Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Roger Waters, Amused to Death
The time has come for me to share with you some thoughts which I had been having for a while already but which I had been trying to suppress. In the past couple of days I had some email exchanges with an individual which convinced me that ignoring these thoughts any longer made no sense and, frankly, has become impossible. I have therefore decided to candidly share these thoughts with you.
Peace - a cause or a business?
The main issue with is bothering me is that I am immensely disappointed in the peace movement in general and in the Internet-based anti-war websites in particular. Simply put, most of them are in the "peace business" just as in any other business. Though they proudly display anti-war, pro-peace, pro-freedom banners, their over-riding concern is making money. In a way, considering the logic of the capitalist mindset, this makes perfect sense.
After almost eight years of Neocon rule the American empire is in a deep crisis, it has already lost at least three wars (Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon in 2006) and is about to embark on a fourth one (Iran), the greenback is in steady decline, the government more bloated than ever before, and voters are looking at the almost inevitable election of a war-mongering Fascist as President in 2008. Even more importantly, the Neocons have a iron grip on the corporate media who has become little more than an obedient propaganda outlet. So there is, if you want, a "market" out there for "alternative" political news websites, and as any good capitalist will tell you, when there is a demand for something suppliers will provide it and compete for the opportunity to sell the desired good or service. The same is, sadly, true of the anti-war blogosphere.
Ever since I began my blog I tried to reach out to what I thought would be my allies in a common cause, only to find out that, at best, my efforts would be greeted with indifference and, at worst, with outright animosity and, often, vitriolic hostility. The sole exception to this sad reality was the radio talk show host Scott Horton, who has always been very kind to me and encouraging. Everybody else either didn't give a damn or saw me as a competitor.
Is there anybody out there?
Like the character Pink in the movie The Wall, I have often wondered "is there anybody out there?" while looking at all the "bricks in the Wall". The answer is yes, there is. I have had kind and encouraging feedback from good people: curt, peter_saker, fatima, mizgin, anticapitalista, interpreter, mud_shark, leila, lysander, datta, irish_eyes, alex, bedouina - you have all been wonderfully kind to me and you have my deepest gratitude!
At this time my blog gets about 1800 visitors each week, of which only about 5-10 leave a comment. I like the first number and I am a little disappointed by the second one. But all in all, I consider myself "on target" for a personal blog which began only 6 months ago, on May 1, 2007.
Yet another case of "mission drift"?
What was my goal when I began this blog? The title of the very first piece I posted here really sums it up: "Where the Empire meets to plan the next war". Empire and war. The same thing, really.
As a former General Staff major and military analyst (strategic intelligence and operational force training) who had studied under many influential Neocons (including Ed Luttwak, Eliot Cohen, Ken Adelman, Richard Holbrooke, etc) I had no doubt whatsoever that the Israel Lobby was pushing for a war with Iran and that it would be successful in its efforts. Every single "indicator and warning", in intelligence jargon, was pointing to an inevitable, if not imminent, war.
I also knew that a war with Iran would make the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq look like a boy-scout jamboree.
The second factor which motivated me to maintain a blog was the certitude that, short of a miracle, a true "card carrying" Fascist would succeed Bush the Lesser in the White House in 2008. You think Dubya is bad? Just wait until Hillary, Obama or Giuliani take control!
Six months after starting my blog, I see absolutely no reason to hope for a different outcome. The aggression on Iran will happen and the USA will have a Fascist President in 2008. Taking this into account, I decided to change the purpose of my blog from raising the alarm about what was about to happen to leaving a "paper trail", if you wish, a chronicle which would document two things: a) how it happened and b) that it was absolutely predicable.
Here, however, I did suffer from what peacekeeping/counterinsurgency forces in the field call "mission drift": a situation in which you go in to do one thing, and end up doing something totally different. In my case, this meant that from writing my own analyses of what was happening I ended up mostly compiling and posting articles taken off other sources on the Internet with the aim to form a "composite picture" of the inevitable "surge to a war" with Iran. In doing this, however, I appeared as a competitor to others who were already doing so and whose incomes depended on being the "top dogs" in the antiwar business. I was clearly not making friends among those who, I naively thought, would welcome me as an ally in a common cause.
Has my blog done anything useful so far?
Honestly, I don't know. My overwhelming feeling is that nobody gives a damn and those who do only care about money. That is not what I expected going into all this. I think I did a good job with some interviews (the one with Mizgin immediately comes to my mind) and I think I provided a valuable resource on developments in Iran and inside Hezbollah (which I consider the two most important things to understand if one wants to see the rationale behind the Neocon crusade for war). That is in particular true in light of the fact that the "top dogs" in the antiwar business do a very poor job covering Iran and Hezbollah (makes sense: since they are in the business primarily, if not only, for the money, they simply cannot afford to take too "out of the antiwar mainstream" position without risking their contributions).
But does the fact that I did a decent job here and there prove that anyone cares? Did I make any difference, however small?
I honestly don't think so.
My own "redirection"?
I am not sure what I should do now. I frankly do no have any desire to continue fighting windmills like Don Quichotte. I have lost all my illusions about the "peace movement businessmen" for whom peace and freedom are little more than marketing tools for their income generating websites.
Schiller (and Goethe) wrote Gegen Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens - "even the gods struggle in vain against stupidity", and though I am certainly no god, stupidity is what I am currently most struggling against. The stupidity of a lemming-like nation cheering on the puppets which Neocon puppet masters dangle in front of their eyes, and against the stupidity of a self-centered antiwar movement which is far more concerned with personal gain than with preventing the American Republic from turning into a Neocon Fascist empire.
There are still, I hope, some true idealists in the antiwar movement out there. I think of Ron Paul and Cindy Sheehan, for example. But neither of them needs my blog. What I therefore need now is a "redirection" of my own.
Where do I go from here?
I don't know. I think that I will give myself some time to think about all this. I will also listen to any comments any of you, my friends, might want to make and advice you might want to give me (please feel free to post anything here in the comments section, or email me).
I might just pull the plug on this blog completely. I might change its orientation and focus. I might start a new blog, possibly under my real name, possibly in a different language.
Maybe I should look at the option of a weekly commentary on current developments as one friend suggested?
Part of me also wants to simply throw in the towel and let the world go to hell. I have my wonderful and loving family (an angelic saint of a wife, three great kids, one fantastic German Shepherd) to take care of. I have some wonderful friends. I am also currently studying for a (second) Master's degree (in Patristic theology). To put it crudely - I don't need this shit (and this shit sure does not need me).
In the meantime: a countdown to something yet to be defined
Starting today, I am completely stopping all the "usual business" on this blog. I will keep the blog up and the RSS feeds will be running. I might post here from time to time my thoughts on where this blog should be going, if anywhere, and I will keep an eye on any comments you, my friends, might make either here, or by emailing me.
I need to give myself some time to overcome the disgust and discouragement I am currently feeling and to decide what, if anything, I might do in the future. As Roger Waters, wrote "each small candle lights a corner of the dark" and I have not yet fully lost the desire to light an even tiny corner of the dark. But right now, the darkness which I want to light up is the one in my own heart.