Delusions, deceits, deceptions promulgated by the "elite"

A collection of what I feel are some of the biggest deceits and deceptions
that those who make up the media/political elite,
a collection of decision-makers and opinion-leaders,
are misleading the American public and the national conversation with.


How to fight al-Qaeda's offshoot in Yemen
Washington Post Editorial, 2009-12-30

[From the editorial:]

Yemen’s steady slide toward failed-state status in recent years
means that it, like nearby Somalia,
will probably demand concerted and multifaceted U.S. engagement
for years to come.
More than Special Forces and missile strikes are needed:
The relatively friendly central government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh
should be bolstered with
education and economic development programs
like those the United States has deployed for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

[Now for some comments by the author of this blog on those statements.]

Ah yes: those “education and economic development programs”
that the interventionists feel are the answer to
making them not hate us.

Let’s look at a little history to see how accurate that has been in the past.
Let’s take an example that seems so important to many in America:
Nazi Germany.
Germany in the 1930s was
one of the most educated and economically developed nations in the world.
(If one reads the history of nineteenth and early twentieth century science,
the Germans had no superiors, even without the benefit of the Jews.
Their economy was so strong that
they were able to put up quite a fight against
Britain, France, the USSR, and the US all combined.
For a nation whose population was a fraction of all those,
that’s quite impressive.)
Consider also the quality of the Imperial Japanese Navy (e.g., also) and AF (e.g.).
Surely the Japanese were both well educated and economically developed.
But that didn’t stop them from feeling they had to fight a war with the U.S.

So how on earth can one claim that
“education and economic development programs”
will turn a nation into
a peace-loving nation that will support United States priorities?
Obviously, one can’t.
But the Washington Post editorial board, along with much of the “elite”,
is and has been for many years now peddling that ridiculous lie.
And they never seem to get called on it.

Let’s also look at how accurate that claim is with regard to
some of those carrying out
the current al Qaeda et al. war against the feminist/Zionist alliance:
  1. Osama bin Laden:
    scion of one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia
    and university graduate

  2. Ayman al-Zawahiri:
    a medical doctor

  3. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:
    bachelors in mechanical engineering

  4. Mohamed Atta:
    an architect

  5. The perpetrators of the 2007 Glasgow airport attack:
    medical doctors

  6. Aafia Siddiqui (cf.):
    with a B.S. from MIT and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis
    (in her case, it seems unlikely that she is opposed to feminism,
    but that she opposes Zionism seems quite likely)

  7. Nidal Malik Hasan,
    the Fort Hood shooter:
    a medical doctor, psychiatrist and Army Major

  8. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab,
    who attempted a Christmas 2009 bombing:
    son of one of the richest men in Nigeria
    and graduate of University College London

  9. Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi,
    the Chapman base bomber:
    a medical doctor

So when Graham/Weymouth’s opinion-leaders at the WaPo editorial board
tell us that
providing “education and economic development programs”
to Third World societies
is the way to avoid or avert
the attacks against the feminist/Zionist alliance,
they are full of shit.
But try and find a media figure or a member of Congress who will point out that
the actions recommended by the bien pensants
will not solve the terrorism problem.

For the truth about what is motivating their attacks,
and some reasonable proposals to mitigate the hostility,
see the works of Michael Scheuer and Mearsheimer/Walt,
or my online post “Why they hate us,”
which includes a lengthy excerpt from Walt on the subject.


Avoiding a Japanese Decade
New York Times Editorial, 2010-01-03 (the lead Sunday editorial)

[From the editorial:]

But for all the progress, the American economy remains extremely vulnerable.

To understand those economic risks,
it is worth considering Japan’s experience in the 1990s.
A bursting housing bubble there sparked a banking crisis
that was followed by a decade of economic stagnation.

[Now for some comments by the author of this blog on the editorial
of which the above gives the main theme.]

This editorial is an example of a misdirection play.
In the current economic situation the U.S. is in,
there are any number of perils to which one could point.
Here the New York Times points to the danger of economic stagnation,
à la that which Japan went through in the 1990s.
But is that either the most dangerous plausible peril
in which the U.S. now finds itself?
Certainly not.
Clearly, the most dangerous, and frighteningly most likely, peril is
that of a debt crisis.
As the U.S. piles up more and more trillions of debt to international creditors,
with no end in sight, nor the prospect of paying off what it owes,
the inevitable (so I assert) end is
a time when the U.S. needs to roll over its existing debt,
and no one can be found to make new “investments”
in U.S. government securities.

Hey elite: What will you do then?
Think that couldn’t happen?
Then you’re either stupid, insane, or delusional (or maybe all three).
And here is where the misdirection play comes in.
Rather than waving the Japan analogy in the face of
all the readers of its Sunday editorial page,
it could (and should) have been talking about
the economic disasters that befell, say,
the Weimar republic, Zimbabwe, and Argentina,
to name a few examples of the nations that have suffered from hyperinflation.
Note also that
misplaced worries about the “Japanese decade of economic stagnation”
is also the reason that Alan Greenspan gave
for keeping interest rates so low in the early and mid 2000s.
Evidently, pointing with alarm to that Japanese example
is the all-purpose argument used by the “elite” to argue for
keeping “the pedal to the metal” in terms of macroeconomic stimulus.
Look how disastrously Greenspan’s economic push ended.
Now the Times wants more of
the voodoo economics favored by, say, its columnist Paul Krugman.

So what could be done in that situation described above,
where the U.S. ran out of suckers buyers for its securities?
The alternatives that have been stated
by people who have considered such a possibility are either
default or inflating the debt away.
Either of those alternatives is, I believe, far worse than
merely the prospect of a decade of economic stagnation.
But evidently either
the New York Times believes those wouldn’t be so bad,
they believe they are all but impossible, in which case they are surely wrong.

More cause and effect in our ever-expanding "war"
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2010-01-07

[Here is Greenwald’s complete article,
sans most of his links, but with some added emphasis.]


If it is taboo to discuss
how America’s actions in the Middle East cause Terrorism --
and it generally is --
that taboo is far stronger still when it comes to
specifically discussing how
our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions
fuels Terrorism directed at the U.S.

An article in yesterday’s New York Times
examined the life of Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi,
the Jordanian who blew himself up, along with 7 CIA agents,
in Afghanistan this week.
Why would Balawi -- a highly educated doctor,
who was specifically recruited by Jordanian intelligence officials
to infiltrate Al Qaeda on behalf of Western governments --
want to blow himself up
and murder as many American intelligence agents as possible?
The article provides this possible answer:
He [Balawi’s brother] described Mr. Balawi as
a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor,”
saying that the family knew nothing of
Mr. Balawi’s writings under a pseudonym on jihadi Web sites.
He said, however, that
his brother had been “changed”
by last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza,
which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.

An Associated Press discussion of the possible motives
of accused Christmas Day airline attacker Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab
contained this quite similar passage
(h/t Casual Observer):
Students and administrators at the institute
said Abdulmutallab was gregarious, had many Yemeni friends
and was not overtly extremist.
They noted, however, he was open about
his sympathies toward the Palestinians and
his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of Al Qaeda announced earlier this year
that they were unifying into “Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,”
they prominently featured rhetoric railing against the Israeli attack on Gaza,
“presented their campaign as part of the struggle to liberate Palestine,
since Israel and the Crusaders are one.”
So extreme is anger towards Israel over Gaza among Yemenis
that even that country’s President --
our supposed ally in the War on Terror --
called for the opening of camps to train fighters against Israel in Gaza.
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright claimed that
9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta signed his “martyr’s will” from Al Qaeda
on the day in 1996 [?] when Israel attacked Lebanon,
and he did so due to “outrage” over that attack.
There’s just no question that
the U.S.’s loyal enabling of (and support for)
Israel’s various wars with its Muslims neighbors
contributes to terrorist attacks directed at Americans.

As always whenever the words “Israel” and/or “Terrorism” are mentioned,
there is a severe danger of over-simplification and distortion from all sides,
rendering several caveats in order:
where U.S. support for Israel is a cause of anti-American Islamic extremism,
it is generally not the only or even primary cause, but one of several;
there is ample American interference and violence in the Muslim world
that is quite independent of Israel,
and that was true long before 9/11 and especially after.
Al Qaeda leaders who actually care little about the Palestinian cause
have a history of exploiting that issue to generate public support.
The fact that Terrorists object to Policy X
does not prove that Policy X should be discontinued.
And most of all:
to discuss causes of Terrorism is not to imply justification;
one can seek to understand what we do to fuel Terrorism
without suggesting that the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians
is in any way legitimate or justified.

Despite all that, it’s impossible to grow accustomed to
the extreme fantasy atmosphere and self-absorbed blindness
that pervades American discussions over Terrorism,
especially in the wake of a new scare.
The Right, seeking as always to exploit Terrorism fears,
falsely accuses Obama of not displaying “war” language and a “war” mentality,
in response to which he and his aides step forward to affirm -- yet again --
that WE ARE AT WAR!,
and to point to all of the times Obama decreed this to be so
and all of the war actions he has ordered.
So we’ve spent the last decade screaming to the world that WE ARE AT WAR!,
that we’re a War Nation, that we’re led by a War President.
That we are “at war” -- not just in Iraq and Afghanistan,
but generally against Islamic extremists --
is an absolute bipartisan orthodoxy that must be affirmed by all Serious people.
[This classification of people and ideas
into “serious” and those evidently “not serious” I find bizarre.
It nullifies consideration of worthwhile options.]

And we are currently waging some form of actual war
in no fewer than five predominantly Muslim countries
(Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia);
are threatening Iran with ”crippling” sanctions
and -- from our more deranged quarters -- war; and
continuing our unbroken devotion to Israel’s causes.

Yet even in the face of all of that,
it is bewilderment and confusion that reign
when our media stars and political figures
talk about attempts to attack Americans.
Why would they possibly want to do this?
They must be crazy, or drunk with religious fervor,
or consumed by blinding, inhumane hatred.

Much of that is probably true for individuals willing to blow themselves up
in order to slaughter as many innocent civilians as possible.
But it’s equally irrational to think that
you’re going to spend a full decade bellowing WE ARE AT WAR! to the world,
send bombs and troops and all forms of death to multiple Muslim countries
(both directly and through Israel),
and not have that directed back at us.
That’s what happens when a country is “at war” --
it doesn’t just get to blow up things and people in other countries,
but its own things and people sometimes get blown up as well.
That’s how “war” works.

[Newton’a third law of motion:
To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction
has much validity in the social world as well as in the physical world.
(So does Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, by the way.)]

It’s truly astounding to watch us -- for a full decade --
send fighter jets and drones and bombs and invading forces
and teams of torturers and kidnappers to that part of the world,
or, as we were doing long before 9/11,
to overthrow their governments, prop up their dictators,
occupy what they perceive as holy land with our foreign troops,
and arm Israel to the teeth,
and then act surprised and confused when some of them want to attack us.
In general, the U.S. only attacks
countries with no capabilities to attack us back in the ”homeland” --
at least not with conventional forces.
As a result, we have come to believe that
any forms of violence we perpetrate on them over there
is justifiable and natural,
but the Laws of Humanity are instantly breached in the most egregious ways
whenever they bring violence back to the U.S., aimed at Americans.
It’s just impossible
to listen to discussions grounded in this warped mentality
without being astounded at
how irrational it is.
What do Americans think is going to happen
if we continue to engage in this conduct, in this always-widening “war”?

The principal problem is that
by pretending that we do nothing to fuel Islamic radicalism,
we stay unaware -- blissfully ignorant --
of the staggering costs of our actions.
I defy anyone to find a political figure in either major party’s leadership
who has, in the context of discussing U.S. policy towards Israel,
ever even mentioned the fact that
undying, endless American support for Israel --
making all of their conflicts our own --
increases the risk of terrorist violence aimed at the U.S.
[Steny Hoyer? Nancy Pelosi?
Not to mention all those Congressman with, de facto, dual citizenships.]

But it so plainly does.
The fact that Israel is now explicitly vowing that
its “next wars” against its Muslim neighbors will be “much harsher”
than even the grotesque atrocities in Gaza and Lebanon
means these costs are almost certain to increase even further.

Again, these facts do not, standing alone,
prove that we ought to change these policies.
The mere fact that Islamic radicals object to what we do
does not prove we should stop,
as there may be net benefits to those actions
or they may be morally justifiable.
But at the very least,
rational discussions require that these costs and benefits be weighed,
and that can only happen if we acknowledge the costs.
But when it comes to our own actions in the Muslim world,
and especially our undying devotion to supporting everything Israel does,
acknowledging the costs (to say nothing of the morality)
is exactly what we steadfastly refuse to do.

[Greenwald does not point out the clear-cut reason for this
one-sided presentation of the issues:
the ADL and those who support it.]

Today’s Haaretz -- in an article headlined:
“Report: Al-Qaida CIA bomber was furious over Gaza war” -- also reports:
“The Jordanian national that attacked a U.S. military base in Afghanistan,
killing 7 CIA agents,
was furious over the Israel’s Gaza offensive,
the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Thursday.”
Phil Weiss asks about the connection between
America’s Israel policy and Terrorist attacks aimed at the U.S.:
“I wonder how long the mainstream media will continue to treat this angle
as a sidelight and not a main event”?
Actually, treating it as a “sidelight” would be an upgrade from what they do now: ignore it completely and pretend it doesn’t exist.
As usual, these discussions can appear more freely in Israeli newspapers like Haaretz than they can in American ones.

The Yemeni government today warned that
any direct U.S. military action in that country
“could bolster the popularity of Islamic militants”
and “would strengthen Al Qaeda.”
For reasons that should be obvious, that’s how it works:
not only in Yemen, but generally.

Time reports that Balawi (the Jordanian doctor) had been a genuine intelligence asset for the U.S., working to help the U.S. find and bomb Al Qaeda sites, but was completely transformed at some point into an Al Qaeda sympathizer and ultimately a suicide bomber who killed 7 CIA agents.
Part of the reason for the conversion?
Because of “his outrage at the high number of civilian casualties inflicted in the resulting strikes”; he “had become enraged at the Americans for killing a high number of civilians in their hunt for al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” Relatedly, Spencer Ackerman notes that Balawi’s Internet writings reflect a growing commitment to violence due to American and Israeli attacks on Muslims (“They have not left any excuse for any Muslim with a hint of honor to remain hesitant and accept the shame of staying away from the honor of participating in jihad”).

Just contemplate how many Balawis there are in the world: Muslims who begin with sympathy towards the U.S. and hostility towards Al Qaeda who are completely transformed into the opposite as a result of the constant civilian death we and Israel bring (regardless of intent) to that part of the world.

It’s All About Schools
New York Times Op-Ed, 2010-02-10

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