"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Sick and Tired: Neo-Cons, Islamists and the War on Terror

Kathryn A. Graham

With the deepest respect for Sheriff Cook—whose integrity and patriotism are absolutely above question, and that is unfortunately the reason he cannot see this—I must disagree strongly with his conclusions and recent editorial in the Sierra Times regarding the Iraq War, when he said he was sick and tired of people objecting to the war. Objecting to this war is the only sane thing to do.

Before I explain my conclusions, I would like for it to be fully understood that I strongly support our troops in harm's way, and I believe that they are being told by their superiors that they are fighting for our freedoms. I do believe this to be a deliberate falsehood, but I do not question that most of our soldiers do believe that lie, and for that reason, I honor the sacrifices they believe they are making for us. I am a veteran myself—and in my military youth, I did not question my orders or the motivations behind them, and that is as it should be. It is the job of civilians to question why we go to war. The military's only job is to fight that war.

However, I am honestly surprised at a man who has spent a career in law enforcement, yet cannot spot a fraud when it is literally grinning right in his face. I do understand an honest man who is incapable of grasping the dishonesty of others, but a law enforcement career should have cured that in record time. Let's look at some history our schools do not teach.

In the years immediately following World War II, two separate and distinct political philosophies were born on two different sides of the planet, but they had some astonishing similarities. One, more or less founded by an obscure political professor at the University of Chicago, Leo Strauss, became neo-conservatism. Another, a response largely to the westernization of Egypt by General Nasser, became Islamism.

Without going too deeply into detail, neo-conservatism is a philosophy that teaches that individual liberties are very damaging to America. It calls for "myths" which unite us, and "myths" we can struggle against, with a single patriotic purpose. Dr. Strauss believed that fundamentalist religion could provide the great unifying myth (it is important to understand that neo-cons are not religious themselves any more than communists or fascists—this is an illusion they foster), and that the Soviet Union could provide the ultimate evil for us to struggle against. He also taught that politicians could create these myths with clever partial falsehoods. This was an old philosophy under a new name. It has been practiced throughout history by political leaders from Julius Caesar to Machiavelli to Adolph Hitler to George W. Bush. The Soviet Union provided a handy scapegoat for Dr. Strauss' neo-con students to use for many, many years, bringing us Viet Nam and a host of other horrors.

At roughly the same time that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and a handful of others were studying under this Professor Strauss, a young Egyptian came to America—the year was 1949—to study our culture. He, too, was sickened by what he saw as selfish and greedy individualism. His name was Sayyed Qutb. In 1950, he returned to Egypt with a vision for a government based upon the tenets of Islam - purified of individualism and true to the tenets of Islam.

Qutb joined an organization called the Muslim Brotherhood, which supported General Nasser in his rise to power. Unfortunately, the moment he came to power, Nasser made it clear that he intended to found a secular society with Western moral values. Upon learning of this betrayal, Qutb began to organize against Nasser.

Qutb was arrested by Nasser's people in 1952. What followed led to everything we are seeing today! While in prison, Qutb was tortured horribly by his jailers, who had been trained very well by the CIA. On one occasion, he was covered in animal fat and locked into a cell with dogs that had been trained to attack humans. He had a heart attack in that cell and very nearly died. We would be better off today if he had died, which apart from morality, is one very practical reason for America to avoid torture. Once you have tortured a man, you can never safely turn him loose. I am sure that there are innocent inmates at Guantanamo and many places like it who will immediately flock to join Islamic Jihad upon their release. Wouldn't you?

Up until that point, Qutb had merely been sickened by what he saw as selfish greed and decadence. What he had experienced during his incarceration changed his views, however. He now believed that western individualist greed led to all that is evil in human beings. The Islamic "myth" of America as the "Great Satan" was born.

Qutb believed that the entire Moslem world had been "infected" by American individualism, and he believed in radical and violent methods for correcting this. Of course, any psychologist would recognize that he had been twisted and embittered by rage over his treatment at Nasser's hands, but that didn't change the outcome. He repeatedly called for the overthrow of Moslem leaders, and he was eventually charged with treason and sentenced to death. He was executed in Egypt on August 29, 1966. On the day of his execution, a youngster still in school set up a secret group to further Qutb's goals. His name was Ayman Zawahiri, and he would later become teacher and friend to a young and wealthy Saudi national, Osama bin Laden.

At the time that this was all happening half a world away, the young neo-cons trained by Dr. Strauss were reaching an age to influence the power structure in this country, and it was a time of great turmoil. Race riots, cities in flames - all sorts of unpleasant things were taking place here, and the neo-cons were quick to point out to our leadership at the time that individualism was making all of this possible. Everyone who protested, whether it was against the war in Viet Nam or the racial inequalities that still existed in the United States, had to be discredited—painted with the brush of the great enemy of the time, the Soviet Union. Young people who were protesting a cruel draft, a silly war, or racial inequality all became "Communist pinkos" and traitors. I believed it myself, and I joined the military in a bit of a protest of my own. I wasn't the only one. Now I am enraged at the way I was deliberately hoodwinked.

By 1977, Zawahiri's ideas had begun to spread throughout Egypt. When the Egyptian government decided to open peace talks with Israel, the Islamists saw this as the ultimate betrayal. It meant—to them—that the Egyptian leaders were no longer Muslims, and were therefore fair game, according to Qutb's teachings. They could be killed. The Islamist movement received another huge boost with the Iranian revolution in 1979. An Islamist state could be established. It could actually be done!

Zawahiri and his followers formed a new organization called "Islamic Jihad." And a group of military officers who were members of the new Islamic Jihad assassinated Anwar Sadat.

Unfortunately, for them, it did not work as planned. The Egyptian people did not rise up and demand an Islamic government like the one in Iran. Zawahiri was arrested during the roundup of Islamic Jihad after the assassination, and, like Qutb before him, he was tortured by Egyptian jailers trained by the CIA.

Like Qutb before him, this changed Zawahiri. He now blamed the Muslim people more than the leaders, and now judged it fully appropriate to kill the citizens as well as the leaders. He would kill all but perfect Muslims, thereby creating his perfect Islamic world. Islamic terrorism, as we know it today, was born.

Meanwhile, back in the West, a very startling change was coming to America. Although there were millions of deeply fundamentalist Christians in America at the time, their leaders had always remained apolitical, so as not to support a corrupt system. That changed virtually overnight. Millions of fundamentalist Christians voted for the first time in their lives, and that resulted in the election of Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately for the neo-cons, Reagan was an honest and decent man, and he did not support many of their agendas. The pressure on him to do so was enormous, and he did give some small concessions, but his tenure was not deeply neo-conservative, and I believe that many of the things the neo-cons were doing under the table at the time—such as Iran Contra—were not fully known or permitted by him. Virtually all of his advisers, even his Vice President, were neo-cons. Reagan hated Communism, but he believed he could negotiate a peace.

Two leading neo-cons, Michael Ledeen and the CIA Director, William Casey, set out to change Reagan's mind. They presented Reagan with a report showing that the Soviet bad guys were supporting a world wide and very organized terrorist network. This report was a complete fiction, and many former CIA members who helped to draw it up at the time have since admitted as much, but Al Quaeda was born.

The irony is that the neo-cons fell victim to their own myth regarding the Soviets. They began to believe it themselves. Therefore, supporting freedom fighters worldwide (who were fighting Soviets) was an American priority during the Reagan years. At the time, the real Islamists were fighting a resistance war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and America decided to support them in this. Abdullah Azzam was a charismatic religious leader who was organizing the resistance to the Soviets in Afghanistan. He called for jihadis from all over the world to help, and he was himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden was his closest aide. Azzam was the scholar, but he was not a rich man. Osama was. So Osama's job was putting up the funds for the operation.

At this time, most of the Arab governments in the Middle East began to secretly release their nastiest prisoners and send them off to the jihad in Afghanistan in the fervent hope they would never come home again. One of those released prisoners was Ayman Zawahiri, and he set up shop in Peshawar to teach a radical form of Islamism that directly challenged the more moderate ideas of Azzam.

When the Soviet Union collapsed from within, and Gorbachev realized that he could no longer support the invasion of Afghanistan, he sent a frantic message through the KGB to Washington, asking for America's help to set up a stable government in Afghanistan. Gorbachev was no fool, and he knew that the worst sort of Islamism would take control if this did not happen. His approaches to us were rebuffed. The Soviet Union was the great enemy, remember? By this time, even the very reasonable (but already slightly forgetful) President Reagan was convinced.

The downfall of the Soviet Union soon followed, but the Islamists were convinced that they had broken the back of the Soviet Union all by themselves. They believed that a jihad would now sweep across the Muslim world. The American neo-cons held the same belief—they thought that we had brought the Soviets down. It was a heady and dangerous idea for the neo-cons to believe, because they now thought they could transform the entire world, making it "safe for democracy." They were worried that the fall of the Soviet Union deprived them of an enemy "myth," but Islamic Jihad was ready and willing to fill those shoes. Remember that neo-conservative philosophy requires an endless war—a mythic and terrible enemy—to survive.

In actual fact, the Soviet Union collapsed entirely from within because of its own flawed economic policies. Communism doesn't work, and the Soviets just ran out of money, as will China and Cuba eventually. It didn't have a great deal to do with either the Islamists or America.

Following the Soviet collapse, a major power struggle ensued between Azzam, who believed that the Islamist revolution could take place politically, and Zawahiri, who wanted it to happen violently. Zawahiri won the argument by wooing Osama—and his money—away from Azzam.

Azzam was assassinated in 1989, probably by Zawahiri. We will never know. The Islamist movement began to pick up some steam across the Middle East, but it was a political movement, rather than a violent one, in most cases, despite Azzam's death. Bin Laden and Zawahiri began to wage their own violent jihad, no longer compromising with less violent groups.

Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein, our ally against Iran, gave us a delicious excuse to invade Iraq when he invaded Kuwait and captured our embassy personnel. Poppy Bush was a neo-con, but he wasn't crazy. He chastised Saddam thoroughly and gave America a heady and all-too-easy victory, but he drove his neo-con advisors half insane when he refused to occupy Bagdhad. It cost him the election.

Throughout the 1990s, the returing jihadis, most of them convicted criminals and now battle hardened warriors, tried to topple their respective governments. They unleashed an orgy of terror across the Middle East. The important point here is that it didn't succeed. Their respective governments stayed in power, and said governments promptly hunted down the radicals. Radical Islamic Jihad was proving to be a colossal failure, and Saddam, now definitely an enemy, was kept impotent by ongoing sanctions and the occasional "surgical" strike against his country.

When Egyptian Islamists attacked western tourists at the ruins of Luxor, most of the radicals were so horrified they called for a cease fire. What happened? Their own brothers started killing them. The movement shredded itself. Fundamentalism always does this. If you believe in the absolute perfection of anything, you won't see it in anyone but yourself! This is just as true of neo-cons as it is of Islamists, and it is true of nations as well.

The neo-cons turned their attention to a new arch-enemy, Clinton. Clinton was a liberal and a skirt chaser. I didn't care for either one. Clinton probably also sold some nuclear info to China for personal gain, but he wasn't Machiavelli—just an ordinary crook. The neo-cons finally found a weapon they could use against Clinton that didn't initially backfire, Monica Lewinsky, and they went for it—put the hammer to the floorboard—and fell flat on their faces. Clinton was even reelected. By this time, they were foaming at the mouth.

Meanwhile, Zawahiri and bin Laden held a big conference in 1998 and announced a change of plan. Since the Muslim masses were "too corrupt" to throw off their evil leaders, they would now attack America. This was an act of desperation. Their movement had already failed, but they saw in this an opportunity to revive it.

The term "Al Quaeda" is an American neo-con invention, dating back to that fraudulent CIA report. The correct term is Islamic Jihad. There is no coordinated worldwide network. That is a fantasy. Occasionally, nutty jihadists will propose a plan to bin Laden and if they can convince him they can actually do something, they will get some funding to try it. Eliminate bin Laden and his sidekick, Zawahiri, and you eliminate the problem. Terrorists need money. It is rare that a rich man supports jihad. Such a psychotic only comes along once in a very great while.

Nevertheless, when the neo-cons finally got back into power after eight excruciating years of Clinton, they brought with them a lot of rage against the former Bush and his failure in Iraq. So when bin Laden bankrolled what was for them the heavensent gift of a truly massive attack on American soil, they used it 1) to restrict personal freedoms in the United States (at last!), and 2) instead of going after bin Laden (who is truly the only major terrorist threat against America), they used America's rage and fear as justification to invade a secular country that was opposed to everything Islamic Jihad stood for—thereby repaying the gift, both by dropping the hunt for bin Laden and because they have now given bin Laden and Zawahiri precisely what they needed to rebuild Islamic Jihad and make it stronger than ever, justified Muslim rage against America.

The neo-conservatives are happy now. They've made sure their myth won't go away.

Did the neo-cons know that 9/11 was coming? Did they encourage it? I suspect so, but can't prove it. To solve any crime, you look for who benefits. The neo-cons benefited from 9/11, as they didn't have a prayer of advancing their freedom-hostile agenda without it. Bin Laden and Zawahiri benefited from the invasion of Iraq as much as the neo-cons did. Payback? Who knows? I do know that it doesn't matter in the least, and it is not what we should be focusing on now. The neo-conservative philosophy is treason against the U.S. Constitution and the ideals that made this country great, and the men (and women) who attempt to enforce this agenda are traitors. Until we can recognize that (and it is difficult when American schools do not teach history, and American mainstream media does not report it as it happens), we are doomed to endless lies, endless foreign wars that kill our children, and another endless war against our own freedom here at home. Islamic Jihad is certainly no friend to freedom, but neither is the neo-conservative philosophy. Foreign intervention nearly always brings grief to future generations.

Furthermore, until we can recognize that this entire situation was actually made a reality by a national nod and a wink toward torture (supported by men who actually claim to be Christians!), we will never be free of it, and neither will our children.

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Milton Frihetsson, 23:36


That was the most amusing, long winded and irrelevant thing I've ever read about why the war in Iraq shouldn't be fought. Unfortunately, you lost me with the history of the rise of modern Islamic Militants (red herring), and doubly so with the great "neo-con" conspiracy theories (absurd). Cheers.
Blogger Samuel Marzioli, at 3:36 PM  
Interesting Post! But, you should break it up into smaller pieces, because there are many on the web with a very short attention span. It serves your purpose better to offer small bites instead of the whole pie all at once.

Keep putting the truth out there!
Blogger Dr. Forbush, at 4:28 PM  
An informative, well written, interesting, and meaningful post.

best wishes
Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:56 PM  
Very interesting article. I had no problem reading it in it's entirety.

Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 PM  
Thanks for all the feedback!

I would recommend these two articles for an inside view of the neocon coup well in case you havent read them before;

Drinking the Kool-Aid

The new Pentagon papers
Blogger Echelon, at 11:53 PM  

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