Part IV: America’s Late Stage Imperial Dementia

OpEdNews 11/3/2016

By (Parts I,II & III are linked at the bottom of the page)
The 1854 painting of the 12th cc. Marriage of Aoife and Strongbow (Daniel Maclise [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The 12th cc. Norman Invasion of Ireland, led by Strongbow, brought with it the Fitzgeralds’ genetic connection to the Camelot mythology (via the marriage of Gerald of Winsor to Princess Nest). JFK brought this connection to the White House thereby challenging the Anglo/American political establishment to its roots. It has continued to haunt the establishment to this day.

America, an Empire in Twilight Series In 2005 when a historian in Wexford Ireland discovered that President George W. Bush was a descendent of the 12thcentury Earl Richard de Clare, “Strongbow” it caused something of a commotion in the British press. Ever since John Fitzgerald Kennedy, tracing a presidential candidate’s lineage to Ireland has become a common theme. But according to the Guardian having Strongbow as an ancestor, “a desperate land-grabbing warlord whose calamitous foreign adventure led to the suffering of generations” was something of an embarrassment.

As an Anglo-Norman Earl with Viking lineage from one of the most powerful Norman/French families in 12thcentury England, NOT being a land-grabbing warlord was probably a death sentence. In a world where might meant right Strongbow’s real crime was his challenge to the authority of the Anglo/French King Henry II’s House of Anjou and his threat to set himself up as a rival Norman King of Ireland. Also unmentioned in this Guardian article titled, “Scion of traitors and warlords: why Bush is coy about his Irish links” is Strongbow’s even stronger genetic links to the Fitzgerald antecedents to JFK, who as a family of mercenary soldiers in service to numerous European royal houses, made Strongbow’s English and Irish conquests possible and married directly into the de Clare family line shortly after coming to Ireland.

Chafing under the rule of the Angevin King Henry II of England, the ambitious Strongbow pictured himself on a par with the English King. His marriage to the daughter of Irish King Dermot MacMurrough was intended to seal the deal but Henry soon scuttled the plan.

Strongbow was a Crusader, served in the Holy Land and was a known to be a generous supporter of the infamous Knights Templar, the warrior monks for whom the Cistercian Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux penned De Laude Novae Militiae (In Praise of the new Knighthood) thereby redefining the very nature of murder when done in the name of Christ.

Strongbow’s daughter Isabel was married off by King Richard I to William Marshall in 1189. Considered the greatest knight in Christendom, he was installed as a Knight Templar on his deathbed in 1219. Marshall stayed loyal to the Angevin king John during the baron’s rebellion and was present at the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. The Magna Carta defused a rebellion by England’s powerful barons by setting limits on royal power and placing all future sovereigns under the rule of law. Alongside Habeas Corpus, it stood as an abiding principle of Western and international law until being subsumed by the events of 911.

Upon Strongbow’s death in April of 1176, the equally ambitious Fitzgerald family assumed Strongbow’s original mission in Ireland but their challenge to Britain’s royalty had already begun a century before.

After taking part in the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the family and their extended clans had become deeply entwined in Angevin family politics as part of the Norman invasion force of South Wales. The marriage (arranged by Henry I) of the patriarch of the Fitzgerald family, Gerald FitzWalter of Windsor to Nest, daughter of Rhys Ap Tewdwr (Tudor) who is considered the last king of the Britons, cemented the Fitzgeralds to an ancient British dynasty of kings and the Arthurian legends surrounding them.

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 Fitzgerald family drawn deeply into English as well as European politics with numerous Fitzgerald kin 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. In 1580, the Holy See in Rome sent an army of Italians and Spaniards to help the Fitzgeralds fight Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant forces under the authority drafted by the “Just War Doctrine.”

Dubbed by author Richard Berleth as the “Twilight Lords” for their role as the last doomed, feudal barons of Ireland, the Fitzgeralds’ struggle against the Elizabethans and the Renaissance Neoplatonism of men such as Edmund Spencer and Walter Raleigh presents a dark moment in British history. But it also offers a window into a thousand year old factional struggle of a European “deep state” that exploded openly in Ireland in the 16th century before spreading to the four corners of the earth through imperial expansion.

Allegorized as the embodiment of evil in Edmund Spencer’s Faerie Queene, the Fitzgeralds were transformed into the “Other” in the English propaganda of the day, while Elizabeth and her Red Cross Templar knights followed in the tradition of King Arthur and the Round Table.

Far from being only a war over ecclesiastical principles, this “holy war” fought between the Catholic Fitzgerald clans and their Calvinist opposites 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 devastated Ireland, depopulated the Irish countryside, shifted power from local landowners to mercantilists in London and instilled a lasting fear and anger between Protestants and Catholics. 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 Rome’s ability to manage world events through military force and a shift from the ecclesiastically sanctioned violence of “just war” to the secular/state sanctioned violence of “just war.”

We have illustrated in our multi-part series An Empire in Twilight that whatever America once appeared to be, at least since World War II, it never was the country we thought.

Although once assumed to be governed by rules, democratic laws and financial regulations, today’s America operates not unlike Strongbow’s feudal state ruled by the private and personal agendas of a handful of individuals 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 known for a century or more of the secret financial power groups that work behind the scenes. Such family lines as Rockefeller, Carnegie and Rothschild and their desire to control the world through financial manipulation are the stuff of legend. 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 6I which at the behest of international business cartels both legal and illegal have secretly undermined democratic elections, overthrown governments and redirected the world’s economy for the benefit of a chosen few.

But what are their plans now that they have transformed the world into a financial and geopolitical shipwreck? 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 ran aground with a cargo of “gold” off 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.” Unfortunately for Frobisher and the queen, the gold was soon revealed to be nothing more than iron pyrites (fool’s gold).

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 for her vain challenge to Rome for wealth and power. At the time Britain was not yet an Empire but with the capture and beheading of the last Fitzgerald Earl of Desmond in 1583 that would quickly change. The next four centuries saw Britain expand both east and west, to India and America and dominate the world.

In America, Strongbow’s descendants established dynasties of their own and continued on through the political process; in the modern era through the Bush family and the Fitzgerald branch of the Kennedy clan.

As a Fitzgerald it came as a shock when I learned that my ancestors had once invoked the “Just War Doctrine” to justify their role in a suicidal conflict with Queen Elizabeth I. When in 1980 Colin Gray and Keith Payne attempted to stretch the concept to justify nuclear war-fighting, it came as a cruel awakening that despite the gulf of four hundred years little had changed in the need to bend reality to justify war.

Thirty six years later the medieval nature of America’s political system is more obvious than ever. The ambitions of the Fitzgerald/Kennedy dynasty were thwarted by World War II, assassinations and then by the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s son John Junior. George W. Bush’s legacy still smolders in the ashes of Iraq and the collapse of the world economy while brother Jeb has been lost in the stampede for Donald Trump. The newcomer-Clintons have been dubbed heirs to the throne in the hope of extending the legacy to at least one more generation. But despite the saber rattling and the constant demonizations, the nuclear upgrades and the media disinformation, it’s becoming clear they cannot avoid the bloody handwriting on the wall.

The United States crossed through the mirror with the creation of the national security state in 1947 and never came back. By embracing the Wolfowitz doctrine and defining everyone as the enemy after 9/11 it proudly completed its long journey into the darkness and has since become lost in it. Whatever justification Strongbow and his fellow knights had when crusading to Jerusalem in the 12thcentury the true meaning of “Just War” has now finally disappeared into “the dark matter” that can’t be seen”.

No one less than the ancient founders of civilization, the Sumerians experienced a similar fall from the heights as their obsession with victory, superiority and prestige consumed everything they stood for. “Sumer became a ‘sick society’ with deplorable failings and distressing shortcomings,” writes Samuel Noah Kramer, in Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. “It yearned for peace but was constantly at war; it professed such ideals as justice, equity and compassion but abounded in injustice, inequality and oppression; materialistic and short sighted, it unbalanced the ecology essential to its economy” And so Sumer came to a cruel, tragic end.”

When the smoke clears following the presidential election of 2016, Americans will at last see through the cover of darkness and realize that we have been witnessing an empire in the midst of its death throes.

Regardless of what the election brings we must now rid ourselves of the delusions of empire that have been driving our leadership toward self-annihilation for millennia and build, from the ground up, a democracy we can be proud of.

Copyright 2016 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

PART I: When America Became the Dark Force

PART II: How Guilt, Innocence & Facts Have Been Rendered Irrelevant

PART III: Neoconizing the Just War Doctrine in the service of American Empire

PART IV: America’s Late Stage Imperial Dementia

PART III: Neoconizing the Just War Doctrine in the service of American Empire

By Paul Fitzgerald Elizabeth Gould      November 3, 2016

St. Thomas Aquinas  (1225-1274) laid out the conditions when war could be justified long before nuclear weapons were imagined
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) laid out the conditions when war could be justified long before nuclear weapons were imagined
Carlo Crivelli (1435–1495) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
License DMCA
America, an Empire in Twilight Four Part Series Over the years only a small handful of policy pundits have struggled to find a core principle that might explain the American government’s irrational desire to expand its Cold War military alliance (NATO). With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the demobilization of Warsaw Pact forces, the organization no longer had a reason to live and should have been disbanded. Instead, under the Bill Clinton regime NATO found new life and new members and after 9/11 it was assigned a new purpose in the Bush administration’s war on terror. Flash forward to November 2010 when one of America’s few truly astute commentators, the now deceased William Pfaff, resorted to the term “medieval mysticism” to describe what had become of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. “American policy seems to these allies to be lost in fantasies as Alice was lost in a mathematician’s logical joke, in which all was reversed from what existed in real life, on the other side of the looking glass” Pfaff wrote. Today, NATO remains more than ever lost on the other side of the mirror with the only exceptions being the location has changed from Afghanistan to Russia’s border states while the fantasy has transformed from making an Afghan democracy out of terrorists, warlords and drug kingpins into a World War II style Nazi blitzkrieg on Moscow.

As odd as it may seem to American audiences of 2016, William Pfaff’s use of medieval mysticism to describe American thinking is not as far beneath the surface of present day American 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 a moral justification of their fantasies.

One vivid example came from future Reagan administration officials Colin S. Grayand Keith Paynein the summer 1980 edition of Foreign Policymagazine 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 the American Empire come of age at a time when it enjoyed an overwhelming nuclear advantage and unquestioned technological superiority, its plunge into military defeat in Vietnam simultaneous with the Soviet Union achieving a rough nuclear parity was cause for a deep philosophical crisis. The old right and the “new right” embodied in pro-war advocacy groups like Team B, the Committee on the Present Dangerand the American Security Councilneeded to undo the debilitating effects caused by their own failure in Vietnam. Discrediting the strategic doctrine implemented by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamaraknown as Mutual Assured Destruction or (MAD) topped a long list.

These former government insiders and harsh critics of de’tente believed that the constraints on nuclear war fighting posed by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty(ABM) and the Strategic Arms Limitations TalksI 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 Cold War buildup for a nuclear war against the Soviet Union was never based on the rational. 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’s leadership decapitated and communications destroyed, there’d be no one left to stop it. Non-communist solutions to social problems were a matter of faith in which the political right and the political left shared similar goals but differed in tactics. But the political right’s accommodation of the political left was never more than an elaborate game of deception. 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, the non-communist 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 nuclear analysts who’d helped to formulate America’s nuclear policies had attained the stature of religious figures. With their supposed wisdom raised to an almost mystical level and accepted as dogma the neoconservative high priests of the new right stood ready to displace not only the non-communist 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” doctrineof the Catholic Church””

Carefully sidestepping the fundamental 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 Gray and Payne 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 turned to a premodern religious system (developed centuries before the first atomic bomb) that dismissed empirical evidence and replaced it with whatever they could imagine as truth, based on precepts evolved by medieval monks.

From the dawn of Christianity the justification for killing fellow Christians presented scholars with a moral dilemma. St Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) originated Just War theorywhich was later refined and expanded by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). But murdering in the name of Christ was tricky business and often subject to conflicting interpretations. Far from the romantic notions of chivalry presented by today’s popular mythology, the knightly class was viewed by the medieval Catholic Church as lawless thugs whose behavior was clearly “unjust.” The idea that a monk would engage in the plunder and murder of innocents, much less warfare was anathema to church teaching.

The influential 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 bent the rules for the uses of acceptable violence on behalf of an elite group of European nobles who wanted to go to war in the holy land. It opened the floodgates of recruits for the Crusades, established the spiritual and legal authority of powerful, wealthy Catholic military orders and put the power of the feudal machine under Church control, at least temporarily.

After working for three years as the host of a public affairs program (under the terms of the Fairness Doctrine) for an affiliate of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in Boston, we were aware that an aggressive rightwing/Christian political movement was merging into the American mainstream. But following the publication of Gray and Payne’s 1980 treatise we realized that the underlying philosophy of America’s defense policy was also being challenged on the basis of faith, not facts. Just war was a contentious subject with a long history including a surprising connection to president JFK’s Fitzgerald family. The Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church had been invoked by the Papal Nuncio on behalf of the Fitzgerald family in Ireland during the 1570s in their war against the Elizabethan’s. The Catholic Fitzgeralds had lost and some notable Elizabethan victors had gone on to establish a corporate empire that would redefine and dominate the world’s economy from North America to Asia for the next four centuries. Join us as we explain how medieval feuds between rival families evolved into today’s “deep state” and continue to drive today’s increasingly desperate actions in Europe and the Middle East to control of the world’s resources in our final chapter of America, an Empire in Twilight.

Copyright 2016 Gould & Fitzgerald All rights reserved

Scroll to top