Backtalk! Reap the Whirlwind

Backtalk! Reap the Whirlwind
September 26, 2001

From Albert C., regarding The Strait Scoop
January 23, 2003

I usually enjoy your columns which are insightful and witty. But I have to admit I was disappointed with the one you wrote after 9/11. I do believe America may have made mistakes in dealing with Yugoslavia, North Korea, Iraq, and Palestine as you have said. But the way you wrote about the issues was so one sided and biased against the US You seem to be forgetting the huge roles that Slobodan Milosevic, Kim Il Jung, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat played in each of these trouble spots. I thought this was unfair. But the real reason I wanted to write to you was that do you agree with China’s newfound position on world issues that line up with America’s. The Chinese seem to be backing the US hard-line opinion on Iraq and is helping to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula by pressuring the North Koreans to stop misbehaving (It is alleged that both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao loathe Kim IL Jung almost as much as George W. Bush does). Do you agree with China’s new pragmatic foreign policy which has replaced its original foreign policy that supported Third World revolutionary movements and governments by aligning itself more closely to the United States?

Bevin Chu replies:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Although we disagree, I am happy to see that we can disagree without being disagreeable.

You wrote: “You seem to be forgetting the huge roles that Slobodan Milosevic, Kim IL Jung, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat played in each of these trouble spots. I thought this was unfair.”

Antiwar.com’s many other contributors have covered the Balkans and the Middle East in far greater detail than I have. In any given week, one need only browse through the dozens of articles posted under Viewpoints to get the real story “Behind the Headlines”. I don’t think I really need to get into this one.

Beijing’s “new” foreign policy is anything but new. It is old. It is only “new” to the western media establishment, which has clung to long obsolete impressions formed during the early days of the Cold War. Western analysts agree in retrospect that Beijing’s alleged Cold War era “aggression” was never all that energetic, that Moscow was the real offender when it came to fomenting global Marxist Leninist insurgency. Besides Beijing’s foreign and domestic economic policies were completely overhauled when Deng Xiaoping took over. This is old news. Very old news.

Beijing is not really endorsing Bush’s unwarranted aggression against Iraq, it is merely not actively opposing it. The Bush administration knows this. The reason should be obvious. Prior to 9-11 China was being set up by Washington as the the greatest threat to America’s future in the post Cold War world. Now that the muzzle of Dubya’s gun is pointed at somebody else’s head, Beijing is understandably not eager to attract attention back to itself. That hardly constitutes endorsement of Bush’s megalomaniacal policies.

Advertisements

Reap the Whirlwind

Reap the Whirlwind
Bevin Chu
September 25, 2001

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
— Hosea 8:7

Executive Summary: When our Washington elites funded and trained Afghanistan’s Mujahadeen “freedom fighters” to harass the Soviet Union, America sowed the wind. On September 11, 2001, if our talking heads are to be believed, Osama bin Laden, one of numerous Dogs of War unleashed upon the world by our CIA, took a bite out of his former master. Like the ancient Israelites who ignored their prophet Hosea, Americans ignored our prophets George Washington and John Quincy Adams, and are now reaping the whirlwind.

Divine Wind

“For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds.”
— Hosea 8:14


The World Trade Center on Fire

The terrorists struck on Tuesday September 11, on a clear Manhattan morning. Two hijacked civilian airliners, one plane for each of the twin 110 story towers, were aimed directly at New York’s World Trade Center towers, and flown into them head on, “kamikaze” style.

An hour or so later, the two burning towers crumbled and disintegrated, one after the other, in agonizing slow motion, collapsing into roiling clouds of dust and debris before our very eyes.

The date the terrorists chose to launch their highly-coordinated surprise attack was no accident. It was not the result of tossing a dart at a calendar while blindfolded. September 11 is 9/11 or 911, the number the terrorists knew their shocked and disoriented victims would be dialing, begging emergency personnel to “Please, help me!”

Like criminal masterminds depicted in Hollywood thrillers like “Se7en” (1995, directed by David Fincher, written by Andrew Kevin Walker) or “The Bone Collector,” (1999, directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Jeffery Deaver and Jeremy Iacone) the terrorists were taunting us, anticipating each of our reactions in advance like an evil chessmaster. Even the names of the airlines targeted, “American” and “United,” were likely intended as cruel irony.

Fortified Cities

When the World Trade Center towers were first topped off in the early 70s, I was an apprentice at I.M. Pei and Partners uptown at Fifth and Madison. Even then, from a purely aesthetic perspective, I never cared for the WTC. They were featureless, scaleless white prisms with closely spaced thin vertical lines on all four elevations, and little else. Mies van der Rohe’s masterpiece Seagram’s Building is simple, elegant. The WTC towers were merely plain, boring. Nevertheless like millions of others, architects and laymen alike, I had gotten used to seeing them, and could no longer imagine “Noo Yawk Ciddy” without them.

Part of me said the images I was watching live on CNN weren’t real. What I was watching was CGI. Computer generated images. Special effects. Trailers from the latest big budget Hollywood blockbuster. “Independence Day,” “Armageddon,” “Deep Impact.”

Part of me however, knew better.

“So it finally happened,” I muttered to myself.

“Now do you get it? Finally? Now do you understand why libertarians have insisted the World’s Only Remaining Superpower could not get away with dispatching carrier task forces and stealth bombers all over the world, casually inflicting “collateral damage” from 15,000 ft. on anyone we labeled “evil,” blithely assuming the American public would remain safe and snug, immune from deadly retaliation?”

Our Founding Fathers’ Foreign Policy, A Strange Thing

“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.”
— George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

“[America] does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
— John Quincy Adams
Secretary of State to James Monroe and author of the Monroe Doctrine, 1821

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.”
— Hosea 8:12

Anti-interventionists get no satisfaction out of saying “We told you so!” The disaster is too horrific to permit gloating. But the fact is we did tell you so. We at antiwar.com, lewrockwell.com, fff.org, among others, warned there would be hell to pay for our uninvited, unwelcome global meddling, but neither wing of our One Party political establishment paid us the slightest attention.

Instead Benevolent Global Hegemonists on the right and Humanitarian Interventionists on the left portrayed themselves as sophisticated practioners of realpolitik, and dismissed libertarian anti-interventionists who quoted George Washington and John Quincy Adams chapter and verse as quaintly irrelevant ivory tower utopians.

Until a “nameless, faceless enemy” struck a crippling blow against America’s financial and political nerve centers.

Plant Melons, Get Melons

“You have plowed iniquity, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies.”
— Hosea 10:13

“Plant melons, get melons. Plant beans, get beans.”
— Chinese Folk Expression

Why did terrorists hijack Boeing 757s and 767s belonging to American Airlines and United Airlines and conspire to crash them into the White House, the Capitol Building and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.?

Why didn’t they hijack airliners belonging to Air Canada and crash them into Canada’s Parliament buildings overlooking the Ottawa River? Why didn’t they hijack airliners belonging to Aero Mexico and crash them into the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City’s Zocalo?

Why didn’t they attack Bern and Stockholm, European capitols geographically far more accessible from terrorist bases in the Middle East?

Plant Beans, Get Beans

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of steadfast love…”
— Hosea 10:12

The terrorists attacked America and not America’s neighbors Canada and Mexico, because Canada and Mexico, whatever their other faults, mind their own damned business. Canada and Mexico don’t hold guns to the heads of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Muslim states, demanding that they obey Washington’s high handed dictates, “or else.”

The terrorists attacked America, not Switzerland and Sweden because Switzerland and Sweden are politically neutral nations which have wisely rejected foreign military adventurism.

This is not rocket science. Even Bubbya ought to be able to understand this without “Diplomacy for Dummies” Cliff’s Notes thoughtfully provided by Condoleeza Rice.

Political neutrality, by the way, is not “isolationism.” As anyone who has ever heard of Credit Suisse and Ericsson knows, Switzerland and Sweden couldn’t be any more thoroughly integrated into the European and world communities.

The economic success of these highly civilized European powerhouses demonstrates there is nothing “unrealistic” or “utopian” about advanced nations maintaining scrupulously anti-interventionist foreign policies.

The political viability of these neutral nation states puts the lie to preposterous Blue Team assertions that “America has no alternative but to be an imperialist hegemon, because it’s still a dangerous world out there.”

Know the Enemy and Know Yourself

“Because you have trusted in your chariots and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed…”
— Hosea 10:13-14

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
— Sun Tzu on the Art of War

The Bush administration never saw it coming. Golden Girl Sovietologist Condoleeza Rice, “veteran” Cold Warriors Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, even bonafide Desert Storm hero Colin Powell, failed utterly to anticipate the terrorists’ “asymmetrical response.”

Chalmers Johnson, Charley Reese, Joseph Sobran saw it coming, a mile away. So did we at antiwar.com and numerous other libertarian and anti-interventionist websites.

Why didn’t they?

Bubbya’s “expert team of seasoned foreign policy veterans” never saw it coming because they didn’t know the enemy. They didn’t know the enemy because they refused to understand the enemy. They refused to understand the enemy because they were attached to their own narcissistic, self-serving, sophomoric answer to the rhetorical question “Why do they hate us?”

Their answer, in case you went to the refrigerator during Bubbya’s speech before Congress is, “They hate our freedoms.”

Right.

The real answer, as libertarians know, is the Islamic world hates us because our government has been waging undeclared war against them, directly or indirectly, ever since the end of WWII and the establishment of the Israeli state.

The Bush administration never saw it coming because they reduced the enemy to a “nameless, faceless evil,” to “Nintendo villains” to be dealt with from 15,000 feet using F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, or Donald “Darth” Rumsfeld’s trillion dollar TMD/NMD “Star Wars” Death Star.

Bubbya’s “expert team of seasoned foreign policy veterans” never saw it coming because as much as they might despise the enemy, he was nevertheless an intelligent human being, eminently capable of highly creative “lateral thinking” in his relentless search for ways around the American Empire’s overwhelming superiority in military hardware.

Bubbya, Meet Osama. You Have a Lot in Common

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
— Pogo the Possum, by Walt Kelly

With the World Trade Center tragedy Americans can no longer evade the knowledge that Osama bin Laden is America. Today’s America, that is. Not the vital American republic of our visionary Founding Father George Washington, but the decadent American Empire of George W. Bush, the latest in a tiresome secession of myopic buffoons to occupy the Oval Office.

Osama bin Laden is none other than Tyler Durden, the dangerously unpredictable, violence prone anarchist so deftly portrayed by Brad Pitt in the slyly subversive, mind-bending black comedy “Fight Club.” (1999, directed by David Fincher and written by Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls)

See:
A Film Review by James Berardinelli

We Americans are none other than “Ikea Boy,” the materialistic, conformist Nerd without a Name played to perfection by Edward Norton, who belatedly awakens to the fact that he suffers from schizophrenia or “multiple personality disorder,” and that Tyler Durden, the charismatic terrorist blowing up office towers in the city’s financial district is in fact himself.

Osama bin Laden is us, in every conceivable sense. We supplied him with training, we supplied him with weapons, we supplied him with funds, we supplied him with media coverage, we even supplied him with an enemy to hate — ourselves. And on one fateful Tuesday in September, we supplied our Victor Frankenstein monster with everything he needed, from jet airliners to towering skyscrapers, to wreak vengeance upon his creator.

The Lesson of History is… Nobody Ever Learns a Damned Thing from History

“In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels… I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression… or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations… that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism”
— George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Our self-appointed World Policemen now have two choices.

They can insist that “We” have a Manifest Destiny to rid the world of “Them.” They can denounce fellow Americans who reject war hysteria as “unpatriotic.” They can bomb the “camel jockeys” and “ragheads” back into the stone age — as if they weren’t there already. They can replicate the Russians’ mistakes in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and make new ones in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea.

Or, they can admit that the post Cold War world contains exactly zero strategic threats to the World’s Only Remaining Superpower. They can admit their “bipartisan” policy of making endless enemies abroad has now cost thousands of fellow Americans their precious lives. And they can “Come home, America.”

Do Good Ol’ Boys George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Armitage and Paul Wolfowitz, Good Ol’ Boy wannabe Condoleeza Rice and Odd Man Out Colin Powell understand the only way we can destroy the Osama bin Ladens of the world, is to stop creating them in the first place?

Libertarians desperately hope so.

But like George Washington, can libertarians, the intellectual heirs of our Founding Fathers, be blamed for entertaining grave doubts?

Appendix: Letter to the Arab American Institute

The following is a letter sent to the Arab American Institute following the WTC attack, slightly edited for style and emphasis.

To: Arab American Institute
From: Bevin Chu

Dear Sir/Madam,

As a first generation naturalized Chinese American, permit me to express my heartfelt sympathy for the plight of Arab Americans at this moment in time. I hope you believe me when I declare “I feel your pain.”

For decades Hollywood thrillers such as “True Lies” lazily and callously stereotyped Arabs as terrorists and nothing else. More recently the collapse of the former Soviet Union has prompted a search for a new Evil Empire. The leading candidates for this unwelcome typecasting have been the Arab world and mainland China. Neo-Cold War thrillers such as Tom Clancy’s “The Bear and the Dragon” now depict China and the Chinese as an implacable “Yellow Peril.”

The powerful Taiwan Lobby, parenthetically, wields the same degree of influence over our media opinion makers and government policy makers as the powerful Israeli Lobby.

The recent EP-3 spyplane crisis in the South China Sea prompted numerous radio talk show hosts and a notorious National Review columnist, who is not even a American citizen, but an Englishman, to demand the herding of American citizens of Chinese descent into WWII Manzanar style concentration camps, without prior evidence of criminal wrongdoing, purely on the basis of their ethnic origin.

Demands that Arab Americans be subjected to similar treatment were chillingly depicted in the controversial Ed Zwick political thriller, “The Siege.”

If America stands for anything at all, it stands for respect for the individual, for individual rights, individual freedom, individual liberty. America’s philosophy of individualism means that assignment of both merit and blame must be made on an individual, not collective basis. A person is guilty only if he commits an evil act. A person is not guilty merely because he resembles another person who committed an evil act. Truck driver Reginald Denny was not guilty of what four white LAPD officers did to black motorist Rodney King merely because he was white.

Americans of all ethnic backgrounds must flatly reject the indiscriminate lumping of human beings, both fellow Americans and foreigners into crude categories, and tarring them with the same broad brush of unearned collective guilt. To do so is the diametric opposite of everything that made America a great nation.

Americans must not in our rush to “Defend American values!” trample roughshod over the most hallowed American value of all — a deep and abiding respect for the Rights of the Sovereign Individual.

Sincerely,

Bevin Chu
Taipei, Taiwan, China