"Thinking is to humans as swimming is to
(We can think but our brains very much prefer not to.)
Daniel Kahneman, the father of Behavioral Economics
Those who choose to live in denial may eventually be
forced to live in fear.
President George Bush Jr. speaking about the need to confront Iraq (NYPost 10/17/02)
Listen to the truths that lie within your hearts, and
be not afraid to
follow them wherever they may lead you.
(Clarence Thomas, in his Francis Boyer Lecture, Washington D.C. 2/13/01)
Knowing the brief duration of the candle of life and the pains and trials that accompany us on our too-short journey, we cling to the joys and happiness that pass our way along the road and seek to make them a permanent part of our stay on earth. We flee from pain, and cleave to whatever pleasures we can find. We also run from reality and cling to illusion.
We see that which we want to see; we shut our eyes to
that which will upset our dreams. We refuse to speak the unspeakable and think the
unthinkable and prefer to walk forward with blind determination while rationalizing to
ourselves that all is good and will never change. We strike out against those who
shake our castles in the sky and rail against those who prick our illusions. A
Jeremiah is never welcome and a Cassandra is shouted down lest their message penetrate our
minds and chill our hearts. We prefer the bearers of good tidings and do not
question too deeply their veracity. We applaud those who tell us that the
unthinkable is precisely that and that the prophet of doom is, in reality, a victim of
paranoia and gloomy misreading of events...
Rabbi Meir Kahane in his book, Time To Go Home warning Jews about growing anti-semitism.
It is often tempting to avoid facing reality. Patrick Henry expressed this in 1775 in his speech to the House of Representatives about Britain's intentions to subjugate the colonies. In his speech he said:
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Robert Baer, in his book, Sleeping with the Devil wrote about how America refuses to face reality when it comes to Saudi Arabia. He wrote:
Baer wrote (Sleeping with the Devil p166):
Washington fiddles and pretends Riyadh won't burn, watching passively as wealthy Saudis channel hundreds of millions of dollars to radical groups in hopes of buying protection. Washington pretends that all the loudspeakers in all the mosques throughout all the kingdom that are blaring out their messages of hate against the West haven't been paid for with contributions from the royal family that America so readily declares to be its best friend and ally in the Middle East. ... Ex-presidents, former prime ministers, onetime senators and members of Congress and Cabinet members walk around with their hands out, rarely slowing down because most of them know that this charade can go on only so long. The trick is to get on that last plane loaded with gold before the SAM launchers are set up around Riyadh International.
The consequences of America hiding from reality were summed up by Bob Baer in the same book as follows:
The years I spent serving my country as a CIA officer in places like Lebanon, the Sudan, northern Iraq, and the Muslim states of Central Asia ... showed me the human carnage and suffering that always seem to follow when America puts its head in the sand or when dollar signs blind us to what's in front of it's nose.
In the last paragraph of his book Baer wrote:
Until we start demanding the truth from Saudi Arabia - and telling ourselves the truth, too - there will be more September 11s and more tragedies like Danny Pearl's murder. That much you can take to the bank.
Man's tendency to avoid facing reality has a long history and was described by Jeremiah 5:21. He wrote:
And they said...evil will not befall us and sword and famine we will not see... they have eyes but do not see, they have ears but do not hear...
Investors who Ignore Reality:
Jeremy Grantham, cofounder of the investment firm GMO was one of the first investors to forsee the financial crisis of 2008. He was interviewed by Joe Light and Janice Revell of Money Magazine (Nov 2008). He was asked why didn't anyone take action sooner to prevent the disaster. He answered:
We got so good at denial. The Fed was in denial, the Treasury was in denial, the bosses of Merrill Lynch and Lehman were in denial. And yet this crisis was the most widely heralded "surprise" in the history of finance - there were lenty of people warning that it was going to happen long before it did.
Politicians who Ignore Reality:
It's hard to imagine the consequences to the world if the oil supply were to be cutoff for a long period of time. The Western world has become dependent on oil. In order to survive a prolonged cutoff of oil, the West might be forced to go to war to seize Arabian oil fields. Yet countries such as Iran, with the help of the Soviets, are developing ICBMS that can hit the United States. Iraq is a growing threat. This time the Chinese are building fiber optic communications for the Iraqis which are much harder to listen in too. Their defenses for their radar seem to be getting stronger since recently (2001) they have returned quickly to operation after being bombed. Even in the event that the oil does not get cut off oil money is creating an ever growing military power which views the West as the great Satan. Even if the Arabs never cut off oil to the West someday the oil will run out. What will the West do then? The United States should be building large number of nuclear power plants. The risk of an accident is far less dangerous than the risk of a war over oil. Yet even with oil coming in from the Arab states, California is facing rolling blackouts because it does not have enough nuclear power plants.
The Clinton administration actually prevented their inspectors in Iraq from revealing reality to them because they did not want to have to enforce punitive measures against Iraq. As a result Scott Ritter the U.N. chief weapons inspector resigned. Ritter made it clear that the United States shares responsibility for Iraq continuing to be a global menace. "Iraq today is not disarmed. It remains an ugly threat to its neighbors and to world peace," he said. "Those Americans who think this is important and that something should be done about it have to be deeply disappointed in our leadership." After repeated cheat and retreat by Iraq and a report by the UN inspectors that said that Saddam was cheating, the United States and England finally struck at Iraq in Operation Desert Fox. Yet the inspectors are barred from Iraq and Saddam is developing nuclear bombs and the United States has withheld this information from the U.N.. An editorial of the New York Post in Aug 26, 2000 described the Iraq situation as follows:
It's been two years since the last team of weapons inspectors was turned away by Saddam before it had a chance to determine whether the Butcher of Baghdad had complied with his promise after the Gulf War to destroy all stockpiles of nuclear and biological weapons.
For Saddam, it's been a good two years.
The CIA recently told Congress that Iraq has used the time to rebuild missile and chemical-weapons factories.
Gone are the days when determined inspectors like Rolf Ekeus, Richard Butler and Scott Ritter demanded access to every one of Saddam's suspected hiding places. Instead, Saddam remains virtually free to continue his quest for weapons of mass destruction.
Given the U.N.'s lack of backbone, Blix's mission is a formality at best, a joke at worst. Which makes it increasingly likely that, somewhere down the line, a real - and more dangerous - confrontation is going to be necessary.
Australian diplomat Richard Butler executive director (1997-98) of UNSCOM--a commission established after the Gulf War by the United Nations Security Council--to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.wrote a book The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Growing Crisis in Global Security. The first sentence of his book is The greatest threat to life on Earth is weapons of mass destruction--nuclear, chemical, biological.
"The Greatest Threat" is from weapons of mass destruction, manmade and extraordinarily lethal. They are not supposed be in the hands of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The Gulf War ceasefire, UN Resolution 687, required Iraq to turn over those weapons to UNSCOM. But Saddam never did. And their lethality, along with Saddam's extreme brutality, constitute a very serious danger. In his book, Butler warns that as long as Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, "the likelihood that they will be used remains high."
According to the London Sunday Times of December 24, 2000, a defector has warned that SADDAM HUSSEIN has ordered his scientists to resume work on a programme aimed at making a nuclear bomb. The Iraqi dictator, whose efforts to make atomic weapons were thwarted by United Nations inspectors after the Gulf war in 1991, revived the plans in 1998, the defector said. Scientists who had previously worked on the weapons programme were made to return to their duties in August 1998, four months before Saddam expelled the inspectors. According to Salman Yassin Zweir, a design engineer who was employed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission for 13 years, the instruction came in a document marked "top secret" which identified a research centre on Al-Jadriya Street, Baghdad, as the headqarters of the new operation. Zweir was arrested and tortured after refusing to go back to the programme. He escaped to Jordan, where he spoke for the first time last week after being reunited with his wife, who was also tortured, and their two sons, aged seven and six. "Saddam is very proud of his nuclear team," said Zweir, 39. "He will never give up the dream of being the first Arab leader to have a nuclear bomb."
An Iraqi defector told the British paper, The Sunday
Telegraph (1/28/01).SADDAM HUSSEIN has two fully operational nuclear bombs and is working
to construct others. Iraq would not need to
develop a missile to deliver this bomb according to an unnamed source. According to
that source US borders are so porous that it would be possible to smuggle in the
components of a bomb with minimal risk and assemble it here.
In an article called, Ten Years After the Gulf War, Saddam Smiles Again, Zvi Barel writes how the Arab world is uniting with Saddam. He quotes an Egyptian researcher at the American University in Cairo
"In an absurd way, a reverse set of relations has developed. From a situation in which Saddam was portrayed in Cairo as the Hitler of the Middle East, a traitor to the Arab nation and a war criminal, he has become almost a national hero. In the eyes of many, he is the only Arab leader who stood up to the United States. He survived all the attacks. Despite the sanctions, he established international ties - even more extensive than he had before the war - and has reached a point where even Syria is considered a close friend of his."
The researcher further points out that Turkey, from whose territory most of the allied war sorties against Iraq were launched, has appointed a new ambassador to Iraq and is considering building a railway between the two states. Jordan has further strengthened its ties with Saddam, and even Iran is holding talks with its historical enemy.
"Suddenly," says the researcher, "it seems the rejectionist state now standing in the way of new Arab unity is actually Saddam's victim - Kuwait - which refuses to consider a diplomatic solution."
The appeasement of American policy in regards to Saddam has made him an Arab hero.
After terrorists massacred thousands in the World Trade Center on Sept 11, America denied that there was any evidence of Iraqi involvement. William Safire in his article "U.S. Denial on Iraq" (The New York Times, Oct 22, 01) wrote:
What about a connection between Osama bin Laden and Iraq's Saddam Hussein? Because the Scowcroft set at the National Security Council is still in denial about its blunder a decade ago that permitted Saddam to stay in power, the C.I.A. professes to see no collaboration in Baghdad.
That wearing of blinders by our intelligence agents was recently revealed by The Washington Post's columnist and editor Jim Hoagland, who is dry behind the ears, to say the least.
He interviewed a defector from Saddam's elite militia now in the U.S. who recounted the hijacking and assassination training carried out in the Salman Pak suburb of Baghdad. This was independently confirmed by an Iraqi ex-intelligence officer now in Turkey who reported "Islamicists" training on a Boeing 707 in Salman Pak only one year ago. Both sources were unsought or dismissed by C.I.A. and F.B.I. officials aware of topside resistance to evidence of Saddam-bin Laden connections...
Faruq Hijazi, in 1994 Saddam's secret service director and now his ambassador to Turkey, has had a series of meetings with bin Laden. These began in Sudan, arranged by Hassan al-Tourabi, the Sudanese Muslim leader, and continued in Afghanistan. The conspiracy was furthered in Baghdad in 1998 between bin Laden's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and
Saddam's vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan.
To strengthen Saddam's position in the Arab world during his 1998 crisis with the U.N., bin Laden established the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and the Crusaders." The Muslim-in-name Iraqi dictator reciprocated by promising secure refuge in Iraq for bin Laden and his key lieutenants if they were forced to flee Afghanistan.
Bin Laden sent a delegation of his top Al Qaeda terrorists to Baghdad on April 25, 1998, to attend the grand celebration that week of Saddam's birthday. It was then that Saddam's bloody-minded son Uday agreed to receive several hundred Al Qaeda recruits for terrorist training in techniques unavailable in Afghanistan.
That Baghdad birthday party, according to an unpublished spying report, celebrated something else: Uday Hussein's agreement with bin Laden's men to formally establish a joint force consisting of some of Al Qaeda's fiercest "Afghan Arab" fighters and the covert combatants in Iraqi intelligence unit 999.
This information does not include reports of the most recent contacts between the terrorist group and the terrorist state. However, combine that late-90's groundwork to what is known of (a) bin Laden's supply this year of 400 fanatic "Afghan Arabs" to Saddam to attack free Kurds in Iraq's no-flight zone, and (b) this summer's observed contacts of Al Qaeda's suicide-hijacker Mohammed Atta with Iraqi spies under diplomatic cover in Prague. A pattern manifests itself.
Does this web of eavesdropped-upon communication provide proof positive of Saddam's participation in the Sept. 11 attack? No indisputable smoking gun may ever be found, but it is absurd to claim - in the face of what we already know - that Iraq is not an active collaborator with, harborer of, and source of sophisticated training and unconventional weaponry for bin Laden's world terror network.
"One war at a time" goes the coalitionaries' mantra, which our spymasters take to mean "Don't follow leads to Iraq."
According to the New York Post (10/23/01) Mohammed Atta the pilot who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center, met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague just before flying to the United States in June 2000. Dan Goure, a military analyst and former Pentagon official in the Bush administration said:
The need for [Atta] to make the extra effort to get back to Prague before going to the United States suggests the Iraqis were his handlers
Some analysts believe Iraq may be the source of Anthrax that has been mailed around the United States -- and Goure speculated that Atta might have discussed both the hijackings and the Anthrax campaign with the Iraqis.
What is hard to understand is why the U.S. administration would argue that there was no evidence for an Iraqi connection to the Anthrax attacks on the U.S. and yet argue for attacking Iraq. Dick Cheney made a speech in Nashville on Aug 26, 02 in which he spoke about the need for the United States to attack Iraq. He said (New York Post 8/27/02):
What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness...The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of action.
The United States has abandoned its policy of being ready to fight two wars at the same time yet such a scenario is likely. What if for example, Saddam Hussein attacks Kuwait again while the Chinese attack Taiwan?
On the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in 1973 Syrian Egyptian and Iraqi forces attacked Israel. Israel was unprepared for the attack, was almost destroyed and lost many more people than they would have lost if they had been ready. The Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot reported that prior to the Yom Kippur War, exactly 25 years ago, the government received over 1500 intelligence reports regarding an imminent Arab attack. Ya'akov Erez, who was a military correspondent in 1973 wrote a report prior to the Yom Kippur War, warning of Egypt's imminent plans to attack Israel. The censor blocked the story. Erez has the report hanging over his desk to this day as a reminder "that we can't afford to bury our heads in the sand."
The tendency of the Israeli people and their government to avoid facing reality and the tragic consequences has led to the publication of some excellent and tragic essays on the subject. Several such articles are included on this web site. Limor Livnat wrote an article called Realism For Our Time, about this. One called Those Pitiful Israelis, was written by Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Center. Avi Shavit wrote another excellent article on the subject called We Forgot Our Justness. Sarah Honig wrote one called Another Tack: Puddle-ducks of a feather. The futility of Israel's negotiating with someone who continually breaks his promises and violates his agreements was written about by Israel Harel in his essay Unholy Agreements. Berel Wein wrote an article called Facing the Truth which was published in the Jerusalem Post on July 5, 2001 wrote that:
The State of Israel and the Jewish people generally could stand a good jolt of facing the truth, for, without that recognition and admission of truth we are doomed to pay the price of delusion, wishful thinking and distorted history...We should no longer encourage fanciful dreams about the reality of "land for peace" or "peace now." Tragically, those slogans and policies were and are lies. The sooner we face up to that reality, the better for all concerned...
THE PALESTINIANS should also face up to some truths. They should realize that their miserable lot in the refugee camps and squalor of their villages is a result of the treatment and policies of their fellow Arabs...If this realization dawned upon the Palestinian masses then the chances for a just and lasting settlement of the dispute would be greatly enhanced. If the Palestinians cannot hear this truth from their own leaders, then we should make far greater efforts than we have in the past to inform them of these truths. For only then can they have any hope of escaping further ruin to their lives and cause.
We Jews and Israelis should also look at truth squarely in the face. Was the Zionist idea of a "new Jew" a success or a failure? Is slavish imitation of the worst of Western culture beneficial for Israeli life and youth? Are outmoded socialist forms of state-controlled economic enterprises a help or a hindrance? Does our current professional politician party-hack system produce the best of governmental leadership? Do ignorance of the past and the hagiographic tendencies of the religious section of our society contribute to a strengthening of its influence in the Jewish world?
To put it bluntly, why are we not telling ourselves the truth about our past and its error-strewn path?
Berel Wein in the same article points out that Germany's unwillingness to accept its responsibility for World War I led to a German feeling of betrayal and looked for revenge and as a result
The world therefore got Hitler, World War II and tens of millions of corpses.
Ironically the Israeli Left believe they are the ones who are facing reality when they make concessions. In December 2000, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel's foreign minister and chief negotiator argued for concessions by saying:
We must decide whether we look away or take a very penetrating look at reality and understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch in achieving peace
During the Al Aksa Intifada of October 2000 Rod Dreher in his New York Post column of October 17, 2000, wrote that
Too many chose to ignore the plain evidence of Yasser Arafat's true intentions. That is no longer possible - and it's a good thing, too. The unpleasant truth is always preferable to a comforting lie.
In November 2000 Prime Minister Barak released a white paper listing violations of the Oslo accords and atrocities committed by the PLO in prior months. Instead of being angry at the PLO for their violations the U.S. State Department was furious at Barak for releasing the white paper (The Jerusalem Post Ehud Barak's off-white paper By Evelyn Gordon) and in private discussions with Israeli counterparts U.S. officials said that after perusing the White Paper "it's hard to be persuaded that Israel remains interested in engaging the peace process with the Palestinians." It turns out the State Department was lying to the Senate and claiming that the Palestinians were in compliance and this white paper could cause trouble for them.
Not does this show an unwillingness to face reality, it shows a deliberate effort to hide reality and anger at those who reveal reality. In response to U.S. pressure Barak diluted and softened his white paper.
Senator Connie Mack of Florida gave a speech in March 1999 about how important it is to face reality, however unpleasant, in order to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Daniel Pipes pointed out the importance of facing the true cause of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in his article Palestinians and the Path to Peace (New York Post 2/18/02).
If it's a routine political dispute, diplomacy and compromise are the way to make progress. But if the Palestinians reject Israel's very existence, diplomacy is useless, even counterproductive, and Israel needs to convince Palestinians to give up on their aggressive intentions. More bluntly, Israel would then need to defeat the Palestinians...
In a spring 2002 poll of residents in the West Bank and Gaza conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, a Palestinian organization, 43 percent of respondents called for a Palestinian state only in the West Bank and Gaza and 51 percent insisted on the state in "all of historic Palestine," code words for the destruction of Israel.
Thus, Palestinian rejectionism flourishes. But the outside world averts its collective eyes from this fact.
Sarah Honig wrote an article in the Jerusalem Post 8/28/03 in which she wrote:
Less than four months before the blitzkrieg, Jabotinsky addressed a Warsaw audience and answered his numerous detractors' accusations that he was cruelly robbing Jews of hope. He contended that:
"...sometimes bold, fervent desperation can constitute a legitimate response. Worse than that is what I see among Eastern Europe's Jewish masses - equanimity, fatalism. People behave as if they've been condemned and sentenced. I know of nothing like this in history, and haven't encountered such surrender to destiny in novels.
"What's this like? It's like shoving 12 million educated, experienced people into a wagon that is hurtling toward an abyss. And how do these folks behave? One cries, one smokes cigarettes, some read newspapers, another sings. Don't bother looking for one person to take over the controls and reroute the wagon. That's the mind-set. It's as if a great enemy came and chloroformed everyone's brains.
"I come to you in one last attempt and call upon you: Put a stop to this.
"Try to halt this wagon. Try to jump off. Place obstacles in its course. Don't go like sheep to the wolf. In nature, when the wolf devours one sheep and then another, the remainder at least quake and take fright and flight. Yet here - it's just one huge graveyard."
OUR REPEATED deals with carnivorous terrorists who would devour us and our compulsive recidivist attempts to appease them indicate that we're serially addicted to mind-numbing chloroform.
For a decade we've been stoned on the Oslo hallucinogen. Successive Israeli governments lacked the fortitude to quit the self-destructive habit. Despite a three-year terror onslaught, our government continues to manufacture artificial peace partners, upon whom the nation's collective hope is subsequently pinned.
Rudolph Giuliani in a speech at a Conference of Mayors breakfast honoring Sept. 11 victims (Jan 26, 2002) said:
In the 1930s Hitler told us what he was going to do and we ignored it for years and years and years. In the 1990s the terrorists told us what they were going to do and we ignored it. We glorified Yasser Arafat when he was training terrorists in Palestine. We allowed Saddam Hussein to build weapons of mass destruction...We should never close our eyes again.
Distortion of Reality by the Media:
The page about the power of the media on this web site has links to sites which focus on media bias.
Ignoring Reality in Personal Life:
Another web page on this site discusses stories regarding facing reality in one's personal life.
c o p y r i g h t ( c ) 1 9 9 9 - 2004 Karl Ericson Enterprises. All rights reserved
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