The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Osama Bin Laden: The First Great Man Of The 21st Century

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Osama Bin Laden was not a good man.

Great is not a synonym for good. Genghis Khan was a great man. Hitler was a great man. FDR was a great man. Ivan the Terrible was a great man. Queen Elizabeth the first was a great woman. Of the five, only FDR was a good person.

Bin Laden didn’t quite win (though the jury is out), but he did accomplish much of what he wanted. His theory was simple: the US, the far enemy, was why when pious Muslims tried to reform their societies, they lost. The US supported the local governments or conservative/sell out forces, and with that support, the governments won.

This theory is a good one: it’s mostly true.

Bin Laden fought as one of the Mujahadeen against the USSR. He lead troops from the front. (He was a brave man, something most Americans refuse to admit.) He believed that the USSR broke up, in large part, because of their loss in Afghanistan. Pouring so many men and resources into the Afghan war put enough additional strain on the USSR to be decisive.

This theory is a good one: it has a lot of truth to it (though it’s only partially true.)

Osama also believed that the US military was fundamentally weak: they were good at battles and awful at prolonged combat. They were not tough: they could not win large-scale guerilla wars. Against tough warriors who wouldn’t give up, like the Vietnamese, they would eventually lose. This would destroy the myth of American military superiority.

So Osama’s plan was to suck the US into a war it couldn’t win, in Afghanistan. 9/11 was the method and it worked.

The US, under George W. Bush then also invaded Iraq, a self-inflicted wound.

And Osama was right, though more in Iraq than Afghanistan (which was fought more on the cheap.) The US won the initial battles, was bogged down and eventually forced out.

The cost was astronomical, and it did damage America, distracting America from its bleeding economic and social ulcers, and its real danger: China and the US. The money and men spent in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the endless “war on terror”; the attention paid to it, changed America in ways which made it weaker.

It didn’t, directly, cause the US collapse. America was stronger than the USSR had been in the 80s.

But Osama got much of what he wanted and planned: his wars; America defeated militarily, and America weakened. He found America’s trigger button and pushed it, and America acted as he wanted.

That he later died means nothing. His greatness was in making the greatest power of his time dance to his tune, and in so doing weaken itself.

The War on Terror was a great, essentially self-inflicted wound. Osama could never have damaged the US so much if America had not cooperated, but it did, because Bin Laden understood America enough to make it do what he wanted.

Bin Laden isn’t in the first tier of great men and women, but he qualifies for great: he made the world dance to his tune.

It’s important to recognize this. We can say of someone that they were evil and great. We can admit someone’s virtues if they are our enemies. If we can’t, we will underestimate them, and underestimating an enemy is sheerest stupidity, and a constant American vice.

You grant your enemies their greatness, or you are a fool.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 10, 2023


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  1. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Yet, in the long run, bin Laden’s hopes will fail.

    Because hedonism will always undermine and defeat piety, whether it be piety to a religion, or piety to an ostensibly secular religion-substitute such as Communism.

    This is why a pious state, whether religious or secular, must always also be a police state.

    However, all police states ultimately fail, because:

    (1) The majority of human beings are neither authoritarian leaders nor authoritarian followers, and so they loathe being told what to do .

    (2) Police states are the ultimate human example of order–and Mommie Dearest Nature hates order. (2nd Law of Thermodynamics, aka entropy)

    Selah. 😈

  2. Sara

    Bin Laden had advanced renal disease and died in late 2001.

    Obviously, if bin Laden had outwitted not only the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI, but also all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of Washington’s NATO puppet states, Israel’s Mossad, and in addition the National Security Council, NORAD, US air traffic control, and airport security four times on the same morning, it would be the greatest feat in world history, a movement building feat that would have made al Qaeda the most successful anti-imperialist organization in human history, an extraordinary victory over “the great satan” that would have brought millions of new recruits into al Qaeda’s ranks. Yet the alleged “mastermind” denied all responsibility.

    Try to identify a single event that the US government has not lied about. Weapons of mass destruction? Iranian nukes? Assad’s chemical attack? Spying on Americans? 9/11? The assassination of President John F. Kennedy? The unemployment rate?

    A 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Explained in Five Minutes:

  3. GrimJim

    All states eventually fail.

    Historically, police states have always lasted the longest.

    Of course, that’s because the technology limited individual choice, mostly because of simple lack of knowledge of any alternatives. And even ten, most available alternatives were merely different factions of the same core “piety.”

    Europe, for example, since the late Iron Age, has essentially been ruled by three different firms of piety:

    Roman Imperial
    Christian Feudal
    Capitalist Industrial

    We are in the final stages of Capitalist Industrial.

    Because we live in the era of greatest, widest access of knowledge, with liberal access to free thought, many free thinkers assume that such is the basic nature of humanity, that people by nature desire freedom of thought and political action.

    The current Illiberal-Autocratic trend shows us otherwise.

    Many people prefer freedom from thought with restriction of political action. Essentially, they are ruled by their fear of change, and prefer to support those who will maintain the status quo.

    Mostly out of fear; of course, no few are opportunists who see themselves as being served by the autocratic structure rather than serving it (Trump, Republican politicians, other such leader types).

    Again, for most of history, “pious” states were the rule, the more pious, the greater and longer lasting.

    That’s where we are headed, in the time left to us before all is cast back to the stone age (if we are lucky).

    As for Osama, his struggle was never to build a caliphate; his was to destroy an empire. In that, he mostly succeeded.

    The US might have been able to survive even it’s own idiocy in fighting the “War on Terror,” but the socio-political and economic developments of that era have exacerbated the other two causes of the modern retrograde social movements.

    Primarily, of course, the immiseration of the 99% over the last 40 years thanks to Voodoo Economics and offshoring.

    Second, the victory of Social Liberalism and Civil Rights over the last 60 years finally brought about the long delayed Thermidorian Counter Revolution.

    The destruction of the middle class; combined with the rise of the freedom, visibility, and success of those who are not straight white Christian males at the same time that segment has lost relative wealth and power (perfectly represented by the election of a Black president); and top it off with a growing police state thanks to the War on Terror; and you gave a perfect storm for the rise of Patriarchal White Supremacist Christian Dominionism, which is essentially the real movement behind Trumpism (Trump is a symptom, not the disease itself).

    Similar movements are at work in Western Europe, which has its own scapegoats (Germany has Turks, France Africans, and Britain the European Union). Eastern Europe, too, has this issue, witness Orban in Hungary and Putin in Russia (and Putin is, as they say, one of the lesser of evils in this regard, his rivals are often even worse).

    Anyway, to sum up, the US is essentially returning to the pre-WWII status quo… when we were a very, very “Pious” nation. Some Republicans even want to go further back, to the Antebellum Era.

    Having attained dizzying heights, we have oh so very far we can fall…

  4. Willy

    “Great” can mean an extraordinary many things. Or did I mean outstanding, masterful, noble, sublime, stupendous, or just plain jumbo? God, sometimes the English language sucks. There’s gotta be a better word for what bin Laden was.

    What I learned from bin Laden, mostly, is that a “great” nation isn’t always full of outstanding, masterful, noble, sublime or stupendous people. We gotta lotta jumbo stupids thinking they’re those things. It seems the people who misunderstood bin laden’s motives worst, were the same kind of self-entitled self-important tribalistic ignoramuses who stormed their own Capitol looking to hang their VP, just because they lost some perceived power.

  5. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    that’s because the technology limited individual choice, mostly because of simple lack of knowledge of any alternatives.

    The aptly self-named Grim Jim, if I read him correctly, thinks the authoritarian minority of humans are the majority. I think he killed his own argument with the above quote.

    Piety can only be strong when people don’t know one or more alternatives exist, which is why pious regimes must engage in censorship.

    20th-Century media killed the secular piety of Communism, whose grim gray piety (Communism was never briliant red, but dishwater gray) could not compete with the seductive rainbow of self-indulgences just across the walls and fences, which the Communist regimes were compelled to build to keep from losing all of their best and brightest, and many others as well.

    Today’s authoritarians stand even less chance against the Web.

    As for the Dominionists (neo-Confederates, more like it), they lose members to old age every day, and not enough young people are replacing them.

    Besides, they took their best shot, pitiful as it was, on Jan. 6, 2021, and failed.

    Their ultimate master (whether they acknowledge him as such or not) is failing in Ukraine.

    Only the PRC stands strong against human liberty, and only for now.

    They are human beings; therefore, their discipline and solidarity will fail sooner or later, if it is not failing already. Their own great leader, Sun Yat-sen, called his people “a sheet of sand”, IIRC.

    However, as I am 60, I doubt I will live to see the collapse of the PRC, although I would be happy to learn that I had underestimated its fragility before Miss Ankh takes me.


  6. NR

    Paul Craig Roberts is a Holocaust denier, and seeing him cited here is disappointing to say the least.

  7. JM Goldiner

    Never forget the Zionists.

    At this stage, 17 years in, with all the evidence from engineers, architects, professors, intelligence whistleblowers, military analysts, heads of state and more, if you don’t know that the official 9/11 story is the biggest pile of bullshit this side of Wagyu farms in Japan, you’re an idiot. Simple and plain. A total moron. We’re talking planetary stupidity here. Because two planes can’t pulverize three buildings–we call that the STMT… Shlomo’s Talmudic Mathematical Theorem. Jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel. The “hijackers” weren’t capable of flying a single-engine Cesna, let alone 757s and 767s. On this point, let’s also note that some of the “hijackers” are actually still alive. Boxcutters? A laptop and some cell phones? Run from Afghanistan’s caves around 7,000 miles away from NYC? Were you dropped on your head as a kid or did you just get this imbecilic recently? Passports ain’t flame-retardant. NORAD doesn’t stand down on its own. F-16 interceptors don’t stand down on their own either. Osama Bin Laden was a longstanding agent of the CIA who denied having anything to do with 9/11 in his last actual interview and pointed the finger at the very people we’ll be discussing herein. He also died from health-related issues, not a Seal Team 6 raid. And more. So much more. You get the gist of it.

  8. Willy

    The majority of human beings are neither authoritarian leaders nor authoritarian followers, and so they loathe being told what to do.

    Not true. Explain the all the tolerance for kings, pharaohs, emperors, religions and dynasties throughout history. Human history is less a tale of trying to herd cats than it is a tale of herds of monkeys being led to attack other herds of monkeys. So who are the monkey leaders? Why all the monkey followers? What about those monkeys who only just wanted the freedom from all the monkey see monkey do monkeys to do their own thing? Why weren’t those monkeys just left alone?

    Bonhoeffer got off to a good start when he realized that social humans prefer to play by social rules, with free thought being less important to them. I’ve experienced this for myself on a personal level. Yet that not all humans are made that way.

    You have to go back to the formative years of humanity to try to get a grasp of the overall scope and roles which all the various temperaments had in making humanity what it is today. The technology, overpopulation, and overconsumption of today will only confuse things.

  9. StewartM


    The reason why the coming century will likely not be ‘the Asian century’ is not because of the presumed ‘free-dumb’ of the West (which happens to look less and less actually ‘free’ for the peons when closely examined), but because of the disastrous sea level rise and fresh water shortages in Asia.

    Maybe the Western oligarchs will keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere as a foreign policy strategy to contain China’s economy. If so, by doing so, they will kill more humans than did Genghis or even Mao. What’s more ‘free-dumb’ than that?

  10. dave -- just dave

    Was 9/11 the cause of the Great War on Terror, or the excuse? When one looks at the plans of the Project for the New American Century, and their phrase “a new Pearl Harbor”, it seems like the latter.

  11. Carborundum

    This definition of greatness strikes me as being excessively focused on the magnitude of the effects, which were entirely the product of terrible policy decisions in response. I’ve read quite a bit of UBL’s writings – he had neither a good understanding of the society he was attacking (and the likely responses beyond the most general), nor was he a particularly good movement theorist. Proof is in the pudding – in spite of how high the flames were stoked, the movement has essentially burned itself out.

    tldr; Easy to look great when competing with morons, particularly to people who loathe the morons.

  12. Willy

    Sometimes I really hate being the cynical party pooper. I need to be offering more hope in this place, or at least seeds of ideas for hope. And so I’ll tell my little tale of overcoming a workplace full of Bonhoeffer Stupids, the classic authoritarian enablers.

    As a kid I worked in a grocery store, a job I desperately needed to pay for school. After a period of regular workplace goings on with regular workplace folk, a workplace bully arrived. After gaining the complicity of our boss the bully began exerting his power over the place. He was especially hard on me, a perceived rival for promotion, spreading rumors and giving me a derogatory nickname which matched his rumors. The boss went along with it, as did many of my normally nice workmates. For months that place was workplace hell.

    A day short of my quitting, both the boss and the bully got promoted to another store. I saw my chance and made an example of one of the normally nice workmates trying to continue my abuse.

    And then like magic, all of that workplace mob hell just disappeared. It was all normally nice workmates again. Remember that last scene in the movie Twister, where the F5 tornado just vaporized and all was calm on the farm again? It felt like that.

    Sorry to say, but most of us are authoritarian enablers, willing or cowardly. We bow to power out of fear, or we try to use it to our social advantage.

    ‘The lesson I learned (or should’ve learned had I not been so idealistically naive) was that sometimes, cutting the head off the snake works. Maybe that’s why Islamic terrorism against America done in bin Laden’s martyred name, isn’t seen much these days, as so many had feared. It’s not like America has gotten any less bullying.

  13. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Well, shozbot. Apologies for goofing up the italics. 🙃

  14. mago

    Not that it matters given that it’s just words and views on a web blog site, but most of the comments and the content commented on strike me as off target and tangential to the complexities of this 9/11 business.

    Who were the state actors and what were their motives?
    Who cares?
    Goal scored.
    Complex situations defy simple analysis.
    We’ll see, assuming a long life and freedom from confusion and fog, not to mention stormy weather.
    Suerte a cada

  15. different clue

    Has Paul Craig Roberts ever actually denialized the holocaust? Is there any actual evidence of that to which an actual link could be provided?

    Does steel have to melt to fail and let its building fall? Or is it enough that it just soften and bend?

    I read an interesting theory in a comment once. Someone claimed that back when the Twin Towers were built, the building trades were still very much mafia infiltrated and preyed upon. So the purchasers of the Twin Towers might have paid a billion dollars for the two buildings, but might have only gotten a half-billion dollars worth of buildings. With the other half billion going wherever the mafia families send their money. So the buildings might not have been as plane-resistant as everybody thought they were built to be.

  16. NR


    Roberts denies the Holocaust in his own words in this article:

    No German plans, or orders from Hitler, or from Himmler or anyone else have ever been found for an organized holocaust by gas and cremation of Jews. This is extraordinary as such a massive use of resources and transportation would have required massive organization, budgets and resources. What documents do show is Hitler’s plan to relocate European Jews to Madagascar after the war’s end. With the early success of the Russian invasion, this plan was changed to sending the European Jews to the Jewish Bolsheviks in the eastern part of Russia that Hitler was going to leave to Stalin. There are documented orders given by Hitler preventing massacres of Jews. Hitler said over and over that “the Jewish problem” would be settled after the war.

    It seems that most of the massacres of Jews were committed by German political administrators of occupied territories in the east to whom Jews from Germany and France were sent for relocation. Instead of dealing with the inconvenience, some of the administrators lined them up and shot them into open trenches. Other Jews fell victim to the anger of Russian villagers who had long suffered under Jewish Bolshevik administrators.

    The “death camps” were in fact work camps. Auschwitz, for example, today a Holocaust museum, was the site of Germany’s essential artificial rubber factory. Germany was desperate for a work force. A significant percentage of German war production labor had been released to the Army to fill the holes in German lines on the Russian front. War production sites, such as Auschwitz, had as a work force refugees displaced from their homes by war, Jews to be deported after war’s end, and anyone else who could be forced into work. Germany desperately needed whatever work force it could get.

    Every camp had crematoriums. Their purpose was not to exterminate populations but to dispose of deaths from the scourge of typhus, natural deaths, and other diseases. Refugees were from all over, and they brought diseases and germs with them. The horrific photos of masses of skeleton-like dead bodies that are said to be evidence of organized extermination of Jews are in fact camp inmates who died from typhus and starvation in the last days of the war when Germany was disorganized and devoid of medicines and food for labor camps. The great noble Western victors themselves bombed the labor camps and contributed to the deaths of inmates.

    And of course, what he says is countered by the large amount of evidence we have that the Holocaust did, in fact, happen.

  17. ZenVigilante

    Buildings are designed for static loads.

    What does this mean?

    When designing the building structure, engineers have to take into account gravity (reliably pointing down) and make some allowances for earthquake and wind load.

    The moment substantial dynamic load is applied, all bets are off.

    How is a dynamic load applied?


    (Force = mass* acceleration)

    With this in mind, let’s examine what happened:

    Plane hits building, full tank of kerosene ignites.
    Kerosene burns hot, steel heats up and a few columns lose bearing capacity (note, the steel doesn’t have to melt, just pass a critical point; further note not all columns have to fail, just a few)
    Floors above = mass
    Gravity = acceleration
    Force applied to lower story structure exceeds its bearing capacity.

    Resulting collapse broadcast on tv.

    This is how buildings work. This is what happened.

  18. Sara

    @Jonathan Michael Goldiner aka Jonathan Azaziah aka Madd Dogg:

    I don’t know who you are or where you’ve gone (or if it’s even really you), but I want to say thank you for the incredible work you did (and continue to do?) outing the Zionist intel apparatus. Naming the players, their connections and ops, and their prior criminal histories is detective work 101.

    I’m going to link to two of your other pieces of 9/11 writing, as I believe they fill in important gaps:

    Blame Iran or Blame Al-Saud For 9/11, Just Don’t Blame ‘Israel’:

    Jonathan, the force of your writing is first and foremost in the undeniable facts you present, coupled with your unique voice.

    Thank you, and thank you Ian Welsh.

    @NR Arabs are semites. The “Israelis” – the Jews – have been systematically annhilating Palestine and its people for over a century and remaking it in their Jewish interests. They are the “antisemites” – if you insist on keeping such a smear term alive in the first place.

    Some recent headlines:

    Expert reveals Israel’s (the Jewish state claiming to represent Jews worldwide) abuse of Palestinians was premeditated:

    In recordbreaking heat, Israel (the proud Jewish state) intentionally impedes Palestinian families’ access to water:

    Using an Attack Dog, Israeli (Jewish) Women Soldiers Forced Palestinian Women to Undress:

    Christians come under attack as Israeli leaders get more extreme

    Israel blocks tools for treating Gaza’s kidney patients

    Israeli troops shoot medic’s feet during raid

    Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian Teen, Injure Three, In Nablus

    News roundup from Israel & Palestine: Imprisoned for a hat, etc

    Stripped, Beaten, and Blindfolded: ongoing violence and abuse of

    Palestinian children detained by Israeli military

    Thousands flee Israel’s biggest West Bank military operation in decades

    Israel launches massive deadly attack on West Bank city of Jenin
    Israeli forces shoot out child’s eye, abduct & kill people, etc

    Finally, what does the US congress, which hates the majority of the people living inside the US, think about increasing Israeli (Jewish) supremacism, violence and apartheid?:

    Congress gives 29 bipartisan standing ovations for Israeli president

    NR, the US Congress is listening! (to Zionist $) You won’t have to worry about the “antisemitism” that dogs you so much:

    What is in store under Biden’s new antisemitism battle plan?:

    The Hate Crime Purging of “Antisemites” Is Underway!:

    Why? The gargantuan Israel Lobby and its myriad manifestations – the most powerful lobby in the country, bar none.

    What kind of world do you want to live in?

  19. Jessica

    Jonathan Michael Goldiner probably took the name “Azaziah” because it means “Yahweh is strong” in Hebrew.

    I imagine he’s an op of some sort himself.

    He sure as hell comes packed with information for readers’ further investigation.

    Since the events of WWII were mentioned upthread, I’ll link to Goldiner-Azaziah’s musings on the holocaust industry, included in his piece on the “White Helmets” receiving the Elie Weisel award! You can’t make this stuff up.

    “Bankrolled to the teeth by a who’s who of ultra-Zionist “elites” like the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, billionaire Saw Mill Capital founder Howard D. Unger, the Goldsmith Family Foundation, the Lowenberg family (William J., a San Francisco real estate tycoon, helped construct the hasbara op from the ground up while serving on the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Agency, a central ‘Israeli’ ethnic cleansing apparatus), the Wexners, the Pritzkers, the Wilfs, the Adelsons, the Belfers, the Crowns, the Hillside Foundation (run by the Holts, who roll with the Carlyle Group, Friends of IOF and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington), the Klarmans, the Marcus Foundation, the Lauder Foundation, the Sidewaters and it goes on to the point I could heave up food from five years ago that somehow didn’t make it through my digestive tract.

    Case in point is that this is not an unbiased institution solely with a “human rights” agenda. It is a group of Jewish-Zionist partisans with a Jewish-Zionist agenda and nobody receives an award from Parasites of this nature unless they’re serving a purpose. Simple and plain.”

    That’s how it works. Whether the money/award is coming from Zionists or anywhere else, it doesn’t happen unless the people receiving it are doing their bidding because:

    Nobody receives an award from Parasites of this nature unless they’re serving a purpose. Simple and plain.

  20. different clue


    Looks like you are exactly correct about Paul Craig Roberts. One wonders at the source of his spiritual deformity.

    I remember once going to a talk by someone named Jack Eisner, a holocaust survivor and author of the book The Survivor.

    I remember that in the question-answer session after his talk, someone asked him if he thought anti-zionism was a cover for antisemitism. He said that he thought that about 80% of the time it was. i wonder how he arrived at that number, but I have seen antizionism used as a cover for antisemitism. Perhaps one could say such antizionists are really antizionites. Hey! I invented a new word!

    But what about the antizionists who are entirely semito-neutral about it? Neither pro-semitic nor anti-semitic about it? Among the many examples of jew-neutral antizionism, I will offer a seemingly unusual one . . . Colonel Pat Lang. He was very very antizionist. But not the least bit whatever-semitic about it. And he once ran at least one post about the Wansee Conference, which I wonder if Paul Craig Roberts really doesn’t know about or merely pretends not to know about.

    britannica being the Encyclopedia Britannica, which only lives online anymore.

  21. NR


    I said nothing about antisemitism in general, I only pointed out the fact that Paul Craig Roberts is a Holocaust denier. I have no problem with people criticizing Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, I have done so on many occasions myself. But you can, and should, do that without denying the Holocaust.

    And Israelis are not synonymous with Jews.

  22. Sara


    I don’t know what “holocaust denial” means. There are different narratives surrounding events of the past, as is always the case. History is written by the victors, as is always the case.

    If I am told that if I don’t believe a given narrative about the past I will be thrown in jail, or my character is regularly smeared for daring even to look into the mainstream narrative of history – well, that speaks volumes. It means that what the powers that be are selling isn’t true. Period.

    Finally, please tell Israel and the Zionist Power Configuration, the Jewish establishment – whatever words suffice for you to describe what is an obvious reality – that Israel is not synonymous with Jews. I already know that.

  23. Jessica

    “The Jewish State” is not synonomous with Jews? Do you live on this planet?

  24. Willy

    Neil Degrasse Tyson claimed that there’s only been one Muslim awarded the Nobel Prize for physics, but that nearly a quarter of those kinds of awards have gone to Jews. HA! A Zionst Muslim hater?

    Actually, he was trying to make a point that Baghdad was once the world leader in physics, before the Mongols laid that city waste allowing al-Ghazali’s view of Islamic behaviors to become ascendant, anti-scientism being one of them. HA! A scientistic philosopher hater?

    Actually, he was trying to make the point that if one culture doesn’t think it’s cool to do science, then another will.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with the Zionists in control of Israel, or that there are fairly large groups within Israel like the recent judicial reform protestors or those most Jewish of Jews, the orthodox who despise Zionism, who are Israeli but not Zionist.

    But then, just because I have a need for cognitive closure doesn’t mean the Zionists aren’t out to get me. I said that publicly once and Cobain stole it and morphed it into his famous lyric. There’s also videos proving that Led Zeppelin stole and morphed a lot of songs for their own greed as well. But I digress.

    Paul Craig Roberts, Victor Davis Hanson… and other 3-name thinkers I cant think of at the moment… What’s up with starting out as a respectably wise guy then morphing into some kind of tribalistic conspiracy theorist nutjob? Is it really just all about the money? Or, is this yet another episode in my ongoing saga about Bonhoeffer’s Stupids?

  25. different clue

    . . . ” I don’t know what “holocaust denial” means. There are different narratives surrounding events of the past, as is always the case. History is written by the victors, as is always the case. ”

    Most people will tell you that the earth is round. But that just means that they have accepted the mainstream narrative. There is a dissenting narrative about how the earth is flat. Just because it goes against the mainstream narrative about how the earth is round does not by itself mean that it is necessarily wrong.

    I believe schools do a profound disservice to children by teaching them to accept the mainstream narrative that the earth is round without giving them equal exposure to the narrative that the earth is flat . . . and then letting them make up their own minds.
    Equal time for equal fairness demands that schools teach both sides of the controversy.

  26. NR


    Holocaust denial is exactly what it says. When people deny that the Holocaust happened.

    And the Holocaust isn’t a “narrative,” it’s a fact. It happened. There is very extensive evidence that it happened. Much of which was collected at the orders of General Eisenhower, who incidentally predicted that people like Paul Craig Roberts (and perhaps you as well, based on your comment) would arise in the future.

    “The same day [April 12, 1945] I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

    “I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that `the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to through the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.”

    Unfortunately it seems he underestimated the ability of people with an agenda to deny reality.

  27. NR


    Not every Jew is an Israeli. Therefore they are not synonymous.

    It’s really not a difficult concept to understand.

  28. Ian Welsh

    NR. A good pair of comments. Thank you.

    I will only add that though a decided minority there are still some Israelis who believe in making the Palestinians citizens, etc…

    I bow to few in how much I despise what Israel has done to the Palestinians (my last post on the matter cost me a $100/month subscriber), but just as I don’t hate all Americans for their crimes (or all Canadians for ours) I don’t blame all Israelis.

    Although at this point I do blame most of them, and what is sad is that they deserve that blame.

  29. Jessica

    The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons with Jewish religious symbols all over them, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organised Jews worldwide.

  30. Jan Wiklund

    I believe that this habit of sorting people inte Good and Evil is at least one of the root causes of the political illness of the Western world. Too many ifluential people seem convinced that Putin is Evil and Zelensky is Good and that they will have no peace at mind if Putin, and by implication Russia, is utterly destroyed.

    Which will of course only lead to misery. People will starve because of high food prices, and possibly a nuclear war that destroy most of the world may be a result.

    As Kishore Mahbubani, the brilliant exponent of East Asia thinking, puts it, about the Ukraine war:

    “The West has been pushing for a perfect solution. The rest of the world would prefer to see their sufferings decrease from an imperfect solution.

    What’s the perfect solution? This is what the West is pursuing in Ukraine: total withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. No compromise.

    Certainly, if the West could accomplish it, it should go for it. But what are the prospects of the West achieving this perfect solution in Ukraine? The answer is zero.

    In short, the apparently rational West is pursuing an impossible solution. And in the process, the people of Ukraine are suffering. And, equally importantly, the Western search for a perfect solution is causing enormous suffering for a massive number of poor people.”

  31. Jan Wiklund

    Please, a negation slipped out of a sentence above.

    Of course the sentence will follow like this

    “Too many ifluential people seem convinced that Putin is Evil and Zelensky is Good and that they will have no peace at mind UNTIL Putin, and by implication Russia, is utterly destroyed.

  32. Sierra

    Ian, thank you for allowing commentary on this. I believe it’s very important.

    Unfortunately, too many intelligent and sensitive human beings have been smeared with the “holocaust denial” label.

    Jessica was quoting Paul Eisen, who has done rather introspective writing on this subject, only to be labeled an “antisemite” or “self-hating.”

    Here is the paragraph in its entirety, more of Paul’s writing from the same piece, and an Amy Goodman video to digest and reflect on. Shulami Aloni’s words in the video well reinforce the point Paul makes in the asterisk-designated paragraph.

    Zionism is not Judaism; Judaism is not Zionism ?

    The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons with Jewish religious symbols all over them, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organised Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do. The past is just too terrible. All of us know of the hatred and violence to which accusations against Jews have led in the past. Also, if we were to examine critically the role of Jews in this conflict, what would become of us and of our struggle? Would we be labelled anti-Semites and lose much of the support that we have worked so hard to gain?


    The Holocaust, the paradigm for all anti-Semitism and all Jewish suffering, is treated as being beyond examination and scrutiny. Questioning the Holocaust narrative is, at best, socially unacceptable, leading often to social exclusion and discrimination, and, at worst, in some places is illegal and subject to severe penalty.

    Holocaust revisionist scholars, named Holocaust deniers by their opponents, have challenged this. They do not deny a brutal and extensive assault on Jews by the Nazi regime but they do deny the Holocaust narrative as framed by present day establishments and elites. Specifically, their denial is limited to three main areas.

    First, they deny that there ever was an official plan on the part of Hitler or any other part of the Nazi regime systematically and physically to eliminate every Jew in Europe; second, they deny that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers; third, they claim that the numbers of Jewish victims of the Nazi assault have been greatly exaggerated.

    But none of this is the point. Whether those who question the Holocaust narrative are revisionist scholars striving to find the truth and shamelessly persecuted for opposing a powerful faction, or whether they are crazy Jew-haters denying a tragedy and defaming its victims, the fact is that one may question the Armenian genocide, one may freely discuss the Slave Trade, one can say that the murder of millions of Ibos, Kampucheans and Rwandans never took place and that the moon is but a piece of green cheese floating in space, but one may not question the Jewish Holocaust.

    Why? Because, like the rest of the Jewish history of suffering, the Holocaust underpins the narrative of Jewish innocence which is used to bewilder and befuddle any attempt to see and to comprehend Jewish power and responsibility in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere in the world.***


    “The Jews”

    The phrase is itself terrifying because of its past association with discrimination and violence against Jews, but Jews themselves have no problem with it. The notion of a Jewish People is at the centre of Jewish faith with Jews of all or no degrees of religious adherence over and over again affirming its existence. It is also at the heart of Zionism even in its most secular forms and is written into the foundational texts of the state of Israel. The concept even received international legal approval when the Jewish people were declared, by the West German state, to be the post-war residual heirs of intestate Jews.

    And yet it is an absolute article of faith for everyone, including those in the solidarity movement, that while we may criticize and confront Israel and Israelis, we may not criticize and confront the Jewish people and Jews. Unlike Israel and any other state, the Jewish People has no common policy and any attack on the Jewish people is, therefore, aimed at what they are and not at what they do.

    But is speaking of the Jews doing this or doing that any more or less acceptable than speaking of, say, the Americans? If the American military lays waste a third world country, it is done by order of the government (a small group) with the full support of the ruling elites (another small group), the tacit support of a substantial segment of the population (a larger group), the silent denial of probably the majority of the population (a very large group) and the opposition of a tiny minority (a small group). Is it all that different with Jews?

    It may be. Unlike the United States, ‘the Jews’ are not a legally constituted body and they do not have an obvious and defined common policy. ‘The Jews’ do not have an officially designated leadership, nor do they inhabit one area of land, nor do they speak a common language or even share a common culture. Theoretically at least there seem to be so many differences as to render any comparison untenable. In practice this may not be the whole story.

    It is true that ‘the Jews’ do not constitute a legally recognized body, but Zionism, with its claim to represent all Jews, has increasingly confused the issue. It is also true that the Zionists do not represent all Jews but they do represent the views of very many Jews indeed, and certainly the most powerful and influential Jews. And there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of organized Jews are fully behind the Zionist project.

    That ‘the Jews’ do not have a formally designated leadership does not mean that they have no leadership – bodies again to which the overwhelming majority of organized Jews owe allegiance: the Israeli Government, the World Zionist Organization; numerous large and powerful Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, The Simon Wiesenthal Centre; lesser bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews and similar organizations in every country in which Jews reside.

    Then there is the extensive network of Jewish bodies often linked, through synagogues to the whole spectrum of mainstream Jewish religious and community life. All these bodies with their vast and interconnected network do provide leadership; they do have clearly defined policies and they are all four-square behind Zionism and Israel in its assault on the Palestinians.


    Amy Goodman: “Often when there is dissent expressed in the United States against policies of the Israeli government, people here are called “antisemitic.” What is your response to that, as an Israeli Jew?”

    Shulamit Aloni: “Well, it’s a trick. We always use it. When from Europe some of these criticize Israel, then we bring up “the holocaust.” When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are antisemitic. And the organization is strong and has a lot of money, and the ties between Israel and the American estab….Jewish establishment (emphasis hers) are very strong, as you know, and they have power, which is okay, they are talented people and they have power, money, media and other things. And their attitude is “Israel, my country, right or wrong” …and they are not ready to hear criticism. And it’s very easy to blame people who criticize certain acts of the Israeli government as ‘antisemitics’ and to bring up ‘the holocaust’ and ‘the suffering of the Jewish people’ and that justifies everything we do to the Palestinians.”

  33. Paul

    A thoughtful, well-reasoned piece on “holocaust denial” versus the practice of investigating and revising our understanding of history based on facts and free debate:

    “During an open discussion at Palestine Place in June 2012, one attendee brought up the subject of Gilad Atzmon’s alleged anti-Semitism. The gentleman proceeded to misrepresent Atzmon’s words in order to paint him as a racist who merely seeks to attack Judaism.

    During this discussion the subject of holocaust denial and holocaust revisionism came up. At no point was the holocaust denied by anybody present, however this writer did make the point that we must make a distinction between ‘revisionism’ and ‘denial’. All historical events must be open to investigation and questioning; the very concept of history is based on revisionism. What legitimate reason could we possibly have for shielding any historical event from examination? We are constantly reminded that we must learn from history lest it repeat itself (reminiscent of the ‘never again’ mantra), yet we are prevented from examining these very elements of history!

    This particular discussion at Palestine Place continued for ten or fifteen minutes before the next scheduled discussion was due to begin. During this time, dedicated pro-Palestinian activist Ken O’Keefe came to Gilad Atzmon’s defence, drawing attention to Atzmon’s idea that Jewishness and Jewish culture must be part of our investigation of Israeli and Zionist ideology. Are Israel’s tanks, gunships and warplanes not adorned with the Jewish Star of David? Is ‘Israel’ not a self-professed Jewish State? The gentleman who had chosen to accuse Atzmon of anti-Semitism had misrepresented Atzmon’s views and launched into a baseless ad hominem attack.

    Immediately before the next scheduled speaker, a spokesman for Palestine Place made an announcement to the following effect: some people have decided to air their views on the holocaust, we must remind you that at Palestine Place we do not tolerate anti-Semitism and we will not be discussing the holocaust any further.

    It must be noted that this was after the same spokesperson had emphatically stated that day, that Palestine Place was not affiliated with any solidarity organisation (such as the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign), purely to avoid the politicisation and control of discussion!

    This relatively small incident demonstrates how the Palestine Solidarity Movement is not only subject to Zionist bullying, infiltration, and lobbying, but more importantly cultural indoctrination. We are instilled with a cardinal fear of discussing the holocaust outside of the officially accepted narrative – a ‘thoughtcrime’ in this democracy and beacon of free speech known as Great Britain.

    The knee-jerk ‘we do not tolerate anti-Semitism‘ emotional reaction is sadly typical, and it is trotted out before one iota of thought has been given to the content and substance of the discussion.

    It is incredibly sad and disheartening to see that the Palestine Solidarity Movement is utterly beholden to Zionism’s biggest rhetorical weapon: false charges of anti-Semitism coupled with a religious observance of and adherence to the dogma of ‘the holocaust’.

    As activists and truth seekers, are we actually going to conflate historical revisionism (the practice of investigating and revising our understanding of history based on facts and free debate) with racism? This logic is completely lost on those who have an immediate emotional reaction to this question.”

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