On the importance of allegory, parody and political satire
Throughout history, when those seeking change discover that straight talk and honest dialogue are suppressed or shouted down, writers, artists and playwrights have resorted to more subtle forms of expression and protest. They might have turned to parody, political allegory or satire. For various reasons, Jesus often spoke in parables laden with meaning and spiked with messages for his intended audience. This was also the tactic of the joker or court jester in medieval times. According to some, the court jester's role was that of a professional provocateur. The jester subtly skewered the delusions and inanities of the King or the establishment.
I've come to a deeper appreciation for the jesters and their satirical words and ways in the last decade or so. Perhaps it can be attributed in part to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart. The Jester's gift is telling truth to power in a way that few others can. For a great example, search YouTube for Bob Dylan entertaining a fancy pants audience including some former US politicians seated near the front. To appreciate the deliciousness of the the situation, he's singing "(You) Gotta serve somebody" (the Devil or the Lord) to at least one US president and alumni of Yale's dark secret society, the Skull and Crossbones. The skilled jester can make his performance simultaneously palatable, entertaining and thought-provoking. Often, in the process, the best of jesters decodes the hidden messages behind the behaviours of the Powers that Be, revealing the truth to those among the masses with discerning eyes and ears.
Perhaps the role of provocateur is one that futurists can play when necessary. I recall reading that our family served as bards to one of the kings of ancient Ireland. I wonder if any of them injected a touch of political satire into their verse. On that note, Why can't Sam learn?, is another in the Red Pill Essays series (See blog). It is my political allegory of the US ("Sam") and its foreign policy. It was written in early February of 2016, but remains timely. (The Editor, December 22, 2017)
Why Can’t Sam Learn? – A political allegory regarding the sheer madness of US foreign policy and the collective mind behind it
Feb 6, 2017, rev.
Posted December 22, 2017
For a part of my career I was an educator serving in the K-12 and college level systems. For the educator, the mission is unleashing human learning capabilities, so people can fulfill their life potential. In basic terms, learning is the ability of an organism to respond intelligently to stimuli in its environment. So, when people touch the proverbial hot stove, withdraw their hands and refrain from repeating the mistake, they have demonstrated an ability to learn. The desire and ability to learn is considered natural in healthy, well-adjusted human beings.
When a student develops bad grades, or engages in destructive behaviour, or is frequently caught fighting with others, the problem is sometimes traced to a learning disability. If the child’s condition can be diagnosed on a timely basis, corrective therapies or medical treatment can be undertaken. In some cases however, the roots of a behavioral problem may run deeper and can be attributed to some type of personality disorder or other form of mental illness.
But what if that schoolchild creating havoc on the figurative schoolyard or playground is really a nation, (the United States or “Sam” for our purposes)? And what if Sam’s gang (NATO) has taken control of most of the playground? Who, in this case will intervene, restore peace and seek to determine what ails Sam and his bullying buddies? It seems that it falls to independent analysts and journalists to sound the alarm and call attention to the misbehaviours. It’s clearly time to ask, Why can’t Sam learn?
It’s worth noting at the outset that Sam has many positive attributes. In the past he has demonstrated that he can be industrious, creative, generous and sometimes even a visionary leader. Sam is, in many ways, a gifted child. His unique combination of personality traits and abilities makes him very influential among his peers and greatly feared by others on the playground. For many years now, however, part of Sam has been at war with his better self, and the dark side of his personality has been winning.
This manifests itself in incoherent and destructive foreign policy ventures, few more destructive than his ill-conceived war on terror (WOT). A timely intervention is required before Sam does further injury to himself and/or those around him. Newly elected US president, Donald Trump himself has called for an end to the catastrophic foreign policy of the US. In the course of his election campaign, he declared the country is going to change course.
“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”1
It’s a remarkable speech, if for no other reason than because it stands in such sharp contrast to today’s reality. If President Trump is serious about changing US thinking and behaviour, a logical place to start would be Sam's case file. The foreign policy failures go back decades. I first began to seriously wonder about Sammy’s learning ability in the 1980’s following the War in Lebanon.
I clearly recall the leaden feeling in my gut when I read in October of 1984 that the barracks of US marines serving in Lebanon as part of a peace keeping mission had been blown up killing more than 200 US marines. The message was clear: Whether you are labeled ‘peace keepers’ or not, you’re not welcome in Lebanon. On Feb 26, 1984, the bulk of the US troops withdrew. I remember feeling relieved. I naively concluded this was a costly lesson and one that would no doubt lead to the end of American involvement in the Middle East.2
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sam was undeterred. One summary lists 25 US interventions in the Middle East between 1984 and 2001.3 So looking back on the Beirut bombing, it appears no lessons sufficient to reshape US foreign policy in the Middle East were learned. If anything was learned, it was merely that the US needed to better fortify US troops barracks and embassies. The deadly outcomes of subsequent attacks around the world, however, left me wondering if even that was learned.
The George W. Bush era brought a new chapter in aggressive US foreign policy with the launch of the so-called WOT in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. Over the course of the subsequent 16 years, the US invaded, attacked and supported conflict in seven countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa. In his final year in office, Obama’s military dropped a record 26,121 bombs on seven countries.4 It’s worth noting that the US still maintains a military presence in Afghanistan after 15 years, is engaged in its third Iraq conflict, while silent regarding the mess NATO created in Libya in 2011.5 The US is also engaged in a proxy war in Syria and covertly supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
A growing segment of the US public, along with disaffected members of the US military are voicing their alarm regarding their nation’s dysfunctional behaviour. Former soldier Mike Prysner, for example, looking back on his military service, stated he tried to be proud of his service, but confessed, remorsefully that “the real terrorist was me”.6 Ex-Bush official, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, is quoted as saying that he is “tired of the corporate interests that we go abroad to slay monsters for” and labels his country the “death merchant of the world”.7 As for Sam’s gang, critics of its regime change wars label NATO the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization.8
Sam’s aggressive behaviour is routinely encouraged by the country’s policy think tanks. Michael Ledeen, holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute offered US leadership a memorable nugget of advice. Ledeen suggested that, “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”9 Brilliant! If only that were the extent of its bullying.
Again a closer look at Sam’s file provides a revealing picture of how his brain (Congress) and its decision process works. Investigative journalist, Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept describes how Congress reached a foreign policy decision with far reaching consequences and catastrophic repercussions for the world. In the wake of 9/11, President George Bush demanded Congress grant the president the authority to use military force against those responsible for the attack.
The resolution stated: “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
Greenwald reports that the House of Representatives approved the resolution on Sept 14 by a vote of 420-1 and the Senate the same day by a vote of 98-0. The single dissenting vote came from Democratic rep., Barbara Lee of California. Lee explained that her vote was based on a concern that passing the resolution would amount to giving “a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in September 11 events –anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit.” She added: “A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” 10
Lee’s response to the resolution was remarkably prescient, but it fell on deaf ears. Out of a total of 519 members of Congress, only one had the good judgment to made the case for restraint. Only one foresaw the longer-term risks and possible consequences likely to follow a decision reached three days after the 9/11 attacks. Common sense would suggest a cooling off period was in order. Equally revealing of Sam’s illness is the fact that Senator Lee was smeared and demonized by politicos for her courageous stand.
Sam’s history of promoting wars on the basis of lies didn’t begin with the first Iraq war, but it is, nonetheless, instructive. Ultimately, to sell the first Iraq war to a skeptical public, the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador was coached to offer a poignant (but false) testimony. Her story that Iraqi soldiers had invaded Kuwaiti hospitals and had tossed babies from their incubators unto the floor provided an emotional hook for a yet-skeptical public.11 The subsequent WOT was similarly sold to the public and sustained on the basis of lies.
The George W. Bush administration misled the public in wrongly blaming Saddam Hussein for the attack on the Twin Towers. It also advanced the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, making him an imminent threat to the US.12 Today, the very pretext for the war on terror, the official 9/11 narrative wobbles on shaky footings. A 2013 survey found that most Americans are open to an alternative explanation.13
Sam maintains a pattern of lying and deceit to this day. If anything, he and his NATO gang have become increasingly devious in their attempts to hide their behind-the-scenes roles in regime change wars in the Middle East. In his Syrian regime change campaign, for example, Sam has employed a combination of NATO members, mercenaries, regional allies and support for terrorist groups to pursue his goal of regime change.14 This is why it is described as a proxy war. This proxy war has been sustained by a massive on-going campaign of denial and misdirection.15
In 2016, a propaganda campaign was launched to demonize Vladimir Putin and infect the Western publics with a case of Russia-phobia. Even as NATO troops and weaponry are arrayed on Russia’s border, and the Ukraine engages in periodic provocations, we are told that it’s the Russian bear that is the aggressor.16 Meanwhile, it’s Sam and his NATO buddies that continue lying about Russia and Crimea.17 And when the world’s attention is fixed on Russia and the Ukraine, Sam’s alter egos, the CIA and USAID are busily seeking to extend US hegemony elsewhere across the world.18
Sam has become a specialist in deception. During Obama’s last term, psy ops including false flags were frequently employed to ensure American citizens remained supportive of the WOT. This tactic is said to date back to Nero.19 Former Marine Corps intelligence officer, Robert Steele contends that most terrorist attacks are government-orchestrated false flags.20 Seemingly, they are successful, as citizens have yet to demand accountability from their government for the US role in the WOT. They also reveal of course, the pathological mindset of a tyrant.
The costs and consequences arising from Congress’ decision to grant the war-making authority to the president are immense and still mounting. The financial cost of the war on terror to American taxpayers alone is estimated at $5 trillion dollars and counting.21 It has been pointed out, this bill has been run up on the credit card of a country that is essentially bankrupt. Estimates of the number of lives lost as a result range from 1.3 million upward.22
This cost accounting vastly understates the reality. It doesn’t consider the damage to targeted nations in relation to their physical infrastructure, natural environment, human health and well-being, social stability and historic artifacts. It also fails to take the damage to the reputation of the United States into account.
Given the damage and losses inflicted on seven countries in seven years by Sam’s duplicitous WOT, one would imagine he might show some pang of conscience. I have not, however seen any signs of guilt or remorse to date. He also demonstrates no sense of responsibility or interest in making amends. It’s the absence of empathy that concerns me the most. Sam just doesn’t seem to care.
Whenever someone calls attention to his behaviour, Sam goes on the offence accusing others of the very things he is guilty of doing (projection was a Nazi tactic). He constantly attempts to diminish the seriousness of his crimes. The reaction is the same whether it’s the use of torture on political prisoners or the killing of innocent men, women and children in countries targeted for regime change. For Sam, it’s always a matter of the primacy of American interests over all else.
Sam continues to engage in rambling self-talk about American exceptionalism. In the 2016 US election, losing candidate, Hilary Clinton offered the delusional slogan, “We’re great, because we’re good.” Such notions reveal a massive disconnect with reality.
Looking ahead, I see no signs that the risk Sam represents to others will abate. There are signs that it will grow. The US’s military advanced research agency, DARPA, is continuing the development of robotic war machines and potentially something even more alarming, genetically modified, “Super Soldiers.” It is said that such soldiers will have advantages over human soldiers in several respects.
By eliminating empathy, the Department of Defense (DoD) hopes to “enhance” a soldier’s ability to “kill without care or remorse, shows no fear, can fight battle after battle without fatigue and generally behave more like a machine than a man.”23
It’s clear that such technological advances will do nothing to make the world any safer or more secure. Sam's tendency to invent new enemies in order to justify his aggression make this a certainty.
In summary, a cursory look at Sam’s file reveals some disturbing patterns. They include the following:
While the record clearly reveals that Sam has a learning disability, it also points to a much more serious problem. A casual comparison of Sam’s behaviours with Dr. Hare’s psychopathy checklist reveals a remarkable correlation.24 In short, Sam checks many of the boxes right from superficial charm, grandiosity and pathological lying, to manipulativeness, impulsivity and failure to accept responsibility. In light of this, some recommendations are in order.
First, Sam’s condition demands an intervention and immediate attention. It’s important to determine specifically what is impairing Sam’s thinking and decision-making. Nothing can be ruled out at this point, including the possibility of a brain tumour resulting from exotic parasites. (Some have suggested it could be Neoconus fascisti.) This in turn could be causing pressure on the control or (moral) judgment centres of the brain.
Second, the NATO gang should be immediately broken up and each of its members given a similar assessment. Their aggressive behaviours and their enabling of Sam’s intimidation and bullying suggest that some of them may also suffering from a similar condition. To some extent however, they are also Sam’s victims. (Canada, is no exception.)
Third, intensive monitoring and reporting by vigilant independent media and concerned citizens is essential. This is all the more important now as it's clear that corporate media has been co-opted by the military-security complex (MSC).
President Trump implies that Sam can learn from his past foreign policy failures and change that nation’s behaviour. It's an extremely optimistic position. While I hope he is right, I am a realist, and realistically the challenge is monumental. Historically, neither the US nor actual psychopaths have demonstrated much ability to learn from their past failures and reform on their own. Sadly, Sam may be beyond our help.
If Sam and his buddies pause long enough to digest the lessons from their past foreign policy failures and adopt a more benevolent posture, it will be nothing short of a miracle. It will, in fact, be a new day for humanity. We must continue to pray and work toward such a miracle; the alternative is simply too dark to contemplate.
All rights reserved, Futurescapes21C 2017.
1 The trump speech that no one heard, Counterpunch, January 19, 2017.
2 Beirut Barracks blown up (History.com)
3 US interventions in the Middle East
4 America dropped 26, 171 bombs in 2016. What a bloody end to Obama’s reign, The Guardian, January 9, 2017.
5NATO’s humanitarian intervention in Syria exacerbated “human suffering” (New Eastern Outlook, Oct 17-2015)
6 Michael Prysner: ‘The real terrorist was me…’, Oriental Review, December 16, 2012.
7 “We are the death merchant of the world”: Ex-Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson condemns military-industrial complex, Salon, March 29, 2016.
8 Stop the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization – NATO, Youtube, October 3, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4XLDt1qWYc
9 Controversial theories, Michael Ledeen, Wikipedia
10 Barbara Lee’s lone vote on September 14, 2001, was as prescient as it was
brave and heroic, The Intercept, September 11, 2016.
11 Nayirah testimony, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_(testimony)
12 George W Bush didn’t just lie about the Iraq war. What he did was much worse, The Week, May 20, 2015.
13 New poll finds most Americans open to alternative 9/11 theories, 9/11Truth.org, September 10, 2013.
14 NATO’s playbook of proxy wars in the Middle East (Blacklisted News, January 1, 2017.
15 US and NATO launch disinformation terror war, New Eastern Outlook, October 10, 2015.
16 Germany slams NATO ‘warmongering” on Russia, Yahoo, June 18, 2016.
17 Things will get worse until the US stops lying about Crimea, Strategic Culture, February 7, 2017.
18 A primer: USAID and US hegemony, New Eastern Outlook, July 8, 2016.
19 More Obama false flags on the horizon, Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show, August 31, 2013.
20 Intelligence officer: Every single terrorist attack in the US was a false flag – or egged on by the government, Infowars, Mach 15-15.
21 Post-9/11 wars have cost nearly $5 trillion and counting: Report, Common Dreams, September 13, 2016.
22 Body Count report reveals at least 1.3 million lives lost to the US-led war on terror, Common Dreams, March 26, 2015.
23 DARPA continues human experiments to create military super soldiers, Occupy Corporatism, April 10, 2013.
24 Encyclopedia of mental disorders forum, Hare psychopathy checklist,
(c) Futurescapes21C All rights reserved.
For the better part of the last four decades, I have been encouraging people and organizations to anticipate the shape of their futures and plan accordingly. It can be daunting, but it can also be immensely practical. It can be as practical as using a set of binoculars to scope out a distant slope when hiking or winterizing your car before winter’s onslaught. Organizations that develop foresight capabilities are, among other things, creating a kind of organizational radar. This enables them to integrate discernible elements of tomorrow into today’s strategies and decisions.