Mimetic Warfare: A Neo-Con Strategy to Capture the Muslim Mind
by Dr. Robert Dickson Crane
The pending potential in the Year 2006 for the first constitutionally justified impeachment of a U.S. president has highlighted the importance of understanding the nature of the Neo-Con movement, against which I have been waging unremitting warfare now for almost four decades. One of the most instructive revelations was published on Sunday, October 23, 2005, in a full page Washington Post article about the highly secretive Scooter Libby, who was a political science student of Professor Paul Wolfowitz at Yale more than twenty-five years ago.
The author of this article, Mark Leibovich, with the research assistance of Meg Smith, relates Libby’s fascination with the classicist and military historian, Victor Davis Hanson, of whom Vice President Cheney is reported to be a devotee. A few months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Cheney invited Hanson to his home, along with Scooter, to reinforce their sales pitch to President Bush that evil is a basic condition of humanity and that therefore warfare is an inevitable part of civilization.
Until the publication of this full page article on Scooter Libby, only insiders were aware of this meeting, but it was merely a follow-up to other meetings that I have discussed in the first of my recent, unpublished books and covered briefly in my two long position papers published in The American Muslim shortly before and shortly after the Neo-Cons’ March, 2003, armed intrusion into the heart of the Arab world. Since I do not intend to publish these books because of their negative tones, some highlights have been preserved in the two position papers referenced below:
Crane, Dr. Robert D., ]The New Pagan Empire: An Ideological Challenge to America and the World, TAM#20 Mar/Apr 2003, and
Crane, Dr. Robert D., The Neo-Conservative Alliance: A Constellation of Competing Paradigms, TAM#21 May/June 2003.
This first position paper discusses a similar briefing of President Bush and Cheney as early as March, 2001, before 9/11, when the Neo-Con guru, Robert D. Kaplan, spent an hour with President Bush summarizing his book published the previous year, entitled The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War. In this book, Kaplan quotes Thomas Hobbes: Before the names of Just and Unjust can have any place, there must be some coercive power, “because Physical aggression is part of being human.”
Kaplan followed this up with another book a few months after 9/11 that was must reading for all top policy-makers. This book, Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, prepared the way for and reinforced the briefing by Victor Davis Hanson later that year in 2002. An excerpt from my “Pagan Ethos” article, published immediately before the invasion to explain why it was inevitable, follows:
“The threat of terrorism to a newly vulnerable America prompted Vice President Cheney on February 19th, 2002, at the Richard Nixon Library and think-tank in Yorba Linda, California, to call Americas policy of global offense ‘the defining struggle of the 21st century.’ Most alarming for some observers, including the ultra-pragmatic Europeans, is the openness of some who promote the new American agenda. More open even than Henry Kissinger, who is notorious for pooh-poohing morality in anything, has been the ‘hottest item in town,’ Robert D. Kaplan and his newest book Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos.
“This brilliant apologia for scrapping morality and ideals and anything that might interfere with the imposition of American imperial power comes garlanded with effusive praise by Henry Kissinger, Newt Gingrich, two former secretaries of defense, Perry and Cohen, as well as the former Director of the National Security Council, Bob (Bud) McFarlane, who for years has been the gray eminence behind American policy toward Afghanistan and his protoge, Karzai. According to Ken Ringles article in the Washington Post of February 21, 2002, entitled ‘Oracle of a New World Disorder,’ Kaplan’s book has taken Washington by storm and is required reading for all policymakers and their staffs.
“As early as March, 2001, before 9/11, Kaplan spent an hour with President Bush to brief him on another of his books, published in 2000, entitled The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War. Kaplan says that he has sold his pagan prescription by convincing the president that the world faces a ‘Lord of the Flies meltdown,’ that Americas dominance is tenuous, and that ‘the most important moral commitment for America is to preserve its power.’ Some observers claim that Kaplan is a one-man Ministry of Truth, the evil force in Orwell’s novel, 1984, which imposed mind control so that all citizens believed that ‘War is Peace’ and thereby made war a permanent state of being.
“Perhaps from his experience in the Israeli army for a year in 1980, Kaplan writes that ‘our moral values represent our worst vulnerabilities.’ Translated into Bush-speak, this means that civilian casualties can be seen as a necessary by-product of the war against evil, because the greater goal is to drive the barbarians away from the gates of the civilized world. In the prologue to his book, The Coming Anarchy, Kaplan quotes Thomas Hobbes: ‘Before the names of Just and Unjust can have any place, there must be some coercive power.’ He adds, ‘Physical aggression is part of being human.’ Bud McFarlane calls this book ‘an intellectual tour de force expressing the enduring relevance of ancient principles.’
“‘The new element in the world,’ according to Kaplan, ‘is that barbarians have exploited a global ideology - Islam to give them a bottomless pit of recruits and allies in a global war that has now struck at the heart of the empire’.”
This deliberate perversion of Islam into an alleged totalitarian ideology like Communism has been bought hook, line, and sinker by many academics in universities, who are responsible for the preparation of policy paradigms, by most of the think-tanks, who rely on the expertise of academia to set the agenda for policy in Washington, and by all of Bush’s close Neo-Con associates, who make and implement policy in pursuit of a totalitarian utopia with total disregard for either Congress or the American people.
Over the decades, I have collected dozens of the best books by and about utopian thinkers, all of whom produced in the end nothing but abominations in human life. The worst and most dangerous of the bunch may be the Neo-Cons, if they can survive their own arrogance.
These are the people against whom America’s Founders warned as the maximum threat to the traditionalist thought of Edmund Burke. As leader of the minority party in the English parliament, he was the Founders’ principal mentor in the years leading up to the Revolution, even though he taught that reform was better than revolution and subsequently rejected what he considered to be the Americans’ inopportune misreading of his message.
A forerunner of the Neo-Cons and an idol of some of them in their early years was Lenin, who translated the writings of the theoretician, Karl Marx, into operational policy. The utopia of Lenin differed from the Neo-Cons’ only in that he was not motivated primarily by fear. They both agree on a single approach to capitalism: “take it or leave it,” and “my way or the highway.” Paradigmatic and structural reform simply are out of the question, which is why all such totalitarian utopias must fail in the end.
There is a third way. One perspicacious but provocative Muslim intellectual, Moin Ansari, says this third way is Islam. Muslims should know this, but it has taken Christians and Jews to flesh this out with programmatic solutions, because too many Muslims buy into the Qutb/Neo-Con obsession about a zero-sum clash of civilizations.
This third way has been spelled out over the last few decades by, among others, the Center for Economic and Social Justice, which I co-founded with Norman Kurland in 1985 to establish President Reagan’s Presidential Task Force on Economic Justice. A number of web-sites have developed this approach in recent years, some of the most useful documents of which include the following:
As I have taught for more than a quarter century, there is a near identity between classical American thought, encapsuled in the Preamble to the American Constitution, which lists justice first and freedom last as the purpose for forming the American union, and classical Islamic thought, encapsuled in the maqasid al shari’ah or universal principles of human rights, which form the governing paradigm of classical, but now almost extinct, Islamic jurisprudence.
Radical utopians now are trying to hijack our jointly held traditional wisdom, which we may call “the just third way.” The radical Muslims want to impose what they call an “Islamic state” or even “a global Islamic caliphate,” and the radical Neo-Con globalists want to impose what they call “democratic capitalism.” These radical utopian terms are absurd oxymorons designed to hide the common goal to impose stability as the only ultimate goal under the guise, respectively, of “the Will of God” and “freedom and democracy.”
The Neo-Cons have now embarked on a desperate public relations campaign to sell America without changing any American policies. Not once during the past five years has President Bush mentioned the word “justice,” except in the sense of revenge and twice in a throwaway line inserted by his speechwriters without any follow-up. Freedom and democracy without a paradigm of justice to give them meaning is incomprehensible to 90% of the people in the world. For them the Neo-Cons are “speaking Greek” because they live in a world of their own cut off from reality.
The Neo-Con use of oxymorons to associate the religion Islam with the evils of radical terrorists is known as “mimetic warfare,” which is the use of symbols (words) to influence the thinking of the target audience subliminally, that is, to capture their minds without them being aware that they have been victimized.
The sophistication of this threat to the traditional teachings of all the world religions is shown by the fact that these oxymorons are accepted even by some of those who oppose the Neo-Cons and try to be objective about Islam as a religion. Even otherwise intelligent Muslims have fallen for this trap in order to gain acceptance as “moderate,” “liberal,” or “progressive” Muslims, whom the Neo-Cons hope then to co-opt.
The sophistication of this strategy is shown by the campaign to get both Muslims and non-Muslims to adopt a litmus test for what constitutes “militant Islam.” Daniel Pipes systematized this new technique by attempting to identify professors in American universities who in relation to Muslims were the equivalent of what “Commie-symps” were during the Cold War against Communist totalitarianism. As Sheila Musaji points out in her most recent article, “Through the Looking Glass,” [give citation] this demonization matrix has been further developed and publicized by the militantly Zionist magazine Frontpage, which lists anywhere from seven to nine danger signs of “militant Islam.” She suggests that, “given a little time this list will grow.”
This new game of testing Muslims for how well they accept the mimetic warriers’ perversion of Islam reminds one of the CIA’s word-count game a generation ago when authors were graded by how frequently they used the phrase “social justice.” A high count indicated the degree to which one was disloyal and thus a threat to the Free World. The very use of the word “justice” flagged a security risk, because the only acceptable word was “freedom.” In this mind-game the word “freedom” was used to flag those who agreed with American foreign policies.
Perhaps the most subtly misleading terms in modern mimetic warfare are “Islamic country” and “Islamic world,” which in mimetic warfare are designed to group majority Muslim countries together as a single, systemic threat. Even Muslims use this terminology, although they know perfectly well that there is not a single Islamic country in the world. As Jeremy Henzell-Thomas has pointed out, there are indeed few countries that one should even categorize as “Muslim”.
The word Islamic refers to the submission of a person or community to God. One can define this socially as one’s commitment to human rights or to the pursuit of peace through justice and justice through peace. Or, more basically one can define “Islamic” as practical commitment to the interdependent goals of order, justice, and freedom, which provided the normative paradigm for all the Founders of America and forms the core belief in the perennial wisdom of every traditionalist religion.
It is ironic that America is by far the best example of what should be meant by the term Islamic world, because the ecumenical wisdom of America’s founders has survived and is practiced in the United States better than anywhere else on earth. This is true despite the fact that the American media and the White House often reflect and grossly portray the very opposite of everything Islamic.
Why do both Muslims and non-Muslims go along with this game of mental perversion, like sheep to a slaughter. The innocent and naive argument for “going along with the flow” is that everyone is using these terms, so we must accept them in order to participate in public policy debates. This is nothing more than acceptance and practice of what the novel, 1984, termed double-speak, which is at the heart of every totalitarian strategy to enslave the world in pursuit of unlimited economic, political, and military power.