Strauss and the Neocon Lust for Terror

Leo Strauss is the father of the NeoConservative movement, including many leaders of the current administration. Indeed, some of the main neocon players were students of Strauss at the University of Chicago, where he taught for many years. Strauss, born in Germany, was an admirer of Nazi philosophers and of Machiavelli.

Strauss believed that a stable political order required an external threat and that if an external threat did not exist, one should be manufactured. Specifically, Strauss thought that:

"A political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat . . . . Following Machiavelli, he maintained that if no external threat exists then one has to be manufactured".

(quote is by one of Strauss' main biographers).

Indeed, Stauss used the analogy of Gulliver's Travels to show what a Neocon-run society would look like:

"When Lilliput [the town] was on fire, Gulliver urinated over the city, including the palace. In so doing, he saved all of Lilliput from catastrophe, but the Lilliputians were outraged and appalled by such a show of disrespect."

Moreover, Strauss said:

"Only a great fool would call the new political science diabolic . . . Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns."

So Strauss seems to have advocated governments letting terrorizing catastrophes happen on one's own soil to one's own people -- of "pissing" on one's own people, to use his Gulliver's travel analogy. And he advocates that government's should pretend that they did not know about such acts of mayhem: to intentionally "not know" that Rome is burning. He advocates messing with one's own people in order to save them from some "catastrophe" (perhaps to justify military efforts to monopolize middle eastern oil to keep it away from an increasingly-powerful China?).

Fast Forward a Couple of Decades

Fast forward to the 1990's . . .

Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor seemed to hint at this approach when he wrote in 1997:

"as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." (p. 211)

Similarly, the Project For A New American Century, a think tank lobbying group with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith and the other leading Neocons in its ranks, lamented that its rapacious military agenda would not be realized "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Don't believe that these quotes represent anything nefarious yet?

Fast forward to today . . .

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the American people lack "the maturity to recognize the seriousness of the threats." What's to be done? According to Rumsfeld, "The correction for that, I suppose, is [another] attack."

Newt Gingrich recently said:

"the better they've done at making sure there isn't an attack, the easier it is to say, 'Well, there never was going to be an attack anyway.' And it's almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us."

The head of the Arkansas Republican party said:

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001]" so people appreciate Bush.

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky openly called for "another 9/11" that "would help America" restore a "community of outrage and national resolve".

Lt.-Col. Doug Delaney, chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, told the Toronto Star that "The key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago."

And an allegedly-leaked GOP memo touts a new terror attack as a way to reverse the party's decline.

It's All Hot Air, Isn't It?

But isn't this all talk? They wouldn't really allow terror to happen . . . or aid and abet such attacks. Would they?

Well, President Carter recently impliedly acknowledged the risk of staged provocation in order to start a war against Iran.

A former National Security Adviser told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation.

Former Senator Gary Hart warned Americans that the White House might create a "Gulf of Tonkin" or "remember the Maine" type incident to justify war against Iran (starting at 7:15 minutes)

Current U.S. Congressman Ron Paul stated, the government "is determined to have martial law", and that the government is hoping to get the people "fearful enough that they will accept the man on the white horse"

Daniel Ellsberg, the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said "if there is another terror attack, "I believe the president will get what he wants", which will include a dictatorship.

A retired 27-year CIA analyst who prepared and presented Presidential Daily Briefs and served as a high-level analyst for several presidents, stated that if there was another major attack in the U.S., it would lead to martial law. He went on to say:

"We have to be careful, if somebody does this kind of provocation, big violent explosions of some kind, we have to not take the word of the masters there in Washington that this was some terrorist event because it could well be a provocation allowing them, or seemingly to allow them to get what they want."

The former CIA analyst would not put it past the government to "play fast and loose" with terror alerts and warnings and even events themselves in order to rally people behind the flag

The former assistant secretary of treasury in the Reagan administration, called the "Father of Reaganomics", who is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service, and, said:

"Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging "terrorist" attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?"

He goes on to say:

If the Bush administration wants to continue its wars in the Middle East and to entrench the "unitary executive" at home, it will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration of "national emergency" and the return of the draft. Alternatively, the administration could simply allow any real terrorist plot to proceed without hindrance.

A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive media as a vindication of the neoconsevatives' Islamophobic policy, the intention of which is to destroy all Middle Eastern governments that are not American puppet states. Success would give the US control over oil, but the main purpose is to eliminate any resistance to Israel's complete absorption of Palestine into Greater Israel.

Think about it. If another 9/11-type "security failure" were not in the works, why would Homeland Security czar Chertoff go to the trouble of convincing the Chicago Tribune that Americans have become complacent about terrorist threats and that he has "a gut feeling" that America will soon be hit hard?

A member of the British Parliament stated that "there is a very real danger" that the American government will stage a false flag terror attack in order to justify war against Iran and to gain complete control domestically

And the former UN Weapons Inspector, an American, who stated before the Iraq war started that there were no weapons of mass destruction is now saying that he would not rule out staged government terror by the U.S. government.

Does that sound like the Neocons' expressions of yearning for terror are just so much talk? Or does it sound like the disciples of Leo Strauss are willing to "manufacture threats" and "fiddle while Rome burns"?

And if the it is the latter, and the same people made the expressions of yearning before 9/11, the anthrax attacks and the London bombings, what does that imply about the cause of those events?

Outstanding compilation...

the work of bringing all this together so even the blind can see is SO important.

A clarification

At the risk of sounding picayune, I'll observe that Leo Strauss was _not_ "the father of the NeoConservative movement." (And there's no cause to capitalize "neoconservative," by the way.) If that metaphorical title belongs to anyone, it would be Irving Kristol. (Though reasonably it could be shared with Norman Podhoretz.) If anyone might be called the "grandfather" of neoconservatism, it would be Max Schachtman.

Indeed, Strauss would almost certainly be surprised to hear himself described as "father" of a movement of which he wasn't consciously a member.

So where _does_ Strauss fit in with neoconservatism?

Strauss was an academic who was discovered by members of the nascent neoconservative movement, and who, as a professor, inspired a variety of students to identify with the values and predilections of what was to become known as neoconservatism. It so happened that Strauss's key ideas dovetailed with the agenda of the certain New York-based intellectuals who were on their way toward becoming known as neoconservatives (or "neocons"), and once Strauss's ideas were discovered by them were then cited to justify their program. Also, some of Strauss's disciples emerging out of studies with him at the University of Chicago recognized the parallels with the emergent neocon movement and gravitated to it.

Strauss never wrote for neocon publications and died, in 1973, just as the neocon movement was beginning to be well known as "neoconservatism."

'Guiding spirit,' perhaps?

OK, so the movement that came to be known as 'neoconservatism' emerged from different currents, Strass and his acolytes out of Chicago being one of them--though it was hardly surprising that those currents eventually merged.

One of the greatest ironies with these Straussians is that all their outward arrogance and their readiness to promote their movement publicly, and to promote themselves as part of that movement, is really quite un-Straussian. Yes, Strauss wanted intellectuals (at least those who thought as he did) to be active politically--but behind the scenes, cultivating disciples who would work to advance their views discretely, presented to the public in a false light. One would wonder what he would think of a document like PNAC's 'Rebuilding America's Defenses'--most likely agreeing with the views expressed there, but dumfounded at the openness in which they were expressed, in a document released to the public (or might he simply take refuge in the Allen Dulles 'people don't read in this country' rationale?).

Anyway, one of my favorite articles on this topic may be read here:

Apart from intellectuals, I think another key figure in the genesis of what has come to known as neoconservatism, whom I sometimes see overlooked, is Senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson--a hawk's hawk, ardent Cold Warrior, militarist, and zionist who loathed detente and helped people like Perle get their start in Washington.

Another great piece, GW.

It's apparent where this is all heading:

" (Bush regime) will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration of "national emergency" and the return of the draft."

I would add Cheney's April 2007 interview: "calling fear of the detonation of a nuclear weapon inside an American city "a very real threat.... It's something that we have to worry about and defeat every single day. ''

It's also pertinent--whether anyone wants to admit it or not--85 people were put on ICE when DHS went live with a drill at the meat processing plant in Waterloo, IA--less than three weeks ago.

85 sentenced in one day

Great job in rounding it all up into a nice readable article, GW.

...don't believe them!