The substance of these stratagems can be traced to a think-tank study released in 1966 called the Report from Iron Mountain. Although the origin of the report is highly debated, the document itself hints that it was commissioned by the Department of Defense under Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and was produced by the Hudson Institute located at the base of Iron Mountain in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The Hudson Institute was founded and directed by Herman Kahn, formerly of the Rand Corporation. Both McNamara and Kahn were members of the CFR.
The self-proclaimed purpose of the study was to explore various ways to "stabilize society." Praiseworthy as that may sound, a reading of the Report soon reveals that the word society is used synonymously with the word government. Furthermore, the word stabilize is used as meaning to preserve and to perpetuate. It is clear from the start that the nature of the study was to analyze the different ways a government can perpetuate itself in power, ways to control its citizens and prevent them from rebelling.
It was stated at the beginning of
the report that morality was not an issue. The study did not address questions of right or wrong; nor did it deal with such concepts as
freedom or human rights. Ideology was not an issue, nor patriotism, nor
religious precepts. Its sole concern was how to perpetuate the existing
government. The report said:
People Need to know what the government is doing
(image by Peter Palms)
Previous studies have taken the desirability of peace, the importance of human life, the superiority of democratic institutions, the greatest "good" for the greatest number, the "dignity" of the individual, the desirability of maximum health and longevity, and other such wishful premises as axiomatic values necessary for the justification of a study of peace issues. We have not found them so. We have attempted to apply the standards of physical science to our thinking, the principal characteristic of which is not quantification, as is popularly believed, but that, in Whitehead's words, "... it ignores all judgments of value; for instance, all esthetic and moral judgments." 1
The major conclusion of the report was that, in the past, war has been the only reliable means to achieve that goal. It contends that only during times of war or the threat of war are the masses compliant enough to carry the yoke of government without complaint. Fear of conquest and pillage by an enemy can make almost any burden seem acceptable by comparison. War can be used to arouse human passion and patriotic feelings of loyalty to the nation's leaders. No amount of sacrifice in the name of victory will be rejected. Resistance is viewed as treason. But, in times of peace, people become resentful of high taxes, shortages, and bureaucratic intervention. When they become disrespectful of their leaders, they become dangerous. No government has long survived without enemies and armed conflict. War, therefore, has been an indispensable condition for "stabilizing society." These are the report's exact words:
"The war system not only has been essential to the existence of nations as independent political entities, but has been equally indispensable to their stable political structure. Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence in its 'legitimacy,' or right to rule its society. The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power. The historical record reveals one instance after another where the failure of a regime to maintain the credibility of a war threat led to its dissolution, by the forces of private interest, of reactions to social injustice, or of other disintegrative elements. The organization of society for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer.... It has enabled societies to maintain necessary class distinctions, and it has insured the subordination of the citizens to the state by virtue of the residual war powers inherent in the concept of nationhood."
THE ENVIRONMENTAL-POLLUTION MODEL
The final candidate for a useful global threat was pollution of the environment. This was viewed as the most likely to succeed because it could be related to observable conditions such as smog and water pollution--in other words, it would be based partly on fact and, therefore, be credible. Predictions could be made showing end-of-earth scenarios just as horrible as atomic warfare. Accuracy in these predictions would not be important. Their purpose would be to frighten, not to inform. It might even be necessary to deliberately poison the environment to make the predictions more convincing and to focus the public mind on fighting a new enemy, more fearful than any invader from another nation--or even from outer space. The masses would more willingly accept a falling standard of living, tax increases, and bureaucratic intervention in their lives as simply "the price we must pay to save Mother Earth." A massive battle against death and destruction from global pollution possibly could replace war as justification for social control.
Did the Report from Iron Mountain really say that? It certainly did--and much more. Here are just a few of the pertinent passages:
"When it comes to postulating a credible substitute for war ... the 'alternate enemy' must imply a more immediate, tangible, and directly felt threat of destruction. It must justify the need for taking and paying a 'blood price' in wide areas of human concern. In this respect, the possible substitute enemies noted earlier would be insufficient. One exception might be the environmental-pollution model, if the danger to society it posed was genuinely imminent. The fictive models would have to carry the weight of extraordinary conviction, underscored with a not inconsiderable actual sacrifice of life.... It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first glance would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only through social organization and political power....
"It is true that the rate of pollution could be increased selectively for this purpose.... But the pollution problem has been so widely publicized in recent years that it seems highly improbable that a program of deliberate environmental poisoning could be implemented in a politically acceptable manner.
"However unlikely some of the possible alternative enemies we have mentioned may seem, we must emphasize that one must be found of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration. It is more probable, in our judgment, that such a threat will have to be invented."
1. Ibid., pp. 66-67, 70-71. When the Report was written, terrorism had not yet been considered as a substitute for war. Since then, it has become the most useful of them all. Do not expect it to be defeated by Fabians. It serves their purpose too well.
ENVIRONMENTALISM A SUBSTITUTE FOR WAR