That was the name of a character in a fictional farce that I wrote many years ago. He was afflicted with dullness and unable to respond to new situations with new ideas. He depended on tradition to guide him, so he was Left Standing Backwards. He reminds one of the crooks in DC.
For example, somebody who is in control of a region’s resources, population, and military wants to keep it; somebody who is not in control of the same region wants to steal it. A kind of war ensues wherein both sides destroy as much of what each one wants as it can, namely the resources, population, and military.
This doesn’t make a great deal of sense unless one thinks in terms of violent urban gangland rivalries that lead eventually to one gang’s supremacy at city hall. On the world stage, a Stalin could reign supreme for years even though he was a known criminal who murdered millions of people.
There is a kind of ideology here that we common folks tend to overlook. It is the ideology of The New World Century. To the intellectual heirs of Lenin and Trotsky, resolutely standing backwards, the whole planet is a plum ripe to be picked, and they’re the ones destined to do it. All they needed was a pliable executive, an emergency, and the Pentagon. What they did not see in this frenzied vision of power was the Pentagon facing the same way, backwards.
I am no connoisseur of warfare, but since William S. Lind started publishing on the Internet I have followed his thinking on the subject with great interest. As he frequently reminds us, there were no Panzer Divisions, no fortified lines of troops, no navy, and no air force opposing US attacks in the Middle East. There was no siege of Stalingrad with a fixed artillery battle, no Omaha Beach, no Iwo Jima. From a military point of view, firmly standing backwards, our invasions of Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq really were a "cake walk." How could they be so wrong?
For an answer to that, perhaps we should look way back at our Indian wars, and then look carefully at what’s happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. Indians avoided open confrontation with "disciplined" troops, let them pass, then picked them off one by one from hiding. This idea is more or less codified by military experts like Lind as fourth-generation warfare, which as I understand it is when the natives don’t want you in their territory, they will pick you off from hiding. The Afghan people employed this technique to drive out the British (1839—1919), the Russians (1979—1989), and now the American NATO (2001—present), and it is being employed by the Iraqis.
The Pentagon seems to desperately wish for an organized enemy to hammer as in the good old days, but there is none, not even a Ho Chi Minh with a "regular army" in the jungle. Propaganda staffers crank out one bogeyman after another, then "kill" him off to demonstrate "victory," but the "resistance" continues.
There are two ways to respond to that. One is to kill all the natives; the other is to quit, go home, and buy what you want (oil?). While the second alternative makes sense, those standing backwards can’t see it. Instead they must destroy the infrastructure, pulverize entire cities, and poison the environment with radioactive dust. If they could they would build a wall around the people and annihilate them wholesale.
In Iraq the neocon cabal wants permanent military bases with a fortified central command center, and the state-corporate cabal wants the oil, but to get either or both they need people to live and work there. Radiation makes no distinctions, however, and no amount of political spin will make it go away. How will those enthralled with what they imagine the future will bring in the middle-east cope with the reality of their own chronic death?
Here in America another backward state movement is underway. While the media hypes elections, only a small percentage actually votes. Bush was "elected" by 15% of the population or less depending on how one measures the fraud. In any case, Bush did not and does not have any "mandate" from the people, no matter how you slice it. This reality is not lost on the neocon cabal (although all reality seems lost on Bush).
As the neocons look backwards fondly at Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler, they see the "solution" to the problem of an indifferent or hostile population at home in the tried and true methods of their intellectual ancestors. First, break the middle-class. Second, imprison and murder the ideological trouble-makers. Third, militarize the rest.
The Federal Reserve has done a fine job of beginning step one. The expansion of concentration camps is under construction for step two. And the legislation to draft every male and female between 18 and 42 is in committee to complete step three. Nice idea for, say, Russia in 1920, Germany in 1936, or China in 1955, but it won’t work in America in 2006 or beyond.
The modern reactionary totalitarian overlooks many factors, beginning with the size of human populations and the individual human tendency to pursue self-interested goals. While the Fed successfully pumped up the stock market bubble and the real estate bubble, which has affected both Europe and Asia, and consequently damaged thousands of marginal "investors," it has failed to significantly damage the reservoir of wealth in middle-class hands across the planet, not just in the US. People around the world watch the US, British, and Australian political march backwards warily and correctly translate it into their wealth at risk, which in turn translates into threatening the credit of the backward states. Concentration camps? A universal draft? Our planet’s elite might like the idea, but not if it’s going to drown them too when the ship goes down; if America sinks, all sink, and they know it.
I believe that our political con-artists would like us to ignore the world picture or at least keep us ignorant, but the Internet has destroyed such wishful thinking. The people are no longer standing backwards.
Robert Klassen [send him mail] retired from a forty-year career in critical-care respiratory therapy. He is the author of five books, including Atlantis: A Novel about Economic Government, and Economic Government, which describe a solution to the problem of political government. Here’s his web site.