Asymmetry Life

December 3, 2008

Early in the morning, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, a line was drawn deeply, quickly in the sand of life, altering the balance, forever loosing the strings of harmony.


Oh, shut the shit up, give it a rest!
Flowering words with a poetic Far-Eastern bent, creating a myth of of unmitigated proportions and uncalled-for phrases of war — a war against a wind, an ether, nearly a spirit, a war without rules, guidelines or even basic operational tenets — and thusly thrusting the entire planet into a war zone.

One must remember the Global War on Terror is a nearly-made-up precept from the brains of the likes of Dumb Don Rumsfeld and carried like a torch into the dark, deep-black cave of suspicion and dread.

Life indeed shifted on that clear morning more than seven years ago — albeit in so many angles beyond the obvious.

(Illustration found here).

American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 am EDT 9/11/01, and after some deep-thoughtful, frightful moments reading to some kids and flying around about Air Force One in confusion, Decider George took control at 1:04 pm EDT, blubbering, “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.”
And at 8:30 p.m. EDT, he went on national TV, blubbering again, “thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil” and then went on to explain the US makes no distinction between terrorists and innocent bystanders those who harbor them, declaring war against an enemy of whom he was clueless.
He’s a noted liar, saying Monday he’d been “unprepared” for war, yet there’s been a treasure trove of reports (an example here) he was after Iraq from day one — war and chaos is Decider George’s style — no matter the consequences.
In answer to nit-wit Charlie Gibson’s question about ‘compromising my principles:’

  • The pullout of Iraq.
    It would have compromised the principle that when you put kids into harm’s way, you go in to win. And it was a tough call, particularly, since a lot of people were advising for me to get out of Iraq, or pull back in Iraq, or — and rather than listen to — I mean, I listened to a lot of voices, but ultimately, I listened to this voice: I’m not going to let your son die in vain; I believe we can win; I’m going to do what it takes to win in Iraq.

Not the invasion, not the untold number of Iraqi civilians killed, or US troops killed and wounded — the damn pullout — despite the actual fact he was listening to a lot of voices.
During the next more-than seven years, this enemy has not only gone unpunished, but has grown in strength and audacity, leaving the reported honcho of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, still free and much more wild than ever.
A 2006 National Intelligence Estimate concluded “the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse” and has just added fuel to an already escalating, spreading warfare, now centered with a vast jihad ideology.


(Illustration found here).

india terror

Last week’s terrorist siege in Mumbai, India, was a 9/11 in the post-9/11 period hyped up on technology — see the Danger Room blog at Wired — and these attacks have become as if the norm, as if…
Vast majority of terror and/or mayhem incidents in the US and worldwide occurred the last 20 years (see a good accounting here) with an increase the last five.
Decider George just added fuel to a fire already kindled.

(Illustration found here).

Terrorism appears a two-sided problem: One, the actual incident, and two — and most important — the response.
Juan Cole in an observant post last Sunday offered some advice for India: More thought, less war.

  • Most Indian observers, however, were critical in 2001 (and after) of how exactly the Bush administration (i.e. Dick Cheney) responded to September 11.
    They were right, and they would do well to remember their own critique at this fateful moment.

    The Bush administration took its eye off al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and instead put most of its resources into confronting Iraq.
    But Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Eventually this American fickleness allowed both al-Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup.

    But Bush and Cheney hardly contented themselves with counter-terrorism measures. They dropped a thousand-page “p.a.t.r.i.o.t. act” on Congress one night and insisted they vote on it the next day. They created outlaw spaces like Guantanamo and engaged in torture (or encouraged allies to torture for them).
    They railroaded innocent people. They deeply damaged American democracy.

Cole also noted first a problem in handling incidents in an asymmetrical world.

  • The Bush administration was convinced that 9/11 could not have been the work of a small, independent terrorist organization.
    They insisted that Iraq must somehow have been behind it.
    States are used to dealing with other states, and military and intelligence agencies are fixated on state rivals.
    But Bush and Cheney were wrong.
    We have entered an era of asymmetrical terrorism threats, in which relatively small groups can inflict substantial damage.

And this blame for the damage.
Terror is mythical.
William Blum, a historian who understands bin Laden’s war on the US better than most, noted in a post yesterday at that the war on terrorism is a fraud.

  • An even more insidious myth of the War on Terrorism has been the notion that terrorist acts against the United States can be explained, largely, if not entirely, by irrational hatred or envy of American social, economic, or religious values, and not by what the United States does to the world; i.e., US foreign policy.
    Many Americans are mightily reluctant to abandon this idea. Without it the whole paradigm — that we are the innocent good guys and they are the crazy, fanatic, bloodthirsty bastards who cannot be talked to but only bombed, tortured and killed — falls apart.
    Statements like the one above from the Bali bombers blaming American policies for their actions are numerous, coming routinely from Osama bin Laden and those under him.
    Terrorism is an act of political propaganda, a bloody form of making the world hear one’s outrage against a perceived oppressor, graffiti written on the wall in some grim, desolate alley.
    It follows that if the perpetrators of a terrorist act declare what their motivation was, their statement should carry credibility, no matter what one thinks of their cause or the method used to achieve it.

Hence, the asymmetry of it all.


War also appears to have two-faces: One conventional and the other not so at all.
Asymmetric warfare has been around for a long time — Afghans used it against Alexander’s army in ancient times, the Americans against the British in the 1700s and Afghans again against the Russians in the 1980s — but the tactic nowadays has become the increasingly-popular scenario.
Asymmetry is life unbalanced.

(Illustration found here).

While horrors of the World Trade Center/Pentagon/and Pennsylvania countryside were still fairly fresh, another unbalancing act took place in December 2001: Enron.
The scandal opened up the intestines of finance to the average guy, though confusing, the ensuing Enron mess was a prelude, a sort of precursor to the current asymmetrical economic meltdown nut-grabbing the whole planet.
Cooking the books or trading in exotic, near-non-existent derivatives, the finances of common folk has gone belly up because of the seemingly disorderly operation of Wall Street.

Asymmetry in general means “lack of balance or symmetry” (harmony), and the way Decider George’s bunch of financial cowboys have handled this crisis is a pure example, contributing to what’s called the AVP — asymmetric volatility phenomenon — a central force in monetary risk management.
In other words, capital can evaporate at anytime.
According to Monday’s New York Times:

  • The head of a new Congressional panel set up to monitor the gigantic federal bailout says the government still does not seem to have a coherent strategy for easing the financial crisis, despite the billions it has already spent in that effort.
    Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of the oversight panel, said in an interview Monday that the government instead seemed to be lurching from one tactic to the next without clarifying how each step fits into an overall plan.
    “You can’t just say, ‘Credit isn’t moving through the system,’ ” she said in her first public comments since being named to the panel. “You have to ask why.”

    Meetings with Treasury officials so far have made her question whether they understand that “household financial health is profoundly tied to the economic health of the nation,” she said.
    “You cannot repair this economy if you can’t repair those families, and I’m not sure the people directing the bailout see that as their job.”
    In her view, the government should be trying to create more reliable customers for those banks by shoring up the fragile finances of the millions of American families that could not save, borrow or spend even if their banks were flush with capital.
    “Any effective policy has to start with the households,” she said. “Years of flat wages, low savings and high debt have left America’s households extremely vulnerable.”

And from the GAO yesterday that Decider George’s Treasury Department doesn’t really know what it’s doing.

  • So far, the report said, the Treasury Department still does not have the tools needed to monitor whether the banks that received Treasury investments are keeping their side of the bargain by using the money to expand available credit and address mortgage foreclosures.
    Nor can it ensure that potential conflicts of interest among its contractors are being adequately disclosed and addressed.

And as 2008 comes to an end with a bang, harmony is completely unbalanced from reality for US peoples, and peoples of the globe.
Asymmetrical life is one in which there are no well-defined paths to follow, no planning for just about anything as each avenue is attacked by harmony terrorists — from ATM machines to shoot-outs in Toys-R-Us — and each day generates more disjointed news and events.
Welcome to the ‘new normal’ where the norm is abnormal.

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