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May 21, 2011

Cry Havoc

By David Cox

If you play chess you understand that the goal is to control the center of the board. You do this by a mixing the power of the different chess pieces. Some pieces are obvious and right out in front. Pawns are weak and obvious while others, such as the queen or bishop, are powerful and can strike from a distance. Your goal is to deceive your opponent into misunderstanding the power of your pieces.


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Sometimes it's the nagging details that won't leave you alone. No matter how you try and reconcile them to the facts, they somehow just don't fit. I really don't like to write about 9-11 because of the emotional trauma attached. People either believe the official theories or they don't believe. Some take offense at even questioning official theories--that somehow to question official theory is to disparage the memories of the victims. I find that interesting because that is the exact reason Jack Ruby gave for killing Lee Harvey Oswald was to spare Mrs. Kennedy the emotional trauma of a trial.

Yet there have been subsequent investigations of calamities.  The wreckage of the battleship Maine was inspected by divers and it was discovered to be far more likely that the ship exploded due to a fire in a coal bunker than Spanish saboteurs. The United States gained valuable overseas colonies from that event. The Hearst newspapers fanned the flames of war and the Captain of the Maine, who was negotiating with the Spanish at the time, was completely ignored. These things took on a life of their own so when Rahm Emanuel said, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you could not do before."

The Republican's battered Emanuel for making such a statement but what Emanuel was explaining is exactly how government actually operates. Nicola' Machiavelli published "The Prince" in 1515, and it supports exactly the feelings that Mr. Emanuel expressed. Even more so, it explains in detail that when you understand how the mechanisms of a government work it is possible to pull the levers and manipulate these crisis to the advantage of the prince.

If you play chess you understand that the goal is to control the center of the board. You do this by a mixing the power of the different chess pieces. Some pieces are obvious and right out in front. Pawns are weak and obvious while others, such as the queen or bishop, are powerful and can strike from a distance. Your goal is to deceive your opponent into misunderstanding the power of your pieces. To bait your opponent into a trap from which they think they stand to gain but actually will lose all.

So when the US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, tells Saddam Hussein that in the opinion of the United States how he settles his problems with his neighbors was none of our concern, the US was giving Saddam an open invitation to invade Kuwait. Didn't the US back Saddam in his prior war against Iran? Looking at the situation from the Iraqi standpoint it appears the US is giving tacit approval. Then, immediately after the invasion, George Bush the elder appears on national television filled with righteous indignation and declares to the world "This will not stand."

Look at the situation with a chess player's eye.  How did the US benefit from these events? First, Arabs states not under the US protective umbrella saw their vulnerability displayed. Second, Arab states under that umbrella saw how the US could manipulate world opinion to champion their cause. Third, the US military was able to establish a permanent military presence in the Persian Gulf region. Doctored photos were shown to the Saudi's of massed formations of Iraqi troops along their frontiers.

So did April Glaspie misspeak? Did she and James Baker misunderstand? Or did they understand the situation all too well and use a crisis to their advantage? When the dust and smoke cleared, US military power was firmly ensconced across the Persian Gulf. The military power of Saddam Hussein was broken and Arab nations had to choose the protection of the US umbrella or risk the storm. No more oil embargoes, from now on the faucet is turned on for the advantage of all and the American empire rules supreme.

Looking at a map of the Persian Gulf the US military has surrounded the region and only the forces in Iran hold out. Saudi Arabia and Iran tussle for regional supremacy. In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed out on the street alone and they have no right to vote. The Royal house of Saud rules with carrot and stick and the stick is an iron fist. The national treasury is the King's checkbook, and a council of ministers can make recommendations to the King, but his majesty is under no obligation to pay any attention to what they might suggest. This is similar to how the new consumer protection office set up in the basement of the Federal Reserve will operate in this country.

Iran is an Islamic Republic with a President and a Prime Minister. They are elected to four year terms and they appoint the cabinet. The council of experts appoints the Supreme (religious) leader. This is a theocratic Republic and since it is based on Islamic law, the Supreme leader is appointed for life just as our own Supreme Court justices are appointed for life. In Saudi Arabia, which also functions under the same Islamic law as Iran, the King holds all of these offices. Which country then most closely resembles the American system of government?

The nail which sticks up shall be hammered down. Iran, which hasn't attacked another nation in hundreds of years, is demonized in the Western press. While the US is trying to sell India nuclear fuel, Iran is accused before the fact and without proof of desires to build nuclear weapons for the purpose of destroying their adversary Saudi Arabia? No, to destroy Israel.  Why would Iran want to spend billions of dollars just to destroy Israel? Just pure meanness? Dastardly, dark, sinister intentions of national suicide? A plan with a guaranteed net result of the certain destruction of the nation and its population?

So why would Iran want to build a nuclear bomb? Well, all of her neighbors except for Afghanistan and Iraq already have nuclear weapons, and those two aforementioned nations have American combat troops stationed on Iran's borders and drone reconnaissance flights flying over their territory, while bellicose politicians threaten and attempt to bully her. So from an Iranian point of view, the most profound reason that they might want to build a nuclear bomb is to protect themselves from an American invasion. For the United States it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.  The more they bully Iran the more likely they are to possibly be correct. This as the US pressures Russia not to sell Iran anti-aircraft missiles. Can anti-aircraft missiles in any way be considered offensive weapons?

Members of the German Nazi Party burned the Reichstag building for the purpose of advancing draconian laws to destroy the nation's civil rights. This same German army created phony border incursions to justify their invasion of Poland. There were no North Vietnamese patrol boats firing torpedoes at US navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. US forces encouraged the overthrow and murder of General Diem in Vietnam. US forces aided the overthrow of the lawfully elected government of Iran in 1956. US forces helped to place Augusto Pinochet in power in Chile and tried unsuccessfully to depose Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. These are not conspiracy theories--these are facts. This is how your government uses its power.

This is how Machiavelli described nations using power five hundred years ago. We know that US covert forces tried unsuccessfully on multiple occasions to murder Fidel Castro. Would such forces--if they were to believe or were manipulated to believe that an American leader was soft on Communism during the Cold War--not act? "It is not that I loved Caesar less but that I loved Rome more," would they not act in the national interest to save Rome?

On September 11, 2001 an aircraft struck the US Pentagon, the command center of the United States military power. The question I ask is a simple one, why? Why the Pentagon? What was gained by the terrorists through this act? Did they believe that such a strike would paralyze the US military? An attempt perhaps to decapitate the leadership?

I don't want to talk about light poles or marks on the lawn but only about the strategic reasoning for this event. Pretend that you are the terrorist mastermind here and you have four aircraft. Two designated for the World Trade Center because" terrorists hate world trade? Or perhaps it was a symbol of US power and prestige and you really, really hate America. Had those two aircraft crashed into the Indian Point nuclear power station they could have created a Fukushima type nuclear event that could have caused the forced depopulation of New York City. Maybe the terrorists weren't that smart or maybe that was too much carnage even for blood thirsty terrorists willing to give up their own lives.

One aircraft goes down in Pennsylvania and another goes out of its way to strike one side of the Pentagon. Why did it make a difficult maneuver when one side of a five sided building is about the same as any other? Did the terrorist have intimate knowledge of the office arrangements inside the Pentagon? If so, they were all wrong.

In your role of terrorist mastermind, you have one aircraft available to strike one target in Washington D.C. which target would you choose? The Capital building? The White House? Have you ever seen Washington D.C. from the air? I circled Washington D.C. one night for about an hour and at one end of this big grass mall is the Capital building and at the other end is the White House both damn hard to miss. Some have said those were the targets for the aircraft that went down in Pennsylvania but that returns us to the original question, why hit the Pentagon?

Are Americans emotionally attached to the Pentagon as they are to the Capital building or the White House? George Washington laid the cornerstone for the White House; the Pentagon was constructed of poured concrete during World War 2. It is almost inconceivable to understand what these terrorists had hoped to gain by targeting the Pentagon.

Now let's look at the situation again like Machiavelli, let's use a chess player's eyes. What if the there had been no strike upon the Pentagon? A group of terrorists from various nations high jacked civilian aircraft and attacked the World Trade Center, civilians attacking a civilian target. Could the US military then mobilize to invade Iraq and Afghanistan? The attack on the Pentagon was an attack on US military installation that fully justified a full retaliatory military response.

Of the three successful terrorist flights, it was the most difficult to achieve. This aircraft avoided other higher value targets for what was no more than a figurehead attack. Yet if we look at it through the eyes of Machiavelli we can see that it was the most crucial and the most difficult. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is conjecture. We cannot look in to the hearts and minds of our leaders. We cannot see into the future so we must rely on our ability to see into the past.

With history as our guide we become schooled in what human nature can and will do. They will commit terrible acts to advance an agenda. They will burn down their own Capital or lie about military events. They will kill foreign heads of state to gain power, they will remorselessly kill the defenseless and they will even kill their own leaders.  It is, after all, only a matter of degrees.

"O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial"

William Shakespeare -- Julius Caesar Act 3, Scene 1

Authors Bio:

I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I am really.

Given a front row seat for the generation of the 1960's I lived in Chicago in 1960. My father was a Democratic precinct captain, my mother an election judge. His father had been a Union organizer and had been beaten and jailed for his efforts. His first time in jail was for punching a Ku Klux Klansman during a parade in the 1930's. I never felt as if I was raised in a family of activists but seeing it print makes me think, yes. That is a part of who I am.

We find ourselves today living in a world treed by the hounds of madness, a complicit media covering contrite parties. Multilevel media, giving more access to communication yet stunting actual communication. More noise, less voice, more sound less music, more law less justice, more medicine less life.