Why Foreign Military Intervention Usually Fails in the 21st Century

1 Nov



When Nehru was taking a train on his return to India after studying abroad when he read of the Japanese victory over Russia in the 1904-05 Russo Japanese War. At that moment he had an epiphany, realizing the hitherto unthinkable, that the British Empire was vulnerable to Indian nationalism. An earlier understanding of the colonial reality by native peoples generally subscribed to the postulates of hard power primacy making it futile or worse to challenge a colonial master, although throughout history there were always pockets of resistance. This soft power attribute of colonial hard power by way of intimidation and a façade of invincibility is what made colonialism efficient and profitable for so long at the great expense of colonized peoples.


A traditional colonial occupation assumes that the foreign domineering presence, while oppressive and exploitative, refrains from ethnic cleansing or genocide in relation to the indigenous population. When settler versions of colonialism emerged in relation to the Western Hemisphere and regions occupied by traditional peoples that were without either population density or some kind of industrial capability, the occupier managed to achieve enduring control typically relying on brutal means to establish its state-building claim via some form of dispossession that successfully superseded indigenous identities. Thus the indigenous identity is marginalized or extinguished, and the settler identity is legitimized as the ‘true’ identity.


There is still a mysterious connection between military inferiority and political victory. It seems to defy common sense and the pragmatic wisdom of political elites that believe in the historical agency of hard power long after the empirical record casts severe doubt on such ‘realist’ claims. Of course, and it should not be overlooked, if an occupied people mistakenly chooses to risk its future by militarily challenging the occupier on the battlefield it is likely to lose, and may suffer extreme losses. Military resistance is possible, but it needs to be calibrated to the interplay of unequal capabilities and take advantage of elements of conflict that favor the militarily weaker side.


As Tolstoy portrays in War and Peace the extraordinary Russian resilience displayed in defeating and expeling the superior military forces of Napoleon’s France, it was a matter of tactically retreating to the point that French supply lines were stretched beyond their capacities to maintain their alien and foreign presence, especially given the rigors of the Russian winter; Hitler’s war machine experienced a similar devastating defeat at the hands of the outgunned Soviet defensive forces who also understood the benefits of withdrawal. In effect, there are tactical, geographical, ideological, normative dimensions of conflict that when intelligently activated can neutralize the seemingly decisive advantages of the militarily superior side that has the best weaponry. The history of imperial decline also illustrates the eventual neutralization of the sharp realist edge that had been earlier achieved through battlefield dominance.


The architects of colonial expansion made ideological claims that were able to give their economic and political ambitions a kind of moral justification. It was Europe’s moral hubris to insist upon an imperial entitlement premised on the supposed civilizational and racial superiority of Western peoples. Such a rationale for conquest and occupation put forward an apparent normative claim to govern backward peoples, and additionally argued that more advanced industrial practice make more efficient use of resources than did the native population.


In the period since World War II, considering the weakening of the European colonial powers, a determined drive for nationalist self-empowerment spread to all of Asia and Africa. Each situation was different, and in some the colonial power left more or less willingly after a period of struggle, as in India, while in others long wars ensued as in Indochina and Algeria. The wave of anti-colonial successes politically transformed world order, creating dozens of new states that reshaped the political landscape of the United Nations. The anti-colonial movement enjoyed extraordinary success in achieving formal independence for colonized people, but it did not end the role of hierarchy in structuring international relations and the world economy. The geopolitical ascendancy of the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as the capitalist world economy sustained on a material basis the exploitative and dominant relationship of the West to the non-West.


During the Cold War, geopolitical rivalry and American efforts at counter-revolution directed at left-oriented political developments, led to military interventions designed to impose limits on the exercise of the right of self-determination. The Soviet interventions in East Europe, such as Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 were emblematic of such a pattern within the state socialist bloc of countries. The United States relied on covert interventions whenever possible (as in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954), and resorted to military interventions when necessary to uphold its strategic and ideological interests. The Vietnam War was the most important example of a full-fledged intervention designed to prevent the emergence of a left-leaning government that would strengthen Communist influence in South Asia.


The United States enjoyed complete military dominance in Vietnam throughout the decade long war, having mastery of air, sea, and land, yet proved vulnerable to certain defensive tactics of guerrilla warfare. The war was lost by the United States in the end because its political system lost patience with its inability to establish stability in support of a Vietnamese leadership that was anti-Communist and dependent on the West. Some militarists contend that the war was lost on TV in American living rooms (seeing the body bags of Americans killed in Vietnam swayed public opinion) or because the military presence that reached a half million relied on conscripted troops that gave rise to a student led anti-war movement. In other words, the war was lost politically, not militarily.


Such an understanding is partly true, but it overlooks the role of national resistance in Vietnam, and attributes the outcome to the faltering political will of the intervening side. The great advantage of those national forces seeking to expel foreign occupation, even if indirect as in Vietnam where the United States was nominally supporting one side in a civil war, is its familiarity with the terrain and its far greater stake in the outcome. Henry Kissinger made the apt observation that in a counterinsurgency war if the counterinsurgent side doesn’t win, it loses, while if the insurgent side doesn’t lose, it wins. Such a statement, not surprisingly considering its source, overlooks the role of people, especially the greater steadfastness of those fighting for the independence of their country as compared with those seeking to impose an alien or foreign solution on a conflict. The foreign intervener calculates whether it is worth the cost, and in a democratic society, the mixture of casualties and the absence of a timely victory, gradually undermines the popular enthusiasm that may have accompanied the earliest expressions of support. Patience among the citizenry runs out when the foreign war does not seem to be closely connected with the defense of the national homeland. This became especially clear in the United States during the latter stages of the Vietnam War when the American public began to perceive a ‘credibility gap’ between the government’s claim that it was winning the war and a more sober account of a stalemate without a victorious end in sight. For the Vietnamese, this was not a matter of whether to give up or not, but how to continue their struggle despite their material inferiority and the adversities associated with the devastation of their country. The Vietnamese leadership was prepared for every eventuality, including a 50-year retreat to mountainous regions, being convinced that at some point the foreigners would tire of the conflict and go home.


The United States as global hegemon is incapable of learning such lessons or accepting the ethos of self-determination that has such salience in the post-colonial world. Instead it tries over and over again to reinvent counterinsurgency warfare, hoping finally to discover the path leading to victory. The American strategic community believed the lessons of Vietnam were to build better support at home for the war effort, embark on war with sufficient force to achieve victory quickly, and abandon the drafting of its military personnel from among its youth. The warmakers also tried to design weaponry and tactics so as minimize casualties in these one-sided wars for the intervening side. At first, the adjustments seemed to work as the adversary was foolish enough to meet the foreign challenge on the battlefield as in the 1991 Iraq War or where the military intervention was itself seeking to remove Serbian foreign rule as in Kosovo in 1999. There was enthusiasm in the Washington think tanks for what were thought to be a new triumphal era of ‘zero casualty wars.’ Of course, there were zero (or very low) casualties, as in these two wars, but only for the foreign intervener; the society being attacked from the air endured heavy casualties, and much devastation, as well as the demoralizing experience of total helplessness.


In the post-9/11 atmosphere of ‘a global war on terrorism’ this same geopolitical logic applies. The violence is carried to wherever on the planet a threat is perceived, and the victims are not only those who are perceived, whether rightly or wrongly as posing the threat, but also to the innocent civilians that happen to be living in the same vicinity. There is no deference to the sovereignty of other countries or to civilian innocence, and a unilateral right of preemptive attack is claimed in a manner that would be refused to any adversary of the West. The weaponry is designed to minimize political friction at home, exemplified by the growing reliance on attack drones that can inflict strikes without ever risking casualties for the attacker. Such weaponry allows war to persist almost permanently, especially as it serves both bureaucratic and private sector interests, and produces an almost enveloping securitization of the political atmosphere, destroying democratic freedoms in the process.


As the outcomes in Afghanistan and Iraq show, despite the enormous military and economic effort by the United States, the political outcome was disappointing, if not yet clearly a defeat. And the results are strategically worse from an American perspective than the original provocation and goals.Putting the point provocatively, many in the Washington policymaking world would be secretly glad if there occurred a second coming in Iraq of Saddam Hussein who alone could restore unity and order to the country. The American version of a civilizing mission was ‘democracy promotion,’ which proved just as unpalatable to the population being attacked and occupied as were the earlier moral claims of outright colonial administrations. Indirect adverse consequences from a U.S. perspective of these failed intervention included the intensification of Sunni/Shi’ia sectarian tensions throughout the region and the establishment of fertile breeding grounds for anti-Western political extremism.


The West also builds support for its militarist approaches to contemporary forms of conflict by demonizing its adversary, ignoring their grievances, whether legitimate or not. The politics of demonization that fits so neatly with ascribing terrorist behavior to the other also has the effect of rejecting diplomacy and compromise. Yet interestingly, there is a willingness to regard yesterday’s demon as today’s ally. This shuffling of ‘the enemy’ has been happening constantly in the setting of Iraq and Syria. The abrupt entry of IS on the scene is the most spectacular example of such a shuffling of alignments, having the effect of suspending the anti-Assad efforts of the United States and Europe.


There is more to these unlearned lessons than strategic failures, and being on the wrong side of history. These venture cause millions of ordinary people in distant countries to bear the terrifying brunt of modern weaponry that kills, wounds, displaces, and traumatizes. For the intervener the outcome is at worst a regrettable or even tragic mistake, but the society back home persists in its complacent affluence; but for the target societies, in contrast, the experience of such foreign military encroachment is experienced as swallowing a massive dose of criminality in a global setting in which the criminals scandalously enjoy total impunity.


Given the way elites think and militarism is structured into the bloodstream of major states, foreign military intervention is intrinsic to the war system. We must work now as hard to eliminate war as earlier centuries worked to eliminate slavery. Nothing less will suffice to rescue the planet from free fall to disaster.


In the end, we have reached a stage in the political development of life on the planet where civilizational and species survival itself depends on the urgency of building an effective movement against the war system that remains indispensable to sustain hierarchy and exploitation, wastes huge amounts of resources, and dangerously diverts problem-solving priorities from climate change and the elimination of nuclear weaponry. Unless such a radical transformation of the way life on the planet is undertaken in the decades ahead, two intertwined developments are likely to make the future inhospitable to human habitation even if the worst catastrophes can be avoided: globalization morphing into various forms of authoritarian and oppressive political leadership intertwined with extremist movements of resistance that have no vision beyond that of striking back at the oppressors. How to evade such a dark future is what should be everywhere preoccupying persons of good will.





66 Responses to “Why Foreign Military Intervention Usually Fails in the 21st Century”

  1. rehmat1 November 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Like Pandit Nehru, many people have come to similar conclusion about the West’s Zionist colonial outpost in Palestine, such as, Israel Shamir, Henry Kissinger, Peres and Ayatullah Khamenei, to name a few.

    “I’m concerned about the continued freeze in the peace talks. I’m concerned that Israel will become a binational state. What is happening now is total foot-dragging. We’re about to crash into the wall. We’re galloping at full speed toward a situation where Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state,” Shimon Peres,reported Israeli daily Ha’aretz on June 17, 2011.


  2. Laurie Knightly November 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Richard: Better check dates on Russo Japanese War…….

    • Richard Falk November 2, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      Laurie: Thanks for the prompt. What an embarrassing slip..

  3. ray032 November 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.

  4. ray032 November 2, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    The Atlantic article by Jeffery Goldberg quoting a high Administration Official calling Netanyahu “chickensh*t” for not even trying to reach any genuine accommodation with Palestinians, and for being all talk, but no action in launching a preemptive strike against Iran, is still having reverberations in more expanding circles.

    There is much “incitement” for war in the Middle East, The Ukraine and elsewhere in this world, including CanaDa. As I read The Atlantic article, the troubling notion entered my mind this whole leaked chickensh*t episode is the US inciting Netanyahu to man up and attack Iran instead of wanting the US to do it.

    ‘The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here’
    The Obama administration’s anger is “red-hot” over Israel’s settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.

    • rehmat1 November 2, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      There are no US-Israel crisis. It’s another hasbara crap coming out from a former Israeli military prison-guard turned into AIPAC’s political expert on US foreign policy.

      However, there crisis in Israeli media. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz published an editorial cartoon by its political cartoonist Amos Biderman showing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu piloting one of the so-called “two hijacked” passenger planes which hit the World Trade Center building on September 11, 2001.


  5. Albert November 2, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    How are we to translate this: http://www.mediamonitors.net/khodr49.html
    It may have been spoken in anger and that is, where most people make their most regrettable mistakes, In this link we cannot escape the ominous warning to the world, as to the ultimate Zionist intent. And it is congruent with Richard`s warning here, that inaction can and probably will result in an uninhabitable planet for humans and U dare say for all presently existing living things, be it plant or animal. The course Israel is forced to take by what appears to me to be the cabal of international bankers using their financial leverage, could very well result in exactly, what Richard is warning against.
    Dare to leave the highway of the monopolized MSM and read the logical explanations about history and especially the part since WWII, freely available on the internet and there one gets to read the even pages of history, that the MSM and official historical writings do not mention.

  6. rehmat1 November 2, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Never mind the US-Israeli relations have hit rock-bottom. Never mind Israel is being condemned by people around the world. Never mind Israel is losing support among Christian Evangelicals for the first time. However, the Islamophobe founder and chairman of 1.8 million Christian United for Israel (CUFI) ministry, pastor John Hagee, says his group’s support for Israel is stronger than ever.

    “We want to send the message to the world and to the Jewish people that Christians are standing up for the state of Israel and the Jewish people at home and abroad,” Hagee told 5,000 of pro-Israel Christian evangelicals who attended the 33rd annual “A Night to Honor Israel” meeting at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

    When it comes to the current “existential threats” to the Zionist entity including Hizbullah, Hamas, Syria, Iran or even ISIS, Iran has always been on John Hagee’s mind. On July 19, 2011 while addressing CUFI meeting in Washington DC, Hagee warned Iranian president Dr. Ahmadinejad not to threat the Zionist regime. “Mr. Ahmadinejad, don’t threaten Israel. What you do to the Jewish people, history proves, will be done to you,” Hagee said.

    “We are sitting on pins and needles, before November 24th, waiting for the decision (P5+1 and Iran negotiation) to come down on Iran’s nuclear bomb efforts, and we all have this deep concern that it is going to be a negative decision as far as Israel is concerned. We fear that America will once again be very conciliatory to Iran, and let them go forward with their maniacal nuclear plans,” Hagee told his sheep this time.

    US-born Israeli ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, also addressed the anti-Christ loving crowd. However, instead of apologizing for his Talmud for insulting Jesus and his mother, Dermer’s entire speech was focused on Iran’s nuclear program.

    “Folks. I don’t know if there will be a deal with Iran next month, but Israel is very concerned. We are concerned because a year ago some hoped that the tough sanctions regime on Iran would only be dismantled if Iran’s nuclear weapon program was dismantled. Today, the international community is prepared to make a deal that would suspend and ultimately lift the sanctions. But no one is talking about dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapon program,” dermer said.

    David Brickner, executive director of pro-Israel group ‘Jews for Jesus’ said in Phoenix on March 2, 2009, that two most powerful evangelical organization; International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and ‘Christians United for Israel (CUFI)’ are run by Zionist Jews. The first is run by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the second by David Borg.


    • Kata Fisher November 3, 2014 at 8:50 am #

      I have a reflection:

      The same satanic power that has implemented and performed Holocaust over the Jews – this same satanic power have also worked in those who persisted in forming a “state” of Israel – those who were in satanic seals and/or blasphemy of God’s Spirit in bloodlines and/or personal irrevocable sins.

      John Hagee is a heretic and a racist, according to that which is said among authentic US Church-Charismatic, in private (John Hagee has some satanic spirits that he has to get rid of, as he is at the service of that convenience).

      While there are few outstanding Evangelical churches in US, most of US-evangelicals and worldwide planted Church by them is a “fall of” from Faith and Order of the authentic Church (protestants and non-protestants who are in Spirit of God understand this very well, and they are in perfect liturgical Order with their gifts-spirituals).

      The waves of Azusa street charismatic disorders were no joke/funny story/tale from the perspective of the Church-Charismatic (individually and corporately). If Church (protestant or non-protestant charismatic) can’t confirm this fact – they are not authentic and/or undefiled by satanic spirits as charismatic-Church.

      John Hagee is offspring of that Azusa street charismatic disorders –just as many others who are the “sea” from which beast comes out from.

      Further, we need to understand that Zionism, in essence, is created in nothing else but the same power of these those who were in satanic seals and/or blasphemy of God’s Spirit in bloodlines and/or personal sins that are irrevocable. Zionism implemented is in satanic power—that is visible. This, however, does not mean that all Zionist are offspring (seed) of the Beast / “Anti-Christ”, and it does not mean that these people cannot be in condition of repentance and be redeemed at some point in time.

      We know that the state of Israel has been created by the violation of UN /charter and that it was in a lawlessness accomplished. What was lawless then is also lawless now, illegal things are illegal and do not become legal, at all. The conditions for legal completion have to be utilized, and illegal conditions will not.

      We must note this:

      Powers of Anti-Christ is Anti-Christ, and reality of that spirit is as real as reality of existence of our God Jehovah Sabaoth.

      In apostolic writing (that reflects on prophetic writing of Daniel, the prophet) we understand that the evil-spiritual in natural can become that powerful that even will deceive God’s elect, if it everlastingly only could…and would even attempt to change the seasons and times.

      Kingdom/s of Antichrist is visible in this point in time, and is real as visible and real was Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a Statue … It is “Iron foot” and a toe. The feet were of Iron, in fact, and no refined gold for a reason. (It also tells us a story about a gospel that was/is worthless).

      You will notice that dispersion of Gentiles end’s up as a sea from which Beast arises (in spiritual and natural). With that, we have no questions about things that are taking place in our time that, in fact, is very near to the End-Times. Perhaps, one, two, or who knows how many more “counterfeit-church” killing cycles have to take place before we can see the End itself.

      You will notice that Islamic kingdoms/nations who have made alliances with those satanic powers that come trough “counterfeit-church” are actually illegitimate Israelite (as Muslims).

      Prophetic line of Judah’s tribe and Abraham trough Hagar is under divine providence throughout the Church age and it is a great nation (more than a donkey trough which God rebukes the prophets of Ball), and are those who in fact have protected authentic Jews throughout ages from satanic Christians. The glory that was seen trough Islam, in fact, was that, as well as clean/undefiled science that was free from satanic spirit’s of witchcraft. Unlike the Western Churches that is under same woes and/or destruction as ancient Pargamus — Pargamus as location of Satan and his throne at the time that John sees Jesus of Nazareth, and receives the last Apostolic Revelation of the first generation of Christianity.

      You will have to understand that they were Church-Charismatic undefiled and deceived by Satan while all around them it was.

      Wisdom of authentic Islam in Holy Land would in fact be as always recognition of abuse of authentic Jews that are in Holy Land and elsewhere, and start to be becoming priest for them due to Zionist regimes as well as false Church abuse.

      I have to make a note: I am not sure why Israel’s Ambassador would be in fellowship with false-church.

  7. Laurie Knightly November 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    This one still has the wrong date on R J War……….

    • Richard Falk November 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Is not 1904-05 the correct date? I did change the text.., but maybe the link goes to earlier version..

      • Laurie Knightly November 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

        I show two versions of the date but my computer tech abilities have limitations – should be OK. The comment section has the correction.

        As to ego leak concerning such slips, I was addressing a discussion group recently regarding the horrors of our current military wounded in US wars of aggression. I had enlarged a photo of a soldier with a face burned and mutilated beyond recognition. I then informed them that an IUD had exploded in his face. It will take a bit of time for me to live this down.

  8. lehrerdan November 3, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    Reblogged this on ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK.

  9. Kata Fisher November 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Can a Rabbi or someone else who is spiritually mature make sure that Ambassador is doing fine now, and in future –just in case that Ambassador may have accepted some counterfeit ministry while at that gathering, and start feeling not himself. If there is any spiritual oppression; he needs to understand what it is, and celibate priesthood who are Charismatic may correct that without any difficulty.

  10. Gene Schulman November 4, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I seem to have been dropped from your blog’s mailing list. I have received nothing since I last wrote you and received your explanation about the gap in your posts. Now, I see that a new post has appeared on Nov. 1st about military interventionism which I also did not receive in my inbox. I found it just by chance when I googled you. Nor have I received any comments to it. How do I get back on your list?

    Hope you’re enjoying your visit down under.

    Warm regards,


    • Richard Falk November 4, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Dear Gene:

      I do not know how this happened. I didn’t do a thing, and have no idea how to undo what I didn’t do. I suggest you
      re-subscribe. Actually, we leave this afternoon for NZ..Hope all is fine.

      warm greetings always,


  11. Jane Wasson November 4, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    Wrong dates for war.

    • Richard Falk November 4, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks. I have corrected, but maybe it does not appear on the text available to you. It was ‘a senior moment’ I am afraid.

  12. Robert J. Burrowes November 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Hi Richard

    Couldn’t agree more: ‘We must work now as hard to eliminate war as earlier centuries worked to eliminate slavery.’

    One initiative that might appeal to you and your readers is ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com/

    In appreciation; Robert Burrowes

  13. Gene Schulman November 5, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    Strange. Still unsubscribed. I checked the boxes to receive new comments and notification of new posts, but did not receive above. If any of you tech experts can guide me, I’d appreciate it.

    Bon voyage, Richard


    • Richard Falk November 6, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Maybe send a message direct to WordPress. I am sorry about this annoyance, and hope a techie comes to your rescue!

      Here in NZ the birds and trees are exotic, and the people nice!

  14. Christopher Rushlau November 6, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    May I comment on your recent speech at the Palestine Center in Washington on the point developed here as to interventionism: that the indigenous win by patience, perhaps because they have no place to retreat to? You said at the Center that this explains the failures of European colonialism post-WWII but that it did not explain internal developments (which need not lead to victory for law and morality), that there is, in effect, no intrinsic dynamic to law and morality as a social principle except when excited by racist passions. I use “racist” in the widest sense, speaking from Maine where there is a quite clear racial divide (dividing humanity into two races) between local people and summer people, albeit many of the summer people live here year round, staff the planning board in your town, etc.
    There is certainly an efficiency in organizing resistance to some group which is not familiar with the local terrain and history. Strangers always make clumsy tyrants.
    I was particularly excited, during your Palestine Center talk, by the Q & A from “Phyllis”, whom I’ll guess is Phyllis Bennis, who asked about this new president for Israel who wants “from the river to the sea” for Israel but also rights for non-Jews. You didn’t yield a millimeter even after her follow-up.
    If the success of indigenous movements at expelling European settlers (but already an error appears: most of the liberated nations are fully under the grip of what I must call neo-colonial regimes which not only run the places for the benefit of outsiders but force the locals to pay the cost–just as in Maine, in fact) is a quantitative, not qualitative, thing: the relative efficiency of organizing against a group which doesn’t know the terrain in all senses of the word: then indigenous democratization, if I may use that term to describe the ascendency of law and morality over battlefield efficiency, should be the dynamic everywhere always.
    I mean, this all raises the question of what law and morality are, or specifically, how we know what they are. Two things must be said: there has to be an internal “compass” in every person not only for morality but for law, and something about social organization in the generic human group tends to the rise of a culture of law and morality. If both were not true, such successes would never happen because the slightest threat would be more convincing than the deepest held conviction of dignity: because there would be no such convictions, especially as enshrined in culture (bit of a redundancy).
    So the defeat of the “war system” needs no qualitiative shift, but the progress of technology, etc., so that it is domestically as well as internationally more efficient to just pay for the damn oil, as it were, than to seize it–or as you would say, seize it and hang on to it.
    I have a screed about lynch mobs as the characteristic European social form in the late Germanic era, but I see it would be puffery in the present setting. There are no ineluctable social nor personal forces that doom us to brutality; there is no incorrigible cultural form any more than there is a generic human demon in every breast which tends to immorality and rapine. History is irrelevant as a guide to what is possible (I reshape the truism to say that politics is the art of making things possible). What the stranger misses by missing the local terrain and history, as I put it above, is the priority of listening to the two voices of conscience, which are: one’s own sensations of what is happening right now (as opposed to wishful thinking: “what is supposed to be happening”), and in particular what seems to be going on in the awareness of others (who are in one’s presence) as the result of one’s actions, again as set against any sense of a script which “they are supposed to be following”. Some student of Nietzsche said that his work was all a polemic against “the bourgeoisie who think that reality is scripted.” But I am launching into my screed.
    I close with a small witty remark about the well-appearing young man who steps into the ice cream parlor in the late morning and announces to the soda jerk that he has parked his very large, very expensive automobile on a small child and should someone call someone, he has to be on his way, and he’ll take a small cone with mint chocolate chip to go.

  15. rehmat1 November 7, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Lobby: Obama blackmails Khamenei on ISIL


  16. ray032 November 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Some may be interested in this 50 minute documentary on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 Six day war, and the cover up that followed.


    • Kata Fisher November 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm #


      Since there is no hope anything can be done by humans – what is to be done?

      I believe that these who are infused by other spirits/evil spirits, and are acting outside their human conscience against the Holy Land must be restricted. Let’s just give them over to Angels of God, let’s give them over to Angels of God –so that they are possessed by Angels and Arch-Angels of God. I believe that Angelic presence – the presence of Angels can neutralize the evil that is taking place in Holy Land.

      Those lost people cannot be in any communion with Sacred Species that is manifested in transformed grain of the bread and wine that is transformed by the mystery of the “blessed waters”. It is that “mystery of the water” that we take part in divinity of Jesus Christ. That is, by and trough the celebration of the Holy Mass as the priesthood that is in Spirit of God and the Faith of the Church acts.

      As you know that things that were written down and passed on by the prophets were hidden even from them and were revealed / made known to first Generation of Christianity that was Charismatic Church in God’s Spirit/Breath of God and Life, and was by that also explained by them what prophets have taught and passed on.

      The Angels will fulfill the commands and direction of God, but someone has to release them through prayer in Spirit of God.

      However, someone with charisma /gift spirituals that is manifested as pure anchor of Faith in the Church who is in Sacred Word and trough the Secret Word can demand by natural mind such thing, in accordance to the needs of the Times that ministry of Angelic essence and activity.

      I do hope that Archangels start to possess many and evil of theirs so that they stop unquenchable evils of hell coming trough those people toward Holy Land and all in it.

      I m afraid to pray and to miss-pray because in my heart I only wish that they are tricked and mocked by Angels of God…I cannot stop thinking about funny Angels of God and can’t even wait to be entertained by them very soon.

      • chrisrushlau November 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

        You make a very good point: we can only accept ourselves, so as to be in prayer, by accepting others. It seems to be an ancient idea that you should not try to pin down the nature of evil. “Evil is the absence of good.” “Overcome evil with good,” as it says, what, in Romans 12. The essence of love is accepting, receiving, letting God be God. As Karl Rahner, who made the study of knowledge his life’s work as a theologian, said, “It is not so much that we know as that we are known.”

      • ray032 November 9, 2014 at 5:50 am #

        Kata, there is always hope! As Paul wrote, though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
        And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all Faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing.
        And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profits me nothing……………And now abides Faith, Hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love. 1Corinthians 13

        Individuals can have much Faith and Hope, but without the individual voluntarily performing simple acts of Love with all those in their immediate environments, this world will not get better.

        I share this outlook with Mother Teresa:
        The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

        Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

        You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

        For those who make it a priority and take the TIME to look for God, 1st within themselves, (the kingdom of heaven is within you) with Patience and Time, they will find much evidence of God, like a secret treasure map, with intriguing clues and signs all along the Way.

        It is a lifetime Journey, very short in years of the flesh, but those who overcome the self-seeking ways of this world, advance to the next Dimension, to be a co-Creator with God for Eternity.

        Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
        To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and AM set down with my Father in his throne.
        He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
        Revelation 3

        Let all those that seek You Rejoice and be Glad in you: let such as Love Your Salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. Psalm 40

        You have loved Righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the Oil of Gladness above thy fellows.
        Hebrews 1

        On touching Angels, it also says in Hebrews, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13

        This says to me Spirit Angels are travelling incognito among humans in humans.
        That same idea is in the account of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the end of it all. Neither the sheep or the goats recognized Christ travelling incognito, but the sheep did the right thing, naturally! Matthew 25

        WE also have to keep all that in perspective.
        John gives more insight into the nature of Angels in the Revelation, mentioning it twice, so people might understand:
        And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19

        And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
        Then he said to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
        Revelation 22

        WE know the war between the Angels in heaven started with Lucifer thinking he was so much better and superior to the humans God created, commanding Angels should be ministering Spirits for those humans who shall be heirs of Salvation. Lucifer and his like minded followers rebelled against that Commandment of God and the wars among humans continue to this very Day.

        The Nazis had that kind of superiority thinking towards Jews, and unfortunately, the Jews now have that kind of superiority thinking toward the Palestinians.

        All the “Signs” are indicating humanity may have arrived at the climax of it all.

        Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
        Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
        For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
        Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
        Ephesians 6

      • Richard Falk November 9, 2014 at 9:16 am #

        Ray: I find these readings of Christian scripture to be illuminating, and historically relevant. Richard

      • ray032 November 9, 2014 at 9:45 am #

        Richard, I’m glad you see what I am saying. Along the same vein, I made this comment in THE TIMES OF ISRAEL this morning:
        God Bless President Rivlin. Watching from CanaDa, and doing some research on him when he was elected, I expected his words would be to the right of PM Netanyahu and the extremist settlers. I am happy and relieved to see his Universal Jewish Humanism coming through.

        He is right to condemn fascist type violence taking root in some Jews intimidating other Jews not having the same outlook or value systems in THIS YEAR OF THE LORD 5775

        In the Year of the LORD 1862, long before The Law, Nations, Abraham, Israel and Jews, Christians or Muslims, Jewish History records, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with VIOLENCE.
        And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
        And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with VIOLENCE through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
        Genesis 6

        The “signs of the Times” indicate humanity is come full circle, and history may repeat itself.

        I was really impressed, watching from CanaDa, when President Rivlin had the audacity and courage to say in Public, Israel is a sick Society. The hateful invective hurled at him for speaking a Truth the rest of the world outside of Israel, increasingly can see, proved the Truth of that Presidential statement.

        In just two words, he paraphrased the vision of the great Prophet Isaiah addressed to a Future Israel in the Year of the LORD 3175:
        Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
        The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.
        Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
        Why should you be stricken any more? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
        From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
        Isaiah 1

      • Richard Falk November 9, 2014 at 9:56 am #

        Thanks, Ray, for this further elaboration. I think that Rivlin was elected by the Knesset because he was a Zionist maximalist
        with respect to territory and biblical entitlement, without realizing that he was, and had been, a critic of the mistreatment
        of the Palestinians living under occupation and otherwise. I am tempted to write an open letter to the Knesset under the banner
        of “beware of what you wish for!” Richard

      • Kata Fisher November 10, 2014 at 7:40 am #

        Hi Chris,

        You are right. When we are baptized into the Church — we are Baptized into the Spirit of God that is in the Church by which we reject Satan and all his works. 

        There are some specific instructions about application of Armor of God according to Paul. I do not believe that Paul was talking to an individual, not specificity — he wrote a Church letter and in that context he applied teaching about Spiritual warfare against evil.

        When Paul wrote a letter to one church, then all of the Churches (in corporate) and Church itself that was planted by Apostolic work have received the letters according to Paul.

        Armor of God is nothing that an Individual can obtain outside the Church itself — we can be under spiritual vows to accomplish a task without influence and overpowering of evil essence, as an individual, apart from the Church – while within the Church.

        Paul took vows that were spiritual (Nazarite vow, I believe) for the season in order to accomplish a task of an intention. 

        This was as same and also could be as different then what spiritual warfare is individually and/or corporately. In fact, as he (Paul) was applying a vow to himself in form of “Armor of God”; he still was praying to God, was asking God to take away the “thorn in his side (in his flesh) a form of spiritual attack — this is written down, and we understand this, without doubt. (We specifically know the reason why Paul had that “thorn”).

        According to the Apostolic Scriptures the Grace that was manifesting in Paul’s life and ministry had to be sufficient for Paul — that relationship with God gave a real meaning to all.

        Spirit of God infused Paul and his spirit that even his priestly clothing/things that Paul had on was radiating (and any other material/natural essence — that which has touched Paul was in ministering radiance by the presence of God’s Spirit in Paul. 

        Paul had no such thing as “Armor of God” as an individual in form of all “spiritual competencies,” (things learned, so to say ) for spiritual warfare necessary (as often a Corporate Church would have had in contemporary times) and still by and trough the Grace of God / the Spirit of God / trough Christ he had all “Armor of God” infused into him–all that was necessary for him in order to bear the burdens in the Church of their time. The same thing is applicable to corporately times, as Spirit infuses the Church for each task.

        The sufficiency of Jesus Christ was in fact sufficiency of God’s Spirit trough Jesus Christ and finished work at the Cross to continuously fill the Church with empowerment and guide trough the Spirit of God.

        To put on Christ also means to put on Spirit of God, in all His essence and manifestation in the Church, and let God be God.

        With that, we get back to the core meaning of sufficiency of Jesus Christ (individually and corporately) for the times in the Church itself, as well as vineyard (everything that is outside of the Church and Church-Faith). “Armor of God” is many gifts and/or spiritual competencies that are both the vineyard and the Church itself in the vineyard (I believe). This all which is anchored in is Spirit of God trough Love of God that is manifested in Jesus Christ — the Anointed One whom God appointed over His vineyard, and trough Jesus Christ the Church, too, is appointed over the vineyard that belongs to God. 

        Did you see watch this before?  

      • chrisrushlau November 10, 2014 at 8:47 am #

        Almighty God,
        Do you mind if I call you Al?
        Dying to oneself is a metaphor for intellectual honesty, not the tombstone, I mean cornerstone, of a cult of suicide. Headstone? Keystone? Look, if things ever get too crazy, you can just kill yourself and tell yourself that Jesus did this, too, in the same way, when things got too crazy. For God loves suicide, which is why Europe has now conquered nine-tenths of the world: for Europeans joyfully lay down their lives (atop the heaps of those they slaughter) for self-contradicting sacrifices (such as Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan). This may not have been what the historical Jesus intended, if there was such a person in any sense, but who are we to poke sticks into the political edifice of faith, probing back an hour in history let along the seventeen hundred years to the founding of the imperial Christian Church? You don’t make friends by asking questions, especially about obvious anomalies in positions taken by powerful people.
        What is courage? It is submission in sanity. If I might quote from St. John (Lennon) “Always, no sometimes, think it’s me
        But you know I know when it’s a dream
        I think I know I mean a yes
        But it’s all wrong
        That is I think I disagree”
        Spiritual warfare means insisting in your heart that God cannot go crazy. So when a thousand paths offer themselves to insanity, you simply refuse. All of them.
        If John Lennon, as it appears to me, committed suicide by living across the street from Central Park in NYC with a “I’m famous, shoot me” sign taped to his back, it reminds us that knowing something is one thing, doing something about it is another (an early lyric says “Got a good reason for taking the easy way out now,” and St. Paul (McCartney) teases John, I think, with “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”: Keith Richards said John was an edgy crumbling sort of chap (my paraphrase)). When you get a strong feeling that your encompassing political order is insane and has been for centuries, you are not allowed to rest easy in its assurances. What is the key mark of the insanity of European culture? Is it racism? My answer is that it’s even more obvious than that. It is violence. To be hard-hearted: that is true Europeanism.
        If we take the two-chunks-of-wood metaphor in Isaiah 44 and derive from that that the idolator divides herself as well into two pieces, I suggest that one of her two characteristic pieces is a stone and the other is all things dainty and precious, which she smashes to smithereens. This is the heart of the idolator. Whence comes the modern (Crusades onward) European battle-cry: “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
        Sin is just too much trouble. Rest easy altogether. Don’t leave anything out.

        Read more: Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever Lyrics | MetroLyrics

      • ray032 November 10, 2014 at 11:10 am #

        Kata, thank you for that video. I have saved it for future use in my Blog. In the meantime, you may enjoy the same letter sung to God’s Children.

      • Kata Fisher November 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

        I am glad that you like the video. Thanks for the music; I will be chanting all along..

      • Kata Fisher November 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

        Ray, I came across this:

        I understand this — do you understand this?

      • ray032 November 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

        Kata, I watched an hour of the video, but lost interest. Interesting speculation of events 5000 years ago, but irrelevant to my Faith in God TODAY through Christ.

  17. rehmat1 November 8, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    On Thursday, under pressure from Obama administration, the so-called International Criminal Court (ICC), a Zionist-controlled judiciary circus, announced that it would not investigate Comoros’ (Muslim majority nation in Indian Ocean) request any further or lay criminal charges Jewish soldiers for killing ten unarmed (nine Turkish and one American) aid workers on board a Turkish ship while sailing to Gaza in international waters.

    ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda even though admitted Thursday that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Israel committed war crimes in its attack on the Mavi Marmara vessel, echoing the findings of a 61-page report by ICC prosecutors. But Bensouda went on to state that the potential case or cases arising from such an investigation “would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.

    “In the final analysis, I have, therefore, concluded that the legal requirements under the Rome Statute to open an investigation have not been met and I am announcing that the preliminary examination has been closed,” Besouda said.

    According to the prosecution lawyers, the ICC decision proves that the Zionist entity has special status in regard to international law.


  18. Gene Schulman November 10, 2014 at 8:26 am #


    I disagree with your assessment of Ray’s readings of Christian scripture, I think they have no place in the discussion of military intervention. I wish he would offer his own opinions rather than God’s.

    I have sent you at your personal email address an article from the New Yorker about the Israeli president, and my opinion of his one state solution: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/17/one-state-reality

    Given recent troubles finding your blog, I hope this gets posted.


    • ray032 November 10, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      Now Gene, you may be a secular Jew, not believing in any God, but if you overcome your anti-Christ bias, you will see I cite scriptures from the Jewish Tanakh and The Common Era of Christ.

      As one person, what you think is what you see. You believe scripture, whether Jewish or Christian or Muslim, have no relevance to military interventions. Then you deny your own Jewish background.

      And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries?
      And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What says my lord unto his servant?
      And the captain of the LORD’s host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place whereon you stand is Holy. And Joshua did so.
      Joshua 5
      Military intervention in small spot on God’s big Earth has been continuous to this very Day.

      • Gene Schulman November 10, 2014 at 9:35 am #

        “Military intervention in small spot on God’s big Earth has been continuous to this very Day.”

        Yes, and God has done nothing about it. Might be time to try other tactics than faith.

      • ray032 November 10, 2014 at 10:26 am #

        Gene, The Bible History suggests God will let people do their own thing, whether it be for the good or evil, until the great Harvest at the end of the Age which all the Signs of the Times and trend lines indicate we are already standing at the threshold.

        If every sinner was struck down immediately for every sin, there would be no human life left on this planet. It would most probably be an amazing Zoo, though!

        And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
        Isaiah 2

        Proclaim this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
        Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
        Joel 3

        The hallmark of Democracy is Free Choice we are told. God cannot/will not force anyone to Love God. Neither can humans force anyone to love them.

        Of all the words and visions in the Jewish Tenakh and the Common Era scriptures, a.k.a. The Bible, this is the most important insight to me, and should be the goal of all Faithful Jews, Christians and Muslims.

        Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
        To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and AM set down with my Father in his throne.
        He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.
        Revelation 3

        In my life experience BC and AD, the many mini miracles that have helped me, and smoothed the way along my Journey of Life AD, are more than the hairs on my head. This a a Truth I cannot deny to myself, and it is irrelevant whether others believe me or not.

      • Kata Fisher November 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm #


        Isaiah 55 (v. 9-12)

    • Gene Schulman November 10, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      PS – I kind of miss Fred Skolnik and Rabbi Youdovin. I guess now that you are no longer a UN special rapporteur, they feel their job is done and have been reassigned elsewhere 😉

      • ray032 November 10, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        I miss them too, but even the Rabbi, being a Rabbi, had few spiritual insights to offer, even when I expressly asked for his views.

    • chrisrushlau November 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Here’s Where We Stopped Reading Dept. (typical column filler in the New Yorker, at least once upon a time)
      “To most Israelis and many Palestinians, a one-state solution is no solution at all.” If Remnick can’t be bothered to say “Israeli Jews” or simply “Jews” after already having pointed out there two million Israelis are not Jews nor Jewish nor practitioners of Judaism (there’s a helpful distinction), he can’t be bothered to have a good conversation with Rivlin, who hasn’t had a chance to say a word yet after, let me count the words: 3500 five-letter words from Remnick. I suggest that this here discussion about interventionism reaches its nearest approach to practical matters of a mass-political nature in the question of whether the US will complete its constitutional arc by engaging in the biggest, bestest, mostest pogrom in history. Racist wars are wars of revenge, and who offer themselves to be the next set of goats: those who set the current set of goats on its way down the chutes, with so-far disastrous consequences for the US let alone the constitution. So it seems to me that they should preempt all that by coming out firmly against racism, trying to get the US constitution back up in the air and flying right-side up, front-side foward. I’ll offer a tag phrase. Save Gaza.
      “It doesn’t take much to pull a trigger,” a saying from the Vietnam War, I think. What does take something is to ask what this war is about. “Interventionism” sounds like a liberal Protestant religious denomination. As C.S. Lewis said, don’t dehumanize the criminals by taking away their volition for the sake of “rehabilitation”. Wars are people attacking people. Why in this case? Why in the last case? “I thought reason was supposed to have something to do with this,” quipped a fellow National Guardsman once during an inane training exercise, and that was in the ’80’s, when the military hadn’t been entirely rotted out with lying.
      Save Gaza.

      • Kata Fisher November 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

        Now, I find interesting that you mention C.S. Lewis.

        Here Bono is has a saying similar to C.S. Lewis — things he (C.S. Lewis) has said when he wrote “Mere Christianity” — proposing possibility who Christ was, and was giving that proposition based on human reason that seeks an explanation: Who was Christ? — a furious God, who also loved, we believe. (This Godly anger was about condition of the temple / His Temple/ Temple of His Father).

        The Faith often ditches all reasoning / way of thinking and accepts the Way of the truth that is objective; that is Jesus Christ.
        I like to think on that what Bono said about Christ.

        Do you know Jesus Christ in His essence? The presence of God’s Spirit is with you — but do you know Christ Jesus who was and is?

      • chrisrushlau November 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

        If we’re going to exchange cliches, here’s my best one. I made it myself. Totalitarianism has two main tenets. It believes (acts as if it believes) that people are stupid and that God is stupid.
        Guns and torture chambers don’t make a totalitarian society. A willing public makes a totalitarian society. Or maybe I mean fascism.

        If the President announced that left-handed persons were deeply complicit in terror against broccoli, within a week a majority of Americans would favor airstrikes against left-handed broccoli-abusers.
        Why? What are they afraid of? To quote John Lennon again, more or less, from “Working Class Hero”, when you’re raised on fear, it’s your scale of value for all judgments, it’s your one-word definition for whatever happens: “frightful!” So how do you get rid of all the tension that builds up? You go out and have a nice firestorm involving some people somewhere, who knows, who cares.
        Charity starts at home. If you don’t like yourself, as an organism with a soul, you won’t like your brother, the nitwit, and if you don’t like him, you’re sure to cheer on the President’s courageous commitment to killing all the ISIS personnel, whatever that means.

      • Kata Fisher November 12, 2014 at 6:53 am #

        As you know: daily bread of charity, the love and peace upon a home — any other thing or love is debatable.

        Broccoli can and cannot be luxury-accursed at tables of plenty – to be going down some fascist’s belly can be a real curse for broccoli.

        Reflecting: When things are received outside of thanks-giving can become a real curse.

        It is best to stash up on ding-dongs and throw them toward the crowd…as we know that desserts are irresistible.

        It is written that there is time for every season under the Sun; there are times to kill. That is, to even kill when is in opposition to our own will – God forbid that we will to kill, as that will it is not in the image of God — that image which frozen state of rebellion will not nor can bear.

      • chrisrushlau November 12, 2014 at 10:07 am #

        Thank you for your oblique reply to my reply, etc., to Shulman’s posting of the New Yorker article. You have not mentioned my reply to you that begins, “Almighty God, Do you mind if I call you Al?”
        That is an homage to a Paul Simon song with the line, “You can call me Al.”
        Now, speaking of trivial coincidences, “Al” or “El” is a Semitic (at least Hebrew and Arabic) word for God. Speaking of being on a first name basis with God.
        But you are replying to its gist, which continued to emerge, and has now presented itself to me in a memory of a fifty-year-long nurse and Sister of Mercy telling me in a crowded dining facility that I had a negative self-image.
        that was thirty years ago. Just yesterday I was trimming some hedges for the landlord and thought I’d lost his little pruning clippers so gave him mine, then realized, though I’m still not 100% sure, that he had not brought them for me this year with his armload of equipment. I’d noticed over the years that occasionally, like an over-weening English gentleman, I would blame myself for something as soon as it appeared something had gone amiss. I was the usual suspect.
        You write, “That is, to even kill when is in opposition to our own will – God forbid that we will to kill, as that will it is not in the image of God — that image which frozen state of rebellion will not nor can bear.”
        Episcopalians are sometimes called “frozen Christians”.
        I heard a great sermon in a hoity-toity but liberal Episcopalian church–sort of a law school ambience–by a reformed stock broker who shocked, stunned, horrified, and debilitated or do I mean degraded, or perhaps dismantled, the crowd by delivering a sermon that was not only coherent but timely: the lesson, the constant theme of the bible is that God does not hate you.
        There was a fable circulating in the National Guard several decades ago, mimeographed or crudely photocopied, about a little bird that lived in a barn yard, deep in the manure. One day it decided it was through living in manure and stuck its head up out of its burrow, looked around, saw the blue sky, felt the fresh breezes, and decided it owed itself some freedom. Whereupon an eagle swooped down out of the heavens and ate it for lunch. Moral of the story. Stay in the manure.
        That is a story of glory and power to any bureaucrat or, more broadly, any sycophant. If there was no manure, there would not need to be sycophants to exclaim at the lack of manure anywhere around at all. And to shamelessly persecute those who seem to think such a thing as there being any manure anywhere at all.
        This reminds me of my Israeli legal joke, aside from the joke in general of Israeli law. We don’t, under our Basic Laws, hate the Palestinian. We just don’t like the Palestinian to be around.
        “Frozen rebellion”. Jesus the Physician. It is warm and cozy living in the manure. Hitler’s SS had revolutionary bureaucratic procedures: any soldier could go to the commander and complain, leap-frogging over the chain of command. I met an Italian barber who’d been in the Italian army in WWII who said the troops preferred German officers because they were socialists. As recently as my own military service, Italian officers were allowed to strike their soldiers in the ranks.
        If you want to create an abuser, abuse someone. Okay, sure. But why does the abuser turn the abuse on herself, by forming this negative self-image? Maybe the better question is, if this negative self-image is so obvious that Sr. Consuela could mention it to me after perhaps a total of one minute’s conversation over two episodes, but across, probably a fair bit of observation and gossip, why don’t we call it to the person’s attention?
        Is a negative self-image the “dress for success” of the modern world?
        Alright, in exactly what does it consist? What does it do with broccoli? Using myself as my main evidence, I’d say it produces what they call the beancounter personality: very good at detail work, but if you ask her what the overall task is, she’d say that’s someone else’s worry.
        Look at my little photo there, standing next to Nathar in Mosul, Iraq, in 2004. I was a cook, he was a casual laborer on the FOB, US army base, and I’d bet the entire human race, looking at the photo or at the two of us in person there, would agree that he was happier than me.
        It struck me the other day that “pursuit of happiness” suggests you should hunt it down and kill it. Happiness, as the hippie poster in the veggie-head doctor’s office said, is like a butterfly that comes and sits on your shoulder after you entirely forget about chasing it.
        Getting the desires of your heart in the land of the living is like that. Being a bean-counter on what you want is chasing with guns blazing. I’ve been saying for thirty years that joy is the main thing. I’ve had very elaborate structures in place for the maintenance and enhancement of joy. I could tell someone fifteen years ago, in a shocking case of the underling giving advice to the lady, that peace of mind is hard work.
        What does it actually take to “let go and let God”?
        I’d say, just to avoid looking foolish at having no answer, it probably helps to be around joyful people. We had a report of a joyful person in these parts around forty years ago, they got him, thank God.
        No, you want the essential Jesus, an odd turn of phrase, as if he were a literary character to be assembled from the story’s depiction in its many vague descriptions and evocations.
        I met a brain-damaged (sniper’s bullet in the Korean war) former Marine, former USDA biologist, former alcoholic, at the Catholic college after several family suicides, Carleton College, and a year of Peace Corps in Kenya (this, too, is a scam), who dragged me to AA meetings. All my best friends have brain damage. He told me about a group therapy thing he’d been in—this was about the most lucid thing he ever said to me, he was getting accountancy training and I was thinking of medical school and we were the wise old (he one generation ahead of me) Protestants in the sea of Mainer Catholic saints and sinners (Sr. Dolores, dean, to me in crowded hallway, “Some of the most evil men I’ve ever met were Jesuits”), and he felt he had some duty to prepare me to join him in bullying them for their own good, I’d guess–but he lapsed into story, you might say, and accidentally told the telling story. The therapist challenged this group, were they all drunks, all brain-damaged, I don’t recall, to do something silly and he said he just couldn’t do it.
        He’d won bible memorization contests as a school boy. He was an Okie who’d gone west in the Depression as an infant. “The best Marines grow up lying in the mud.”
        He couldn’t do something silly. The root is Germanic, as in “selig”, blessed.
        I can only report my own latest developments. You work and struggle, live and die, trying to get out of your own way, learning to trust yourself, your body, your brain (key rule for brain damage people: you have to use the brain you have), not clinging to unwholesome associations but neither being entombed in self-righteousness, and then one day you might someone who likes you like that, and now your world has re-booted. Perhaps.

      • chrisrushlau November 12, 2014 at 10:11 am #




        gerund or present participle: weening

        be of the opinion; think or suppose.
        “he, I ween, is no sacred personage”


        Old English wēnan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wanen ‘imagine,’ German wähnen ‘suppose wrongly,’ also to wish.

      • chrisrushlau November 12, 2014 at 10:31 am #

        “and then one day you might someone who likes you like that, and now your world has re-booted. Perhaps.”
        I left out a word which you may have been or probably were able to supply: “might meet someone”.
        So all Jesus the Physician has to say is, “Jolly to meet you.” Or act like it’s jolly to meet you. You can tell when someone enjoys your company.
        What is it that Western Europeans have against joy? …which requires immediate intervention? Which reminds me again of the cartoon in the New Yorker, I can’t remember if it was before or after it became the Jewish journal of opinion of record, which had a label and a line of dialogue. The label was, “Psychiatrists at breakfast.”
        The heavily bearded youngish man, looking somewhat Jewish in a New Yorkerish way, and his “dark” wife, likewise, I’d guess, are looking across the breakfast table at their infant who is wearing its overturned hot cereal bowl on its head like a helmet, cereal running down its head like golden Viking locks. The daddy says to the mommy, “Will you attempt intervention or shall I?”

      • Kata Fisher November 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        I read this. And I have no reflection expect this: the Priest, the Prophet and the King.

      • chrisrushlau November 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

        Maybe your reflector needs some polishing.

      • Kata Fisher November 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm #


        Bertone is my reflector — he can be polished.

        Bertone is in my living space where I long ago have moved in with few roommates… the time and space = irrelevance.

        I met St. Vincent in his grave (the bones of the martyr are in the altar– just buried there/engraved). St. Vincent looks indivisible…

        Oh…dry bones and their perishes…

        My reflections are off…as I had a real bad day.

        I have not stumbled up with a priest?, and I will not have spiritual exercises in public, and I will not fight with you in public…if you are the priest…I’ll be in confections of “he, he, he.” I really miss Bertone, and the human remains of the Church in Rome that are irrelevant.

        Remember, I too, am ordained…and polishing can go both ways…

      • chrisrushlau November 13, 2014 at 4:36 am #

        Clearly I am more polished than you: anybody could see that: it’s clear as day to me.
        I was running a phrase through my mind in anticipation of this moment: ritualized incompetence. It is the mainspring of the lynch mob as an intellectual enterprise. It is thus a branch of Thorstein Veblen’s “conspicuous consumption”.
        I like to say that social science is the study of lying, and idolatry is the mother of all lies.
        It’s jolly to meet you.

      • Kata Fisher November 13, 2014 at 10:29 am #

        You are right.

        Benedict has stripped of Bertone of his spirited gifts–pretty soon Francisco, the priest will have nothing to eat…while at burned down spiritual retreat…

        It’s season to be jolly 🙂

      • chrisrushlau November 13, 2014 at 10:38 am #

        The Great Powers, all in a tiff,
        Turned, as one, to their uncle, Biff,
        Who, rolling a joint, said,
        “Well, you know, like, God is dead,
        But I’d advise, ‘Thou shalt not miff.'”

      • Kata Fisher November 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm #


        Isaiah 55 (v. 9-12)

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