Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Three Poisons of OZ.

The Wizard of Oz and the Verse of Purification.
(Written 4/29/05)

Roshi John Tarrant’s Dharma Talk on Monday [ ] on the Verse of Purification reverberated in my mind with the play of the Wizard of Oz I attended at my grandaughter's school last Saturday, becoming entangling vines in the Dharmaland.

All the ancient twisted karma
From beginningless greed, hatred and ignorance
Born of my body, mouth and thought
I now confess openly and fully.

Greed - Heartless - Tin Man - compassion - Avalokiteshvara
Hatred - Cowardly - Lion - action/practice - Samantabhadra
Ignorance - Brainless - Scarecrow - wisdom - Manjushri

We are usually taught that purification is a cleaning process where some object is purified such as wiping it down with bleach or having impurities removed. However, in one vehicle Buddhism the three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance are not treated as impurities which are simply removed or wiped off of the self in order to have a pure self. The verse says they are beginningless which also means they are endless. We can’t do away with them; we must seek any freedom from karma within their midst. No matter how much I think I won’t, I still get greedy for that cheesecake, I still get angry when someone slights me, I still say stupid things (just keep reading).

So what is happening in purification; what is the role of confession?

The confession that one’s karma is from beginningless greed, hatred, and ignorance is an awareness and acceptance of our human condition and is the prerequisite to purification. Confession is what cuts through our usual denial which surrounds and protects the imagination of an idealized self capable of achieving purity as a one-sided achievement. Once we confess, we begin the purification process, which is actually a transformation process in which greed, hatred, and ignorance are not disposed of but are made aware of their true nature. But to get there we have to start by acknowledging the greed, hatred, and ignorance that we actually experience and feel, not by pretending that we have overcome such feelings, suppressed them, or purified ourselves of them.

Greed is the orientation to life in the service of the rigid self. I think if I don’t get what I want that I will lose myself or be less than myself somehow. When we confess our greed we awake in the position of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. We see that we were frozen and we feel heartless. But that same awareness is what puts us on the yellow brick road to find our heart of compassion.

Hatred is the cowardly anger born of fear. Like the Cowardly Lion, hatred first comes off as growling and threatening. I bluster and try to win by intimidation. When we confess our hatred we open the awareness of the real feelings of fear that underlie it. We can then open up to the search for courage to face our fears and act in the world with real strength and seeing through the delusions of anger and hatred.

Ignorance is the feeling of limp stupidity and uselessness. I feel stuck on a pole imagining that the world is passing me by. I’m so lame that even the crows laugh at me and no one takes me seriously. Confessing our ignorance we awake like the Scarecrow conscious not only of feeling we don’t have a brain but also feeling the concomitant desire to unravel every riddle for every individual who is in trouble or in pain. This is the Bodhisattva’s vow which is the motive force that sets us on the yellow brick road, that charges our confession with the power toward purification.

In the transformative process of purification beginning with confession, our greed, hatred, and ignorance are not driven away but are accepted as they are, becoming our new friends with their own inner drive to discover themselves along with our discovery on our journey to find our home. As we see through our illusions of self and our grasping attachment, our greed learns that it has always had a heart but didn’t know it. Our hatred discovers its courage to live in the world without the habit of cowardly anger. Our ignorance learns that there was no need to go searching for wisdom elsewhere, since wisdom was inherent all along.

In the purification process, the cold metallic rigidity of the Tin Man without a heart becomes the flowing compassion of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara; the blustering growling anger of the Cowardly Lion becomes the courageous fearless action and practice of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra facing every challenge in life; and the flopping flame fearing Scarecrow with straw for brains becomes the wielder of the flaming sword of wisdom Bodhisattva Manjushri.

But it is not that greed, hatred, and ignorance become something different in compassion, practice, and wisdom; it is that they were thus intrinsically, and we just didn’t know it. We could not see Avalokiteshvara, Samantabhadra, and Manjushri for what they are, and we saw them only as greed, hatred, and ignorance. When we see the self constructed from our twisted karma for what it is and stop trying to do away with beginingless greed, hatred, and ignorance, while confessing our lives even in the midst of them, then we can awaken to their true nature and our own.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nader's Misfired Reference to US Propaganda

Ralph Nader's August 10, 2005, letter of support to the mother of slain US soldier Casey Sheehan refers to a speech by President Dwight D. Eisenchower. Cindy Sheehan is literally camped outside President Bush's ranch in Waco, Texas, (he calls it Crawford, Texas, to avoid the associations with Waco) trying to get an audience with the aloof Commander in Chief who ordered her son into a war on false premises. In his letter referring to Bush, Nader wrote: "Consider bringing to him a copy of President Dwight Eisenhower's famous 'Cross of Iron' speech, delivered in April 1953 before the nation's newspaper editors in Washington, D.C."

Ike's speech was officially titled "Chance for Peace," as it was both a response to the death of Josef Stalin on March 5, 1953, and one of Eisenhower’s first major foreign policy statements after being in office only three months. But because it contains the catchy Cold War line, "Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron," Ike's talk has become known as the "Cross of Iron" speech.

Nader’s reference to this speech is superficial at best, and in doing so he is playing to the pubic’s ignorance. Yes, the speech does outline the high ideals behind democratic governments and the hope for peace through participation in the UN. And the speech has catchy hymns to American decency and goodness. Here’s an example of the high minded humanitarian rhetoric:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.”

But does Nader really want us to believe that this American propaganda is to be taken seriously?

In this speech composed completely of mere rhetoric, Ike had the audacity to say, “We welcome every honest act of peace. We care nothing for mere rhetoric.” The Soviets could have said the same just as straight faced.

Elsewhere I have pointed out that Eisenhower was a moderate Republican of the old conservative school who did hold certain plain ideals to his credit, and I think he really believed that the American people should not have certain right-wing ideological positions shoved down their throats, even though he did not go very far at all in fighting for the ideals he enunciated. As a military man he followed orders to the utmost, but not going one step beyond his orders. As a politician he was a man of compromise all the way. For example, I believe as a man Ike would be very aghast at today’s Republicans, but as a Republican politician he would most likely accept the compromise like any moderate Republican today, and would not publically criticize his fellow Republicans. And of course, while Ike would not want his fellow Americans to have ideas shoved down their throats, Ike had no compunctions against shoving ideas down non-American throats.

So basically, I think Nader’s citing of this speech is unfairly and misleadingly ignoring the cold war doctrines that are embedded in the speech itself. Eisenhower presented the simplistic Cold War formula: the USA is good and the Soviet Union is bad. Ike said the Soviet Union’s “goal was power superiority at all costs.” Ike said the Soviet Union was responsible for the Arms Race, not the USA which was just acting defensively! That, we know, is a crock of crap.

So just because Eisenhower and Bush have some few differences in their approaches to how a president should deal with his enemies, the fact remains that Eisenhower in this speech is mouthing platitudes of political propaganda that should not be taken seriously. In fact if you read the “Chance for Peace (Cross of Iron)” speech I think that you will come to the same conclusion as I did, that it is a speech right out of the same play-book that Bush uses today when he mouths his platitudes saying the USA is bringing freedom to nations in a war on terrorism and that Iran and Korea, and whomever is expedient that day, are nations of evil.

While Ike was telling the world on April 16, 1953, about the peaceful and democratic intentions of the USA, what was the USA doing in the world? The McCarthy hearings were going strong and Ike was silent. On January 7 1953, as one of his last acts in office, President Harry S. Truman announced the US had developed a hydrogen bomb. On February 11, 1953, Ike in one of his first official acts refused the clemency appeal for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. (Wouldn’t that have been a real show of peace and not mere rhetoric?) On May 25, at the Nevada Test Site, the US conducted a nuclear artillery test. The US was neck deep in the Korean War which wouldn’t end until July 27 with a stalemate cease-fire. On August 19 the CIA overthrew the government of Iran and installed the Shah. Also in August 1953 Ike authorized the CIA’s top secret covert operation “PBSUCCESS” with its $2.7 million budget for "psychological warfare and political action" and "subversion," among the other components of a small paramilitary war in Guatemala to overthrow its democratically elected president. So much for Ike’s “Cross of Iron” rhetoric saying “Any nation's right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.” Then by April 1954 Eisenhower would give his famous “domino theory” speech.

I think Nader has made a mistake with this reference. It is one thing to refer to Ike’s personal letters to show how the man privately felt to give some insight into how he acted publically, but it is another thing to be fooled, like Nader seems to be, into suggesting that the propaganda pronouncements of Ike then should be taken any more seriously than the propaganda pronouncements of Bush today. In other words, one doesn’t have to tell Bush to live up to Ike’s speeches, one only has to tell Bush to live up to his own speeches.

Here are some links to interesting info on this speech from the Eisenhower archives.

First, the speech may be read at several websites such as

And both the text and an mp3 audio file are at

The speech was given on April 16, 1953, and at the Eisenhower archives there are communications between Churchill and Ike a few days before the speech.

On April 6, 1953, Ike wrote to Churchill: “I am considering the delivery of a formal speech, with the purpose of setting concretely before the world the peaceful intentions of this country. I would hope to do this in such a way as to delineate, at least in outline, the specific steps or measures that we believe necessary to bring about satisfactory relationships with resultant elimination or lowering of tensions throughout the world. These steps are none other than what our governments have sought in the past. I have been working on such a talk for some days and will soon be in a position to show it to your Ambassador, who will of course communicate with you concerning it. While I do not presume to speak for any government other than our own, it would be useless for me to say anything publicly unless I could feel that our principal allies are in general accord with what I will have to say. I am particularly anxious that this be true of Britain, and I think it also necessary to check with France and, as regards Germany, with Adenauer who arrives here tomorrow.”

When the Ambassador showed Churchill a draft of the speech, it turns out that Churchill thought the speech a little too harsh with its cold war rhetoric and wanted Ike to make it more hopeful. Churchill had been telling Ike that he believed the Soviets were ready for a thaw in relations and wanted Ike to show some hope..

Churchill wrote on April 11, 1953: "It would be a pity if a sudden frost nipped spring in the bud or if this could be alleged even if there was no real spring." He asked whether Eisenhower might combine restatements of resolve "with some balancing expression of hope that we have entered upon a new era. A new hope has I feel been created in the unhappy bewildered world"

Ike replied on April 13, 1953: “Dear Winston: Thank you very much for your prompt reply to my cablegram. I agree with the tenor of your comments and shall certainly strive to make my talk one that will not freeze the tender buds of sprouting decency if indeed they are really coming out.”

Of course Ike didn't appear to strive very hard not to freeze tender buds, since his speech did not do anything but severely criticize the Soviet Union all the while boasting of our own human decency, while at the same time, as stated above, Ike was planning the overthrow of governments throughout the globe from Iran to Guatemala. While lambasting the USSR as an imperialist nation, the USA was also engaging in imperialist conquest through overthrowing govenments and creating vassel nation-states.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Killing the Wrong Man for the Wrong Reason

The BBC reports July 25, 2005:

"Police leaders say they will not abandon their 'shoot-to-kill' policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism.
"The message came after Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot dead by officers after being mistaken for a suicide bomber."


I hope we get good reporting on this. The police want us to believe this was a case of killing the wrong man for the right reason. Actually this is a case of killing the wrong man for the wrong reason.

Of course the police version is self-serving, and they presume their own justified conclusions that the shooting was necessary without even acknowledging that their presumption of necessity is what is being called into question.

So far the police say there are witnesses who saw the man jump over the turnstile and run toward the train without stopping when police called. To the police that justifies shooting him as a terrorist threat, because if he was wearing a bomb vest it would give him time to detonate it if they tried to negotiate.

To me that is not justification, it is rationalization. The behavior of a suicide terrorist is not to jump the turnstile and run for the train thereby calling attention to himself. He was probably late and running to get to the train and was so focused on making the open door of the train that the police shouting at him became just background noise of the station. A real terrorist walks slowly with the flow of foot traffic through the underground and maintains an air of normality. Real terrorists don't want attention. The police should have recognized that from the evidence of how the actual terrorists appeared on the closed circuit TV that the police have been reviewing.

It is the lack of training of police that is mostly responsible for this murder, as well as the legitimization of the reactionary terrorism of the anti-terrorism world-view. This is why the BBC reports, "Police leaders say they will not abandon their 'shoot-to-kill' policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism."

By warning people that excited movements may get a person killed the police are making a mockery of anti-terrorism efforts. The police are just cultivating the "1984" mentality of propaganda for a passive society.

The police say, "The important thing is there's nothing gratuitous going on, there is nothing cavalier here, there is no conspiracy to shoot people." Here, the police erect the straw-man argument. Of course there is no allegation of a conspiracy to shoot people. The allegation is a conspiracy to make the population accept being shot if they act "strange" in the eyes of the police. This acceptance lets the police out of all responsibility for these types of murders.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Eisenhower's Social Security Quote.

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

The above quote by Dwight Eisenhower about social security is spreading like wildfire across the internet. The quote is basically correct (though it has an undisclosed ellipse omitting the reference to H.L. Hunt), but the date given is 1952.

Blanche Wiesen Cook, a "Distinguished Professor of History" at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One: 1884-1933, Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution and The Declassified Eisenhower, and a former vice-president for research at the American Historical Association, wrote that the letter with the Eisenhower quote about social security was dated "2 May l956".

Actually, both the 1952 and the 1956 dates are incorrect. The correct date is November 8, 1954. The source of the quote is in the Eisenhower Papers on line. It is from a personal and confidential letter from Ike to his brother Edgar Newton Eisenhower. Since the letter was personal and confidential to Ike's very close brother (the one who slept by his bedside to prevent the doctors from amputating Ike's leg when he has blood poisoning) with whom he often debated his comments were not guarded as they were for public dissemination.

Here's the whole paragraph:

"Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this--in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything--even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon 'moderation' in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

From The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, Volume XV - The Presidency: The Middle Way
Part VI: Crises Abroad, Party Problems at Home; September 1954 to December 1954
Chapter 13: "A new phase of political experience"
Document #1147; November 8, 1954
To Edgar Newton Eisenhower

Actually the whole letter is very interesting reading as it shows Ike's responses to Edgar who is shown to be an ultra conservative chiding Ike with the typical inaccuracies and "ignorance" (Ike's word) that such conservatives commonly use.

Ike did write a letter to his brother Edgar on May 2, 1956, and it contains this observation on the conservative Edgar's ability to perceive political events accurately.

"I am interested in your statement, 'I do think and have said so to you, that the Government is rapidly drifting into a socialistic state.' A statement such as this seems indication to me that you are not studying the march of events with as clear an eye as you should; you are talking from impressions and prejudices without giving the important factors serious examination."

Ike responded to the requests that he stop the US treend toward socialism by saying in part, "Neither I nor anyone else can bring about the abandonment of projects supported by the government that are generally believed to help the social or economic welfare of vast portions of our population."

And to Edgar's comments to the press about being a "real Republican" Ike said:

"I am a little amused about this word 'real' that in your clipping modifies the word 'Republican.' I assume that Lincoln was a real Republican--in fact, I think we should have to assume that every President, being the elected leader of the Party, is a real Republican. Therefore, the President's branch of the Party requires, for its description, no adjective whatsoever. I should think that the splinter groups, which oppose the leader, would be the ones requiring the descriptive adjectives. In any event, please look up sometime what Lincoln had to say about the proper functions of government."

Footnote #9 to the Lincoln reference says, "Lincoln had written that the object of government was to do for people what needed to be done, but which they could not, by individual effort, do at all or do so well. 'There are many such things--some of them exist independently of the injustice in the world. Making and maintaining roads, bridges, and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools; and disposing of deceased men's property, are instances' (Abraham Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler, 8 vols. [New Brunswick, N. J., 1953], vol. II, 1848-1858, p. 221)."

The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, Volume XVII - The Presidency: The Middle Way
Part X: Cracks in the Alliance; May 1956 to September 1956
Chapter 20: Confronting "great risks"
Document #1861; May 2, 1956
To Edgar Newton Eisenhower

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Why Greens Should Oppose “Progressive” Democrats


"Then in January, a brave minority of Democrats, led by Senator Ted Kennedy and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, advocated a timetable for withdrawal. Their concerns were quickly deflated by the party leadership." -- Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden's letter (posted below) is the perfect example of why I support Greens opposing any Democrat in any district no matter how progressive the individual Democratic candidate is as a person. Why? Because I think the "progressive" Democratic candidate has to be shamed into admitting where they stand in the party and stop deluding the public in the progressive districts that the Democrats are not a party controlled by the corporations.

In fact, The Nation's editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, is dead wrong when she says that Hayden's letter is "an eloquent and important document," because Hayden's letter is itself a continuation of the delusion that the Democratic Party can change, when in fact the party leadership will never change and will forever hold progressives in such contempt. Beseeching Howard Dean to change -- now that Dean has become a party leader himself -- is an exercise of pure futility. Hayden should be ashamed for his last year's support of Kerry, why does he continue to grovel in shame before Dean now? Hayden’s letter would be eloquent and important if he was saying goodbye to the Democratic Party exposing the make-believe they are perpetrating on the voters.

I'm in Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey's district and she has one of the most liberal/progressive voting records in the nation. I know that Greens here are afraid to run against her. But she deserves to be shamed into really admitting how weak she and the progressive caucus is within the Democratic Party. Just because at one time she was a welfare mother and is a woman and votes well on many if not most issues, she still needs to be shamed for being in the same party where the party policy supports the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, NAFTA, the new bankruptcy bill, etc.

The big picture is that she votes well on most issues because there are not very many big issues to vote on that rock the system, when most issues are disagreements over very narrow differences like raising the minimum wage zero cents, fifteen cents, or fifty cents, instead of looking at the whole system differently (such as a living wage or even making a ceiling on wages).

It should go without saying that the challenge has to be realistic and not take the juvenile Peter Camejo approach by saying that there are no differences between Repubs and Demos. I once saw a list of issues showing the positions of Republicans, Democrats, and Greens which was good at showing the Democrats true colors as a party: where they agreed with Greens and where they agreed with Republicans. (If anyone has a list like this please send me the link.) Progressive Democrats should be challenged on the basis that they are running against their own party and therefore are actually conning the public about what it means to be a Democrat.

When it comes to challenging the so-called liberal or progressive Democrats like Woolsey or Kennedy or Kucinich we need to emphasize how they are in the same party with those who supported all the negative positions that the Demos take. We have to expose the notion that Demos are a liberal party for the illusion it is, fostered by these very same ineffectual liberal Democrats. That is my definition of winning in a race challenging a progressive Democrat. If Greens can get enough Progressives to vote Green then even if the Republican wins the
election the Greens will have won the truth.

It is better for the emotional and intellectual health of the public to know what the political parties stand for rather than to live in delusion. It would be far better to have "ineffectual" Greens in
Congress as minority opposition voices for a political viewpoint that is known, compared to ineffectual Demos like Kennedy and Woolsey and Kucinich who perpetuate the delusions about the Democratic Party which actually has no political viewpoint.

Frankly, we have to find an effective way to communicate to people how it feels better as a person to live without delusions as a member of a "powerless" minority party and supporting politics based on humanitarian values than to live as a member of a delusional party which shares power based on corporate values, wealth maintenance, nationalism, and neo-fascism. It does for me, doesn't it for you? If so, then let your people know. And running against a progressive candidate with that simple message is "winning", no matter what the vote outcome, because I'm looking at the 100-year plan, not the one-year plan or the 10-year plan.

Greens have to get up in the campaign faces of progressive Democrats on the same stages and in the same debates with them with candidates who will say to them in front of an audience, "How can you stand there and pretend to be a progressive when the party you belong to does .......?" We have to inform the public in such campaigns that their so-called progressive Democrat is simply keeping them in the delusion that voting for a progressive Democrat in that district will change the Democratic Party.

As dangerous as it could be for all of us, I think the last two elections have proven that it will be better in the long run to simply kill the Democratic Party with the truth that it is a con game on the people, even if it means that Republicans will win in the short term. If the "progressive" Democrats in Congress stopped being Democrats (or even lost their seats) then the Democrats who remain in the party would be pretty hard to tell from Republicans. That would be a win too.

Gregory Wonderwheel

The following is from

Published on Friday, April 29, 2005 by The Nation
Open Letter to Howard Dean
by Katrina vanden Heuvel

"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out," Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean told an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center on April 20th. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the US where none existed before. But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there."

I agree with Dean--a political figure I admire-- that the war in Iraq has put the US in greater danger. But the question facing us today is who will speak for the millions of Americans who believe that continued occupation increases the danger? Who will speak for the millions who believe that the US has gotten bogged down in Iraq? Who will speak out against the (majority of the) Democratic Party's silent consent to the Bush Administration's Iraq war policies? Who will speak out about the wrenching human and economic costs of occupation? Who will speak out in support of a clear and honorable exit strategy? Who will make a clear, unequivocal declaration that the US will not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq?

For those who believe that America needs to change course, Tom Hayden's open letter to Howard Dean appealing to him not to take the antiwar majority of the Democratic Party for granted is an eloquent and important document. Read it, share it. - Katrina vanden Heuvel

April 26, 2005

Dear Chairman Dean,

Thank you kindly for your call and your expressed willingness to discuss the Democratic Party's position on the Iraq War. There is growing frustration at the grass roots towards the party leadership's silent collaboration with the Bush Administration's policies. Personally, I cannot remember a time in thirty years when I have been more despairing over the party's moral default. Let me take this opportunity to explain.

The party's alliance with the progressive left, so carefully repaired after the catastrophic split of 2000, is again beginning to unravel over Iraq. Thousands of anti-war activists and millions of antiwar voters gave their time, their loyalty and their dollars to the 2004 presidential campaign despite profound misgivings about our candidate's position on the Iraq War. Of the millions spent by "527" committees on voter awareness, none was spent on criticizing the Bush policies in Iraq.

The Democratic candidate, and other party leaders, even endorsed the US invasion of Falluja, giving President Bush a green-light to destroy that city with immunity from domestic criticism. As a result, a majority of Falluja's residents were displaced violently, guaranteeing a Sunni abstention from the subsequent Iraqi elections.

Then in January, a brave minority of Democrats, led by Senator Ted Kennedy and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, advocated a timetable for withdrawal. Their concerns were quickly deflated by the party leadership.

Next came the Iraqi elections, in which a majority of Iraqis supported a platform calling for a timetable for US withdrawal. ("US Intelligence Says Iraqis Will Press for Withdrawal." New York Times, Jan. 18, 2005) A January 2005 poll showed that 82 percent of Sunnis and 69 percent of Shiites favored a "near-term US withdrawal" (New York Times, Feb. 21, 2005. The Democrats failed to capitalize on this peace sentiment, as if it were a threat rather than an opportunity.

Three weeks ago, tens of thousands of Shiites demonstrated in Baghdad calling again for US withdrawal, chanting "No America, No Saddam." (New York Times, April 10, 2005) The Democrats ignored this massive nonviolent protest.

There is evidence that the Bush Administration, along with its clients in Baghdad, is ignoring or suppressing forces within the Iraqi coalition calling for peace talks with the resistance. The Democrats are silent towards this meddling.

On April 12, Donald Rumsfeld declared "we don't really have an exit strategy. We have a victory strategy." (New York Times, April 13, 2005). There was no Democratic response.

The new Iraqi regime, lacking any inclusion of Sunnis or critics of our occupation, is being pressured to invite the US troops to stay. The new government has been floundering for three months, hopelessly unable to provide security or services to the Iraqi people. Its security forces are under constant siege by the resistance. The Democrats do nothing.

A unanimous Senate, including all Democrats, supports another $80-plus billion for this interminable conflict. This is a retreat even from the 2004 presidential campaign when candidate John Kerry at least voted against the supplemental funding to attract Democratic voters.

The Democratic Party's present collaboration with the Bush Iraq policies is not only immoral but threatens to tear apart the alliance built with antiwar Democrats, Greens, and independents in 2004. The vast majority of these voters returned to the Democratic Party after their disastrous decision to vote for Ralph Nader four years before. But the Democrats' pro-war policies threaten to deeply splinter the party once again.

We all supported and celebrated your election as Party chairman, hoping that winds of change would blow away what former president Bill Clinton once called "brain-dead thinking."

But it seems to me that your recent comments about Iraq require further reflection and reconsideration if we are to keep the loyalty of progressives and promote a meaningful alternative that resonates with mainstream American voters.

Let me tell you where I stand personally. I do not believe the Iraq War is worth another drop of blood, another dollar of taxpayer subsidy, another stain on our honor. Our occupation is the chief cause of the nationalist resistance in that country. We should end the war and foreign economic occupation. Period.

To those Democrats in search of a muscular, manly foreign policy, let me say that real men (and real patriots) do not sacrifice young lives for their own mistakes, throw good money after bad, or protect the political reputations of high officials at the expense of their nation's moral reputation.

At the same time, I understand that there are limitations on what a divided political party can propose, and that there are internal pressures from hawkish Democratic interest groups. I am not suggesting that the Democratic Party has to support language favoring "out now" or "isolation." What I am arguing is that the Democratic Party must end its silent consent to the Bush Administration's Iraq War policies and stand for a negotiated end to the occupation and our military presence. The Party should seize on Secretary Rumsfeld's recent comments to argue that the Republicans have never had an "exit strategy" because they have always wanted a permanent military outpost in the Middle East, whatever the cost.

The Bush Administration deliberately conceals the numbers of American dead in the Iraq War. Rather than the 1,500 publicly acknowledged, the real number is closer to 2,000 when private contractors are counted.

The Iraq War costs one billion dollars in taxpayer funds every week. In "red" states like Missouri, the taxpayer subsidy for the Iraq War could support nearly 200,000 four-year university scholarships.

Military morale is declining swiftly. Prevented by antiwar opinion from re-instituting the military draft, the Bush Administration is forced to intensify the pressures on our existing forces. Already forty percent of those troops are drawn from the National Guard or reservists. Recruitment has fallen below its quotas, and 37 military recruiters are among the 6,000 soldiers who are AWOL.

President Bush's "coalition of the willing" is steadily weakening, down from 34 countries to approximately twenty. Our international reputation has become that of a torturer, a bully.

The anti-war movement must lead and hopefully, the Democratic Party will follow. But there is much the Democratic Party can do:

First, stop marginalizing those Democrats who are calling for immediate withdrawal or a one-year timetable. Encourage pubic hearings in Congressional districts on the ongoing costs of war and occupation, with comparisons to alternative spending priorities for the one billion dollars per week.

Second, call for peace talks between Iraqi political parties and the Iraqi resistance. Hold hearings demand to know why the Bush Administration is trying to squash any such Iraqi peace initiatives. (Bush Administration officials are hoping the new Iraqi government will "settle for a schedule based on the military situation, not the calendar." New York Times, Jan. 19, 2005).

Third, as an incentive to those Iraqi peace initiatives, the US needs to offer to end the occupation and withdraw our troops by a near-term date. The Bush policy, supported by the Democrats, is to train and arm Iraqis to fight Iraqis--a civil war with fewer American casualties.

Fourth, to further promote peace initiatives, the US needs to specify that a multi-billion dollar peace dividend will be earmarked for Iraqi-led reconstruction, not for the Halliburtons and Bechtels, without discrimination as to Iraqi political allegiances.

Fifth, Democrats could unite behind Senator Rockefellers's persistent calls for public hearings on responsibility for the torture scandals. If Republicans refuse to permit such hearings, Democrats should hold them independently. "No taxes for torture" is a demand most Democrats should be able to support. The Democratic Senate unity against the Bolton appointment is a bright but isolated example of how public hearings can keep media and public attention focused on the fabricated reasons for going to war.

Instead of such initiatives, the national Democratic Party is either committed to the Iraq War, or to avoiding blame for losing the Iraq War, at the expense of the social programs for which it historically stands. The Democrats' stance on the war cannot be separated from the Democrats' stance on health care, social security, inner city investment, and education, all programs gradually being defunded by a war which costs $100 billion yearly, billed to future generations.

This is a familiar pattern for those of us who suffered through the Vietnam War. Today it is conventional wisdom among Washington insiders, including even the liberal media, that the Democratic Party must distance itself from its antiwar past, and must embrace a position of military toughness.

The truth is quite the opposite. What the Democratic Party should distance itself from is its immoral and self-destructive pro-war positions in the 1960s which led to unprecedented polarization, the collapse of funds for the War on Poverty, a schism in the presidential primaries, and the destruction of the Lyndon Johnson presidency. Thirty years after our forced withdrawal from Vietnam, the US government has stable diplomatic and commercial relations with its former Communist enemy. The same future is possible in Iraq.

I appeal to you, Mr. Chairman, not to take the anti-war majority of this Party for granted. May I suggest that you initiate a serious reappraisal of how the Democratic Party has become trapped in the illusions which you yourself questioned so cogently when you ran for president. I believe that an immediate commencement of dialogue is necessary to fix the credibility gap in the Party's position on the Iraq War. Surely if the war was a mistake based on a fabrication, there is a better approach than simply becoming accessories to the perpetrators of the deceit. And surely there is a greater role for Party leadership than permanently squandering the immense good will, grass roots funding, and new volunteer energy that was generated by your visionary campaign.

Tom Hayden

Monday, April 25, 2005

Reply to "Environmental Heresies" by Stewart Brand.

Reply to "Environmental Heresies" by Stewart Brand.

Stweart Brand the well known founder of The Whole Earth Catalogue has written an essay that boggles the mind in which he supports what he terms as four well known "environmental heresies."

Brand's essay currently may be found at

"Follow the money" is still a good rule of thumb, and the only way to determine if Brand has been co-opted by corporate America is to know where he is getting his money. Either that or he is just getting senile.

Logic is severely lacking in the essay, so no matter what Brand's past credibility, his arguments in this essay are sorely without credibility.

First, his polarization of the environmentally concerned into "romantics" and "scientists" is an old trick of rhetoric which has nothing to do with reality, but a lot to do with selling a pitch. He wants to create a dynamic tension that gets your attention without being itself subject to much evaluation. Here the polarity is intended to get the reader uncritically to say "Oh yeah, I must be a romantic, so because I really honor science I had better listen to Brand who says he is speaking for science." By using this trick he wants the reader to bypass the real life complexities of the people in the environmental movements. For example, there are plenty of romantic scientists, fascist scientists, lazy scientists, fair scientists, bought-and-paid-for scientists, etc., within the group of scientists. And of course just because you aren't a scientist doesn't mean you are a romantic as Brand would pigeon-hole you in order to stimulate your self-doubt.

Population growth as a world wide figure is still growing. What he is talking about is the reduced *rate* of growth. This of course has always been known to be in the cards. No species in the history of the world has ever continued population growth indefinitely. Exponential, geometrical growth has always been followed by plateau or decline. The questions are always when is the turnaround and what will cause it, famine of food sources by overuse, environmental disaster, etc.? So Brand's population discussion of the decreased rate is much ado about nothing. The questions of land use ownership and policy making and the fair distribution of the products of the land have always been and remain the crucial issues in population growth. Brand's discussion of population amounts to nothing more than claptrap for his essay.

It has always been the case that people in rural areas are more conservative, patriarchal, and fundamentalist. That is nothing new since it seems to be the generalized pattern since the dawn of history. Why is Brand acting like this is new information? Why did it take a person from India to clue Brand into this when the history of elections in the USA clearly demonstrate this fact. Obviously taking Brand's view that cities are good for liberalizing people he seems to be advocating for a sort of reverse Chinese cultural revolution of bringing people to the cities. The bias of encouraging population movement to the cities as the cure to village conservatism and patriarchy is just absurd on Brand's part. Why not advocate exporting education and equal civil rights from the cities to the rural areas?

Since when are the Amish to be the control group for sensible environmentalism? The Amish are an example of those same patriarchal conservative fundamentalists of rural life whom Brand was just criticizing in his previous paragraphs. If village patriarchists are embracing genetically modified organisms, then why is that an argument in favor of GMOs? His embrace of GMOs as the cure to protect native species is just the kind of short sighted logic which Monsanto is hoping to see adopted by
pseudo-environmentalists. Shame on Brand.

And "Let's Go Nuclear"? Wowie zowie, what has Brand been smoking? (That's a humorous ad hominem.) The idea that so-called "fruitful engagement" with the nuclear energy industry is somehow more feasible, as well as ultimately more fruitful, than "fruitful engagement" with the fossil fuel industry has no basis in logic or fact. The claim that the storage of radioactive waste has been solved (as he says is now "a surmountable problem") is pure poppycock. What can be said for such a "big lie" when it appears in rhetoric other than that it is a big lie? Generally behind such big lies is either money, religion, or some other power seeking purpose. It is not a good tactic in debate to attack the motives of one's opponent, but to me the exception is when the "big lie" is trotted out on display, then one must at least raise the question of motive. Do people know where Brand's Global Business Network gets its money? I don't know but it warrants looking into.

The fantasy of "hybrid" nuclear power plants as equivalent to hybrid vehicles is really laughable as a reason to embrace nuclear power at this stage. Contrary to Brand's claim that the auto industry has been embraced by environmentalists, no one in the environmental movement that I know ever embraced the auto industry's SUVs and gas guzzlers along the way to supporting the creation of hybrid vehicles, which are only seen as an interim step not a final form of vehicle. As I see it, the auto industry remains an object of loathing, and of self-loathing for all of us who recognize our addiction to it, for most environmentalists.

Brand's essay is so worthless and so corporate and industry biased that I can only marvel how his perspective has changed.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Is Churchill Any Different Than Most Academics?

The right-wing attacks on Ward Churchill are simply another example of their attempt to repeal the 20th Century. Here, with their overwrought complaints about Churchill's essay titled "'Some People Push Back' On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" they want to repeal the legal gains in academic freedom and the exercise of the First Amendment.

As a member of the ACLU I support defending the rights of even Nazis to have free speech. Any other position is a slippery slope to only supporting one's own views or the views that one believes are "legitimate", which is the formula for a Big Brother world where "free speech" means only the speech the elites in power approve.

"Chickens coming home to roost" is just another metaphor for the Biblical teaching "you reap what you sow" or the teaching of karma and cause and effect. Why are the Confederate Conservatives and so-called Christians objecting to Churchill's application of reaping what you sow? What is so horrible about pointing out the karmic causes for the resulting events (often called "blowback")? I fail to see any such inherent defect in Churchill's view.

The issue should be whether or not Churchill's claim of cause and effect is "rational" or "reasoned" and supported by any facts. For example, Jerry Falwell's claim that the blowback of 9/11 was due to the USA supporting gay rights was a claim that is inherently absurd and based on his delusional system of "God's law" and not on the natural law of karma. Ward Churchill proposed that the causal ground for 9/11 included the USA's holocaust against innocent women and children in other countries such as the 1991 bombing of Iraq. Any clear headed reading of Churchill's essay shows the focus is on the USA's killing of innocent children having no effect on the media or the general population, and thus was silently condoned by the American people at large. That political and behavioral connection to the blowback of 9/11 is infinitely more credible and reasonable than claiming that God was punishing the USA for its "immorality" in supporting homosexuals.

I found Churchill's analogy comparing the complacency of the Germans of the 1930s and 40s to the current complacency of the Americans of the 1990s and 2000s to be very appropriate. Of the over 70 paragraphs in his essay, I found only the one paragraph containing the "little Eichman's" comment to be objectionable. Why? Because it adopts the same justification for the bombing of 9/11 that the USA used in the bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, Berlin, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc... by claiming that civilians are legitimate targets simply because they don't oppose the war effort of their country or are ineffective in stopping the war. I think that Churchill was right to point out the hypocrisy of the USA, but then he fell into the conceptual trap of making his own argument hypocritical by not clearly saying, if Hiroshima was justified then on the same basis 9/11 was justified. Instead, Churchill made it sound justified "to visit some penalty" on the civilians in the WTC, and that claim, by Churchill's own definition of chickens coming home to roost, only perpetuates the circle of violence.

But that "wrong" by Churchill is the same wrong condoned and supported every single day by every academic in the USA who justifies Hiroshima and the other endless examples of the bombing of civilian populations by the USA. Are the USA's justifications for its bombings ever acceptible to the victims on the ground? In Hiroshima? In Nagasaki? In Bagdad? If Churchill should be fired for acknowledging that there is "a justification" for 9/11, whether or not that justification is acceptable to the victims, then every professor who justifies Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the long list of bombing attacks by the USA on civilian targets should also be fired.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Supporting all moderate pluralist religions.

I recently came across the article below by Abdus Sattar Ghazali titled "Transforming Islam into acceptable forms for the west is the main neoconservative project.” It's a good article exposing the pride and prejudice of the war monger Reverend James Schall. The very idea of neoconservative extremist Christians telling Moslems to "transform" would be indeed laughable if it were not another tragic big lie.

But like all big lies, Schall's big lie is built around a small truth, that Islam, like Christianity and Judaism (or any religion), should be analyzed objectively from the point of view of reason and not just taken based on faith in revelation. We don’t need to and shouldn’t advocate a “market economy” version of Islam. That would be ludicrous. But we do need to support the pluralist-accepting versions of Islam, just as we need to support the pluralist versions of Christianity and Judaism.

Many of the founders of the USA were Deists who used reason to analyze Christianity and decided that the claims of revelation were contrary to reason and led away from pluralism toward dogmatism, intolerance, and ultimately the Inquisition. They supported moderate Christianity. Jefferson even wrote a synopsis of the teachings of Jesus leaving out the miracles and supernatural events which became called the "Jefferson Bible."
I presume and hope that someone has done a similar thing for Islam, but I fear that to do so would make the person receive death threats by the Islamic fundamentalists who literalize the Prophet’s relationship with Allah while they hypocritically claim they are not idolizing him (PBUH).

If we can analyze and criticize the "Dominion" politics of Scalia and Bush, as we should, then we should be able to analyze and criticize the analogous "Dominion" versions of Islam that the Islamic fundamentalists use to make Islam into tool of a police state.

All forms of "moderate," i.e., reasonable, Islam should be empowered just as Christian and Jewish moderates should be empowered, because in each religion there are extremists who would drown out moderate reason and enforce the tyranny of their own extremist and literalist interpretations of the revelations of their prophets. This should be no problem to Islam since it is sometimes said that Islam maintains moderation in everything.

In essence, any person who doesn't understand that the supernatural aspects of their religion should be taken as metaphors and not literal fact, at least for social purposes, is an extremist. For their strictly personal purposes, an individual may take any revelation as literally as they want, but when it comes to putting the vision of a revelation into practice in the social realm then the revelation must be put forward as and “as if”, that is as a metaphor, for understanding ourselves, not as a dictate from a supernatural being, even a "supreme" one, that others must obey “for their own good or salvation.”

All religions have orthodoxy and heresy, that is not a problem as long as they keep them as road maps of their own religion and not as divinely inspired dictates to humankind to be enforced by law. As the mufti says, “Allah Almighty knows best.” but that doesn’t mean he knows what Allah knows.

The Dalai Lama said it in the most succinct way that I have yet to read:

“I want to share my views about the harmony of different religious traditions. I am a Buddhist; and sometimes I describe myself as a staunch Buddhist because, to me, the practice of Buddhism is the best, and Buddhist explanations are very logical. I truly believe that for me Buddhism is the best, but it is certainly not the best for everyone. People with different mental dispositions need different religions. One religion simply cannot satisfy everyone. Therefore, for the individual, the concept of one religion and one truth is very important. Without this, one cannot develop genuine faith and follow it faithfully. With regard to the community, we obviously need the concept of several religions and several truths — pluralism. This is both necessary and relevant. This is the way to overcome contradictions between several religions and several truths and one religion and one truth. Thus, I believe that one has one religion and one truth on the individual level, and one has several religions and several truths on the community level. Otherwise it is difficult to solve this problem.
“It is hypocrisy to say that all religions are the same. Different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings. On this level, I think that through different philosophical explanations and approaches, all religions have the same goal and the same potential.” – from Live in a Better Way by Tenzin Gyasto, the 14th Dalai Lama, pp. 132-133.

If a Muslim, Christian, or Jew (or Hindu or any other religionist) can substitute the name of their religion for the name Buddhism in the above statement and say it truthfully then they are a moderate who should be supported. If they can’t make that substitution and feel that not only is their religion the best for them but is necessarily the best for everyone, then they are an extremist who should not be allowed to enforce their extremism upon the rest of us.

Gregory Wonderwheel


January 20, 2005

”Transforming Islam into acceptable forms
for the west is the main neoconservative project”

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Neoconservatives’ endeavors to create a market economy version of Islam – bereft of its basic tenets - got a boost recently when Reverend James Schall, Professor of government at Georgetown University and a Jesuit priest, vigorously defended their efforts.

In an article entitled “When War Must Be the Answer” published in the December/January issue of Policy Review, Schall writes about “making Islam over into politically acceptable forms.” This is the main neoconservative project and Schall argues that this program can be defended because no one, including the churches, is willing to examine in a serious way the truth claims of Islam. According to Schall, this not only includes Islam’s own understanding of Allah and of Judaism and Christianity, but also its practiced way of life and the direct relation of its religion and its politics.

He also explains the ultimate objectives behind the effort to provide models and forms of “democratic” and “free” political systems. Schall is blunt in pointing out that the neocons effort is to undermine those teachings and customs of Islam that cause the problem, the first of which is the claim of the truth of Islamic revelation and its understanding of the absolute will of God as arbitrary.

Schall’s remarks resonate with the neoconservatives at the Washington-based think tank, the Rand Corporation, who published two studies last year in a bid to create a market economy version of Islam.

The Rand study published in March 2004 - entitled “Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies” – suggested selectively ignoring or rejecting elements of the original religious doctrine of Islam. In order to achieve this objective, the Study called for an alliance with the modernists in the Muslim world. It defines a moderate as a Muslim who believes that the Quran is a legend and that some verses (suras) may have been falsely or inaccurately recorded in the Quran. According to the Study modernists believe in the historicity of Islam, i.e., that Islam as it was practiced in the days of the Prophet reflected eternal truths as well as historical circumstances that were appropriate to that time but are no longer valid. They also believe that Islam is responsible for the underdevelopment of the Muslims because prosperity and progress depends on modernity and democracy.

In December 2004, the Rand Corporation issued another study – entitled “The Muslim World After 9/11” – which also called for empowering the Muslim moderates in the Muslim world. A summary of this 678-page study was issued under the title: U.S. Strategy in the Muslim World after 9/11. As an essential component of an effective U.S. policy toward the Muslim World,
the new study stressed the support to what it called “civil Islam” that is the Muslim civil society groups that advocate moderation.

Keeping in view the two Rand reports in the background of constant media and conservative Christian rights campaign against Islam and Muslims helps us to understand why after 9/11 the so-called progressive, moderate and ijtehadi Muslim groups are cropping in US which are squarely blaming the Islamic faith for all ills of the 1.3 billion Muslims. These agenda driven
groups have joined the chorus of “reject all basic tenets of Islam.”

Clash of civilizations

Reverting to Schall’s views on Islam and war.

Schall strongly believes in Huntington’s theory of the “Clash of Civilizations” and sees the current situation in the world as a new war of civilizations. Huntington says that the centuries old military interaction between the West and Islam could become more virulent. For Huntington, Islam is ideologically hostile and anti-Western.

Drawing upon Huntington’s concept, Schall argues: “Our leaders, both civil and religious, have been loath so to designate it as a civilizational war. Islam is said to be a religion of peace. To suspect that it is a threat on a much broader scale is one of those things that must be classified as “secret writing.” He further says that it goes against the dominant religious mood, namely, ecumenism, and against the liberal mode, namely, tolerance, according to which all issues can be resolved without war.

The 21st Century, it seems clear, will more likely be a century of confrontation with world religions rather than with world ideologies, as was the 20th Century, Schall writes in an article, “Belloc On The Apparently Unconvertible Religion (Islam)”, published in 2003.

He even describes as the current US military operation in Iraq as a war against an expanding Islam. The International Herald Tribune on Jan. 11, 2005, quoted Schall as saying: "I always thought it was a mistake not say what Iraq really was, that is, a war against an expanding Islam. I can put myself in Bush's position, of course, and understand it was a prudential act to say it was a war on terrorism." (Politicus: Bush might be heading for tangle with neocons by John Vinocur)

Borrowing from the French Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc, Schall argues that Crusades (1095-1200) did not split Islam geographically, if the Crusades had cut Africa from Asia, Islam may have declined. He insists that many of the advocates of occupation of Iraq today use this theory of the need to split Islam and hence reduce its geopolitical power.

Schall predicts a long struggle between Islam and the West. He argues that theorizing that the “terrorists” are merely a side-show, a tiny minority which will naturally pass out of existence, is an easy way out of considering the more basic problem of the civilizational movement and what
to do about it. “This consideration is based upon the notion that Islam is a confident civilizational movement, suddenly aware, thanks to the judgment of its more radical leaders, of the possibility of continuing its historic mission: spreading the religion by force or other means throughout the

“Islam has another soul and another destiny which it seeks to spread, by its own proven means,” he says.

War is a virtue

Let us now discuss Shall’s views on the necessity of war.

He is a Machiavellian. In his latest article - When War Must Be the Answer - in the Policy Review magazine, he strong supports war as a virtue. Citing Machiavelli’s advice that a prince should spend most of his time preparing for war, he says: A common, oft-heard theory about war today, by contrast, is that we have “grown” or progressed out of it. The assertion that war may still be necessary is looked upon as “anti-progressive,” a sin against “history.” No “reasonable” person can hold the view that war may be necessary.

Schall rejects this notion and cites Herbert Deane’s summation of Augustine’s view of war: “Wars are inevitable as long as men and their societies are moved by avarice, greed, and lust for power, the permanent drives of sinful men. It is, therefore, self-delusion and folly to expect that a time will ever come in this world when wars will cease and ‘men will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

He is mindful of the destruction and killing of innocent civilians in the war, which is now termed as collateral damage. Though much carnage and chaos happen in any historic war, and on every side, still we cannot conclude from this that “war is not the answer,” he says. In this regard he quotes C.S. Lewis, who wrote in his essay “Why I Am Not a Pacifist:” The doctrine that war is always a greater evil seems to imply a materialist ethic, a belief that death and pain are the greatest evils. But I do not think they are. I think the suppression of a higher religion by a lower, of even a higher secular culture by a lower, a much greater evil.

The worst modern tyranny in the twenty-first century will not come from armies but from their lack, from the lack of capacity and courage to use them wherever they are needed to protect justice, freedom, and truth, Schall argues by adding: “If war is not the “answer,” what is? How do we rid ourselves of tyrants or protect ourselves from ideologies or fanatics who attack us with their own principles and weapons, not ours?”

After establishing his case for war, Schall points out that the worst modern tyranny in the twenty-first century will not come from armies but from the lack of capacity and courage to use them wherever they are needed to protect justice, freedom, and truth. “If war is not the “answer,” what is? How do we rid ourselves of tyrants or protect ourselves from ideologies or fanatics who attack us with their own principles and weapons, not ours?”

In short, Schall is a Machiavellian like the neocon, Michael Ledeen, who seeks to apply Machiavellian principles to the modern world when he says – in his book “The War Against the Terror Masters” - that as “we wage this war (against terrorism), we must constantly remind ourselves of five basic rules of successful political and military leadership, as defined half a millennium ago by Machiavelli.” He stresses that these Machiavellian principles are as true today as they were during the Renaissance, at the beginning of the modern era:

1. Man is more inclined to do evil than to do good.
Good people are rare, and are constantly threatened by the evil-minded. Peace is not the normal condition of mankind, and moments of peace are invariably the result of war. Since we want peace, we must win the war. Since our enemies are inclined to do evil, we must win decisively and then impose virtue, until the people learn the rules of civil society.

2. The only important thing is wining.
Machiavelli tells us that if we win, everyone will judge our methods to have been appropriate. If we lose, they will despise us.

3. If we have to do unpleasant things, it is best to do them all at once.
Strike decisively, get it over with quickly. The diplomats will always say that we can achieve our goals with a little bit of nastiness and a whole lot of talking, but they are wrong.

4. It is better to be feared than loved.
We can lead by the force of high moral example. It has been done. But it’s risky, because people are fickle, and they will abandon us at the first sign of failure. Fear is much more reliable and lasts longer. Once we show that we are capable of defeating our enemies, our power will be far

5. Luck can wreck the finest plans.
Machiavelli played cards whenever he had the chance, and he knew that a bad run can ruin the finest player. Machiavelli ruefully admitted that the best one could hope for was to have good luck about half the time. But that should be enough for us. We’re a lost stronger than the terror masters.

One may ask, do we see implementation of these principles in the disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate bombings and killings in Afghanistan and Iraq because the neocons and their supporters believe that they are "fighting evil?"

Going back to Schall’s argument on clash of civilizations, one may also ask if the current “war against terror” was not to stop the expansion of Islam, but for oil and also for hegemony that is the main thrust of Huntington’s theory.