by Dan Furst
Now that the long recovery from the grief of last week's horror has begun, we can begin to look for the deeper lessons that will show us how to stop this hideous spiral of violence, which is unworthy of the level of spiritual evolution that all of us as humankind could have achieved by this time. While the blame for the crime will inevitably be pinned to Osama bin Laden -- who surely deserves it -- the fact remains that the United States made him what he is today, and we share the responsibility for what he does.
Our contacts with him go back to the mid-1980's, when the Bechtel Corporation of Caspar Weinberger and George Schultz was in Saudi Arabia winning the big construction jobs, and the young Osama bin Laden had a huge construction budget to parcel out, especially to those who could help him beat the Russians in Afghanistan. We used the CIA to teach him and his team everything we know about how small powers fight the wars of attrition that wear out great powers and force them to give up. We refined bin Laden into a genius of murder, and we were delighted when he inflicted so much bloodshed and misery on the Russians that he not only got the Red Army out of Afghanistan, but set in motion a chain of events that brought down the Soviet state and broke apart the whole Russian empire.
Now the game has shifted, and we have become the enemy bin Laden hates most. Can we pretend we never met him? Does America get to create a Frankenstein's monster, then turn him loose, and claim we have no responsibility for what he does next? No. Not at this time. Not as long as it remains true that what goes around comes around, and that we reap what we have sown.
The best possible outcome for bin Laden is that we put him on trial before a tribunal whose judges represent the countries he has wounded -- including Russia -- and that we sentence him to life in prison, where he will spend each day chanting, by himself and with others, the sacred words that begin the Qu'ran: Bismillah erahman erahim, "In the Name of Allah, who is Mercy and Compassion". When he has chanted these words enough, either his heart will crack and release his body into death, or he will transmute into something of greater value. We must not, under any circumstances, honor him at his present position of being stuck in hate by being stuck in hate ourselves. We must not commit the copycat crime of bombing him back.
Once we hoist these ideas aboard, it's best that we complete the process by recognizing that America has a woeful record of embarrassment in forming alliances of convenience with people we don't like, as long as we share a common enemy, then getting the bill for our cynicism later, when the fight is over and we have another chance to see that the phoniest friendships cool the fastest, and turn the deadliest. A few famous examples: we helped teach Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh how to fight the Japanese, then found in the decades to come that our former students had some lessons of their own to teach. The first splendid CIA coup, the template for many to come, was in 1953 in Iran, where we undermined the legitimate government of Mohammed Mossadegh and replaced it with the Shah, who proved "a nut" to his CIA handlers, some of whom were held in the prolonged hostage ordeal that followed the ayatollahs into power. And Fidel Castro, by now a master artist of irritation, is still there 43 years after we helped him, not because we liked or trusted him, but because we knew that if we didn't help him, the Russians would, and soon did anyway.
By the time we stroll a little more quickly through the rest of the rogues' gallery, we may soon wind up wondering how many Somozas and Pinochets and Noriegas have to surprise us and earn us the hatred of their people, how many Asian generals and Guatemalan death squads and now, Osama bin Ladens, have to blow up in our faces before we notice that we can only promote so much violence on our planet, in all its forms of military, political, industrial and other economic violence, before we have to take over the payments for it.
Those who favor the Hundredth Monkey paradigm have one of the challenges of a lifetime in front of us now. The key, for the moment, seems to be to keep it simple. Before we can get Earth's mass consciousness to accept something like the Confucian idea of answering evil with goodness, or loving one's enemies, it is enough for now that we get everyone to agree that what we have been doing obviously is not working, and we must find a better method before we drop any bombs, not after.
The window of opportunity narrows daily, now that the American president has decided "We are at war" without waiting for the Congress to pass the customary war resolution. Unless this trend of thought is reversed very soon, it may be only weeks, even only a few days, until military machines swing into attack, and the spiral of violence widens farther, and spins faster. One essential component of our effort must be to send Mr. Bush, no matter what one thinks of him and his power base, as much love and protection as possible. He is in a spiritual ordeal of terrifying weight and complexity, and he and bin Laden are both engaged as chess pieces in some larger, subtler game, linked as fatefully as Jesus and Pilate. The best response to their conflict, as impossible as it may seem, is to send our purest love and light to them both, and to all others whom we can help to lift from the paralysis of grief into the love that heals and reunites.
For the moment, as the Hundred Monkeys work to avert war before others in the jungle unleash it, the main watchwords are depth vision, to pierce through the media-generated screen of pat answers, glib slogans and fake consensus on a need for war; and our role as vibrational lifeguards who must now help lift those who are caught in grief and fear to the medicinal frequencies of love and forgiveness. Our energies will be most easily aligned at the Autumn Equinox on 9/22 - 23. It is not necessary to join festivals or other public events, though many will savor the comfort of celebrating friendship. We don't need to meditate a precisely coordinated times, though this is always of value, so much as we need to keep the frequency high for days on end. We have a busy weekend ahead of us.
Reprinted with permission