True pleasure comes from finding things out. Acquiring knowledge is like a zero dollar investment that can pay its owner dividends for the rest of their life. If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of breaking new intellectual ground, you know it’s transcendent. Discovery is a form of renewal, more revolutionary than any war or politics. Having experienced epic revelation is like being born again; renewed through cognitive baptism. When you know you’ve learned something [so extremely] important, it consumes you, that’s Shangri-La! Learning has an extremely spiritual dimension to it which makes it deserving of its own religion. Learnianity, for example; with a charismatic prophet and a clear definition of God, would likely hold its own as a new religion among the family of existing monotheistic religions. To be sure; Judaism, Christianity and Islam each have their own selective approaches to learning that leave many curious minds unsatisfied.
Religion aside, It takes a fool to equate ignorance with bliss. In the context of the familiar cliché, “ignorance is bliss”, willful ignorance is little more than an illusionary shield used to protect a fragile mind from destabilizing information and ideas. Whenever I hear it, I wonder why anyone would want to protect themselves from information. Presumably, information perceived to be depressing or incongruent with an individual’s experience can be unsettling. The reality is, information and ideas are not always helpful or positive, and as a result learning can, at times, be a painful and regressive experience. Out of abject fear, individuals self censor and make excuses for important subjects outside the scope of their understanding. Ignorance has its place. It is important if only because ignorance has a role in our everyday lives. Specifically; secrets are a passive form of managing ignorance, while lies actively propagate ignorance.
In an environment rife with ignorance, a genius formulates tests. In nature, these tests manifest in the form physical experiments. Archimedes, Galileo, Copernicus, and Franklin were notorious for their brilliant experiments In society, tests could be refutations of presumed secrets or unverifiable truths. Thomas Jefferson and his political rival Alexander Hamilton exposed secrets, ignorance and lies in early America. The truths they revealed about consensual government have benefited all mankind. Likewise, the pursuit of universal truths might be a social alternative to hidden or socially implicit truths. In religion and spirituality, John Locke interpreted freedom of thought and expression as natural rights for all inhabitants of God’s Kingdom. In the spiritual realm tests are equally if not more, important than physical or social tests. Maintaining faith in one’s beliefs through hardship is the standard quiz. Information post mortem, is inherently unknowable by the mortal mind. In God’s Kingdom, it would appear faith pushes the stakes higher than any other.
If geniuses simply formulate great experiments in their respective environs, what prevents every one of us from becoming geniuses? The answer, as I understand it, is counter intuitive. Society compartmentalizes information and eventually appoints subject matter experts to each compartment. Instead of delivering new revelations, experts tend to perform guard duty over the status quo. In many cases, Instead of exploring the field, experts are expected to be human reference material. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that a contemporary University is an extraordinarily effective means of pacifying society. Rewards are granted by familiar and systematic procedure. Grades and degrees are earned respectively. Failure, while possible, is not probable. Given the number of opportunities a university student is given to succeed, success in life appears preordained. Unfortunately, real discovery which leads to genius is far less predictable. A contemporary University, instead of the Learnianity church it could be, serves its host community as a socialist network of interested parties.
While there are many drawbacks to universities as institutions of intellectual discovery, universities have a gravity that pulls true genius into their orbit. The fact is; no bureaucracy albeit a university, government or organized religion can fully contain what is not yet known. Spiritual faith in particular, requires knowledge of scripture. The best any bureaucracy can do is to facilitate discovery and protect discoverers. The spirituality inherent in discovery deserves mankind’s highest recognition; however Learnianity should not become a formal religion as this essay proposed earlier. While discovery brings humanity closer to God, it’s a fool’s game to restrict discovery to a bureaucracy. The natural universe is God’s Cathedral and it serves humanity as the only legitimate chapel of Learnianity. Every genius is a prophet and the recordings of their experiments represent scripture.
In conclusion; look to the future, experiment and learn from each cognitive adventure. Genius is bliss!
Corruption is killing
Iraqi Shiite party steps back from Iran
HUMINT: I'm not looking forward to the day when this line of thinking comes back and bites us in the ass. Yeah right, SCIRI, oops, SCII, is breaking away from Iran...? The mirror of time shows how ugly this analysis is. SCII are going to marry Americans after the Iraq War the same way Americans married the French after the American Revolution. England's monarchy evolved, while France's monarchy dissolved. How many decades before we seriously consider a United Islamic States of America?
I'd like to add, Christianity posed a serious challenge to the Roman Empire's identity. The Jesus Movement at that time contained more true believers than Rome could oppose. Instead, the Roman Empire would absorb the spiritual wave to survive. I do not offer the concept of a United Islamic States of America factiously. I respect Islam in America and admire Muslims. The faith is welcomed to worship in the United States, and has always been. America's current identity is not the problem.
America's founding principle of religious freedom is in danger when the United States empowers Islamic theocracy abroad. When SCII turns to Iran for salvation, and they will, we will have empowered theocratic imperialists. That is what Iran's political philosophy is. Please read the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran if you have any doubt. In conclusion, empowering theocratic imperialists is an affront to America's true believers... The adverse symptoms of what is happening now will be felt for decades if no cure is found.
HUMINT: Two thoughts came to me when I read your perception of events related to SIIC. I spent the evening toiling with them in hopes that I could articulate them effectively. The first was the concept of SIIC as politically temporary. Those who identify themselves with God do not conceive of themselves as temporary. The identity of SIIC seeks immortality through spiritual righteousness on earth. The name change was not a metamorphosis, rather it was a validation of their permanence.
The second has to do with Iraqi ballots. By my estimation, purple fingered Iraqis harbor political traditions and expectations that allow for economic and spiritual subversion of Iraqi democracy. As Iraqis navigate their future toward self determination, SIIC will assert its righteous permanence with support from like minded brethren in Iran. SIIC will not lose its seat of power under any circumstance, because that would be an affront to their spiritual identity as permanent. The only way to prevent SIIC from abusing their political power would be to limit means and motives to subvert Iraqi democracy. Instead, we are facilitating subversion of democracy by obfuscating Iran's role as a spoiler...
As I write, I pray you are correct on this subject and I am wrong. We are talking about the future so there's still time to make adjustments to analysis and policy. No one, more than I would like to see the United States and Iran cooperate to build a prosperous Iraq. In the mean time, I am unapologetic about my suspicions of Iran and her allies in Iraq. The Iranian government has committed unforgivable acts against the United States, Iraq and the International community. Sooner or latter Iran will pay for its sins - despite what the Department of State may think, the United States cannot afford to assume Iran's debt.
Persian Warriors: Dedicated to President Bush
NORTON: Those I've met consider the current Iranian government only a nuisance. They travel back and forth, buy and sell property, and enjoy life here - but I don't see them calling for resistance 'back home'. Like most folks from that region, political (tribal) turmoil is what they expect and what they are conditioned to deal with. It would possibly help if they referred to themselves as Iranian rather than as Persian or Armenian. [It might also help if they could manage to be just a bit less obvious in their attitude toward Jews.] Just some thoughts.
HUMINT: Thank you for your thoughts. Your observations are legitimate and to the best of my knowledge, accurate. However, the individuals you are referring to have a responsibility to themselves, their families, their countrymen and the world to confront reality; their belligerent government supports terrorism and is systematically developing the means to acquire nuclear weapons. Every time the West turns to these willfully ignorant souls as signs Iran not so bad, or is opening up, the West is burned. By who? By true believers in Tehran. Why? Because the people you are talking about aren't willing to stand up for themselves, much less democracy, much less security...
Never forget that the Iranian people are politically irrelevant to a regime that survives and thrives on petroleum revenue. The economics are clear. The problems stalling positive change in Iran isn't that the people whom you have met only consider the Iranian government a nuisance. The fact that the Government of Iran considers Iranians only a nuisance is the problem! Petroleum revenue disconnects the Iranian government from responsibility to its citizenry. That's why Khomenei's political illusion can thrive with successors in an environment like Iran and Iraq, but only by proxy in Lebanon, and other places...
The signs that Iran is thawing to the West will come from policies the Islamic Republic of Iran implement and allow to function for a reasonable amount of time. That isn't happening. Indeed the opposite is occurring. The IRI has broken and will continue to break every promise it makes to its people and the International community unless it is compelled by force of arms to live up to their promises. The U.S. military presence in the region has softened some inside Iran but hardened others. Think in terms of evolution my friend. When a protectorate retreats, the hard devourer the soft. A positive U.S. influence in Iraq and Afghanistan must be cemented to prevent Tehran's irresponsible government from destroying the lives of millions, including your willfully ignorant friends.
HUMINT: Political Illusion
POLITICAL ILLUSION: When the supportive architecture of a democratic society is misinterpreted and subsequently portrayed to be tyrannically suppressive.
POLITICAL VISION: The empowerment of officers in society to protect and serve all citizens’ liberties without infringing on existing democratic architecture.
ESSAY: Optical illusions are visually perceived Images that trick our senses into seeing what may or may not exist. For example, Rubin’s Vase is a popular, two dimensional illusion. Indeed, it’s a perfect specimen to illustrate the major premise of this essay. For the uninitiated, the curves of Rubin’s Vase double as a silhouette of two opposing human faces. If you are familiar with the illusion, it’s easy for an average observer to flip from a visual perception of a vase, to two faces. Rubin’s Vase is a relatively simple optical illusion. Most illusions are more complex. The origins of optical illusions probably derive from the way we choose to communicate with each other. Letters and numbers are paramount examples. Two dimensional representations of abstract concepts are rudimentary symbols. Inherently, all symbols are open to ambiguous interpretations. Therefore, symbols are a blessing with seemingly harmless, if not entertaining, illusionary side effects.
It is reasonable to believe, mankind’s first illusions came about when we started abstractly remembering our needs. Utilizing speculative anthropology, assume memories of prey tracks represent the origins of two dimensional communication techniques. Paws and hooves, acting as stamps in sand and mud, took information pertinent to tribal needs out of the time domain. We should infer ancient hand prints on cave walls were liberating their makers from the time domain in the same way they understood tracks liberate information about prey from the time domain. The obvious difference between cave paintings and tracks is the subtle difference between art and nature. If cave paintings are indeed art, these graphics represent another human epiphany in time. The transition from cognitively manipulating information in one’s environment to satiate survival needs, to manipulating information for social expression was an important leap. Clearly, the change ripped the lid off Pandora’s Box.
In terms of perception, optical illusions are an important part of the past, present and future of human communication. In fact, optical illusions only represent the tip of a proverbial iceberg of possible misperceptions and miscommunications. Optical illusions are more familiar to society because academics can easily observe and study them. Natural bias for optics aside, what about more complex sensory illusions? Human beings actually see with their brains, not their eyes. Look at a variety of optical illusions carefully and it becomes clear; optics have very little to do with most optical illusions. Human vision is a complex sensory system that can be tricked at various stages. The illusion actually takes occurs in an observers brain, not in their eyes. Indeed, neuronal perception is the easiest stage to bamboozle. We are in fact talking about cognitive illusions, not optical illusions. Therefore, every human perception is susceptible to some form of illusion.
To explore the impact or existence of illusion on other areas of perception, we’ll need to take speculation further. Persistent illusions among a populous eventually reveal themselves through some legislative body. The resultant policy will speak for itself. In the worst cases, such illusions have led to incredible cataclysms, including, but not limited to world war. A common myth is, history is written by the victors. The outcome war is never a coin toss. History’s dust bin is littered with political illusions. Hitler’s 1000 Year Reich, Stalin’s Communist Utopia, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Empire are just a few recent examples. Each illusion has failed to live up to their most ardent champion’s mirage. But, what separates these political illusions from legitimate political vision?
The patterns inherent in mankind’s pursuit of a successful, sustainable and stable society are revealing themselves with every successive attempt. Political illusions inevitably destroy individuals most able to actualize success. The most likely reason for repeated failure of political illusionaries exists because utopian success, by definition, is forever unattainable. On the other hand, legitimate political visionaries leverage every member of society, to iteratively achieve goals that inevitably lead to success. Alternatively, legitimate political vision inevitably empowers officers who serve and protect society. Legitimate political visions are self sustaining processes, while political illusions are self defeating processes. Worst of all, political illusions systematically undermine society’s legitimate officers to protect and sustain the illusion.
It is not unusual for some individuals to get it wrong. Utopian illusions may even gain traction among democratically minded individuals. Even when individuals or organizations are resisting corrupt dictators and tyrants, they may or may not subscribe to a legitimate political vision. To be sure, all visions and illusions deserve severe public scrutiny. When an entire society subscribes to an illusion, mankind will inevitably correct the transgression, or parish as a whole. Have no doubt; confronting strong proponents of illusions requires eternal vigilance. Vigilance in this context can only mean; confronting a persistent political illusion with a legitimate political vision.
INTRODUCTION: This is a short story called “Worth Fighting”. It relates to America’s Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this piece works, it will not need further explanation. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try a different approach. The point being, America’s wars in the Middle East are justified and should therefore be popular among Americans and Middle Easterners. What appears to be lacking in America today is the appropriate context to defend any military conflict under any circumstances. While I can understand anti-War emotion, Americans should not be paralyzed by it. Pacifism belies a universal truth. Some causes are worth fighting for.
WORTH FIGHTING: Today, you’re attending a local county fair in a small town in rural America. It’s a beautiful clear day with the sun shining brightly. You’ve parked your car in a makeshift parking lot located in a farmer’s recently mowed hay field. Everyone with you is ready to explore attractions. The fair grounds are busy with a variety of attractions but something near the fair’s center stands out. In the middle of the fair grounds is a colorful tent. Its pronounced presence is highlighted like no other attraction at the fair. Pyrotechnics boom, flashing lights dazzle and swirling dry ice smoke confuses all of your senses at once. The tent is big. It looks Bedouin and the un-watered tan grass field where it’s pitched could easily be mistaken for the Arabian Desert. A dark figure dressed like Lawrence of Arabia is standing outside the tent in the sun. For your reference, you silently name him Lawrence of Arabia. It works because it fits the stereo type he plays professionally. He looks disheveled and hot. His presence is as offensive as it is entertaining. Smelling of stale cigarettes and sweating, you can see he’s been exchanging tickets for cash all day long. About every minute or so, with an unidentifiable accent, his voice is heard loud and low throughout the fair grounds exclaiming, “Tickets Here – See Show before TOO LATE!”
A sign next to Mr. Arabia claims you can “volunteer to be in the show or remain an anonymous member of the audience”. “YOU CHOOOZ” it facetiously asserts. Participating in something as mysteriously inviting as this feels irresistible. You approach Lawrence with cautious optimism. Reaching into your wallet, you pull out enough cash for your family and friends to join you. “Seven tickets please,” you say to Lawrence with a polite but business like demeanor. A wide grin breaks free from Lawrence’s thick mustache and beard. He appears genuinely happy that you’re there to see his show. Without any regard to your personal space, a big sweaty hand grabs your cash with one quick swipe. Shocked, you do not move before his hand returns to grab yours. Without an ounce of protest from you, Lawrence has oriented your hand to receive the seven tickets you ordered. Slapping the tickets into the center of your palm with his other hand, you realize the show started and you’re already part of it.
Distributing the tickets to your friends and family, they all seem to huddle together with nervous excitement. You’re ready to enter the tent. The tarp door is covered by a pattern that resembles a chess board. You lift it to enter the tent. It’s hotter in the tent than out. It’s dark and smells of earth and hay. A figure in a full burka takes your ticket. You assume the ticket taker is a woman but you have no indication other than a seemingly feminine nod of recognition. She does not invite conversation when you meet her and you aren’t inclined to start one. Moving towards the center of the tent, you pass through rows of empty folding chairs that point like a ghost audience at a stage. Items on the stage are shrouded by a curtain. Cool smoke rises up from buckets of dry ice and water to obscure your view and heighten the drama. Your curiosity has gotten the better of you. Unaware of them, members of your American tribe have moved into the tent behind you. Following your lead as closely as they could, experiencing an equal dose of curiosity, they forfeited their tickets one by one to the woman in the burka guarding the tent flap door.
Claiming the front row, you sit with your tribe and begin talking with them about the heat. Waiting for the show to start, you wonder out loud together what life would be like growing up in the Middle East. Your wife mentions the mosque in your neighborhood near your supermarket. She says “it’s always busy on Fridays”. - “That’s a mosque?” you say. For some reason, you thought your neighborhood mosque was a library or a community center. Unsure how you missed such an important aspect of your own community, the show starts. On stage, the curtain lifts to reveal your ticket selling friend Mr. Lawrence Arabia.
“My friends!” he says with a barrel laugh. “In this theater we have a show to remember! My name is Ali Kirubi and I am the King of this land – I have conquered it, subjugated its people and rule it with an iron fist! As my guests you will receive the most decadent hospitality a king can afford…” he boasts to you and your family with unparalleled confidence. His laughter trails off as he looks to the side of the stage and sighs. At that moment, a teenage boy enters from stage left, running to meet Ali Kirubi. When he arrives, he wraps his little arms around the man you named Lawrence… Ali Kirubi– BANG, a military flash grenade detonates. You and your family are stunned as manikin arms and legs are thrown over your heads, clanging into the empty metal chairs behind you. When you recover your composure, and realize the stage is empty, a young boy enters from stage right and says, “I am from Kurdistan. My family and I were murdered by Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. He coughs twice and lays down on the stage. Another boy walks onto the stage with a plastic key and two manikin legs. He shouts, “This key opened heaven’s gates to me. I cleared a land mine for Allah and my Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.” He then throws the key on the stage and drops his two manikin legs off the stage in front of you. He says “Ouch” and lays down on the stage next to the Kurdish actor. From behind your seats, the ticket taking woman begins to scream hysterically. She shouts – “I was shot in the head by the Taliban in a soccer stadium in Afghanistan.”
Your wife is in tears at this point… your children are scared and nothing is making sense to you. When you entered the tent, you expected to be entertained; possibly belly dancing, but not this. You remember that you were invited to participate in the show. HOW? You ask yourself… this is insanity. You want no part of it as you stand to gather your tribe and leave. Just then, the actors and actresses make there way onto the stage for what looks like a finale. They all hug and start laughing with each other. Mr. Kirubi says, “We are the Kirubi family from Iraq. We wanted to bring the good, bad and ugly of the Middle East to America, in a play. You know… Hollywood! Emreka loves violence. No really… We’re all excited about the future of our two countries but nervous about the past. You are Americans and your country is waging a war against terrorists in mine. Americans and Iraqis are forever married now, by blood and by destiny. We invite you to come onto the stage, while we sit as your audience. Act out Western history for us, the good, bad and the ugly – if you have the spirit worth fighting.”
Do you have the spirit?
CROWD THEORY: If you want to understand crowds, you’ve got to immerse yourself in them. Not just one kind of crowd, but all kinds of crowds. There are a number of cross cultural similarities between crowds. As an observer, I’ve always enjoyed watching crowd mechanics in action. Concerts, demonstrations, games in stadiums, lines, speeches and parties are just a few examples of situations where crowds coalesce. Why study crowds? Why not? We move through them every day. Every crowd is a microcosm of society. Case in point, your government represents an institutionalized manifestation of crowd control theory.
CROWD MEMBERS: When observing crowds, most of the people you’ll observe will consciously avoid you. Don’t take it personally. Members of crowds are not ignoring you on purpose. Instead, they’re hiding behind synthetic boundaries, probably to remain focused on less transient subjects than you. I refer to the behavior as tunneling. Under different circumstances, some tunnelers discard their usual social inhibitions. Behaving like tourists, every detail, including other members of the crowd matter. Tourists are inherently erratic and complicate crowd dynamics. To keep order and some modicum of discipline, crowds have to have officers. Unofficial and official officers readily accept responsibility to protect and support their crowd in any unusual event. Therefore, by my observations, there are three distinct categories of crowd members.
TUNNELERS: When in crowds, many people tunnel through them. Tunnelers emotionally avoid the crowds they cannot physically avoid. Tunneling is a kind of dissociative behavior that is so common, it must be normal. Tunneling behavior is best described as dispassionately transiting through a crowd without attempting to influence it, or to be influenced by it. Tools help tunnelers. Tunneling tools might include but are not limited to a novel, a newspaper or an i-POD. In any case, each escapist device serves a similar purpose. If no physical tool is available, imaginary ones work almost as well. A tunneler might focus on their destination. More recent but increasingly popular tunneling tools are devices that connect a tunneler to an external, more familiar, more friendly, “virtual crowd”. This form of tunneling can be achieved through a cell phone, blackberry or laptop. These devices are particularly intriguing to fellow tunnelers. Diverse tunneling tools might render other escapist devices ineffective. In that case, the least effective tunnelers may turn their attention to the most effective tunnelers. The distraction may or may not be received positively. In other types of crowds, mimics are tunnelers too. Immersed in an audience, members who adopt similar behavior exchange their own identity for that of the crowd.
TOURISTS: These crowd members want to learn about the environment they’re immersed in and share what they’ve learned with tunnelers, tourists and officers. They read signs out loud. They ask questions. They make notes, create recordings, take pictures and make videos. There are a number of industries that manufacture tourist tools. A professional tourist is a classic journalist, constantly uncovering the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of their situation. Some tunneling tools have merged with tourist tools allowing spontaneous transformation from tunneler to tourist. Digital cameras embedded in cellular telephones allow tunnelers and officers to seamlessly leap from category to category.
OFFICERS: Official officers identify themselves clearly. Uniforms are common tools of an officer. Hand signals given to other crowd members might identify an unofficial officer. Like a mother watches over her child, officers pay close attention to the crowd and its surroundings. Unlike a tourist who is looking at everything, officers are looking for something specific. They are looking for ominous signs, from within and without the crowd. An officer’s toolbox includes sensors and detectors calibrated to detect specific threats. Interestingly, no mechanism is more effective at detecting ominous signs than an officer’s combined natural senses. In addition, memory of is paramount to the effectiveness of an officer. Without a clear understanding of recent history, officers are easily distracted by their misperceptions. Every crowd has perfectly innocent statistical outliers. An officer may be distracted by a tunneler who is unusually nervous. Inversely, confident tunnelers, tourists and officers are sufficiently camouflaged in crowd. In some situations, officers may become suspicious of tourists who are innocently interested in what an officer is charged with protecting. As shepherds, officer’s first impressions are critical. The more confidence an officer has when they are testing for threats, the better.
CONCLUSION: Crowd theory explains a great deal about social behavior precisely because crowds are a microcosm of society. Crowd theory is an articulation of observable group phenomena not dependent on time, technology or culture. Looking to world history for answers, it is reasonable to believe every government that ever existed is an institutionalized permutation of an individual’s crowd theory. If true, we can say Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Khomeini and Pol-Pot, among other mass murderers perceived a similar crowd theory. They used their knowledge of crowd theory to find and exterminate tourist and officers not loyal to their utopian vision. Inversely, America’s founding officers; Washington, Jefferson and Franklin understood the inherent danger of strictly imposing utopian fantasies on crowds. These men incorporated what they knew they could not know about the future into their perception of crowd theory. To create an extremely successful society, they sought to empower officers whose ambition was to serve and protect tourists and tunnelers. Interestingly, the only way to serve and protect a crowd is to guarantee each member’s individual liberties. Therefore, it is no coincidence individual liberty is the core concept of the U.S. Constitution.
HUMINT: Resignation Please
For high crimes and misdemeanors, proceedings resembling impeachment are long over due. Start the process now! If it cannot be done domestically then Americans must turn to the international community. The United Nations Security Council must be compelled to authorize action. Everyone in the United States knows it, but surprisingly few will stand up to support it. None of this is secret. The leadership of this regime is guilty of inciting and committing terroristic violence. Add to that; its flagrant abuses of spirituality to consolidate power, institutionalized misogyny, racism and sectarianism. This administration does not respond to its people. It is a farce to assert this administration was elected by the people for the people. In fact, the system that operates today was never beholden to the people. Layers of bureaucracy shield this leadership from opposition, yet, that fact has never prevented it from destroying the careers of men and women who do not parrot its narrow vision.
This leadership coerces allies through intimidation, lies and bribes. Global economics are the only thing keeping this administration from imploding. Every worldwide financial equivalent to Wall Street gives this regime their tacit support. It could be said that these leaders are little more than oil men in fancy dress. With pomp and ceremony, these arrogant figures threaten the existence of other nations. They do imagine a utopia without strife that will come, not through compromise, not through democracy, but through an ideological war. Almost everything they do is rotten. They facilitate terrorism through targeted acts of humanitarian assistance. Do not be distracted by what they say. Look at what they do. Watch their political and military moves. They are buying loyalty in strategic communities only to advance their narrow interests. Instead of empowering women and minorities throughout their country, they treat them like chattel.
The opposition they abhor most derives from people who understand them best. Quietly, members of this regime’s own family have defected. Through them, the ocean of political apostates grows. This regime’s opposition is coalescing, yet it stands nearly alone in exile. Even those that should echo the opposition, publicly reject it. As witnesses to this regime’s repetitious crimes, the opposition announces the core problem clearly, consistently and loudly. The dogmatic script that these men follow justifies every act of aggression. Undeterred, the opposition continues shouting fundamental truths about this regime. Unfortunately, the world behaves as though it has no ears. To be sure, this regime’s truck bombs render the world deaf. Likewise, blood and guts spilled by this regime make for a pathetic mess, but an effective distraction. What is it about these ultra-violent men that renders the world blind to their crimes. Wake up! Wipe the gore off of your mind, regain your composure and stop appeasing this regime. It is long past time to listen to the most coherent voices resisting this regime.
It’s time to increase the pressure, not back off. At a time when this regime is demonstrating the most heinous diplomatic behavior in modern history, there are some who think it’s a good idea to relieve political pressure. Political pressure has been mounting against this regime for years, and for good reason. Backing off now is antithetical to everything democratically minded citizens stand for. The regime I’m referring to is the Iranian Government. The man who deserves some form of impeachment is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
HUMINT: Follow us Home?
HUMINT: If we quit our wars now, will terrorists follow us home? In other words, will terrorists attack Americans in the United States, IF the U.S. Army precipitously withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan? It’s a simple, YES or NO question. If YES, the U.S. Army should stay to win the wars we’ve started. If NO, we have already won our wars; let’s end the fighting by bringing the troops home now. Sounds simple, right? But it isn’t that simple. The repercussions of wars are never simple. Indeed, the question is terribly misleading. By asking it, the inquisitor creates two faux alternatives. No matter which side you choose, the two politically charged answers are so emotionally distracting that they both eclipse the question’s irrelevance. Let’s assume, for the sake of this essay, American journalist, politicians and historians have relinquished their occupational responsibilities and deconstruct the question ourselves. To do so, let’s break it down into more manageable questions. After that, we can subject each component to a – who, what, where, when, why and how – test.
QUESTION: Will terrorists attack Americans in the United States, IF the U.S. Army precipitously withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan? ANSWER: see who, what, when and where below.
WHO: Indigenous and foreign terrorists are flowing to the Iraqi and Afghani battle fronts to attack Americans and their interests there. Individually, the terrorist or insurgent represent an amalgam of national origins, motivations and affiliations. Precise statistics on the level of foreign vs. indigenous insurgents are not readily available to the general public. Certainly any percentage of foreign terrorist influence in Iraq and Afghanistan is disconcerting. Foreign contributions to terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq are central to the question of what will occur when these two fronts dissolve. As they operate off the battle field, foreign organizers will undoubtedly live through these wars. What decisions these organizers are likely to make after these wars is an important variable. If the United States cannot interdict these individuals during these wars, there should be no confidence among policy makers that allied agencies would be able to do so after these wars.
WHAT: Terrorism is an asymmetric manifestation of aggression. Raw aggression, regardless of its excuse, is a return to jungle law. Jungle law does not adhere to academic conflict resolution formulae. Starting it and stopping it has everything to do with fundamental human behaviors and effective communication. If terrorists and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were fighting for independence, as was the case with the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, the insurgent enemy would be attacking more coherently. Instead, the enemy’s raw aggression is directed in nearly every direction. Incoherent or seemingly random acts of violence raises anxiety among the populous subjected to it. Self sustaining violent trends in Iraq and Afghanistan must be mitigated or stopped to prevent regional or global leakage.
WHEN: The time scale terrorists operate on is very different than the West’s. Western Democracies are open systems. They are cyclical, transparent, reliable and inherently predictable. These qualities make the West successful but simultaneously represent serious security gaps. Despite the rhetoric of government officials seeking more and more authority, there is little they can do to protect their citizenry from suicidal mass murdering terrorists. They can try to disrupt terrorist recruitment, try to infiltrate, and try to engage vociferous agitators and will occasionally succeed in their own jurisdiction. Unfortunately, their level of success has more to do with the mistakes a terrorist makes than their own efficacy. Groups of people can legally organize and educate individuals within a Western democracy. They can do the same in regions of the world that exist seemingly without law. In either scenario, successful democracy or perpetual violence, Iraq and Afghanistan will remain havens for terrorist recruiting for their next generation.
WHERE: Terrorist and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan reportedly migrate from province to province, establishing safe houses. Iraq and Afghanistan are two diffuse fronts in a regional war. Politically, these two wars extend well beyond the Middle East and influence government efficacy on every continent – hence the phrase Global War on Terror, GWOT. Terrorists violence has touched but not plagued Spain, Britain, India, Pakistan, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel have all experienced and or thwarted terrorist attacks since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Lebanon, Syria and Iran have all been involved in stoking violence. In some cases, terror attacks directly referenced the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. Given its history as an international phenomenon, where it occurs is not as key a variable as the question implies. Would be terrorists are already in the West.
CONCLUSION: Iraq and Afghanistan are central fronts in a regional war. Trends toward greater globalization and increased reliance on fossil fuels will continue to provide Middle Easterners with indirect resources to attack Western interests. This analysis suggests that “the likelihood of terrorists following us home” is high, even in the best case scenarios. The window of opportunity to win in Iraq and Afghanistan is short and the enemy was aware of it at the outset of this war. The next six months will show if the American people and the United States Government that represents them, including the Army fighting their wars, have learned enough in the last four years to win. In situations like these, there is no alternative to optimism. Failure is not an option.
HUMINT: Industrial Complexities
Relax America. There is no Military-Industrial Coup underway in Washington DC. Despite the inherent secrecy and subsequent mystery of national security projects, no one should presume the American Military-Industrial Complex is guilty of sedition. American politicians remain essential and relevant to the daily lives of American citizens. The President of the United States is not a sock puppet who simply parrots Multinational Corporate CEO memorandums. If you don’t believe me, read along as I empirically prove the point.
American democracy is about individual liberty. The United States Government was formed and currently exists to represent citizens. Therefore, think about your capacity for representation as a citizen of the United States. By guaranteeing individual Liberty, the Constitution of the United States affords Americans unparalleled capacity for representation.
Surprisingly, it is not necessary to read or even understand the U.S. Constitution to leverage its benefits. This is not to say Americans shouldn’t read it. They definitely should. Every person in the world should read and understand their nation’s constitution. As a direct result of the freedoms the U.S. Constitution guarantees, Americans are free to represent themselves in many unique ways.
The mechanism by which Americans represent themselves includes, but is certainly not limited to their electoral process. Indeed, a healthy democracy requires more than an actively enfranchised population. National security, self respect, tolerance for dissent and a solid education system all do their part to facilitate democracy. Here’s the exciting part. Once in place, democracy tends to improve their community’s quality of life.
Like a chain reaction, what flows from free minds tends to fosters more freedom and greater liberty. As a result, American industry has evolved to sustain, protect and advance individual liberty, not suppress it. Understandably, the more complex a nation is, the more likely it is to be misrepresented or misunderstood.
Industries and the corporations that compete within them are subject to the same sorts of complexities. By its very existence, the so called “Military-Industrial Complex” is inherently mysterious. As a result, it is subjected to insatiable public scrutiny. The way to empirically prove that the Military Industrial Complex has not rendered citizens and their representatives irrelevant is to observe the overall increase in civil liberties.
Ask yourself, do you feel free? Citizens exchanging ideas with other citizens and their representatives remains an extremely influential practice. These days, it is easier to exchange ideas and manifest influence than it ever has been in the history of mankind. That’s freedom! The Military-Industrial Complex was created to protect and serve citizens. Look around you… it’s doing an outstanding job.