The Twilight Lords
The Question of “what has become of the America I knew and loved?”
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
A question asked by many shocked observers today both inside and outside of the United States is “what has become of the America I knew and loved?”
Beginning in the late 1930s as an overt propaganda campaign against fascist Germany and Imperial Japan, the world was treated to a Hollywood version of America as a democratic society that despite its flaws managed to maintain the egalitarian principles of its founding fathers and continued to press forward as a beacon of liberty, individualism and human rights.
As a romanticized ideal, the narrative of that America was of a “great melting pot” for all races where upward mobility, modernism and economic and religious freedom promised a better life for all those willing to make it work. And for millions it once did.
With a manufacturing and farm economy the envy of the world, a burgeoning middle-class and a huge military establishment garrisoning the world, the ideal was temporarily sustainable. But as the years wore on, the economy and political system constricted and the Pentagon grew to gargantuan proportions, the yawing schism between the real America and the illusory bygone America of Hollywood’s imagination began to take on a frightening dimension.
We have illustrated in our two multi-part series, 9/11, Psychological Warfare and the American Narrative and House of Mirrors that whatever America once appeared to be, at least since World War II and the beginning of the Cold War up to 9/11, it never was the country we thought it to be.
Although still theoretically governed by rules, democratic laws and financial regulations, the real America of today has come to be controlled by the private and personal agendas of a handful of people and the vast majority of the American public disapproves of it. Over the years, organizations such as the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg group and the Club of Rome are known to have exerted a decisive role over government policies and mass media. We have been warned of the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Rothschilds and their desires for political control of the world through financial manipulation. Yet, despite their monopolistic and anti-democratic efforts their power and their money continue to fuel popular allure. We have written of secret intelligence organizations such as Le Cercle, the Safari Club and the 61 which at the behest of international business cartels both legal and illegal have secretly undermined democratic elections, overthrown governments and generally subverted the will of the people for the benefit of a chosen few.
But who are these few, and what are their plans for our country and the world? Where are we headed and most of all, what principles are guiding what increasingly resembles an international governmental, financial and geopolitical shipwreck brought on by years of Laissez-faire fiscal abuse, corporate greed and political delusion?
Our personal understanding of the present dilemma starts with another shipwreck, this one off the coast of Ireland in the year 1577. That was the year a notorious English pirate and slave trader named Martin Frobisher smashed a schooner filled with what was thought to be gold bullion onto the isolated, rocky, western coast of Ireland at a place known as Smerwick. According to one account, Frobisher’s mission was intended to find the fabled Northwest Passage to China as part of a “Protestant adventure that would rival the Catholic quest as well as enrich the queen’s [Elizabeth I] treasury.” The “gold”—which was soon revealed to be nothing more than iron pyrites (fools gold)—spilled from the broken ship’s hull, littering the base of the cliffs.
An Irish rebel-captain by the name of James Fitzmaurice raised a fort at the summit of the cliffs and named it Fort Del Oro, (Fort of Gold) to mock Queen Elizabeth’s greed and her vain quest to challenge Rome for wealth and power. Fitzmaurice’s family, the Fitzgeralds had been in conflict with London over land and authority since initiating the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the twelfth century at the behest of their lord, Richard de Clare, otherwise known as Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke.
Chafing under the rule of King Henry II of England, Strongbow pictured himself as the King of Ireland and his marriage to the daughter of Irish King Dermot MacMurrough was intended to seal the agreement. But fate and the driving ambitions of Henry II soon scuttled the plan and upon Strongbow’s death a short time later, the equally ambitious Fitzgeralds assumed his mission.
Known for their loyalty to a Catholic Rome, their embrace of Ireland’s Celtic culture and their fierce desire to establish their control over Ireland, the next four hundred years found the family drawn deeply into English as well as European politics with numerous Geraldines (the family name) interned in the Tower of London. The coming of the Reformation to England in the 16th century turned four hundred years of border disputes and jurisdictional feuding into holy war. And in 1580, the Holy See in Rome sent an army of Italians and Spaniards to help the Geraldines under the authority drafted by the “Just War Doctrine,”to help in the fight against Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant forces.
Dubbed by author Richard Berleth as the “Twilight Lords” for their role as the last doomed, feudal barons of Ireland, the Fitzgeralds and their struggle to fight off the Elizabethans and the Renaissance Neoplatonism of men such as Edmund Spencer and Walter Raleigh offers a glimpse into more than just another stale moment in history. It offers a revelation into a secret esoteric struggle between the spiritual forces of London, Rome, Moscow, Washington and Berlin that exploded openly into war numerous times during the 20th century and whose ominous final confrontation looms over today’s geopolitical arena like a sword of Damocles.
Allegorized by the Elizabethans as evil and representative of the darkness in Spencer’s Faerie Queene, the Fitzgeralds came to embody the “Other” in the English propaganda of the day, while Elizabeth as both the Faerie Queene and Britomart and her knights embodied only the most chaste and blessed in the tradition of the Arthurian Round Table.
Far from being only a war over ecclesiastical principles, this “holy war” fought between the Catholic Geraldines and their Protestant others was also a war against economic domination and colonization from London. From London’s perspective, the war was a just war because it was a struggle to the death against the Papal forces of the Counter Reformation, which were encircling it militarily and economically and rolling back Protestant reforms. In the end, the war depopulated the Irish countryside, shifted the balance of power from local landowners to mercantilists in London and instilled a lasting fear and anger between Protestants and Catholics. As an experiment in colonization, Ireland set the standards of behavior that marked the beginnings of Britain’s empire that live on as much today in the neighborhoods of Kabul, Kandahar and Peshawar as they do in Derry and Belfast. But it also marked a turning point in the Holy Roman Empire’s ability to control events through military force and a shift from the ecclesiastically sanctioned violence of “just war” to the secular/state sanctioned violence of “just war.”
When in 1980 Colin Gray and Keith Payne attempted to stretch that concept of just war to justify nuclear war-fighting by transforming immorality into morality, it came as a cruel awakening to us that despite the gulf of four hundred years little had changed in the need to bend reality to justify war.
But in the thirty years since, the savage carnival of endless war with its attendant think tanks and lobbyists has only made the darkness blacker. In fact, the spiritual inspiration that propels today’s Washington/London/Berlin/Paris alliance and its so called humanitarian interventions could be considered nothing less than diabolic in which – as stated in the opening chapter to this series – America has turned from the light into its very opposite as it seeks to emulate “the dark matter… the force that orders the universe but can’t be seen.”
In battling the Elizabethans, the Fitzgeralds exhausted the very idea of Just War by plunging themselves and their hopeless cause into darkness. We can only hope as the U.S. continues to wander through the many facets of darkness contained within this House of Mirrors that someday soon, it will heed the lessons of history and find its way back to the clarity and sanity of the light.
Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved
Published on Sibel Edmonds Boiling Frogs Post
House of Mirrors Series
Part I A Campaign Where the Lie Became the Truth and the Truth Became the Enemy of the State
Part II Building the Afghan Narrative with Black Propaganda, the People, the Process & the Product
Making the Irrational Rational by turning the Empirical into the Lie & the Fantasy into the Truth
By Paul Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Gould
More than one policy pundit has scratched their head at the strange, increasingly irrational nature of what guides American and European foreign policy. In November of 2010, commentator William Pfaff resorted to the term “medieval mysticism” to describe the “the cloud of unknowing” surrounding the run up to the all important NATO summit in Lisbon. He marveled that only by invoking the mystical past could one contemplate what was in store as the West pondered a dark future.
As odd as it may seem to modern audiences, medieval mysticism and its attendant priesthoods are not as far beneath the surface of present day policy as one might think. In fact following the crisis brought about by the failure of advanced technology to defeat Communism in Vietnam, America’s premier defense intellectuals were quick to fall back on the Middle Ages for answers to what seemed eternal and imponderable questions.
One vivid example came from future Reagan administration officials Colin S. Gray and Keith Payne in the summer 1980 edition of Foreign Policy magazine who declared in an article titled “Victory is Possible” that: “Nuclear War is possible. But unlike Armageddon, the apocalyptic war prophesied to end history, nuclear war can have a wide range of options… If American nuclear power is to support U.S. foreign policy objectives, the United States must possess the ability to wage nuclear war rationally.”
Having come of age at a time when the U.S. enjoyed an overwhelming nuclear advantage and unquestioned technological superiority, America’s plunge into military defeat in Vietnam and a rough nuclear parity with the USSR was cause for a deep philosophical reassessment. The “new right” embodied in groups like Team B, the Committee on the Present Danger and the American Security Council needed to undo the debilitating effects caused by their own failures and discrediting the strategic doctrine implemented by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara known as Mutual Assured Destruction or (MAD) topped a long list.
These former government insiders and harsh critics of détente believed that the constraints on nuclear war fighting posed by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty (ABM) and the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks I and II (SALT), were predicated on a false assumption that nuclear weapons were too horrible to ever be used again. Neoconservative defense intellectuals viewed this restraint as a form of suicide and vowed to break free of it utilizing some pre-enlightenment thinking that challenged the very nature of modern reality.
The ideological cold war against Communism had never relied on facts. No one on the left or right could predict with any certainty where or when a nuclear war would stop if one ever broke out. Regardless of the kind or size of nuclear weapons used, with the enemy leadership decapitated and communications destroyed, there’d be no one left who could stop it. That’s what made nuclear war irrational. Anti-Communism was a matter of faith in which the political right and the political left shared the same goals but differed only in tactics. But the political right’s accommodation of the political left was never more than an elaborate game of deception played in a house of mirrors. In fact, according to the CIA’s own documents, “the theoretical foundation of the Agency’s political operations against Communism” for the first twenty years of the Cold War relied completely on the manipulation and control of the so called progressive, liberal, non-Communist left.
Blamed by the neoconservative right for the failure in Vietnam and the relative decline in America’s nuclear posture, this faux left’s legitimacy as a valid political factor in American politics began to crumble. With the left’s policy of nuclear restraint now dismissed as irrational what possible justification could be found to wage a nuclear war in which tens of millions of innocent Russians and Americans as well as millions of others would be killed?
By the late 1970s, those obscure strategic analysts who had formulated America’s nuclear policies had attained the status of religious figures. With their wisdom “worshipped as gospel truth,” and their insight raised to “an almost mystical level and accepted as dogma” the high priests of the new right stood ready to displace not only the left but traditional conservatives as well. By the summer of 1980 (6 months after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) two of those high priests were willing to take the dogma one step further by reinterpreting the Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church to justify what reality, reason and common sense had forbad the U.S. from doing since the final days of World War II.
“Ironically, it is commonplace to assert that war-survival theories affront the crucial test of political and moral acceptability” wrote Colin S. Gray and Keith Payne that summer. “Surely no one can be comfortable with the claim that a strategy that would kill tens of millions of U.S. citizens would be politically and morally acceptable. However it is worth recalling the six guidelines for the use of force provided by the “just war” doctrine of the Catholic Church…”
Carefully sidestepping the principle that war can only be “just” when used as a last resort and that targeting innocents is strictly forbidden, Gray and Payne would go on to claim that based on the most ancient rules of the game, not only did U.S. policy of nuclear deterrence toward the Soviet Union (MAD) fail to qualify for “just war,” but that in failing to plan to actually fight a nuclear war, “U.S. nuclear strategy is immoral.”
In other words, since neoconservative hawks could not use a rational scientific process to achieve victory through nuclear weapons or to find hard evidence to support their claims that the Soviets assumed they could achieve victory through theirs, they devised a new process that simply viewed the empirical evidence as a lie and whatever they could imagine as truth, based on precepts evolved by medieval monks.
The idea of justly killing one’s fellow humans had presented a moral dilemma since the origins of Christianity. St Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) originated the Just War theory which was later refined and expanded by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). But murdering in the name of Christ was tricky business and subject to self-serving and often conflicting interpretations. Far from the romantic notions of chivalry presented by today’s popular mythology, medieval knights were viewed by the Catholic Church at the time as lawless thugs engaged in an illicit business whose behavior was clearly “unjust.” The idea that a monk would engage in the plunder and murder of innocents, much less warfare that would bring about widespread death and destruction was anathema to church teaching.
The powerful Cistercian abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux weighed in with a different opinion in his famous twelfth-century treatise De Laude Novae Militiae (In Praise of the new Knighthood) by redefining the very nature of murder itself in support of his friend Hugues de Payens, Grand Master of the warrior monks known as the Knights Templar.
“The soldier of Christ kills safely and dies the more safely… He is the instrument of God for the punishment of malefactors and for the defense of the just. Indeed, when he kills a malefactor this is not homicide but malicide, and he is accounted Christ’s legal executioner against evildoers.”
Like Colin S. Gray and Keith Payne’s “Victory is Possible,” Clairvaux’s treatise was propaganda intended to bend the rules for the uses of acceptable violence. It opened the floodgates of recruits for the Crusades, established the legal authority of powerful, wealthy Catholic military orders and put the power of the feudal machine under Church control, at least temporarily.
Following the publication of Gray and Payne’s 1980 treatise we became drawn to the history of just war. After three years working as the host of a public affairs program for an affiliate of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in Boston (remember the Fairness Doctrine?) we bore witness to an aggressive underground rightwing/Christian political movement merging into the American mainstream. Some basic assumptions about America’s secular democracy and defense policy were being challenged on the basis of faith, not facts. But the idea that some medieval religious precepts could or would be called upon to justify a nuclear war-fighting doctrine was staggering.
What we didn’t know at the time was that the Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church had been invoked by the Papal Nuncio for the Fitzgerald family in Ireland during the 1570s. As a Fitzgerald I knew something of my family’s history. A terrible war, brought on the Fitzgeralds by the English had destroyed much of the family’s power and depopulated the Irish countryside.
Because of the Just War Doctrine, history had suddenly become personal and as it led us into the past we began to see behind the cover story into a hidden history of events ranging from the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy to the events of 9/11.
Join us as we explore the journey that took us from the emerging Christian Reconstructionism of the 1970s back in time to the 12th century Norman invasion of Ireland and what it means to the upcoming Presidential elections of 2012 in our next installment titled The Twilight Lords.
Copyright © 2011 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved
Published on Sibel Edmonds www.boilingfrogspost.com 12/1/11
Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice. Visit their website here.
- Listen to our interview on WZBC’s EXPANDING AWARENESS with Victor Venckus
- Listen to our 12/28/2016 30 minute interview with Joseph B. Juhász.
- The Trump Card is played! Never Underestimate THE FOOL
- Rudolph Steiner predicted Russia would be critical for the future of the West in 1915
- The End of Illusion for America
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- Coy Barefoot welcomes back to Gould and Fitzgerald to his program
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