http://shmuelkatz.com/wordpress/?p=964 Elliot Abrams, a member of the National Security Council during the Bush years, recently came out with a book, “Tested by Zion,” which deals with the Bush administration and the Arab-Israel conflict. His section on the bombing of the Syrian reactor offers a valuable lesson for Israel’s leaders about standing firm, an oft-repeated theme […]
http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/02/07/where-should-president-obama-visit-when-he-goes-to-israel/ Just hours after the announcement that President Obama would visit Israel, the U.S. ambassador in Tel Aviv, Daniel Shapiro, gave several interviews to Israeli media. To Israeli Army radio Shapiro said “We have a very complex agenda about Iran, Syria and the need to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, […]
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/340138/re-blown-terrorists-and-dead-american-nazis-uniform-andrew-c-mccarthy Re: Blown-up Terrorists and Dead American Nazis in Uniform Much as I hesitate to do this, I will take slight issue with Victor on the matter of killing Americans who fight for the enemy in wartime. Let me preface this by saying I concur completely with Victor’s contention that the procedures adopted by the […]
President Obama’s visit to Israel – continuity or change? Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought” “Israel Hayom”, February 8, 2013, http://bit.ly/WyuBnP President Obama’s March 2013 visit to the Middle East, including Israel, could signal a significant policy-change from his June 2009 visit, which excluded Israel. On the other hand, the introduction of the John Kerry […]
http://www.tothepointnews.com/content/view/5316/87/ WE ARE OUT OF TOMORROWS Written by Robert Agostinelli After Mr. Obama delivered his second inaugural address week before last, it has been dawning on people that his political strategy is that of the Thunderdome in Mel Gibson’s Mad Max 3 movie: “Two men enter, one man leaves.” He is totally win/lose, the total […]
Author Bill Siegel dissects how we are avoiding the frightening reality of what America and the West truly face.
READ THE BOOK…IT IS EXCELLENT!!!!
FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Bill Siegel, a lawyer and business executive. He has been a producer of several documentary films and assists numerous non-profit organizations. He is the author of The Control Factor: Our Struggle to See the True Threat.
FP: Bill Siegel, welcome to FrontPage Interview.
Congratulations on this brilliant book. It is without question one of the most vital works of our time.
Let’s begin with what inspired you to write it.
Siegel: Thanks for having me Jamie. As a young boy born in the mid 1950s, I was fascinated with footage of Hitler and the Third Reich and could never understand how the Jews of the time could not see the evil that seemed so obvious. Not yet appreciative of the benefit of hindsight, I could not comprehend the blindness. Following 9/11, like so many others, I began to study Islam, its history, its current movements, terrorism and so on. As I would learn one stunning aspect after another, I would discuss them with friends and associates. Rather than confront the facts I would present, they would find one clever way after another to avoid the frightening truth of what America and the West truly face. Their fear appeared obvious to me. I began to catalog many of my friends’ different maneuvers to dispel the anxiety that they found so difficult to endure. The more I focused on their mental processes (as well as my own) the more I began to see a structure to the mental endeavor and to understand what I had, as a child, found so difficult to explain.
FP: Tell us about the Control Factor, what you describe as “that effort our minds engage in in order to keep us blind” and that “process of avoiding seeing the threats we face.” It’s also about, as you state, trying to believe that the threat is under our control, when in fact it is not. Kindly enlighten us as to these profound insights you make in terms of the Control Factor.
Siegel: First, let’s distinguish the ”real world” where real battles are taking place from the mental battlefield which occurs in each of our minds. We tend to believe our perceptions are simply clear realizations of what is “out there” and overlook how much our internal worlds can literally determine what we see. When our internal minds become anxious and sense a loss of “control,” they tend to concoct ways to distort our perceptions so as to restore that sense of inner control. I describe the Control Factor as an “active and continuous process” designed to maintain that sense, if not illusion, of control. We naturally think that our thinking and feeling processes are passive; that they just happen. Yet when faced with truly frightening prospects, the mind is geared to actively distort.
Similarly, the sense of control must be continuously maintained so the Control Factor operates constantly. In turn, the sum of this active and continuous undertaking makes these perceptions all the more familiar and thus seemingly all the more “real.” In one sense, the Control Factor is the mechanism of what Andy McCarthy entitled one of his numerous excellent books- willful blindness. The Control Factor is cleverer than we are aware; that is almost tautological as, if our minds are to create ways to keep us in denial, they must out maneuver our conscious thinking.
Since World War II, America has had limited experience with threats coming to the homeland. Most of America’s history has been about “over there,” where we have always known that if things got too out of hand (e.g. Vietnam) we could always return home. The current generations, for a wide array of reasons, have had virtually no experience with a threat to this land. (The documentary, Generation Zero, is interesting on this point).
Consequently, the process of waking up to such a threat parallels the arc of a typical horror film. In such a film, there is typically a cast of characters surrounding one or two main characters. We in the audience know there is a threat coming – be it a monster, a virus, a psycho killer, an alien, the blob that ate Cincinnati etc. This threat is typically defined by its intent- the singular goal of destroying the characters. Much of the initial exposition shows how the characters first are oblivious to the destruction the threat brings about, then explain it in familiar terms only to finally open their eyes to see that something uniquely terrifying is happening. The next stage usually involves a series of failed attempts to deal with the threat- from trying to negotiate with it, to appease it, to coax it, to threaten it with ineffective weapons and so forth. Most of these failings are due to not adequately appreciating the threat for what it truly is and projecting onto it a host of other attributes instead. The final stage generally involves a back-up-against-the-wall decision by whichever characters remain alive. I named this the “turnaround moment” when the character becomes willing to be as ruthless as the threat. That change in mental state is necessary to ensure survival. Ultimately, the storyline is a race for whichever characters remain to wake up fully and use whatever advantages they may still have to beat the threat.
This is the same arc our minds go through in battling our own Control Factors, our own compulsions to deny that which is staring us in the face. Ultimately, the question is whether we will be able to wake up while we still have advantages and give ourselves permission to fully fight the battle we are in.
I said earlier that there is a structure to the Control Factor. To oversimplify, I view it much as a pyramid where on the bottom are the many minute by minute thoughts that are manipulated. I call this level of maneuvers the many ”D’s” as they include the psychological defenses such as distortion, denial, demonization, deflection, deletion, detachment, delusion, displacement, discolorization and so forth. Layered upon these are moves such as projection, where we can assign to our Islamic Enemy traits we wish to see in them or introject traits from them into ourselves that we wish not to acknowledge. These maneuvers involve a mixing of identities where we actually lose clarity about who we are and who the enemy is. Projection and introjection are active almost across the board. It is always helpful, for instance, to ask how what the enemy accuses us of is more appropriately descriptive of it. When we add Western Guilt and Shame, our need to be liked, and other psychological dimensions, basic thoughts solidify into larger fantasies.
As these narratives (“Our courts will never allow that,” “As a superpower we will always be able to win any fight we put our minds to,” “Assimilation will ensure Muslims are westernized” …) gain consent from others they tend to guide us deeply and become infused on our policies. Ultimately, what emerges is a relationship we take with our Islamic Enemy that parallels that between an addict and an enabler. Emblematic of this relationship is the “transfer of responsibility” in which we assume responsibility for the enemy’s behavior who is addicted to transferring it away from itself. The Control Factor actively maintains this relationship and makes changing that relationship as difficult a chore as any addict finds in breaking his addiction. And just as an addict needs to devote serious effort and consciousness to his addiction, so must we devote great energy to understanding how the Control Factor ultimately sabotages us.
FP: Describe the threat we face in our Islamic enemy. And you talk about the three levels of jihad against us. What are they?
Siegel: Simply stated, our Islamic Enemy seeks the totalitarian domination of Islam throughout the world – Islamic supremacy. It seeks to have the West submit to Islam. Obviously, this does not mean that everybody becomes a Muslim. Islam, in all its varied expressions, permits dhimmis- those Christians, Jews, and some others who are permitted to remain as protected non-Muslims as long as they submit to an inferior status. What is critical is that Shariah (Islamic Law) ultimately rules the world.
Jihad, loosely, is the effort/struggle to see this vision through. The most obvious method of Jihad is through violence; it is the one most familiar to most Westerners and almost all of the Koranic references to Jihad are based in violence. The Violent Jihad includes al-Qaeda and its offshoots as well as other groups that formed around the globe independent of al-Qaeda. It also obviously includes the violence from Islamic nations such as the Islamic Republic of Iran whose constitution specifies such vision. It also includes, however, various militant groups and training camps here in the US as well as ad hoc efforts of individuals.
Since 9/11, there have been something in excess of 15,000 Violent Jihadic attacks across the globe. However, as terrible as this is, we have a tendency in the West to think that the only dimension of threat we face comes from violence. While the Bush administration helped initiate this thinking, the Obama administration has actively abused it by limiting any discussion of the threat we face to al-Qaeda and some other terrorist groups abroad. As frightening as these groups are, we can get some ease from thinking they are a band of “extremists limited in number, weaponry, sophistication, and means. Stunningly, Hillary Clinton recently estimated that there are only about 50,000 “homicidal” violent extremists around the world who simply have been able to project power much greater than their number should allow. Here the Control Factor makes the threat appear more easily manageable.
Jihad, however, is pursued in other often even more effective ways which I have grouped into three “levels.” A second more insidious level of threat is what the Muslim Brotherhood itself called the “Civilization Jihad.” It is the effort to infiltrate all aspects of our society, peacefully according to our laws, in order to later be in position to sabotage and destroy it from the inside. The Civilization Jihadists have learned the culture and rules of the territories they seek to command and use those rules to maneuver—specifically using our freedoms to destroy our freedoms. They use “lawfare” to seek changes in our laws so as to push Shariah into our society. Your readers should read Daniel Pipes and Brooke Goldstein’s Lawfare Project material and others to fully appreciate how cancerous this activity has become. This includes intimidating in a variety of ways anyone who speaks out against them or Islam and seeking to squelch our treasured broad right to free speech so as to ultimately prevent any criticisms of Islam. Once criticism of Islam is prohibited, little can stop it from cascading throughout the culture.
The Civilization Jihad includes situating such Jihadists in critical positions in the society, in the government, in the legal system, the military, and elsewhere. It includes the control over university programs that distribute propaganda about Islam and Islamic history which then filters down throughout textbooks for even younger students. It includes control over most of the nation’s mosques and local Imams guiding the messages engaged Muslims are receiving. Most troublesome are the Muslim groups (CAIR, ISNA, MSA and others associated and/or joint venture partners with the Muslim Brotherhood) supposedly interested in “outreach” which know how to appear Westernized and interested in the goals of Western Civilization. They have fooled a large part of our authorities and media due in part to their patience and willingness to chip away, one airport prayer room, one frivolous intimidating lawsuit, one Congressman or CIA officer, one mosque, one ruling at a time.
Particularly in the US, given our deep attachment to freedom as well as cultural and psychological tendencies toward diversity, Western guilt and expectations of truthfulness, this effort is devious and difficult to uproot. The Civilization Jihadists present one face to the American public which is completely at odds with their true agenda and how they deal in private. Jamie, you and David and others such as Steve Emerson, Frank Gaffney, Andy McCarthy and others have done so much to uncover this level of Jihad that your readers should be urged to review as much of their work (including Steve’s recent excellent documentary, The Grand Deception, and Frank’s important web video course, The Muslim Brotherhood in America) as possible.
Finally, there is a third level – the International Institutional Jihad. Here the most powerful international institutions such as the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others seek to push into America from without those changes which are difficult to complete from within. The OIC is the largest Islamic institution in the world. It essentially controls the vote in the UN’s General Assembly and thus explains in part the absurd and abject pro-Islamic, anti-Israel thrust of that organization. This level seeks to use the power of Islamic nations to work from outside the West to force changes within the West. While there are various conflicts between many of the nations, being Islamic majority states, there is a great deal they agree upon which becomes the focus of these efforts. Just as the Obama administration is beginning to cooperate with international efforts to control gun ownership, so has Hillary Clinton’s Istanbul Process become a dangerous step in the effort to restrict speech critical of Islam by norm (or possibly even treaty) when it may not be fully executable by domestic action alone.
I should point out that Stephen Coughlin, the former Pentagon officer who has an important must-see presentation of Islamic Law, uses different names for these same three levels – Jihad, Dawa, and Ummah. Had I seen his work before I wrote my book I would have conformed to his categorizations.
We must learn how powerful language has become on all three levels. Words such as “peace,” “freedom,” ”terrorism,” and phrases such as “human rights” have different meanings for us and for our Islamic Enemy. To oversimplify, “peace” is not something for now but that which comes when all the earth is submitting to Islam. In the context of battles, “peace” is at best a temporary ceasefire. “Freedom” is best understood as having the freedom to fully submit to Islam, not to choose whatever beliefs one desires while respecting the same right in others. We’ve all seen how ”human rights” and “terror” really only apply among Muslims, not to non-Muslims. Our enemy fully understands these differences and uses them at all levels to paralyze us.
Look simply at how the phrase “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” has equalized the two parties, making it all the easier to ascribe features of one to the other and view the problem as a simple-to fix division of assets into statehoods but for personality problems among the leaders. The simple truth is that this is and has always been a one-sided Arab war against Israel as Ruth Wisse and others have described and, as Bibi Netanyahu made clear, the ONLY state truly at issue here has been the State of Israel that the Arabs have refused for over half a century. Nonetheless, the Control Factor hypnotically abuses the mind’s susceptibility to the intricacies of language.
Even the label “Peace Process” has been damaging language. While most focus upon the first word, turning this into a “process” has helped ensure that peace is never obtained. It is more appropriately called the “Extortion Process” because all that results is that violence is used over decades to extract concessions from Israel.
These three levels must be understood for their differences while united by a single goal. While these levels often operate together and assist each other, we must avoid “level confusion” which the Control Factor employs to curtail our fears. If the Obama narrative is swallowed- that the only threat is the Violent Jihad- we will miss the other contamination fomenting within our borders. We must appreciate how these levels work together and even unite with other forces such as the global Leftist movement that you, Jamie, have described so forcefully in United in Hate.
FP: You write about how we like to talk of “Good Muslims” and how we are always on the eternal search for “moderate” Muslims (Khatami, Mousavi, Abbas, etc), while we stress how the “extremists” are the real problem and how “few” they really are. All of this is connected to the Control Factor. Enlighten us.
Siegel: The Control Factor seeks to have us feel in control of the situation. The easiest way to do this is to simply minimize the number of potential enemies. We have been lectured for years about how Islam is a “religion of peace” and that the violence we see (remember that we have already improperly limited the problem to violence) is the product of a small number of “crazies” (remember Hillary Clinton’s 50,000) who have distorted Islam. I call this the “Peaceful Muslim Disclaimer” as virtually everyone in the press and government has been bullied into making some statement of the kind to silence those who will pressure them that they are “Islamophobic” and Islam is being attacked. (These are the Islam hustlers who operate on the same principles that black race hustlers so effectively used to extort concessions over the last six decades or so).
Nobody has done any real work to support this proposition, nor is it clear exactly how it would be tested. My view is that the grammar “Islam is x” is itself problematic because Islam has expressed itself throughout history in a variety of fashions. It is more useful to talk in terms of how seriously engaged with Islam, the Koran and other texts, a Muslim is. What is significant is how Muslims today are using Islam and most of those who are in power either throughout a large territory or within a small community tend toward, if not fully advocate, the very supremacist ideas that we try to tell ourselves are reserved for the few ”extremists.” Presumably most Germans did not wish to see all Nazi atrocities carried out but in the end they fell in line because they had to. Those our politicians and press call the “extremists” are in one sense more accurately the “good” Muslims who are following their Islamic beliefs dutifully.
FP: Tell us how Western shame and guilt play into all of this.
Siegel: One of the dirty little secrets the Control Factor preys upon is that if we believe we control something we can comfort ourselves that we can change it. Remember the horror film- the threat has one purpose and that is to destroy you. You can not change it, talk it out of it, teach it alternatives or otherwise. That is what makes it so inherently frightening. If we can convince ourselves that we caused the threat to act the way it does we can maintain the secret hope that we can change it. Consequently, there is a tremendous attraction to blaming ourselves for the Islamic Enemy’s behavior. And we see this power in our readily accepting responsibility for terror- because of our occupation, our greedy quest for oil, our failure to extend a hand of “engagement,” Israel’s building settlements, our making videos that defame Mohammed and so on. Again, the relationship is defined by the enemy blaming us for his actions and our accepting such responsibility.
Shelby Steele has written brilliantly about what he calls “white guilt” and outlines how whites during the 60′s and thereafter were pressured into a transaction whereby in order to re-obtain a sense of moral authority they accepted blame for the condition of blacks and behaved as if guilty. Blacks were able to extract great concessions and whites were able to view themselves as morally restored and redeemed. At a certain point, however, the behavior takes on a life of its own and the narratives become deeply embedded in the culture and, as we can see today, difficult to uproot.
Western guilt is an extension of Steele’s notion. President Obama’s confessionals to the Arab world admitting that America has made “mistakes” and was not born a colonial power express this same tendency to appease through guilt. Hillary Clinton’s “reset” with Russia conveyed the same submissive request for a more acceptable response. In being guilty we presume the other party will recognize our contrition and respond in like kind. One of the Control Factor’s most devastating moves is employed- presuming the other is just like us and will respond the way we would. This is frequently how an enabler justifies his continuous support for an addict. The problem, however is that our Islamic Enemy is NOT like us and will not respond in like kind. Rather, as we repeatedly refuse to learn, appeasement invites more abuse from an enemy. This becomes the ”game of guilt;” it tends to expand to greater and greater consequences. Paradoxically, psychological defenses tend to create the very outcomes they seek to eliminate and it is no different here. It is a game we love to play but, unfortunately, the game gives us no rules for how to end it.
All behavior is instructive. That is, we teach others how to treat us. The game of guilt, along with other Control Factor tools, teaches our Enemy it is winning and to continue playing.
FP: The reason Nidal Hasan was able to perpetrate his murder spree at Fort Hood is precisely because of our Control Factor. Please connect the dots for our readers.
Siegel: Just as I used to look at Hitler when I was young and be amazed that no one could see what he was about, in retrospect the same applies to Hasan. It is precisely all the elements of the Control Factor that could allow this man, a Soldier of Allah, to be positioned as he was. He was blatantly voicing his Islamist views and Jihadi intent including, even, an essay recommending the “painful liquidation” of non-Muslims. Yet, in the Army of all places, the Control Factor operated to allow and even foster his work. Even after the murders, we continue the denial by calling it “workplace violence.” He is the Civilization-Violent Jihad combo! And we continue to enable the same infiltration elsewhere.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-08/why-the-u-s-should-negotiate-with-iran.html As diplomats prepare for more negotiations, the prospect of a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program looms again — fueled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Feb. 7 statement that “talks will not solve any problems.” That makes a cost-benefit analysis of airstrikes all the more urgent. We at Bloomberg View don’t claim clairvoyance […]
MY OH MY SUCH HUFF AND PUFF FROM SUCH LIMITED DEFENSE OF ISRAEL….MR. DERSHOWTIZ HAS PAID TRIBUTE AND ENDORSEMENT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA AND TO THE ENEMIES OF THOSE WHO DAILY PAY A STEEP PRICE FOR DEFENDING ISRAEL FROM AN ARAB ONSLAUGHT BY POPULATING THE WEST BANK WITH THE SETTLEMENTS. HE REMAINS COMMITTED TO THE POLITICALLY CORRECT BUT SUICIDAL NOTION OF A TWO STATE SOLUTION WHILE
“DEFENDING” ISRAEL WITH HIGH SOUNDING RHETORIC………RSK
Whenever I speak in support of Israel or in criticism of its enemies, the dogs of defamation are unleashed against me. The attacks, all from the hard left, seemed coordinated, focusing on common ad hominem themes. They accuse me of being a plagiarist, a supporter of torture, a right wing Zio-fascist, a hypocrite, an opponent of the two-state solution and a supporter of Israel’s settlement policies. All these allegations are demonstrably false but this does not seem to matter to those whose job it is to try to discredit me.
Let me begin with the charge of plagiarism—a charge originally made by the discredited academic, Norman Finkelstein, who has falsely charged virtually every pro-Israel writer with the same academic crime. In my case, the charge centered around a one-paragraph quotation from Mark Twain in my book The Case for Israel. I cited the paragraph to Mark Twain, but Finkelstein said that I should have cited it to a woman named Joan Peters, because he believes I found the quote in her book. But the truth is that I found the quote ten years prior to the publication of Peters’ book and used it repeatedly in debates and speeches. When Finkelstein leveled his absurd charge, I immediately reported it to the Harvard University President and to the Dean of the Law School and ask that it be thoroughly investigated. Harvard appointed its former president, Derek Bok, to investigate the charge. After a thorough investigation he found it to be utterly frivolous. But to the dogs of defamation this only goes to prove that Harvard must be part of the pro-Israel conspiracy.
The second charge is that I am pro-torture, despite my repeated categorical statements in my writings that I’m opposed to all torture under all circumstances. I do believe that torture will be used, not should be used in the event we ever experience a ticking bomb situation. Accordingly I have suggested that no torture should ever be permitted without a court approved warrant, of the type the ACLU has demanded in targeted killing cases. But to the dogs of defamation, this distinction is irrelevant. Because I am pro Israel, I must be pro torture. This is particularly ironic, since both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas routinely torture dissidents, without their leaders being called pro torture by the same hard left defamers who falsely accuse me.
http://sarahhonig.com/2013/02/08/another-tack-that-unwitting-indecency-revisited/ Ever since my column, “That unwitting indecency,” saw light two weeks ago, I’ve needed to occasionally consult the mirror to make sure I hadn’t morphed into a hideous monster that feeds on Irish tots. The column recounted my encounter in Cahersiveen, a tiny Irish township, with pupils hoisting “Save Palestine” placards and soliciting funds […]
http://www.weeklystandard.com/author/lee-smith Yesterday the Bulgarian government announced the results of its investigation into the July 18, 2012 bus bombing that killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in the city of Burgas. At least two members of what appears to have been a three-man team belong to Hezbollah. More specifically, explained Bulgaria’s interior minister, […]