I fired him because he wouldn't respect the
authority of the President. That's the answer
to that. I didn't fire him because he was a
dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but
that's not against the law for generals.
If it was, half to three-quarters of them
would be in jail.
-- Former President Harry Truman* on General Douglas MacArthur --
If America did not exist, would ISIS exist?
(i) actively and deliberately, but secretly, support terrorism in order to justify and secure America´s dominance of the international arms market; its gigantic military-industrial complex; its on-going military presence -- hence, political preeminence -- in the Middle East/Eurasia? Or
(ii) is terrorism simply a turn of events -- haphazard, coincidental -- that happens to serve the purposes just outlined?
Let´s get specific, concrete:
We noted on June 10, 2014 ("The Baddest Terrorist: Poison, Dagger, Noose, etc.") the circulation of reports that Washington trained and equipped ISIS in its early formative stages at a secret base in Jordan.
In case you are wondering how America could do such a thing:**
Presumably, ISIS initially sold itself to the CIA, State Department, White House, Pentagon, et al as an erstwhile enemy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Washington is viscerally anti-Assad. According to State Department wisdom -- and here comes the sum total of their strategic thinking -- the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
(i) Did Washington, with malice aforethought, help develop, if not create, ISIS in order to have the continuing, almost daily Pearl Harbor attack our prior post discussed? -- the attack that Washington, i.e., Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Bush neocons, decided was essential to win the support of the American people for maintaining Washington´s imperial engagement (Brzezinski´s words) in the world? Or,
(ii) due to unforeseen circumstances beyond America´s control, did ISIS accept Washington´s help and only later turn terrorist?
I reiterate that either option provides the on-going Pearl Harbor attack. One is inclined to conclude, therefore, call it what you will, it still remains the same, and be done with it.
We will not do so here ...
Let´s refine further the ISIS issue:
ISIS head, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his second in command, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, were prisoners of the United States in Camp Bucca. No reason was ever given why America released them.
Did Washington conspire with the duo to build ISIS? Or, was it pure happenstance that two men, V and W, released by X government from Y prison later formed and headed Z organization?
Or, is there a third explanation?
* * *
But ambiguity is a richness.
(Pero la ambigüedad es una riqueza.)
-- Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard,
autor del Quijote" --
Is it live or is it Memorex?
Things that are hard to tell apart are the heart of ambiguity. Sometimes, as Borges inferred, ambiguity makes great drama. Often, as in the Memorex ad, it is simply fun. Frequently, however, ambiguity creates unnecessary confusion. Politicians play the latter cord, and hope you will mistake it for the others.
We come to the third explanation why Washington would secretly support terrorism. We call it The Truman Thesis.
By way of introduction, one of the most well-known "conspiracy theorists," Michael Ruppert, exposed a dilemma filled from end to end with ambiguity.
Ruppert wrote that
"literally dozens of opportunities for bin Laden´s capture which the US government chose to ignore. Sudanese officials had been keeping real-time surveillance of bin Laden´s movements in the country while he lived there until 1995 and giving the results to US intelligence...In fact, the Sudanese government offered to take bin Laden into custody and was rebuffed. One is compelled to ask whether this is collective, contagious, and continuing stupidity or more evidence of desired outcomes being realized." [My emphasis] Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing The Rubicon: The Decine of The American Empire at The End of The Age of Oil," New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, Canada, 2004, p. 125,
Collective, contagious, and continuing stupidity. That is a contemporary phrasing of The Truman Thesis.
Our prior post showed that Brzezinski and the Bush neocons were aware of what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go and how to get there. Yearning for an outside enemy, no doubt part of them smiled inwardly when the World Trade Center walls came tumbling down. When in church they cry real tears -- I don´t doubt it for a second -- over the deaths of the innocent 2,606 people who perished in the towers. Monday morning, however, back at their desks, they mutter to themselves about how the "sacrifice" was, in-the-end-when-all-is-said-and-done-all-things-considered-damn-oh-well-when-you-get-down-to-it-truly-actually-realistically-speaking-got-to-be-practical, a small price to pay to keep America strong.
When it comes to the Brzezinskis, The Truman Thesis does not apply. Or does it, not in terms of their IQ but rather their behavior?
To begin to answer that question, we need to look at their bosses, the richest 1% of the population:
(i) To American oligarchs the following law applies:
They do it; they do not know it.
The oligarchs do not know it for one simple reason: they don´t have to know it.
What struck me in decades of dealing with oligarchs: if they have few words, they have even fewer arguments. In case you wonder what the super wealthy sounds like on the phone ...
I was working on a proposed constitutional amendment for a governor when MR. BIG called. He was one of the richest men in America.
I recall his exact worlds about the amendment. "Tom, I don´t think that´s a good idea."
I decided out of curiosity to go where no man had gone before. I asked MR. BIG why.
He shifted his weight; I heard his chair squeak. "Well ... I just don´t think it´s a good idea."
(ii) Oligarchs do not read what men like Brzezinski write, then follow it like a mantra. To view things that way is to confuse cause and effect.
Brzezinski and the neocons are the "smart guys" who come up with words, offer definitions, provide arguments. They do not invent; they legitimize what they see going on in front of them. If you want to make it big in academia or politics, imitate the Brzezinskis and be a smart guy.
What is going on in front of them is what the oligarchy wants/does; I phrase it that way because there is little or no difference between them.
More arms sales; continued support for the military-industrial complex; prolonging U.S. dominance of Eurasia: that is what oligarchs want/do. Along with the smart guys, terrorism legitimizes what oligarchs want/do.
As for the smart guys:
While lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, a man like Brzezinski fluffs his pillow; says a prayer (optional); solemnly humphs; recognizes who butters his bread. To close the nightly ritual, he thinks the same thought at the same time and in the same way:
Go ahead. Slather it on!
Why he is awake at 3 a.m. both literally and figuratively never dawns to him.
We return to Michael Ruppert´s ambiguity-filled dilemma: deliberate conspiracy or incredible stupidity?
Ruppert went the conspiracy route. For the time being, this blog goes the other direction -- The Truman Thesis. We do not dismiss conspiracy. In fact, the latter may be what remains if The Truman Thesis is proven wrong.
Applied to ISIS, The Truman Thesis looks like this:
Washington did not conspire to create and maintain ISIS. Nor did sheer coincidence beyond Washington´s control move ISIS to later become terrorist. The truth is far more simple:
ISIS members trained by the U.S. were supposedly vetted for links with terrorist groups. Supposedly, because as this blog has shown time and again, Washington has no analysis of terrorism. Consequently, it has no effective methodology for identifying terrorists.
A key indicator that The Truman Thesis is alive and well in Washington: we showed conclusively that federal government definitions of terrorism are so full of holes, a typical teenager can play them like a flute. When it comes to terrorism, Washington literally does not know what it is talking about.
It´s time to come down hard, with both feet.
The CIA, FBI, NSA, Pentagon, and State Department do not know a terrorist sitting two feet in front of them. Incompetence, ignorance -- stupidity if you prefer -- and not conspiracy explains why Washington supports terrorism, e.g., releasing ISIS leaders from prison.
The upshot: functionally, behaviorally, the outcome of incompetence is the same as that of conscious, deliberate conspiracy (or corruption). Understandably, the two are easily confused; more on this subject below.
This blog´s partial and provisional acceptance -- in a moment we will explain why we do not entirely accept it -- of The Truman Thesis is based in part on my personal experiences with America´s oligarchy.
I suffered through tenth grade with their kids at Ransom. Decades later, I sat through the interminable finance committee meetings that the archi-rich use to control political candidates. I have been in their homes, eaten their phony, cookie-cutter shark meat coquille Saint-Jacques; shivered at their unflushed toilets; shuddered at their collections of Ramada Inn-school artwork and framed petrified fish from Kansas, all hung too high.
Senator Marco Rubio observed, "If he hadn´t inherited 200 million dollars, you know where Donald Trump would be? He would be selling watches in Manhattan." There are thousands of Donald Trumps out there. You can bet your local millionaire is among them. I certainly would. Together, they form America´s lowest UNcommon denominator.
No need to disclose private telephone calls or closed door conversations in high places to demonstrate The Truman Thesis. The richest 1% of Americans are producing the dead puppet show appearing 24 hours a day in your living room, on TV.
Petrified fish, indeed.
* * *
Surely I exaggerate, you say.
O.K., O.K. -- you admit -- it may be applicable to oligarchs, but Truman´s dumb son of a bitch depiction of military generals simply cannot be valid.
The distinction is a key one, for it is the generals, not the oligarchs, who conduct the bombing and fighting on a daily basis.
Exhibit 1. General George S. Patton was a contemporary of Douglas MacArthur. Patton made a statement that is world-famous; it appeared in the opening of the 1970 movie "Patton." I think you will agree that it qualifies as the first rule of warfare:
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."***
General, let me help you out with that one:
In truth, you do not want to make a single dumb bastard die for his country. You want to wound as many enemy bastards as possible. That way, their country must divert precious resources and personnel to care for them.
If we are right, one conclusion follows: General Patton did not know the first rule of warfare. There is simply no other way to sum up such military school dumb bastard (Patton´s words) knuckle-dragger nonsense.
Exhibit 2. General Lloyd Austin, Commander of United States Central Command. Under his command, the United States spent $500 million on a program to train and equip "moderate" Syrian fighters. A total of 60 men were finally put in the field; they were promptly slaughtered or ran away. According to General Austin, only 5-6 soldiers remain active. The heart of his unbelievable testimony to the United States Senate is here.
No need to ask what Truman would have called General Austin. If you have trouble with that one, ask your friendly neighborhood 13 year old. She will be happy to supply the words, offer definitions, provide arguments.
No need to ask either how Abraham Lincoln would have reacted. See our post, "The ISIS Crisis: Abraham Lincoln´s Solution" (October 6, 2014). Lincoln would have dumped Austin on the nearest street corner -- as he did seven generals who couldn´t win the Civil War. Lincoln eventually found Ulysses S. Grant who got the job done.
In case you think Austin is the only incorrigibly incompetent general in America today ...
Exhibit 3. Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn is former head of The National Intelligence Agency and The Defense Intelligence Agency. In a CNN interview on February 13 after the Iowa and New Hampshire primary elections, Flynn said Hillary Clinton should drop out while the FBI investigates her controversial email case.
Sidebar: nobody should underestimate the seriousness of Hillary´s email embroglio. A few days ago, the Justice Department granted immunity to Bryan Pagliano, Hillary´s email technician, ex-State Department employee and 2008 campaign staffer (read: a Clinton crony).
The grant of immunity means it is highly likely that (i) at least one felony was committed, and (ii) Pagliano participated in it or knows about it.
Will Hillary be indicted? And if so, will it happen during the Democrat primaries, the general election, or sometime later? Or, will she never be indicted?
Only one thing is certain:
Somebody in Washington has in their hands not only the outcome of the 2016 presidential election but also astounding leverage over a future president if that president is Hillary.
We want this ... we want that ... Otherwise; oh, by the way ...
It might not be the first time such leverage was wielded by U.S. law enforcement authorities:
In the 1992 presidential elections, billionaire Ross Perot was beating both Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior. Suddenly, Perot shocked America by quitting the race. The reason he gave for dropping out -- somebody was threatening to interrupt his daughter´s wedding -- bordered on bonkers. So, what is the real reason why Perot gave up the presidency?
The FBI had information that Perot had committed fraud in one or more of his multi-million dollar contracts with the federal government. Drop out, they told him, or go to prison. In what could have been a face-saving measure, he was allowed to re-enter the race but too late to be a serious contender.
We return to General Flynn´s suggestion that Hillary should step aside while her email case is investigated. What Perot demonstrated and Flynn either fails to grasp or is simply being facetious: there is no such thing as a temporary exit from a U.S. presidential race. If Hillary drops out temporarily, she drops out permanently.
I think Flynn knows that Hillary is not going to drop out. There´s gold in them thar hills. Flynn´s suggestion, therefore, was intended to score points with the man he admits he is advising: Donald Trump.
What renders Flynn´s pronunciamiento irretrievably naive is that, according to a CNN poll released March 1, Bernie Sanders beats Trump by a bigger margin than does Hillary. In addition, in match ups against Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the other major GOP candidates, Sanders beats them both, whereas both of them beat Hillary.
Hillary´s departure, then, is the worse thing Flynn´s client could face: Bernie Sanders. Ditto the Republican establishment for whom Flynn is an obvious front man.
I cannot leave behind Flynn´s statements to CNN without noting his complaint that the Hillary case is occupying 100 FBI agents whose services would be better employed elsewhere. I suspect the 100 figure is a lie, but let´s move on.
Assume Hillary takes Flynn´s advice and steps aside until her email case is resolved. The case will still need to be investigated, so the 100 agents would not all be transferred to other cases. Something else: If Flynn gets his way and all 100 agents are taken off Hillary´s case, she is more likely to go free even if she is guilty.
At this point it becomes clear that Flynn is trying to ingratiate himself with both Trump and Hillary.
No doubt Trump´s team, like us, has noticed Flynn´s ga-game of playing both ends, of stirring the soup, of generating ambiguity. The result:
Neither Trump nor Clinton respect Flynn. Instead of covering both bases and getting plum jobs for nieces and nephews with the next president, the clever man falls through the cracks.
In reality, exactly the opposite of Flynn´s recommendation should be adopted.
In addition to the 100 FBI agents on Hillary´s case, another 100 FBI agents should be investigating Donald Trump´s mafia ties (see our post, "How to Knock Out Donald Trump," September 20, 2015). That investigation would add political neutrality and balance to their investigation of Hillary.
We conclude General Flynn´s suggestion this way:
It is a textbook case of psychological projection. Forget Hillary; forget Trump; forget the FBI. Forget the 2016 presidential election. Forget politics -- they are not involved. What is really happening is what Flynn´s unconscious is telling him:
You, Michael Flynn, should drop out.
* * *
Conspiracy, coincidence, stupidity. We now add a fourth option.
It is one of the most significant and curious phenomena of our times: incomcruption. It is the hopelessly-confounded amalgam of incompetence and corruption.
Our summary of incomcruption in The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion noted
"the ambition of American politicians to be ´realistic.´ They behave and believe as if realism = competence.
The trick is to recognize that realism and competence are not equivalent -- unlike incompetence and corruption. With each passing day, the latter are transforming themselves from fraternal into identical twins. Shakespeare caught the drift:
We came into the world like brother and brother;
And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.
-- ´The Comedy of Errors,´ Act 5, Scene 1 --
As for distinguishing incompetence from corruption, with time that distinction is becoming less and less important -- indeed, possible." (p. 367)
Conspiracy, coincidence, stupidity, incomcruption: ultimately, each plays a role in Washington´s support of terrorism. Such is a basic reality of most major political occurrences.
The four elements are inextricably co-mingled. You could write a book about this subject; it would look like nothing ever published before. For starters, (i) the coincidence/conspiracy mystery is a split-off of the incompetence/corruption amalgam. (ii) Corruption often hides behind incompetence; incompetence, behind coincidence.
Through it all, what Washington seeks is clear: ambiguity. Is its support of terrorism a conspiracy or is it coincidence? Stupidity? Corruption? On the one hand; on the other. What´s really real? -- gosh, it´s all so complicated.
Heightening, not lessening, ambiguity is the inner essence of Washington´s ga-game. Federal court judges are experts at it.
Behind it all hides the same old goal. In a situation of ambiguity, he who is in a POSITION to know has the power.
The way out of the blue smoke and mirrors is to not be taken in.
Washington, somebody needs to tell you that winners don´t believe in luck. They do not rely on coincidence.
Nor do they hide behind it.
"MacArthur was always playacting ... He was wearing those damn sunglasses of his and a shirt that was unbuttoned and a cap that had a lot of hardware. I never did understand, an old man like that [MacArthur was 70] and a five-star general to boot, and he went around dressed up like a nineteen-year-old second lieutenant. But I decided to overlook his getup, and we shook and we arranged a meeting. I got there on time, but he was forty-five minutes late, and this meeting - - it was just between the two of us you understand...
When he walked in, I took one look at him at I said, ´Now you look here. I've come halfway around the world to meet you, but don't worry about that. I just want you to know I don't give a good goddamn what you do or think about Harry Truman, but don't you ever again keep your Commander in Chief waiting. Is that clear?´
His face got as red as a beet, but he said, he indicated that he understood what I was talking about, and we went on there ... He was just like a little puppy at that meeting. I don't know which was worse, the way he acted in public or the way he kissed my ass at that meeting."
**To readers who believe Washington would never support political leaders and movements that commit atrocities, I have a two-word response: Pol Pot.
***Brenda Lovelace Gist, Eloquently speaking, Xlibris, Bloomington, Indiana, 2010, p. 487.