Not All Lives are Equal-According to the Inhabitants of the Barbarically Civilized Nation

I rarely accept invitations for speaking arrangements. It is not my cup of tea. When I rarely do I insist in dividing my allocated time into 1/3 for speaking and 2/3 for Q & A. I don’t like canned speeches, but I happen to truly like lengthy Q & A sessions. Why? Because: It enables me to talk about what my audience really wants to hear about, it gives me a chance to get to know others’ points of view and perceptions, and let’s face it, it just makes the whole process less boring, more interactive, less predictable, thus more fun.

Two months ago, during one of my very rare speaking arrangements, the topics of discussion took many spontaneous turns and twists and ended up in the area of our wars- our never-ending, perpetual wars. Of course you know where I stand on that. And most likely you won’t be surprised to hear that not many people share my stand; at least not as bold and vehemently.  Most public figures who engage in public speaking know how to frame their talking points and answers very diplomatically so that they will get uniformed nods from their audience; at least most of them. And they do. I know the trick, and I know how it is done. But I never use it. Meaning, I do not engage in public speaking for the purpose of being liked and admired uniformly, and to play it safe. It is not me. In fact I do exactly the opposite, meaning, I actually try to push buttons, and as a result bring out the real inner thinking of my audiences.  So what if that makes me not-so-popular and not likely to be invited again? I ain’t running for public office!

Now that we have established my modus operandi when it comes to public speaking, let’s go back to my Q & A session from my latest ‘engagement.’

We began discussing our latest wars-our wars since September 11, 2001. One lady raised her hand and proposed that these wars were highly justified based on what took place on 9/11. After all, she said, we were attacked, thus, we had to defend ourselves.

I provided her with the conservative estimate of our civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. She responded to that: ‘Don’t take me wrong. I am sorry that these innocent people had to die, but we had to do what we had to do, and the loss of innocent people does not change this reality.’

I asked her: ‘Would you see the reverse as justified? Meaning, would you see it as justified when those people attack us in defending against our perpetual attacks on them, and as a result kill tens of thousands of our innocent people?’ She said: ‘But that is not the same. They are terrorists. We are not. Wars are not the same as terrorism.’

Basically, she was entering the many-times-argued ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ area. So I kept pushing, respectfully, until the real her began surfacing. She said: ‘What we are seeing is an inevitable clash. It is the clash of civilized democratic people with the barbaric third world countries’ inhabitants.’

And that, my friends, brings me to one of the macro topics we frequently discuss here at Boiling Frogs Post: Why don’t we see major backlash and protests in the face of our atrocious wars waged around the globe?

Sure. We can talk about how awful the media has been in framing, thus justifying our unjustifiable wars. We can discuss the fear-mongering factor being played by all our politicians and media outlets. We can talk about all that, but let’s talk about another factor that is rarely discussed: The Us versus them. The civilized vs the barbaric. The White vs Yellow or Olive or Black. The Christians vs the Muslims. The Superior  Westerners vs the Inferior Easterners or Southerners. The superiority complex that says not all lives are equal. The Exceptionalism that says we are far more superior, valuable and worthy of life and liberties.

I usually don’t cover the highly polarizing, and frequently misused notions of racism, sexism, religion-ism, classism, etc. Not because these factors and notions are not highly prevalent in our daily lives, including in our media, politics, education, and yes, foreign policy. But because there are only so many topics and areas I can possibly cover, it is due to not wanting to get into one of those highly polarized discussion areas where tempers and biases and hatred easily boil to the top, and also it is due to not considering myself an expert in sociology and or psychology. All that said, this topic keeps coming up. In one form or another. It ends up being one of those gigantic elephants in the room. So, let’s go ahead and discuss it, and then, face it.

The over a million deaths caused by our Vietnam War did not mean anything compared to 50,000+ deaths of our soldiers. Was that war in self-defense? No. But, that doesn’t matter. Was it a justified war? Surely not, but that doesn’t matter. Who were those people anyway? They were not like us. They didn’t look like us. They didn’t eat like us, and didn’t talk like us.

The estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and Nagasaki (75,000) are overly conservative. The atomic bomb we dropped in Hiroshima alone was the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. Was it justified to use the worst kind of weapons of mass destructions and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and affecting their offspring to come? No. Should it be categorized as a type of genocide and war atrocity? Yes. Do most people in our nation see it as such? No. We can go around the world and point fingers at nations who may or may not possess WMD, and begin bombing the hell out of them. On the other hand, it is perfectly okay for us to have the world’s biggest WMD cache, and be the only nation that has repeatedly used WMD, and atrociously killed hundreds of thousands using them. Why? Because we consider ourselves civilized. However barbarically. Even when we engage in the most barbaric atrocities, we are still civilized- barbarically civilized, that is.

Here is an example of how we can be Barbarically Civilized, or Civilized Barbarically:

The Volume of American bombing in Vietnam exceeded the 2.7 million tons of bombs dropped by the Allied Forces in all theaters during World War II. The estimated war casualties range from 195,000 to 430,000 civilian war deaths. The lowest total estimate is 1,234,000 military and civilian deaths from 1965 to 1974.

It is a fact that we, the world civilized super power nation, have been the world’s most atrocious WMD possessor and user:

In Korea over a three-year period, U.S./UN forces flew 1,040,708 sorties and dropped 386,037 tons of bombs and 32,357 tons of napalm. If one counts all types of airborne ordnance, including rockets and machine-gun ammunition, the total tonnage comes to 698,000 tons

For South Vietnam, the figure is 19 million gallons of defoliant dropped on an area comprising 20 percent of South Vietnam—some 6 million acres. In an even briefer period, between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of bombs were dropped in Cambodia, largely by B-52s, of which 257,465 tons fell in the last six months of the war (as compared to 160,771 tons on Japan from 1942–1945). The estimated toll of the dead, the majority civilian, is equally difficult to absorb: 2 to 3 million in Korea; 2 to 4 million in Vietnam.

Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain.

Did Vietnam or Laos attack our nation, or even threaten to attack our nation? No. Does it matter? No. Why not? Because our super government of our super civilized nation knows best. Because let’s face it: who are these people anyway? They are yellow, and most of them are Buddhist or something like that, they eat too much rice …and they are not civilized like us. As simple as that. So the massive civilian casualty number doesn’t bother us; it doesn’t move us. We may be ‘sorry,’ and that is, later, a little sorry, that is, but that’s all.

That brings us to olive colored people. The barbaric Muslims. The Arabic speaking third world Easterners. The Middle Easterners. We have killed massive numbers of them as well, and we continue killing:

The first household survey that appeared was published in The Lancet in October 2004, measuring the war-related mortality in the war’s first 18 months. The researchers–mainly epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and medical personnel in Iraq–estimated 98,000 “excess deaths” due to war.

The second household survey, conducted by the Hopkins scientists again, was completed in June 2006 and published four months later in The Lancet. Its findings: 650,000 people (civilians and fighters) died as a result of the war in Iraq.

More conservative (biased?) reports estimate that Afghanistan and Iraq wars have killed 132,000 Civilians.

Did Iraq have anything to do with 9/11? Of course not. Did Iraq in any way threaten us? Nope. Then, why did we go invade them a few months after 9/11? Who cares! They are olive colored, most of them have beards, they speak a language that sounds like a terrorist language, they are Muslims … and all that make them: Barbaric. Not civilized like us. Why should we be moved by tens of thousands of their children and women being blown to bits? Really? As that woman said during my last speaking event: ‘Let’s face it, they are not like us. They are barbaric terrorists.

A few days ago, as I was researching, I came across a very-well written editorial on this topic. To my shock the source was none other than the awful Washington Post. As you know I do not cite anything from propaganda publications such as the Washington Post. In fact, we even call it a boycott here at Boiling Frogs Post. Maybe it was one of those rarities buried in the back pages somewhere. Maybe an aberration? Whatever it was, I was impressed, and I am going to quote a few excerpts:

Even civilian atrocities tend to fade quickly from view, or else become rallying points for the accused troops. My Lai, where about 400 Vietnamese were murdered by a U.S. Army unit in 1968, at first shocked the nation, but Americans quickly came to support Lt. William L. Calley Jr. — who was later found guilty of killing 22villagers — and the others involved. More recently, eight Marines were charged in the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq, and none has been convicted. (The last defendant’s trial started this past week.) Indeed, each atrocity that fails to alter public opinion piles on to further prove American indifference.

Why the American silence on our wars’ main victims? Our self-image, based on what cultural historian Richard Slotkin calls “the frontier myth” — in which righteous violence is used to subdue or annihilate the savages of whatever land we’re trying to conquer — plays a large role. For hundreds of years, the frontier myth has been one of America’s sturdiest national narratives.

When the challenges from communism in Korea and Vietnam appeared, we called on these cultural tropes to understand the U.S. mission overseas. The same was true for Iraq and Afghanistan, with the news media and politicians frequently portraying Islamic terrorists as frontier savages. By framing each of these wars as a battle to civilize a lawless culture, we essentially typecast the local populations as the Indians of our North American conquest. As the foreign policy maven Robert D. Kaplanwrote on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page in 2004, “The red Indian metaphor is one with which a liberal policy nomenklatura may be uncomfortable, but Army and Marine field officers have embraced it because it captures perfectly the combat challenge of the early 21st century.”

Politicians tend to speak in broader terms, such as defending Western values, or simply refer to resistance fighters as terrorists, the 21st-century word for savages. Remember the military’s code name for the raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound? It was Geronimo.

This well-written editorial piece makes a very troubling and reality-based point: Our apathy towards mass civilian casualties and atrocities caused by our nation is mainly due to a strong sense of Superiority and Exceptionalism. We see it with our aggression and atrocities around the world. It is the barbaric tribal black people in Africa. Or it is the yellow savage communist Asians. Or the bearded olive terrorist Muslim Arabs. We see it in our domestic events as well. Does the media cover a murdered black child as extensively and dramatically as a blue-eyed blond one like Jan Benet Ramsey? Of course not. Not all murdered or abused children are equal. Does our media cover the Palestinian children killed by Israeli terrorism as in-depth and extensively as the Israeli children who fall victim to the terrorism by the other side? Of course not. Not all destructions and deaths caused by terrorism and savagery are equal.

That lady whose button I pushed is not alone. Unfortunately many, even if subconsciously, share this arrogant sense of superiority. Our majority believes our nation to be a civilized one, even if barbarically civilized. We see our barbarism justified, and do not consider all lives and liberties equal. And as long as this remains the case we shall not see the needed logical reaction and opposition to the atrocities committed around the globe and at home in our name, and in our behalf.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

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Comments

  1. avatar colinjames says:

    Yep. We kill and torture and occupy and just generally cause so much human suffering around the globe, and WE’RE the civilized ones. Right. Oh yeah we’re exceptional too. Can’t forget that.

  2. avatar carolcrumlish says:

    Thank you, Sibel. This is THE topic that must be put forward for all those who dare to to contemplate. You have drawn a sharp picture of the Nazi-like attitude that permeates many, many “minds” in this country. We can kill gratuitously because those whom we kill are not really human beings. I am reminded of Madeleine Albright’s obscene response in the affirmative when asked if the Iraq war was worth the slaughter of 500000 Iraqi children. Please find a way to continue to shine your light on this crucial issue, for the sake of our souls.

  3. I read somewhere in one of Peter Levenda’s books about the greatest sin of all. It centered on Dante’s Inferno and the ninth circle. The last circle, no less. Dante understood sin well. However, what Dante illustrates is the strong psychological pull the masses (Church and State) have over the individual. I think it is worth noting that this “pull” is rooted deeply within the social structure society imprints and deems necessary for its survival. It appears this woman is lock stock and barrel and in step with what her society perceives as ethical and moral over all others. Yes, Sibel, exceptionalism and superiority defines the self-actualized state over the individual. I think David Ray Griffin has it right. It is called the Nationalistic Faith. And woe to anyone who dare crosses this threshold:

    Ninth Circle (Treachery)

    The ninth and last circle is ringed by classical and Biblical giants, who perhaps symbolize pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery.[51] The giants are standing on a ledge above the ninth circle of Hell,[52] so that from the Malebolge they are visible from the waist up. They include Nimrod, Ephialtes (who with his brother Otus tried to storm Olympus during the Gigantomachy), Briareus, Tityos, and Typhon. The giant Antaeus (being the only giant unbound with chains) lowers Dante and Virgil into the pit that forms the ninth circle of Hell (Canto XXXI).

    The traitors are distinguished from the “merely” fraudulent in that their acts involve betraying a special relationship of some kind. There are four concentric zones (or “rounds”) of traitors. These rounds correspond, in order of seriousness, to betrayal of family ties, betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of liege lords. In contrast to the popular image of Hell as fiery, the traitors are frozen in a lake of ice known as Cocytus, with each group encased in ice to progressively greater depths.

    • avatar colinjames says:

      Could you reccommend a title or three from Peter Levenda? I watched a youtube video of him giving a long talk on JFK. Sharp guy, great speaker. Don’t know anything about him.

  4. Peace activist S. Brian Willson says it best, “We are not worth more, they are not worth less.”

    When Europeans invaded and killed billions (not millions) of indigenous people in North and South America, and in Africa, the same justification was given, that we were civilizing the savage barbarians.

    Anyone who tries to preserve the planet is considered to be barbaric for standing in the way of progress and development, so we consider ourselves justified in killing them.

    Look at the USA where environmental and animal rights activists are called terrorists, but corporations that pollute the air, land, rivers, and oceans, are treated with respect. Yet polluting corporations have killed millions of people whereas environmental and animal rights activists have never killed anyone. Perhaps that’s why they’re called terrorists–because they don’t kill people and don’t destroy the planet.

    It stands to reason that cultures which worship death and destruction would consider peaceful and sustainable lifestyles to be barbaric. If having cars makes people superior, then those who oppose wars for oil, deep sea drilling, and dangerous pipelines, are inferior savages. Why should civilized people with all the technological luxuries of moder life care how many savages they have to kill in order to get the raw materials for such luxuries?

    What I find most galling is that the genocides of billions of people are not considered to be important if the victims are not Jews or not white. Keep speaking out, Sibel. Maybe they won’t invite you back, but for once in their lives they’lll have heard somebody speak the truth.

  5. Thank you Sibel! Well said, as usual! Sometimes a picture says more than a whole book full of words. I have a T-Shirt that puts things in perspective. It has a picture of Geronimo and three of his sub-chiefs standing facing the camera with their rifles. The words over the picture: Homeland Security, and below the picture: Fighting Terrorism Since 1492. Like your powerful words, it makes one think.
    To view: http://www.cafepress.com/mf/17595519/fighting-terrorism-since-1492-apache_tshirt?utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=830157189&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=sem-cpc-product-ads&utm_content=search-pla&productId=830157189

  6. “I ain’t running for public office!”

    Are you sure your not from the south? :P

    Seriously though. I’m reminded of a quote from “The Secret Team” by L. FLETCHER PROUTY which I’ll paraphrase. “America has become the bogey man that the Solviet Union was during the “Cold War”. At least in the eyes of most of the world. I’d love to see a video of that speech and observe the reactions of the audience.

  7. Imagine how much that lady would have freaked out if you had just told her that on 9/11 the US attacked itself.

    • avatar colinjames says:

      I would have lived to see that. Unless the lady had a heart attack. I just remembered I had a physical therapist freak out when I told her Bush didn’t act very Christian-like by attacking Iraq. She let me know it was exactly the Christian thing to do. Enemies of Christ and all. That was an uncomfortable session. Never saw her again at that clinic.

    • Ah, I’d have just reaffirmed the opinion that I’m a “conspiracy theorist”. As if that weren’t obvious :D oddly though I am seeing more people wake up to some of these topics. It’s not a landslide, but I am seeing more people receptive to the ideas that we discuss. I don’t think it’ll be enough to change things before whatever is going to happen, but it can’t hurt!

  8. Just the other day I commented on an article written by a vietnam vet whom I thought was somewhat enlightened on the ways of the world. The article can be found here http://thebluepaper.com/article/amateurish-governance-distasteful-and-dangerous/

    Here is my comment…

    Excuse me for being on topic but I thought the gist of this article was… how are we to keep those filthy mooslims from hating us for our freedoms?

    I cannot believe that in this day and age with all the access to information from whistleblowers like Sibel Edmonds and research from 1000′s of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth that people still WILLFULLY want to believe in lies.

    The solution to the problem is STOP BELIEVING IN LIES!

    All wars are bankers wars!

    Mr. Donnelly, evidence shows that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was also a false flag….http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/world/asia/15vietnam.html?_r=0

    If you look up the FBI statistics on domestic terrorism by race/culture, jewish terrorist account for more than mooslims and hispanic terrorism totally tips the scale.

    Oh and lets not give any thought to the MILLIONS of murdered Afghani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Pakistani, Syrian (yeah, the good ole ZSofA is funding that “civil war” too).

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of people ENJOY knowing about and participating in the slaughter of innocent lives and that is why we have what we have. We are living in a world run by Satanists and the majority follow, hiding behind some other god.

  9. Nice – What we’re touching on is the divide and conquer game played for a very long time. When people have no education, they will except many false truths along the path of their lives and cling to them. These people do not have to be unintelligent – only misinformed and the lie only needs a few key moments of re-enforcement along the way in the form of entertainment (most common) and a regular schedule of events published on MSM like clockwork.

  10. avatar Judith Williams says:

    Excellent article Sibel. I would not disagree with anything you said. However, this subject speaks to something much deeper than AMERICAN feelings of superiority or exceptionalism. In my opinion it speaks to the human condition. We are just the latest EMPIRE that has created a people who began by conquering another nation (the Native Americans) and justified it by calling them savages. Did not Spain do exactly the same thing in Latin America? Did not Rome do the exact same thing and on and on. How different would the world be if any of these empires had come to these different worlds and been able to learn from the peoples they found and taught them in return rather than plundering and killing. What is it in mankind that brings out the barbaric is the question I ponder as I read your words. Perhaps it is our quest for power. It is the leaders (the powerful who already have more riches than they know what to do with) that take us to war and they who design for us the images of dirty savages or whatever the new terms are. Going away from war and atrocities, don’t we, right now think ourselves superior to the “Sheeple” who still believe all the lies. I have always hated that word because there are many and I might say most of these people who are basically good but go along to get along and are lulled to sleep by propaganda. Do we want to bring them over to us? If so, labeling them “sheep” will certainly not do this. I ramble. I was trying to bring the subject down to something small. Does not mankind have some inner need to feel superior, to be powerful? TPTB certainly know how to exploit this–divide and conquer.

    • Judith, you’re on to something. Alexander the Great, Napoleon, George Washington, even Joan of Arc – would we know their names they had not waged war with zeal? They had a diversity of motivations, but what they had in common was the need to overcome others with deadly force.

      For most of human history, war has been regarded as natural and inevitable as rain. Because we are contradictory creatures (intelligence is the ability to overcome our contradictions), war is most highly regarded when waged in the name of ‘peace’. Peace is the unnatural state. It can only be established in a space which has been bloodily carved out of Nature’s world of eat-or-be-eaten, and it can be maintained only while its perimeters are guarded with deadly force.

      Thinking ourselves superior to those we destroy is a salve for our conscience, and not much else. It is not the why. The why is because that is how this world is made, and it springs from how we were made to become dominate in this world. That is the hard truth.

      A superpower will always be waging war at some level of intensity. Even if merely to maintain stasis. The perk of being a superpower is the power to keep the battlefields away from your homeland. That is not an entirely good thing in terms of maintaining public support for the endless war. If there is not a Japan to dupe into staging a hopeless attack on your obsolete warships, you have to arrange for a Gulf of Tonkin, Kuwait invasion, or 9/11.

      That’s the way humans and especially nations of humans have interacted since recorded history. This inescapable truth is why some have dreamed of Utopia, but of course no set of wise rulers or words engraved in stone can change the proclivities of the human creature. We are predators, we are competitive, and our nature will shine forth.

      Please don’t shoot the messenger…

      • Hasn’t “Darwin’s” theory of survival of the fittest been sufficiently debunked? Hasn’t it been proven that all things in the Universe work in concert to survive and thrive? There may be a subspecies of predators but the masses are not. The masses simply believe the lies and follow the minority predator. If we were all predatory in nature then why are we not all robbing and killing our neighbors? Why do we bother teaching our children to be respectful of one anothers person and belongings?

        • I realize that I contradict myself. The question I have now is, if people were not actively taught that their ethnicity or religion was superior to others, would the majority still be predatory? Is it really in our human nature? I don’t think it is.

          • Your premise that survival of the fittest has been “debunked” comes from where-I-don’t-know, but certainly not from the natural world. I live in the desert, surrounded by magnificent predators. While there is a perhaps a certain symbiosis between predator and prey in terms of population control and culling of the weak and sick from the herd, the fact remains that one eats the other. If you think human beings have inherently evolved into some higher and more enlightened state which negates their predatory instincts, I can only surmise you have taken the veneer of civilization far too seriously.
            God forbid you should find yourself and your children starving or dying from lack of shelter, while those essentials are at hand but claimed by others. You will ask, beg, steal if possible, but if all else fails, you will resort to force if the opportunity exists. You will, so help me. Beneath that recently-developed cortex (recently in evolutionary terms) is the brain of the most proficient predator nature nature has produced since the Great Extinction. It will take over when the cortex runs out of options. Predation is our fall-back survival strategy, because it is at the core of our nature,

            We have a society of laws and rules of conduct because our intellect (cortex) progressed to a point where the benefits of cooperation could be appreciated and adopted and predation could be mostly suppressed as long as our basic needs are met. Even wolves form packs for mutual benefit. Yet many walk among us, and rule over us, which are predators who have learned to use the veneer of civilization as camouflage.

            War is “organized” predation, though battlefields often lose much of the organized aspect in the heat of battle, or slaughter. The 20th century was marked by the most savage and prolific predation of man upon man in recorded history.

            Much of what issues forth from government institutions of the world are ten-dollar words used to paint over acts of predatory aggression. Naked truth is beyond our capacity to reconcile with our pretensions of having conquered the Beast within, long ago.

            Don’t for a minute think I hate what I am, what we all are. I think people are precious and wonderful for the most part. In terms of our inner dichotomy, we are what it is necessary to be in this world. This condition is neither neither good nor evil, it just is.

      • …the ability to overcome our wha now?

        You should have been on the pre-game show last night. The Seahawks, ready to face the Broncos in this years biggest event: The Super Expression of our Proclivities XXXVIII. Get ready human machines, to let your ugle nature shine forth. Throw out your contradictions. Yeah, stuff em’ down. Way down. Cause tonight, we’re going to eat and be eaten by our true predator nature.

        With some low eq and a slight verb, you’d be scary as hell with that line. But, I hope we have more than one proclivity. Is it possible that the tools we use depend on environmental contexts, such as scarcity of food/shelter and/or availability of psychologists and free-love partners? Did they have violent video games back in the stone age?

  11. avatar Edward Rutland says:

    Dear Sibel
    Keep pressing for the jugular.
    You almost alone, and a woman, take the battle to the heart of the struggle.
    Please take a look at Charles Savoies’ work: http://silvermarketnewsonline.com/articles/WhoControlsTheGoldStealing_Savoie013114.pdf
    Very best wishes
    Ed Rutland

  12. Knarf, have you seen any of those “magnificent predators” in the desert where you live band together to kill as many prey as they can, or do they just kill what they need to eat?

    It isn’t that “…human beings have inherently evolved into some higher and more enlightened state which negates their predatory instincts,…” but that humans have devolved to where our predatory instincts have overcome our survival instincts.

    We didn’t build nuclear power plants because we were hungry and needed the energy to grow food. We had plenty of food and plenty of energy, more than humans have ever had before–enough that people throw away tons of perfectly good food, leave lights burning in empty rooms, and don’t think twice about it. We built nuclear power plants because we liked having more energy than we needed and wanted still more, even at the expense of polluting the earth with tons of high level radioactive wastes that we don’t know how to store safely, and even to the extent of allowing aging, unsafe, poorly designed nuclear power plants to continue to operate until they fail and pollute the entire planet, like Chernobyl and Fukushima.

    You write, “Predation is our fall-back survival strategy, because it is at the core of our nature,”

    Whether or not it is at the core of our nature, it is not a survival strategy if it threatens our survival.

    You write, “…we are what it is necessary to be in this world. This condition is neither neither good nor evil, it just is.”

    That would be a rational argument if our predations were necessary, or if they helped to ensure our survival. As Sibel explained, we have killed millions of innocent civilians but gained nothing from it, and if anything, further endangered our survival.

    We have both cooperative and competitive abilities. What we lack is the ability to know which one will serve our survival interests best in any given situation.

    It is barbaric, not civilized, to kill millions of innocent people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to steal their coltan so that we can have cell phones. It is barbaric, not civilized, to spend millions of dollars on sports and entertainment, when millions of people are starving. It isn’t the hungriest and neediest who are doing the killing, it is the least hungry and the least needy.

    I know of only one example in nature that compares to us, and that would be animals infected with rabies, who will bite other animals they normally would not have any reason, need, or instinct to bite. When animals become rabid, the disease outweighs all their normal and natural instincts, causing them to wreak havoc even when it isn’t in their own best survival interests.

    Civilization may just be a modified form of rabies.

    • Many great points in that comment, mymarkx. Thanks! It is important to counter the faux survivalist narrative, that is used to justify the wars of aggression, pacify dissent, and brainwash young, energetic minds. It reminds me a lot of manifest destiny and individualism, which are essential themes in the mainstream history books. Tough love and disciplinarian romance novels distract us from recognizing reality.

    • “Civilization may just be a modified form of rabies.”

      What nonsense. Civilization starts at the family and works outward to corporations and cities and nation states. It is no more or less corrupt than we are.

      Do you participate in this “disease” of civilization, or just live in a cave with a smartphone?

      The basic problem is not how we apply political science. The problem is us. The great calamities of war and failures of boiling water reactors trace back to intellect being applied corruptly, cowardly people following orders they know are evil, and sometimes just foolishness.

      The choice we have individually is to behave as if survival of the fittest is an acceptable moral code, or choose another path. The ability to make that choice is hard-wired into us, even in how our brains are compartmentalized. It is a perpetual contest. In my view, every time someone, anyone, chooses to act unselfishly even when no one is watching, that is a victory. It strengthens an inner muscle which is then more likely to prevail in future choices, regardless of the circumstances.

      I presume most who participate here find what I said above to be obvious, and would say ‘Yes we all want to do the unselfish thing, the question is a matter of strategy and tactics.’

      On that point I can be sure of one thing – Light is better than Darkness. Whatever the hell it is behind the PLANNED and ORGANIZED desecration of our educational and governmental institutions, whatever the conceptual framework is that rationalizes the inflicting of untold suffering caused by a completely phony “War on _____” (fill in the blank with anything from drugs to terror)….that damnable criminality needs to be dragged out into the sunlight. I’ve lived through its reign of terror for over half a century, though it began long before I was born. Nevertheless I pray to see it turned inside out before I die.

      It’s hiding in the dark and afraid, because it knows more people every day are beginning to sense it, even if they can’t agree on a name for it. In desperation it sets up and sends out a Snowden / Greenwald diversion, as if to make it seem like all the dark secrets are exposed now, so no need to keep digging. Somewhere among the verifiable documentation is a lie or a scapegoat designed to throw everyone off the scent, I’d strongly wager .

      This faux Snowden *apocalypse (*end of a system of things brought about by revealing of hidden knowledge) is a desperate attempt to forestall the real one.

      If we all knew something very important and relevant which we don’t know now, could it change our perception of ourselves and world so drastically as to reshape our inner tendencies? I ask because nothing short of that would actually change the nature of civilization. Civilization is us.

      • Good points, Knarf. Civilization is us vs. Civilization R Us, seems like one of the battles. So many define themselves by brands.

      • Yes, Knarf, civilization is “no more or less corrupt than we are.” But your previous comments seemed to say that we are hard-wired to be predators and are therefore without free will. Now you seem to be saying something different.

        I don’t live in a cave, but I’ve never owned a cell phone of any type, no less a smart phone. I never will. I’ve never owned a car. I don’t have a TV. I have a choice.

        Many have no choice because they believe in the family, in civilization, and in having what everyone else has. I don’t.

        I do make some compromises, such as owning a computer. But as few as possible. I know that cell phones require coltan which is obtained by means of genocide in the DRCongo, so if I wanted a cell phone badly enough to kill for it, I hope I’d go to the Congo and do my own killing instead of paying some corporation to do it for me and pretending I don’t know about it.

        You ask:

        “If we all knew something very important and relevant which we don’t know now, could it change our perception of ourselves and world so drastically as to reshape our inner tendencies? I ask because nothing short of that would actually change the nature of civilization. Civilization is us.”

        The answer is yes. Those of us who care enough to investigate and find out where our stuff comes from and the environmental and human damage entailed in getting it, are already aware that the planet has been polluted beyond the point of no return, and we consider this so important and relevant that many of us are trying to, as Gandhi put it, “Live simply, so that others can simply live.”

        Many people in developed countries believe that they need to have cars and cell phones because they have kids, and their kids are much more important than the poor black kids in Africa who are killed to get the raw materials for cars and cell phones. They feel that they have more right to luxuries than other people have to the basic necessities of life, or even the right to live, to not be killed because greedy people in developed countries want things they don’t really need.

        People who buy into civilization believe that they need all the stuff that the TV sells them. But there is a hierarchy of needs. You can only go for a few minutes without air, a few days without water, maybe a couiple of months without food, but you can live to be over 100 without a car, a cell phone, a TV, a washing machine, etc. And probably be healthier for it.

        The barbarian mass murderers who call themselves civilized think that poor people want to have modern conveniences. Some do, some don’t. The Zapatistas want only to be able to live in their traditional huts, and grow their own rice, beans, and corn, as their ancestors did for thousands of years. They don’t want to be forced off their land like other indigenous peoples, and forced into reservations, murdered, or have no choice but to become wage slaves for progress, development and civilization. They prefer the simple life that has sustained their people for millenia.

        While many people are trying to get the latest model smart phone, I’ve refused cell phones when people tried to give them to me, or even to pay me to have one. I know where they come from, I don’t need one, I don’t want one, and, unlike many, I have a choice. I have, at least in some matters, a modicum of free will. Many do not because they believe that it is in their nature to possess, to dominate, to do whatever it takes to be on top–the top predator. And since that’s what they believe, that’s what they are.

        I believe that I don’t have to do what everyone else does, that I have the right to think for myself and to make my own decisions. So that’s me. Perhaps we’re a different species?

        Or perhaps you were tamed, domesticated and civilized, and you never questioned it. They threw you into the arena and said, “Kill or be killed,” and you had no choice. Or did you? If you’d known it was just a game rich people play, getting poor people to kill each other, would you have aspired to play that game? Maybe you would have. There’s a bell curve. Some people are smarter than others. Some let themselves be manipulated and corrupted, and some, a very few at the very tippy-top end of that bell curve, do not. Had Sibel done what her bosses said, just kept her mouth shut, she’d probably be making a lot more money as a top national security advisor or consultant. Of course she’d have to do things that facilitated the genocide of many innocent people, but she’d be very well rewarded. If you go along to get along, you become part of the big machine, you are given a certain amount of power, and it corrupts you. Very few are smart enough to escape that trap.

        I made my choices when I was still rather young. And I paid for them. I was homeless for many years. I’ve lived in third and fourth world countries without running water, electricity, or any of the other amenities of civilization. And, believe it or not, I was happy. I didn’t understand that people in the rat race were stupid and greedy, so I actually felt sorry for them.

        When you say, ” The problem is us. The great calamities of war and failures of boiling water reactors trace back to intellect being applied corruptly, cowardly people following orders they know are evil, and sometimes just foolishness,” you are 100% correct. But not everyone is cowardly or corrupt.

        You are also correct when you say, “The choice we have individually is to behave as if survival of the fittest is an acceptable moral code, or choose another path. The ability to make that choice is hard-wired into us, even in how our brains are compartmentalized.” We are not hard-wired into being cowardly or corrupt. We make those choices.

        So you are only partly correct when you say that, “Civilization is us.” You might as well say that since capitalists believe that ‘he who dies with the most toys wins,’ toys are us. But not all of us are capitalists and not all of us buy into the destructive lies of the barbarism that calls itself civilization.

        What is important and relevant to know is that if we continue to compete, the planet dies and we die with it. That our only chance of survival is to cooperate. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that enough people will realize that in time. Time is running out faster than radioactive water is leaking from Fukushima. And instead of spending every bit of time and energy they can muster attempting to find a way to stop destroying our planet and ourselves, people are trying to decide which new cell phone to buy. But I don’t think that suicide is hard-wired into our brains. I think we once had a survival instinct, but civilization found ways to override it by appealing to the baser instincts of those who are stupid, cowardly, and corrupt. This was done in many ways, through patriarchal religions that glorified death instead of life, through cultures that glorified material things instead of living things, and through constant distractions like school, sports, entertainment, etc., so that people never got a chance to think, analyze, assess, and resist.

        We cannot reason with jack-booted thugs because they don’t reason. They follow orders, they do their jobs, they’re what Ward Churchill called “little Eichmanns.” If you try to reason with them, they’ll kill you. They’re like rabid dogs. They have no survival instinct. They can’t act in their own best interests. But if you know anything about jack-booted thugs, you know that they can be very civilized when they want to be. Elegant, even. Suave, debonair, good to their families, literate–and, of course, genocidal. Jack-booted thugs are the epitome of civilization. The only thing that can destroy them is their own lust for power. And that is going to destroy all of us, because they now have more power than they can control. they don’t know how to keep nuclear power plants running safely, they don’t know how to safely store radioactive wastes, they don’t know how to avoid a nuclear holocaust, they can’t stop the leaks from Fukushima, and, in fact, they never managed to completely seal up Chernobyl, which is still leaking. Did you read the recent news stories about how the military had to fire a lot of nuclear personnel because they were cheating on their qualification tests? There are no smart people in a stupid bureaucracy–smart people either leave or get kicked out.

        Sibel Edmonds is a very smart person.

  13. There is nothing new under the sun. Recall the attitudes of the 19th century Americans and their “Manifest Destiny”. I am reminded of the American Indian and the way they were thought of. Treaty after treaty broken by our Government, corruption, fraud etc. We have just gone “global” now because we need new conquests maybe??

  14. avatar Waldemar Perez says:

    Sibel,

    Right on the money when it comes on how Americans see themselves and the world. I know you rarely accept speaking arrangements, but we hope you could consider our PCC911 study group in Portland. We would like to invite you, even if you do not want to speak publicly we would still be honored to meet you. I sent you a message thru the blog contact section. I was thrilled when I learned that you live in Bend!!

    Waldemar

  15. Thanks, Sibel. You have described what I’d call the ideology of “white European colonial settler identity politics.” Below is a link to an article I read recently, describing how the great American writer Herman Melville characterized these historically specific, not ethnic specific, prevalent western ideology: .
    Peace. Ku

  16. Sorry, I forgot to list the link to the article on Herman Melville’s characterization of this pernicious ideology. Here it is:
    Ku

  17. I see. This comment space doesn’t accept links to articles. Anyway, the article I recommend is called “The Terror of Our Age” by Greg Grandin and is available at TomDispatch.com. Ku

  18. I have just finished reading the book “The Brothers” which is the life story of the Dulles brothers, John Foster and Allen. From the point of view of a privileged family, you can trace the evolution of American exceptionalism through these two men. Their efforts to overthrow governments from the platform of their law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell to their positions of secretary of state and director of the CIA under Eisenhower is carefully described.
    The worldview of these two men mirrored the image of most Americans during the period primarily after WW II in which the Cold War and Communism was the issue of this time. Fear of the domino inevitable spread of communism engulfed public opinion and led to the intervention in numerous small countries which was accepted by the populace. Accepting this worldview concurs with this article by Sibel. The cold war has been replaced by the war on terrorism. When will Americans ever learn to reject fear and security with freedom and prosperity for all?

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