Water Man Spouts

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Critical Path Revisited

"Our climate crisis may at times appear to be happening slowly, but in fact it is happening very quickly – and has become a true planetary emergency. The Chinese expression for crisis consists of two characters. The first is a symbol for danger; the second is a symbol for opportunity. In order to face down the danger that is stalking us and move through it, we first have to recognize that we are facing a crisis. So why is it that our leaders seem not to hear such clarion warnings? Are they resisting the truth because they know that the moment they acknowledge it, they will face a moral imperative to act? Is it simply more convenient to ignore the warnings?

"Perhaps, but inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen. Indeed, when they are not responded to, their significance doesn’t diminish; it grows." -- An Inconvenient Truth; Al Gore

As I watched the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" last night, and considered Al Gore’s question regarding why "our leaders" appear unwilling to accept the reality of the climate crisis that confronts us, I was reminded of some information found in a book by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty.
In 2004, in discussions on the Democratic Underground on the Plame scandal, I noted that Prouty (who was the person behind the "Man X" character in the Oliver Stone movie "JFK"), recommends that people always ask not only "How?", but more importantly, "Why?"

Prouty, who served as the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy administration, authored the book "JFK." In it, he tells how "scholars of the evolution of warfare" have identified nine principles of warfare. The single most important is "objective." When we look back at the Vietnam war, we find that most of our military leaders were frustrated by the failure of Washington to answer the question, "What is our objective in Vietnam?"

A large number of people today believe that the leaders in Washington have again failed the nation, by being unable to identify, "What is our objective in Iraq?" We were purposely lied to about the "threat" that Iraq posed to the USA with its WMD programs. But, as the Plame scandal/Libby trial showed, there was no Iraqi WMD program that threatened the USA in any manner whatsoever.

Orwell knew that he "who controls the past controls the future." Hence we are witness to efforts by the administration to deny that they lied to the country about WMD, and to pretend that we invaded Iraq to "bring democracy" to its population. Yet that is no more true than the "mushroom cloud" warnings of 2002. Indeed, a group of people who would deny democracy in the United States during the 2000 election is unlikely to promote it in Iraq in 2007.

So what is their objective? Let’s look at some of the theories that Prouty identifies in his book. The first is the concept of a "power elite." Prouty notes that Churchill, in a conversation with friends, mentioned that there was a "High Cabal" that controlled events in the world. Prouty quotes R. Buckminster’s book "Critical Path" to explain the nature of this group:

"In our comprehensive reviewing of published, academically accepted history we continually explore for the invisible power structure behind the visible kings, prime ministers, czars, emperors, presidents, and other official head men, as well as for the underlying, hidden causes of individual wars and long, drawn-out campaigns not disclosed by the widely published and popularly accepted causes of these wars."

Prouty then describes how these "leaders are influenced by the persuasion of a quartet of the greatest propaganda schemes ever put forth by man." It is not the theories per say that he finds repugnant, but rather the twisted interpretation that the power elite uses to justify its sociopathic policies. Let’s look closer at each of these four, and consider it in terms of the power elite’s objective today.

[1] First is the concept of "real property." Prouty writes that this concept shifted to Europeans at the time that the explorers such as Columbus and Magellan found the world was round – and hence had a finite supply of resources – rather than an expansive flat with infinite resources. This resulted in a dramatic shift in tactics on the part of European powers: rather than looking to exploit others in trade, they began to colonize foreign lands, to ensure complete access to supplies of foreign resources.

One might consider the Iraqi oil supply had more to do with the Bush-Cheney invasion, for example, than the fictional yellow cake that was recently purchased from Niger. Likewise, in terms of preparing to meet the threat of environmental crisis, it is worth considering if the power elite has an objective? Is it more likely that they are simply confused by the science, and thus unable to recognize the reality of global warming? Or are they trying to pacify the masses, while they hoard the resources they believe will allow them to survive while others suffer and die?

[2] Prouty explains that the power elite is focused on the population theory of Malthus. This goes back to the basic concept that Thomas Malthus postulated in 1805: that humanity is increasing at a geometric rate while natural resources increase at only an arithmetric rate. Today, of course, we know that some resources are not increasing at all – rather, they are decreasing. Those who have watched "An Inconvenient Truth" (or read the book) know that Al Gore recognizes the problems that the rapid growth in the world’s population causes. Is it realistic to think that the power elite is unaware of these same issues?

Prouty writes that, "The Malthusian theory thus provides a rationalization for the necessity of somehow getting rid of large numbers of people, any people, in any way …" Look at the policies of this administration, and decide for yourself. What are their objectives? Preserving the environment, and protecting the public’s health? Or satisfying corporate greed? Were the neoconservatives in the administration protecting you from Saddam’s nuclear threat? Or were they invested in starting a long and deadly war between Islamic factions?

[3] Prouty describes how the power elite believes in the concept of survival of the fittest, contained in Darwin’s theory of evolution. This is distinct from the scientific reality of evolution per say. It is a twisted view that the power elite believes justifies their willingness to send, for example, the sons and daughters of the working poor to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We do not see any significant investment of the power elite’s children in these wars.

Is this a "class" issue? Of course it is. The power elite does not socialize with the middle clas, much less the poor. This president refuses to even attend the funerals of those soldiers killed in his immoral wars. Is it a "class" issue? Look at the scandal involving the quality of medical care provided for wounded soldiers. If the power elite cares that little about US soldiers, how in the hell can anyone believe that they view the Iraqi population as human beings?

Look at the lack of response by this administration in regard to the crises in Africa. Is that the behavior of responsible leaders? Or of a power elite that views the situation through the harsh, cold lens of "survival of the fittest"? Is it realistic to think this group will be motivated by human decency to confront the environmental crisis that Al Gore speaks of?

[4] Finally, Prouty notes "Heisenberg’s theory of indeterminacy, that is, that God throws the dice, and similar barriers to the real advancement of science and technology today." In other words, they have an excuse for every failure on their part. The war on Iraq has failed to reached the results that the administration promised? No problem – not their responsibility. Just send more soldiers to kill and be killed, and let the financial investment in death and destruction surge, as well.

Prouty states that Heisenberg’s "nuclear age theory" provided the power elite with the warning to make sure that "new scientific discoveries and new technology must never be permitted to overwhelm the status quo as precipitously as the hydrogen bomb had done." As James Carroll details in his fascinating book "House of War," the hydrogen bombs changed the manner in which the power elite around the globe could approach warfare. Consider the current tensions between the neoconservative movement and Iran. What is each’s objective?

When we think about the questions Al Gore raised, which are quoted in the opening of this essay, we might find it interesting to think about this quote from Prouty: "Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in charge of this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something – although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it – creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses."

Few people have expressed this fear as clearly as Antonin Scalia, when he spoke from his heart at the January 2002 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Scalia expressed his belief that God wanted the power elite to rule the United States, and that God’s desires were being challenged by people who did such evil things as vote for Al Gore in 200. Consider his words in the context of the theories Prouty identified: "The consensus has been upset by the emergence of democracy … the reactions of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it but resolution to combat it as effectively as possible."

The truth is that the power elite is no more capable of taking the actions needed to deal with the environmental crisis Al Gore speaks of, than the Bush administration is capable of bringing democracy to Iraq. A system can only produce of itself: as Malcolm X used to say, a chicken cannot produce a duck egg. We need to look at the system, to identify its objectives, and to recognize what it is and is not capable of producing.

In Prouty’s book "JFK," he provides a valuable response to those who believed that Dallas represented a coup in the United States. He describes how it was actually the system’s realignment, in response to the Kennedy administration’s attempts to change that system. In the decades since then, we have witnessed how the power elite crushes individuals who have challenged it. Yesterday, it was bullets striking down RFK and MLK. Today, we see the tactic of character assassination, such as has happened to individuals like Al Gore, Joseph Wilson, and the "swift boating" of John Kerry.

Our best option today is to look in another direction for solutions to our problems. There isn’t a "leader" who will provide us with "the answer." We will find it within those "vast populations" and "masses" that Prouty mentioned, and that Scalia so fears. And our strength will be found in democracy, as defined by the US Constitution, and particularly in the Bill of Rights. For that Bill of Rights, as John Kennedy noted on October 29, 1960, "is the guardian of our security, as well as our liberty."


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