the immunity from personal harm that attaches to members of the politically privileged classes: he safely manned a bullet-proof desk at air national guard facilities in Texas and Alabama. This is what is at the heart of our difficulties. As long as it is other people's children who are dying, many of us have a calloused indifference to the suffering.
Which mother's question is central to the future, not just of this country, but to mankind itself? If Barbara Bush – like Madeleine Albright – regards the systematic, politically-driven slaying of children as "not relevant" to her "beautiful mind," what prognosis are we to make for humanity? And does the answer to that question matter to you?
by Fred Reed
Explain it to me, diversity. I don't get it. Everyone in the feddle gummint and all the news weasels and the academia nuts and assorted distasteful do-gooders with goiterous self-admiration are always honking and blowing about how we need diversity. Why? What is it good for?
I think we need homogeneity. Probably the greatest desire of humanity other than getting sex is avoiding diversity. Mostly, people can't stand each other. I respect their judgement.
Diversity causes nothing but trouble. Think about it. Do old people want to hang around young people? No. Do young people want to hang around old people? Generally they would rather take poison. Do liberals and conservatives want to get within rifle range of each other? No. Except conservatives, because they have rifles. Southerners and damyanks cordially detest each other, except after a few beers, when they stop being cordial. Urban folk and country folk loathe each other. Management and labor, Marine boneheads and army pukes, dogs and cats, on and on, don't nobody much like nobody.
So why do we spend so much sweat and money trying to force people to do what they don't want to do? It's all bass-ackwards. What if we tried…well…freedom? What if the gummint just left people the hell alone?
Especially nobody wants racial togetherness. Shoving races together just makes them mad at each other. If they had any desire to be together, you wouldn't have to shove them, would you?
In any city I've been in, blacks and whites work together because they have to by law, and then they go home and complain about each other. Blacks live in black neighborhoods because they want to, and whites do the same if allowed. As soon as black kids get to college, they want black dorms. The whites already have white dorms, and they think that's just fine. Night clubs in Washington aren't racially opposed to either race, but you find very few of one in the clubs of the other.
What happens when a gang of Chinese come to America? They go live in Chinatown because they want to be among their own. They don't hate everybody else and everybody else doesn't hate them. They just aren't comfortable mixing. The second generation moves out, but that's because they aren't really Chinese but Chinese-shaped Americans, eat Big Macs and listen to wretched music. By the third generation they'll be counting on their fingers like whites, maybe.
Fact is, men and women don't want to be together more than some. Men think that women are slightly nuts and they're certainly explosive and you always have to be careful not to set them off and they get ornery if you talk dirty around them, although they do it with each other. God knows what women think about men. Probably that we're crude and watch football and aren't in touch with our inner slug and don't care about feelings. It's all true.
When I was a kid in the South, at dinner parties everybody would eat together. Then the women went into the living room to talk, and the men stood in the kitchen and drank bourbon and told off-color jokes. It seemed to work. It was nice being around the women because they were more civilized than we were, or at least acted it. But there's such a thing as too much civilization.
Now, if you look around the world, nearly all the trouble we have is because of diversity getting stuck together with other kinds of diversity. It just isn't a good idea. In Gay Pair-Eee, (which in fact is probably less than half gay) the North Africans burn everything the French own. The French Canadians hate the rest of the country. The Hutsis and Tutus in Burundi or wherever butcher each other with abandon and machetes. Moslems and Hindus go at it in Kashmir. It isn't even a good idea to let Redskins fans and Cowboys fans get too close together if ethylated.
What do you think would happen in the United States if all the stuff 'em-together laws were dropped? I'll tell you. In about ten minutes the races would resegregate like whiskey and diesel oil. I'll bet offices and companies would get to be mostly women or mostly men before long because most of each flavor don't know how to get along with the other real well. It's more of an effort than with just one or the other.
In at least three ways, what diversity does besides irritate everybody is to Sovietize the country. One way is that the gummint has to make hundreds, nay thousands of stupid laws to intrude where it's got no business because if it doesn't, people will find a way not to mix. You got to watch them like a hawk. If you say they've got to hire twenty percent minorities, they'll hire the minorities best at whatever their business is. The others won't get hired. So the gummint has to make detailed laws and make everybody fill out brainless forms and be watched by bureaucrats, probably affirmative-action hires themselves, who bungle everything because that's what government does.
The second way compulsory mixing Russifies things is that it makes everybody worry about being informed on. Since different groups don't much like each other, at least lots of the time, the gummint, or management, has to make saying so a crime punishable by firing. Otherwise folks would get mad and say what they thought of each other. You'd have the equivalent of bar-room brawls every whichawhere. So people are very careful who they talk to at the water cooler. The OGPU is listening.
Finally, mandatory diversity gelds the press. When by law or policy a newspaper has to hire homosexuals, women, blacks, browns and what have you, it loses the ability to offend any of them. In effect this is censorship. It doesn't have to be imposed. Practically speaking, you can't point out very pointedly that eighty-five percent of some sordid behavior is committed by people like your boss. Or even the next reporter over. You have to live with them. So you write correct pabulum.
Sez me, we'd be better off if we had newspapers peopled exclusively by everything from loon commies singing the Internationale to bomb-everybody conservatives to race-based papers edited by Al Sharpton and David Duke. They could all fight with each other and keep each other straight. Fact is, with a diverse staff you don't get diverse published opinion. Homogeneous staffs would give you diverse newspapers. Then maybe readers wouldn't jump to the internet, the only diverse press we have.
December 14, 2005
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well.
Copyright © 2005 Fred Reed