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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, November 13, 2009

Forward or Backward?

"One goes ahead, stands still, or goes backwards in life. One's object should be, of course, to go ahead..."

The above quote from "Think And Grow Rich" helps explain why people don't want to set distinct goals and be held accountable for them. If you have clear goals expressed in continuous action, either you are hitting your mark, or you aren't. And in general, IF you can continue to look at those goals, and look at your measurements of action, you will move in the right direction.

So what do people do? They refuse to balance their checkbook and evaluate their net worth. They won't have the critical, deep conversations about their relationships, or perform the vital self-examination and therapeutic work to heal and nuture their hearts. They won't keep track of what they eat, how they exercise, and what they weigh.

This way, they can slide into delusion without rude awakenings, surrounding themselves with fantasies about what does or doesn't work. They slide backwards while believing that they are standing still. And after years, they look up and realize they are miserable, broke, lonely, and sick, and "have no idea" how they got there. It is really so sad, and so preventable. All you have to do is face your fear today instead of pushing it off to the future.

##

So the 9/11 planners are going to be tried in New York? Fabulous. I still think that Bin Laden couldn't believe how well his plan worked: to push Bush into a horrific overreaction that would both create enemies throughout the Muslim world and damage American credibility and bankrupt us. One of the core reasons I don't believe conspiracy theories is that I can't believe anyone would PREDICT that America would blame Iraq if there were no Iraquis on the planes. I have to believe that if someone WANTED us to attack Iraq from the get-go, and faked the thing, the hijackers would have been Iraquis not Saudis. The fact that America bought into that so easily is the result of our brains shifting to Vengeance mode while our critical thinking went the way of the Dodo. Very similar to the well-known fact that guys don't have enough blood to run their brains and penises at the same time.

28 comments:

22222 said...

yo man....................................................................................................

Jerome Howard said...

>I have to believe that if someone WANTED us to attack Iraq from the get-go, and faked the thing, the hijackers would have been Iraquis not Saudis.<

Such are the game plans of intelligence mavens and honchos at times. It's a variation of Operation Canned Goods and "false flag" maneuvers. Canned Goods was Hitler's pretext for invading Poland by placing political prisoners in German uniforms and taking them to the place of the alledged border dispute and shooting them (hence, canned goods) and making things apppear that the Poles started the aggression and providing Hitler a motive to go to war.

These kinds of operations aren't meant to fool the intelligencia or other intelligence services, just the general populace who's support is MANDATORY in any given warlord's plans.

Frankly I'm of the mind our present troubles were INITIALLY engineered by a very small Middle Eastern country who's primary objective is and was to bolster their national defense efforts on the cheap by having the USA take up the lion's share of it. Why not? It's not like that kind of reasoning hasn't happened before at it's Draconian and Byzantine best. Take Winston Churchill for instance. In the end he was more than satisfied to let the militarily worthless town of Coventry take a bombing that killed THOUSANDS of civilians that he knew was coming by reading the German's Enigma mail and knew that by alerting the town officials to evacuate would have tipped the Germans off that their encryption device had been compromised which would have had a much more devastating effect on GB's war in the Atlantic when they were wholly dependent of the sea lanes for their supply and logistic needs.

Our military and strategic presence in the Middle East and the area in general serves the overall interests of others more than it does the USA and to believe otherwise is nonsense.

It's like what every seasoned homicide detective already knows and asks his or herself shortly after arriving on most murder scenes and what a good many people have asked themselves after a political murder.

Who benefits the most? Gather the survivors and beneficaries together and it's a good chance you'll be staring the perp in the face somewhere in the crowd.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Is it obvious that Israel benefits by the US conquering Iraq and Afghanistan? The US military is considerably weakened, and (if that's the only consideration) has less capacity for defending Israel.

Churchill's decision to not defend Coventry was in a much better defined situation than anything about Middle Eastern politics.

On the cui bono side, my take is that the US government (and populace) wanted to punish someone after 9/11, but the cost of going after Saudi Arabia was too high.

And not that we've been talking about giving in to terrorists, but one of the things bin Laden wanted was US bases out of Saudi Arabia. Mission accomplished.

On the other hand, Iraq had been weakened by a decade of sanctions and corrupt government.

And there was a lot of money to be made for US contractors by going to war.

Jermone Howard said...

1. I don't know about conquering Afghanistan and Iraqi, but it's WELL within Israel's best interests on several levels that the USA has or maintains a presence in the region due to the weapons platform capabilities of US aircraft carriers. Ground troops aside, it's only a matter of minutes difference from the Indian Ocean by fighter or fighter-bomber to get to either/or Iraqi, Afghanistan, or those areas where the Israelis might find strategically fortuitous.

2. With the Churchill example I was only illustrating an example of Draconian thinking, not comparing ideology or political thought.

3. I agree on both counts. SOMEONE had to pay, or provide whipping boy example, and most certainly taking it out on the Saudis wouldn't have been a good idea for the most obvious of reasons, that is unless we decided to fight them too along with occupying their country as well in addition to freezing all of their USA assets. However, going to war on Iraqi and Afghanistan isn't without merit in the long-term view. But again, that too is a Draconian matter. War is BIG business.

4. US bases may be out of Saudi Arabia, but US materials and manpower isn't, and those big aircraft carriers with fighters and whatnot are just a short afterburn away.

>And there was a lot of money to be made for US contractors by going to war.<

5. Well, they can't spend it all on themselves and they employ a God awful LOT of people both here and abroad in actual employees, sub-contractors and various allied suppliers, and to say nothing of different economical impacts in stocks, etc., etc. We won't even get into how much is spread around by way of the defense budget and what would happen if say, we had a decade of peace, God and E Pluribus Unum forbid.

Been that way before and since the Romans went after Gaul. War and trade go hand in hand.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Jerome,
1. I don't know about conquering Afghanistan and Iraqi, but it's WELL within Israel's best interests on several levels that the USA has or maintains a presence in the region due to the weapons platform capabilities of US aircraft carriers.

That you don't know about conquering Afghanistan and Iraq is exactly my point. It's certainly in Israel's interest for the US to have a military presence in the area, but to claim that some ill-judged wars are essentially the result of Israeli influence is prejudice on your part. You don't have enough information to have a well-founded opinion.

Jerome Howard said...

>That you don't know about conquering Afghanistan and Iraq is exactly my point.<

That may well be because of the way that I define "conquering". That was your term, not mine. As I see it conquering is only possible with occupation and a GREAT deal of subjugation and that's just not going to happen, period.

>It's certainly in Israel's interest for the US to have a military presence in the area, but to claim that some ill-judged wars are essentially the result of Israeli influence is prejudice on your part.<

It's neither prejudice, anti-semetic, on Israel's case, or anything else of that nature. I call it expedient and in their very best of interests, but that it happens to be craftily Machiavellian cannot be ignored. The little guys fight the best way they can and with that I have NO problems. Israel admits to a certain ruthlessness in more than a few of their policies when it comes to their national security and I don't blame them. There's even some empathy on my part.

>You don't have enough information to have a well-founded opinion.<

And you know this, how? I do, but we'd be here indefinitely arguing over it with the back and forth credibility issues and even then it would still come down to an opinion. Mine. An informed one based upon years of experience in a field where such things are analyzed, practiced, and advised by professionals in hopefully an unbiased manner. It is what it is.

Israel is excellent and without peer in how they defend themselves and care for the national security. My only beef is the USA ought to be more like them in a few ways. Sorry, no anti-Semetic or anti-Israel feelings here.

I know how this is going to sound because I've heard a different version of it myself in life and all it did was raise one of my eyebrows. That said, here goes...

Though not of the caucasian persuasion myself, some of my best friends are and were Jews. Friends, neighbors, classmates, girlfriends during my formative years blah blah blah etc., etc. Trained some here in the USA and even spent time near Tel Aviv being trained. Nice folks with a justifiable cause on par with everyone else on the planet that has an interest in their own survival. I fault them not a farthing or six pence.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

If I understand you right, Jerome, you're suggesting that Israel deliberately conspired to recruit people to fly planes into a building in the country that is its closest ally, killing thousands of people in a city with one of the largest Jewish populations in the world (so that inevitably many of the dead were Jewish), in order that the US might then attack *both* Afghanistan and Iraq, because Iraq is in the Middle East, and it's in Israel's interest that the US have troops in the Middle East.

I don't care how many Jewish friends you have; I'm with Nancy in thinking this sounds like an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Surely, given that Israel already received plenty of military aid from the US, and that the US already had troops stationed in the Middle East, Israel could think of a way to keep US troops in the Middle East that involved less deliberate slaughter of innocent civilian Jews (even supposing they cared about no one else).

My sister in NYC told me that there were signs up for some time after the attack, looking for missing people who had probably died in the World Trade Center, and that some of them were people my Jewish brother-in-law knew through Jewish organizations. Add to him all the other Jews in NYC who lost people they knew in the attack, imagine the conspiracy you allege coming out, and imagine US Jews, en masse, abandoning any support for Israel. So even if you imagine an Israel that neither cared about the US nor about Jews outside Israel, it ought to be deterred from such a conspiracy by concern for the major blowback if it leaked, as large conspiracies often do.

Plus, as Steve said, if someone wanted to set the US up to attack Iraq, it would have made sense to put at least some Iraqis on the planes.

Steven Barnes said...

I don't know about this. I DO know that I would need only think Jews are the same as the rest of humanity to believe them capable of desperate, heinous acts. Which group of human beings has never done terrible things if they felt it contributed to their survival? That doesn't mean I think this is what they did. It does mean that the cry of "anti-Semite" shouldn't stop us from considering the possibility. Would they have to have recruited terrorists? No. Might they have seen it coming and remained quiet? Would the American government give infected blankets to Indians? Would the Brits slaughter unarmed peasants? The Russians kill millions in gulags? The Germans slaughter millions in concentration camps? Naw. Couldn't be. I'd have to be a bigot just to consider it.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Steve, Jerome didn't just consider the possibility that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks, he finds it highly plausible. (And I didn't read carefully enough to see it-- I assumed Jerome was just saying that Israel chose the US response of going to war in (on?) Iraq and Afghanistan.)

The atrocities you listed are in the normal human range-- that is, attacks on people who are much weaker, and where the outcome is pretty predictable.

For a small country to be behind an attack on its largest and best ally in the hope that the small country would end up better defended (when it was already very well defended) is both stupid and crazy. Admittedly, people are sometimes stupid and crazy, but do you have any historical examples of something so extreme?

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Jerome, in re your having Jewish friends: I don't know if they're just putting up with your views about Israel, or even whether you've mentioned those views to them.

I'm not accusing you of being an anti-Semite in general. I am saying that finding it so plausible for Israel to be that treacherous is an anti-Semitic idea. Do you think it's more likely for Israel to have been involved in such an risky plot than for it to have been an independent creation of Al Queda?

Jerome Howard said...

>If I understand you right, Jerome, you're suggesting that Israel deliberately conspired to recruit people to fly planes into a building in the country that is its closest ally, killing thousands of people in a city with one of the largest Jewish populations in the world (so that inevitably many of the dead were Jewish)...".<

First, you did not understand me correctly. The keywords there I'm focusing on is "deliberately" and "recruit". I didn't mean or suggest either one.

In a world where your nation friends and enemies can change places at will and at any convenient time of their choosing there lies a nether region where deliberate acts, ommission of any kind, and just plain old letting things go to wherever they go and not butting in is not only foggy, but perhaps in your best interests to do so. Now most nations doing it doesn't make it right to most folks, but not being right doesn't hinder it's popularity in the least.

In NO way am I suggesting that Israel knew for a fact how the USA would react and go after Iraqi and Afghanistan SPECIFICALLY, but it's fair to assume that however the USA reacted it wouldn't be much guesswork involved in knowing which part of the entire world any reaction would take place if there were to be any action at all.

As harsh as this next point may be you can best believe that every nation on earth of moderate strength and above allows, no better than that, QUANTIFIES, what are deemed as acceptable losses to assure their national security. This is what their armed forces are for in great degree. Some nations even take that further in losses quantified as "collateral damage" that do not follow strict lines of being formal armed forces. This isn't new.

Why is it so difficult to believe that as a nation state that freely admits and advertises they'll hunt whoever down anywhere on the planet if they feel justified in doing so and assassinating them right on the spot in which they're found is incapable of playing a little hardball in other areas?


People that makes these kinds of decisions think in strategically much longer terms than the immediate. The entire bedrock of what passes for civilization is built upon the graves of those that perished so that others may live, and for better or worse, nations make those decisions and Israel does NOT stand alone in this policy.

Israel's defense and national security apparatus is tops in what they do. They deceive and are great at it. So great, it's even in their security service's motto. It never was much of a secret, but it wasn't common knowledge until sometime back in the 90s if I recall correctly. Goes like this, "By way of deception thou shalt do war".

Snazzy huh?

Jerome Howard said...

>I don't care how many Jewish friends you have; I'm with Nancy in thinking this sounds like an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.<


Well, it's not. I'm not anti-Semitic, and while there's plenty of conspiracy to go around, there's not much theory to it. Beyond that I don't know what to tell you.

>Plus, as Steve said, if someone wanted to set the US up to attack Iraq, it would have made sense to put at least some Iraqis on the planes.<


We keep having this disconnect. I never stated it was Israel's SPECIFIC INTENT to have the USA attack Iraqi.

And, here's how people that plot such things think. It's not who you put on the plane to establish a bad guy, that's absurd. It's who you DON'T put on the plane in place of others to muddy the waters and create blind alleys of suspicion and kneejerk reactions, and especially if you can tie into who is on the plane with OTHERS of like ideology. Plus, it's also not about who's killed on the ground, it's WHO ISN'T.

Jerome Howard. said...

>Jerome, in re your having Jewish friends: I don't know if they're just putting up with your views about Israel, or even whether you've mentioned those views to them.<


They were my friends before I had these views. Most are sabras these days as my initial ones were childhood friends. One childhood friend in particular immigrated to Israel to enlist in the IDF during the 1973 war with Egypt. He moved up so to say. I met up with him later in life and more than a few of my current views were instigated by him. I wasn't particularly shocked, but I was shocked that he told me things he shouldn't have, or rather wouldn't have, save for a long long friendship and a great deal of trust on his part. I took him at his word. I then and over the years compared what was said and measured it with actions. Make of it what you will. I understand. Plus, there are just some subjects I don't broach with my friends for reasons that mirror this present discussion. For all but a very very select few of my friends I'm a Clark Kent type. I leave my rose-colored glasses wearing friends alone in this regard and save the mean old world views for my hard case khavers.


>Do you think it's more likely for Israel to have been involved in such an risky plot than for it to have been an independent creation of Al Queda?<


There's an awfully big difference in being actively involved in a risky plot and knowing about a plot or a course of likely actions that will have plot ramifactions after the fact that may benefit you by just standing with a pat hand. Let me put it to you this way.

If I had an enemy or enemies that were not yet direct enemies of a much bigger that I friend of mine and I knew that those enemies were going to do something that my friend would eventually recover from in the grand scheme of things I might just let it happen because they'd still be an enemy, but now with a much bigger problem on their hands.

I didn't really mean that as-in a personal friend or mine, but in dealing with nation state friends where I could be a little more ruthless because I wouldn't be looking out for an individual, but a nation of individuals. My nation. That I could easily justify and live with. Easily.

Jerome Howard said...

NL,

'If I had an enemy or enemies that were not yet direct enemies of a much bigger that I friend of mine..'.

Oops. Strike >that I<. Child with parental interuptus syndrome.

Jerome Howard said...

>I am saying that finding it so plausible for Israel to be that treacherous is an anti-Semitic idea.<

Speaking of what MAY be treacherous, depending on how you look at it, here's a light moment in Israel's past that you can easily verify with a little Googling, I suppose. Not sure. The basic fact should be available in any event. I just recall it because it was a source of a good many laughs around the campfire during cross-training excercises between elements of US and Israeli defense forces.

Back in 1985 Israel came to terms, of sorts, with the PLO to release 1000 "political prisoners". Great. Not so great was a lack of clarity and distinction on the PLO's part to define what constituted political prisoner status. Israel took the position that ALL the Palestinians they had incarcerated had political prisoner status given the hostilities between the two parties and the PLO's lack of specificity. Also something to consider was that the Palestinians didn't provide them with a list of names and Israel took it upon themselves to release whoever they chose to release as long as they were Palestinians.

Out of the 9,000 Palestinians that were incarcerated at the time, what 1,000 do you suppose they chose release back into Palestinian society?

1,000 thieves, pimps, prostitutes, rapists, murderers, pervs, smugglers, hijack artists, addicts of varying kinds, and everybody else Yassir Arafat didn't have in mind and could have done without.

No one can state the Israeli powers that were didn't have a collective wicked sense of humor. Treachery? Not sure. Pretty damn funny though. In the political prisoner release of 2001 it's my understanding the ruling junta of Palestine at that time took a bit more care and thought into matters.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

I don't remember enough details about how the Jibril Deal was carried out to be able to comment on what criteria Israel used for selecting the prisoners to release. But surely no one's suggesting that Israel's so benignly altruistic that they'd never screw over the PLO?

I just am not prepared to believe they'd do something that sounds stupidly treacherous, on the basis on apparently no evidence other than the supposition that it's the kind of thing they'd do.

I mean, what's the point? The US had already bombed alleged Al Qaeda assets in Sudan, several years before 9/11, in retaliation for Al Qaeda truck bomb attacks on US embassies. So, if Israel had information about the impending attack on the World Trade Center, and gave that information to the US, was there any serious likelihood that the US wouldn't react to a plot to kill thousands of our citizens, just because we managed to foil the plot? If anything, feeding the information to the US sounds to me like a golden opportunity for Israel to place whatever slant on the plot best served its own interests.

Israeli intelligence is among the best in the world, but even Israeli intelligence doesn't have advance notice of everything.

Jerome Howard said...

>I just am not prepared to believe they'd do something that sounds stupidly treacherous, on the basis on apparently no evidence other than the supposition that it's the kind of thing they'd do.<


Really now ma'am?

I'm probably not as tactful as I should be under different circumstances, but after being told how ill or misinformed I am and this present discourse of possible treacherous behavior on Israel's part toward it's biggest ally I just can't help but make a suggestion and point something out that's CLEARLY not supposition just to see what's stated next.

The Suggestion. Write this person. Ask him why he is where he is and what he got caught red-handed doing and who recruited him to do it. Try Googling him either before or after just to test his veracity if he decides to write you back. Do a little digging and see who's been lobbying for his release since day-one of his present predicament and also see where he's been invited to live as a hero of sorts if his present predicament status changes:

Jonathan J. Pollard BOP #09185-016
FCI BUTNER MEDIUM I
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 1000
BUTNER, NC 27509


Something that needs clarity for me. Treacherous. Treachery. Treason. I wonder? Do they all have a root word in common? I'm not so sure. Just how prepared are you to find out that Mr. Pollard was is where he is beause he was convicted of espionage. I wasn't on the jury. I didn't convict him, and I didn't recruit him either. Take a guess who did.

I've had this particular discussion before with someone not of that world who's sensibilities may have been shocked when I pointed out that people in the treachery business, as-in making people traitors, as well as various and sundry other acts most others consider as dispicable do not think of otherwise treacherous activities like your average civilian does. To those types of people, it's just another day on the assembly-line or at office. A separate lexicon even exists. For one, treachery can be synonymous with compromise or compromised. Cute, but it's all the same. Accept and/or believe it, or not.

Jerome Howard said...

>Israeli intelligence is among the best in the world, but even Israeli intelligence doesn't have advance notice of everything.<

Once again we have issues not proffered by me. I never stated nor do I believe they have precognition capabilities. They don't have to have it. No other security service has it either. It's not necessary. Humans and their behavior under most givens are reasonably predictable. Great care is taken (applicability can be quite another matter though at times) by intelligence analysts and strategists to come up with different scenarios that suit any givens or reasonable set of hypothesis. It's what they do for a living and there's no hocus pocus to it. One of the primary tools used in this is that it's likely happened before somewhere in espionage history in one way or another. The trick is to just recognize the updates, so to say.

Kindly allow me to address something Nancy asked of Steven that also may enlighten you on how this works, and that can also be more or less applicable to the present "war on terror".

In 1917 the German Foreign Secretary sent a coded telegram to the German Ambassador in Washington, DC to broach the subject of him entering into a serious discourse with the German ambassador to Mexico and see if he could draw the Mexican government into a military alliance with the Germans if the USA appeared they were going to get into the act on the side of France, et al. The USA had no such plans due to it's isolation policy at the time. Here's the neat part.

It didn't matter in the LEAST that the USA wasn't particularly concerned or worried about what Mexico would do as they had been promised the sun, moon, stars, and TEXAS among other things, but the two FACTS that the USA HAD to consider was Mexico just MIGHT go for the deal, and the sheer perfidy on the part of the Germans. Then the next thing anyone knew the USA was headed "..over there, over there, send the word to be heard over there, that the yanks are comin', the huns are runnin'...".

It worked, just not to the German's advantage. They got the very thing they didn't want yet expected that would arguably never had happened had they not meddled.

And please please PLEASE do not take the above as a dead-in-cajones example of 911 because it isn't meant to be taken that way. It's ONLY an illastration of intelligence thinking and modus operandi and to also illastrate that messages can be sent by letter, Zimmermann Telegram (the aboved named example), or a passenger packed 747. It's not the method of communication. It's who interprets the message and who has the power to do something about it, wisely or not. If you believe not, then you can also write a former chief executive currently residing in Crawford, Texas. And oh, it's also who else might know of a message's existence and decide not to inform the end recipient of the sender's intent. Does that lend itself to a degree of culpability or just knowledge not to be shared? Decide for yourself. If not, fine. It's not and neither. Fine with me.

Jerome Howard aka poltergeist said...

Jesus. I didn't count on or expect a marathon session on my part in all of this when I began. I'll end it with this.

I have no axe to grind with the State of Israel, personal or otherwise. I completely understand their position and given my personality and former profession I'd probably be right in the thick of it if I were an Israeli citizen or sympathizer if I lived there, unlikely as hell as THAT would be.

However, I'm not blind no matter where my empathy and sympathy may lie. Israel plays a mean game of military and political hardball. They just don't mince on actions. They take the fight to wherever they find it and they also take the cheat-sheet with them. There's only something like 10,000 YouTubes available to bear this out, and if anyone thinks they don't mean business when it comes to what they believe is within their best interests you can always ask Dr. Gerald Bull, a former Canadian citizen, but you'll have to shout pretty loud to be heard by him, that is unless of course you might think he was assassinated by the Crips or Bloods over a territory dispute in South Central LA, and done-in in Belgium no less.

They do what they feel they must do and to hell what anybody thinks. That much is evident. I don't blame them. I can see their point without agreeing with their methodology down the line. Truth told, if I had my way there'd be a little more hardball in THIS country by a particular ethnic group I have in sentimental mind, just on a much smaller and proactive scale if THEIR historical treatment has anything to do with it as the Israelis like to claim. Aha. A flinch? Different story when the chickens start roosting in your own backyard huh? Right. Pay me no mind. I just stated that for effect.

As Steven is oft cited and quoted here's my contributory two-cents in that department. He makes an EXCELLENT argument when pointing out that essentially EVERYONE is capable of ANYTHING and capabilities open up all kinds of doors to possibilities and likelihoods, to include the Israelis, no matter how or how much the idea might frighten or piss off the children and disturb their sleep, euphemistically speaking.

The Israelis are a great and admirable bunch of collective people in my opinion with a superior no-bullshit philosopy that must be admired if for nothing else but consistency alone. However, they remain just that. People. Period. Just people with their own set of interests that must be attended to and served and served the best way they can. I can think of nothing else to add.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

The Suggestion. Write this person. Ask him why he is where he is and what he got caught red-handed doing and who recruited him to do it.

Again, you're assuming that I'm arguing something I'm not, an Israel that's not the least bit hard nosed about its interests at all, ever, but simply does whatever is nice (or at least does whatever is nice as long as you're its ally).

Everyone spies on everyone. And everyone punishes the people who spy on them. So there are two big differences between saying that Israel had Pollard spy on the US and saying that Israel more likely than not had advance warning of 9/11 and kept the information from the US so that lots of people would die and the US would attack Israel's enemies.

The first difference: there is actual evidence, a whole lot of it, that Pollard spied on the US. There is no actual evidence that Israel had any advance warning of 9/11, and no reason to believe that they'd be more likely than not to have such warning or that they'd be more likely than not, if they had such warning, to keep it from the US.

Second, having Pollard spy on the US is not stupidly treacherous. It is, from Israel's point of view, intelligently protective of its own interests. Spying on your allies is no more than ordinary betrayal. Letting thousands of your ally's citizens die (including many that you'd count as qualifying for citizenship in your country) is extraordinary betrayal, something that would be highly unusual in the world of geopolitics. I know of no documented case where a country has done such a thing (though I know of many cases where countries have done far worse to their enemies, or even simply to ethnic groups they despised that had done nothing to deserve such treatment). And so it can't be the normal, expected thing that Israel should be considered likely to have probably done, in the absence of affirmative evidence that Israel did the thing.

I have no axe to grind with the State of Israel, personal or otherwise.

And I don't actually have a huge axe to grind in favor of the state of Israel. They're a country that makes many harsh decisions, including some that I judge too harsh for their own good, in what they perceive to be their interests. I'm a dove in general, so when it comes to Israeli politics, I'm the sort of person who'd rather read Haaretz than the Jerusalem Post, and the sort of person who would rather see Labor win than Likud. In Israel, as in many countries, I want the side most willing to make deals to win.

If I have any personal dog in this hunt, it's the fact that I had family, including Jewish family, in Manhattan at the time the planes struck.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Consider: How many American Jews turned against Israel when Pollard's spying was revealed? I remember Internet discussion groups, in which Jewish posters were active, discussing the case within a couple of years of his conviction. There were plenty of American Jews who would never have done what Pollard did, plenty who were thought his conviction and sentence were just fine, plenty who resented any extra suspicion of their own loyalty. And there was a range of opinion on Israel in general that went everywhere from hugely supportive to sharply critical. But I just don't remember a huge shift in support for Israel as a result of that spying case. Pollard was a traitor, but Israel was doing what Israel could be expected to do.

Now ask yourself, how many American Jews would turn on Israel if it came out that Israel had deliberately let a large number of American Jews be killed by terrorists for some marginal political advantage?

That's what I mean by saying the act you propose would have been stupidly treacherous, while the act that you can actually prove is not stupid at all, however unwelcome it may be to the US government. Israel just didn't lose that much by spying on the US; just about everyone (Jew or Gentile) who had supported Israel continued to do so. Israel would have stood to lose way more by any kind of complicity in the 9/11 attack.

I, too, can imagine some hypothetical movie plot scenario in which it might make human sense for Israel to do such a thing. For instance, if they had advance intelligence of 9/11 because they'd cracked codes that they didn't want to reveal they'd cracked, and if sitting on the intelligence would allow them, with their knowledge of these codes, to make a move against their enemies that they judged critical to their survival - well, it's a movie plot where I could imagine the sacrifice as plausible. Similar dilemmas came up during WWII when the Enigma code was cracked. But to get there, I'm having to suppose huge counterfactuals for which there's no evidence; I'm describing a movie plot Israel, not one for which there's any real world evidence.

Steve Perry said...

The problem with monumental secret conspiracies is that people aren't that smart.

And the reasoning behind stuffing the planes with Saudi terrorists -- that such would somehow automatically result in suspicions that it was the Afghanis or the Iraqis responsible because, you know, the Saudis would be too obvious? Reminds me of the taking-poison scene in The Princess Bride -- give me a break.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar folks. No secret Jewish cabal is running the world, no Trilateral Commission is electing the Presidents, no Secret Order of Moose and Squirrel getting together in a basement and deciding that it's time to explain how the aliens built the pyramids.

It would explain so much and make things so neat, but life is messy sometimes, and chaos isn't easy to rein in.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

My general assumptions about human nature here are:

1) Conspiracies are really hard to keep secret.
2) Because conspiracies are hard to keep secret, it's frequently the case that somebody, even multiple people, had advance warning of any attack.
3) But there are tons of false alarms, and even the best intelligence organizations have problems coordinating and processing information. So often whatever advance warning somebody had was, at the time, not all that readily distinguishable from a false alarm. Or got misdirected, or didn't get decoded quickly enough, or got bungled in some other way.
4) So it's possible to keep small conspiracies secret for the modest amount of time that it takes to plan an attack.
5) It's much harder to keep large conspiracies and coverups secret for years.
6) People routinely do dirt to people they perceive as Other, but tend to do severe harm to large numbers of people they perceive as part of their own tribe only if they're really unusual people, or perhaps if they're facing very immediate threats to their own survival.
7) While human malice is common enough, human failure is much more common, even among the most competent.

For me, all of these assumptions point to skepticism of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and a high burden of proof on those wanting to argue for them.

On the other hand, if I did want to propose a conspiracy theory, I'd assume that someone wanted us to attack the Saudis, and they were foiled because we were more interested in attacking the Iraqis :-).

Nancy Lebovitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Lebovitz said...

Jerome, you said at the beginning of this discussion:
Frankly I'm of the mind our present troubles were INITIALLY engineered by a very small Middle Eastern country who's primary objective is and was to bolster their national defense efforts on the cheap by having the USA take up the lion's share of it.

"Engineered" is a very strong term. It implies that the Israelis had a significant active part in the 9/11 attacks on the US.

Later you say,
There's an awfully big difference in being actively involved in a risky plot and knowing about a plot or a course of likely actions that will have plot ramifactions after the fact that may benefit you by just standing with a pat hand.


Which do you mean?

Later, when talking about US motivations for the wars, you said SOMEONE had to pay, or provide whipping boy example

That's the kind of risk Israel would take if caught.

What a person finds plausible depends on the premises they start out with. You jump to a conclusion that the Israeli government would do something extremely foolhardy and destructive to the US. Why does this seem more likely to you than that Al Qaeda was solely responsible, or that Bush and/or Cheney was behind it (war is the health of the state), or that it was a few rogue Israeli intelligence agents, or that China was seeing if it could gain by damaging the US?

Here's an essay about the importance of not choosing a highly specific hypothesis when you don't have evidence.

Steve, it's true that people might do just about anything. Still, probability counts for something in the absence of evidence. I know that people are apt to be self-destructive, but I've never heard of anyone biting their fingers off, and I'd think that anyone who claimed it was happening without offering evidence had an agenda or a delusion.

Lynn, I don't think I'd be especially angry if the Israeli government had been behind 9/11 because it inevitably killed a number of Jews. I think I'd be angry first because it killed a number of Americans, and secondly that would have put Jews at risk by inciting anti-Semitism.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

I think I'd be angry first because it killed a number of Americans, and secondly that would have put Jews at risk by inciting anti-Semitism.


A fair point. I didn't mean to imply that American Jews would mainly care just about the Jewish dead, only that, even if I ascribe the most narrowly selfish motives I can think of both to Jews and to Israelis, it would still be a stupid thing for Israel to do.

Also, it matters to me that lots of Jews were among the dead because, even as I was hearing about the posters up searching for my brother-in-law's B'nai Brith friends, I was also reading that rumors were circulating in Pakistan that Israel had hatched the plot and warned all the Jews in the World Trade Center to stay home that day. They didn't, of course; NYC Jews died at Ground Zero just the same as NYC Gentiles did.

But you're right, and I probably should have phrased things differently.

Jermone Howard said...

There's an awfully big difference in being actively involved in a risky plot and knowing about a plot or a course of likely actions that will have plot ramifactions after the fact that may benefit you by just standing with a pat hand.

>Which do you mean?<

The latter. I meant to point that out. Engineered was too strong of a term because it implies direct complicity. Soory 'bout that.

*******

Evidence. Lets have a word on it. I'm trying to think of a fairly discreet way to put it to you.

From upper NY State down to Maryland, and then skipping over to NC, and finally into areas of GA and FL and as far to the Southwest in places you'd drive by without even realizing what sits in the woods, hills, desert surroundings and swamps thereof sit a number of "schools" laughing called Felony School or Bad Boy High by some of their former alumni. Among the more esoteric courses of instruction is how-to NOT leave "footprints" (evidence) behind or to leave intentional evidence that points in directions other than yours. Many are the ways to accomplish this and it all depends depends on if one wants to make things a whodonit or point a misdirectional finger. If you think this is fantasy I need only to point out on a much smaller and now well-known scale how elements of this very government went after various "radical groups" and individuals in the 1960s and 1970s.
This can be accomplished by doing it to groups, individuals, counties, states, countries, who or whatever, and, this "tradecraft" isn't just taught in the USA. And, I can also assure you that the only thing that's changed since biblical times is the technological advances in which to pull it off on a massive scale. But then the old stuff still works, too.

The world I'm referring to isn't a courtroom, deposition, or a judicial hearing where one is sworn to be truthful or where the rules of evidence apply you know. If a smoking gun is found you can believe it was either:

1. A mistake.
2. Planted.
3. Or otherwise there by design.

The whole point of any nefarious covert activities is NOT to get caught doing whatever you're doing that constitutes covert. It's what covert is ALL about.

At various times in this country people have been truly shocked, mortified, amazed, and stood in abject disbelief and argued for days and days and days over the conduct of it's government and if evidence had been asked for or expected prior to the revelations, leaks, confessions, the who-shot-john congressional committes there would have been none to be had or found. And again, it's just not something exclusive to the USA. This ins't LA Law or Perry Mason where everything comes out in the wash in 45-minutes.

Everybody I either know or knew that went to any of these schools heard this or a variation of it at some point in time.

"The best operatives are those you'd walk right by and never notice, and the best operations are those that never make the light of day".

Sorry kind lady, Evidence (as-in leaving smoking guns behind unless done so purposely) just wasn't contained in the syllabus. See if you can find a YouTube or an old news file of the 1976 Church Committee Hearing and lookout for the part where someone on the panel asks William E. Colby about evidence and watch for the smirk, shrugged shoulders, and the hint of a surpressed giggle expression on his face.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

This is starting to sound like my grandmother, when she used to tell me that any left of center student political organization was controlled by the Communists, and if I didn't see it, it was because the Communists wouldn't be likely to leave any evidence that I'd actually see.

What, no one ever found out about Hoover's harassment of MLK? US complicity in the coup against Allende was still a deep, dark secret eight whole years after the fact? Sam Ervin, try as he might, couldn't uncover the smoking gun in the Watergate hearings? Deep Throat never managed to tip off Woodward and Bernstein? Conspiracies of any significance, even when done by professionals, do leave a trail.

I'm supposed to believe in some Israeli complicity in the death of thousands of Americans, for which no evidence has been revealed for eight whole years, and which somehow slipped the attention, all this time, of the intelligence service of the most powerful country in the world, simply because Israel has spies, and has been known to be nasty to its enemies?

If we're not in the world where we have to care about evidence, well, as Arthur Miller put it in The Crucible, "There might be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it."

Since I can't think of anything further to say about five legged dragons than that the burden of proof is on those who want to maintain their existence, I'm out of this thread.