Paradise of Storm

Month: December, 2014

Chancroidial Proof that Seth Rogen is Kim Jong Un

by Guy Walker

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The image is always the same. A squalid, yet verdurous Bethlehem, gentle and peaceful in its scenery, peasants pulling creaking wooden carts full of hardened breads, dead birds, and sinless obedient children covered in the mire of prayer and utter boredom. The town bells ring. A dove farts, then flies away under the parting clouds. Everyone is preparing in their forgetful timid ways, for another Jewish baby to be born. But this isn’t just any Jewish baby. This baby’s mother swears her and her husband don’t fuck. Rumors spread throughout the country that indeed she is quite prudish, and so the lonely oligarchs come with presents, and the stars shine a little brighter for us this night.

The birth of Jesus was indeed significant for many reasons. For instance, time began. For another, centuries of war and hatred and overall misery began not in the name of healthy animalistic impulse, but rather in the name of love. Another: Starbucks, Best Buy, K Mart, and many other doloric laboratories of perpetual grief sell several times their regular numbers around the time of his designated birth, as if to say, Another country peasant was born. Let’s buy stuff! Christmas is good for us. Many 16-year-old girls in Calabasas were just gifted their first of many BMW’s. Many women in Newport Beach were given new tits. My cat ate a special dinner of wet food instead of his regular dry food. But as important as all this is, the birth of Jesus is still a secondary abstract peroration in the line of a happy and free society; it’s a trifling stroke in the historic strength of the first world. America’s freedom has recently been jeopardized—North Korea has tried to take our movies away. Prominent leaders in the first world have been recently seen chanting in the streets of Hollywood, throwing crumpled napkins at the clouds, protesting the trauma caused to them by Kim Jong Un and the alleged Guardians of Peace—the cyberhackers who compromised the private information of thousands of Sony Corporation employees. Jesus can’t save us! they chant, but Seth Rogen sure can! I toured the famous avenues today, as I do everyday, hopping on every star on the Walk of Fame like it was happy celebrity hopscotch. Then I took a photo with Superman and giggled with all the cute Japanese girls as we took three thousand selfies with an extended pole. And all the stars were out. Not Jesus’s guiding stars, and not the Walk of Fame stars—the real movie stars, in their naked morbid flesh. They were having an event, waving a tremendous banner that read, “Freedom of Speech Against Kim Jong Un and his Little Dick.” Everyone was there, sucking each other, smiling, never not smiling, waving at the flashing cameras. It was a chancroidial fetid nightmare—thousands of assholes and armpits and tongues intermingling. Everyone quite literally had a very brown nose. Brett Ratner had his face plunged into Spielberg’s graying butt hair, licking it ferociously, Spielberg giggling uncontrollably, clawing at the piss-stained gum-matted sidewalk. Ro-gen! the masses of groping famous bodies chanted. Ro-gen! We’re just women and men, and we love Seth Ro-gen!

Seth Rogen is the writer, director, and star of the feature film The Interview, currently amidst much international controversy around the issues of censorship and freedom of speech. A national outcry has erupted over whether or not the Canadian high school dropout can release his movie, something even President Obama has expressed much concern over, even considering whether or not to return North Korea to the terror watch list. But Rogen is one of those strange diabolically misshapen lackeys of life who cannot actually summon enough comedy to be controversial. He’s a lightweight comedian at best, but he is still very much overweight. When you see him speak and then make the grunting gestures of laughter at his own jokes, you can almost taste his lonely nihilism pushing out with the tears of his sweat. Seth Rogen has the ugliest laugh in the history of the world. I want to pee on him. We laugh because he’s the fat kid in school we don’t want to go on a rampage because he didn’t get enough attention, a dismal L’Heautontimoroumenos who masturbated too many times to feel anything anymore.

The wry irony in the outcry over Rogen’s movie is that while we Americans refuse to be censored by another overweight imperious Korean man, we don’t stir much dour opposition over Edward Snowden’s compulsory expatriation for exposing the NSA’s massive domestic spying program, or Chelsea Manning’s thirty-five year imprisonment for his release of American military warcrimes, or Julian Assange’s indefinite asylum for his evangelical testament for freedom of the press.

We go to the movies to spend an hour and a half watching someone with a more fantastic life than ours. The very act of going to the movies is a fervent inveigling drama that we are blue miasmic animals, so tired of this life of ours. It’s the ultimate nihilism. But it’s not all that different from laying on your back in the dirt, staring at the stars, wondering what this life is all about. It’s beautiful in a way, until you realize you’re not the attractive man winning on the huge screen. Even writing is a contentious business—I have created far more enemies than friends through the written word—and of all the inflammatory nightmares I have dreamt up, my mom finally said I need to start being a man of grace. Last night I had a dream about Rimbaud, but he was such aggravating company, he just drank and threw bottles at me. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I do know that writers are the worst of hypocrites—they don’t actually live. Every twenty-something year old with a stupid hat standing in line for an art opening with a title of something like “Illegal Paradise is Upon Us,” will mechanically quote their Nietzsche, so desperately trying to convince us they might be something of a serious intellectual themselves. Live Dangerously! Nietzsche declared, as he literally chained himself to his desk, forcing himself not to live, but to write. He slept with one woman in his whole flaccid desolate life—a whore, who he contracted syphilis from. Writers are awful creatures. That’s why Seth Rogen is a writer.

Hollywood’s own hypocrisy is beyond measure. They happily mock North Korea for their poor Orwellian idealism, representing the entire society as having not a single independent thought, no passionate loves, no heartbreak or tragic wonder, no lonely squalid nights that send us to the edge of life. But they refuse to discuss it in interviews, or sign petitions, just as they refuse to recognize the iniquitous genocide of the Palestinians, afraid their own pallid lachrymose careers will end in a cold wind. But we’re all guilty. We’ve all snorted too much horse tranquilizer in too many cold florescent bathrooms, that our smiles become weak fixtures of happiness—we stand under the buzzing city lights in the middle of the night, frantic for some fried chicken, not knowing that eventually we’re going to screw it all up.

In 1945, when Korea was liberated from decades of Japanese rule, there was overwhelming support from within Korea itself to be unified and self-governed. Russia came down from the north, the United States came from the south, and they met roughly at the 45th parallel with ensuing violence and almost a million and a half dead. Dropping 800 tons of bombs a day, the United States dropped more napalm and bombs on North Korea than they did in all of the Pacific during WWII. U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay stated, “we went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another, and some in South Korea too.” In the later stages of the war, because the United States had destroyed every meaningful military and communication target in North Korea, they began bombing a series of hydroelectric dams—which is a serious warcrime in itself—killing unnumbered Korean peasants, flooding and destroying all food crops, and wiping out the entire power grid in North Korea for two weeks.

The Interview may just be another routine comedy, another gilded masturbation that will be completely forgotten in a few years. But it might not be. If we look deep into the bilious heart of it, we can unlock Seth Rogen’s fustian contention. In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, he highlights that the world itself cannot be a collection of things, but rather of facts. Our day-to-day is one great fetid orgy, interacting with laws and effects. I desire a woman’s marvelous body not because of her breasts and curves and sensual drama as things of themselves, but rather because the erotic fact of beauty makes it so. If we read deep enough into his Philosophicus, we realize the frightening truth about Seth Rogen: “The specification of all true elementary propositions describes the world completely. The world is completely described by the specification of all elementary propositions plus the specification, which of them are true and which are false…With regard to the existence to n atomic facts there are Kn = SUMMATION(v=0 to n, binom-coeff(n over v))  possibilities.” Meaning Seth Rogen could be anything, any queer monster we were too afraid dream of. If we plug “Seth Rogen” into n atomic facts, we find our definitive answer: Seth Rogen is in fact Kim Jong Un himself—fat and relishing and always laughing at his own traumatic existence.

After its first week after release, The Interview is the highest grossing online movie of all time. The despondent calamity of Kim Jong Un spreads throughout the terrible bleak countryside, and Seth Rogen picks his nose and chuckles.

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Joan Rivers, Death Stalker in the Moonless Night

(Originally published on http://www.paradiseofstorm.tumblr.com on September 2, 2014)

by Guy Walker

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You, who like a dagger ploughed 
Into my heart with deadly thrill:
You who, stronger than a crowd
Of demons, mad, and dressed to kill.

Baudelaire, The Vampire

The year is 2034, and it’s another thick sudoric Sunday morning in Griffith Park. The sun hasn’t even risen above all those frantic cheerless steel erections; instead, it parts into several different begging golden rays of light, each of them shining onto the remains of the park, onto a limping pigeon or a patch of tall dead grass or a bald and frozen oak tree standing alone. There are so many seagulls, thousands of them, crazed and screaming and flying between the shadows from the buildings and the pouring stuffed morning light. They’re flying in every direction and then back to do it again; it’s like watching the old ones in the asylums run their circles. One gull with a spasm in its neck lands on a stoplight that’s all blacked out in front of Capitol Records. The seagull looks down the long soundless streets; no movement in sight except for an occasional rabid dog running across. The seagull stands there, twitching his neck, trying to remember: what the fuck is wrong with Los Angeles?He remembers there was something, and it wasn’t just the enormous buildings and the long waiting streets and the ubiquitous scent of piss. There was some sort of commotion, some big deal that went on here. He scans his memory for a second as the sun rises enough to crest the top of his head.

Birds typically have remarkable memories, many of them return to where they stored seeds months prior. Even pigeons are congratulated with modest degrees of intelligence—psychologist B.F. Skinner, along with R.P. Epstein and Robert Lanza argued in 1981 that the pigeon shows levels of self-awareness, as demonstrated in a series of mirror tests. But the seagull; the seagull has survived this Last Collapse, this human orgy of death that turned the sky all red  .  .  .  and it doesn’t even know it; it’s always been destined to survive on other’s misery, like a Dostoyevskian hero as it parades in the dying morning sky. Gulls exhibit highly complex communication systems; they are one of the only species of bird to drink salt water; they are monogamous as well as faithful; and they are single-minded kleptomaniacs, making them more human than all other winged warm-blooded vertebrates.

The gull then saw the entry of a now-abandoned convenience store it had stolen from many times before. It all came back, the memories. All the thick entropic mass of human flesh and their cars and horns and stinking teenage farts. In a flash, he saw his last nineteen years of unadulterated vapidness. All the desperate neon light buzzing in the night, all the garbage and soiled panties he’d picked through, all the women with their Botox lips shooing him away. He looked down the miles of empty hot asphalt with a sickening nostalgia for humans. How could it all have ended like this? he thought. How could they have all died so fast?

Then he glanced across the road into Griffith Park, into the deserted anhydrous landscape. He thought about all the dog owners who used to come here to walk their dogs, and bring their little doggie bags, and talk to each other about each other’s dogs and how handsome or pretty they looked. The gull knew he would miss the dog people the most—they were so rational and levelheaded.

Suddenly the gull saw a movement where the chess players used to play. A shadow leaning over one of the tables. There were two figures in total. The last two humans, the only one’s he’d seen in years, and they were playing chess in the 110 degree morning. He flew closer, careful not to be seen. There was a little boy in a chair, his feet not even reaching the ground, and he was crying. The chess game was going awful for him, it was over with for the most part, just a tragic finale was left. Across the table from him was nothing less than a female villain, a volcanic perverted form of Anahita, her nostrils flaring orange napalm, her face completely embalmed by a hundred plastic surgeons who she later killed by chopping off their penises fluttering in the silver moonlight, saving them in a mason jar to perform magic tricks with. She was skinnier than the rotting corpse of Heidi Fleiss—every time she shifted in her chair she broke another bone, but it never caused her pain, it only made her more evil, more awful and smelly. The seagull felt the inhuman chill even from this far away, but he still couldn’t tell whothe woman was, her face was down in shadow, her white acicular eyes gleaming from the dark. Then she sat up, smiling a deathless smile, the baking sun shining on her cheeks, almost melting her plastic cheeks away. And the gull finally saw who she was. It was Joan Rivers, immortal and evil as ever.

“Holy shit,” the gull said to himself. “The legend is true after all: Joan Rivers still prowls, and she must kill to stay alive.” The gull had heard about Ms. Rivers many times before, as he flew among those high chariots of madness, the other seagulls screaming that they had seen her squatting on all fours, her face plunged in the open ribcage of an old celebrity, as once was Demi Moore screaming for her mercy. Joan was never actually funny! one of the seagulls yelled as the golden light poured under his wings. She hated everything! Once she screamed that my feathers were not white enough! she threw rocks at me, her legs spread in that stained fur coat of hers!

Joan Rivers still writhes for fragments of attention, like a star-nosed mole groping blindly in the tunnels of China, trying to claim some biological purpose. Ugly creatures who roam the earth are typically pardoned because of their unwitting importance to sustain life itself. They may not be the prettiest things in the world, a reasoned biologist purports, but the rainforest couldn’t survive without it. The helmeted hornbill, the blobfish, the aye-aye, the monkfish—they may all suffer under curses of hate and deformity, but at least they plead humbly for a better more fertile world. But no one knows why Joan Rivers was created. Why? a young lascivious Pan asks himself, Why the fuck did I create this contorting monster? Not only is she uglier than the worst I made on my drunken diabolical parades of madness, she is spewing commands about yellow-speckled dresses and bombing the Gaza Strip.

Every time a Jewish woman wears an unflattering dress, Joan Rivers has night tremors. She moans in her sleep, alone, a damp wind blowing in her long white curtains, a cockroach turns and scurries the other way. “NO!” she screams as she claws her wrinkled tits, “Wear the purple one, you bitch! How! How could you do this to us!” Then she whimpers away quietly, “It’s all Mohammed’s fault. Kill them, kill them all.” Every time a barefoot Palestinian boy is blown to bits while playing on the beach, Joan Rivers gets another nose job. Every time Israel makes an advance, Joan writes a holy scripture on the bathroom mirror with her lipstick. But Joan doesn’t just hate the Palestinians, she’s after Beauty itself. She pulls down a vampire bat hanging from the shower ceiling, and bites its neck, sucking out all the blood, her bloody portal of lips and porcelain fangs gasping for more. She limps down the creaking stairs to the basement, her bulging swelling knees quivering each step she takes, her varicose veins frigid and painful and fabulous; she flips on the light, the blue florescent lights buzzing and crackling. There are hundreds of them, maybe more, younger more beautiful women than her sitting there chained together, naked, with red ball gags pulled halfway down their throats, their mascara running down their smooth bright cheeks. “Hello ladies,” she smiles and rubs her nose feverishly. “I need a new nose.” All the girls’ eyes open wide, their muffled screams try to articulate that they disagree with her. “You have all been very bad girls,” she says as she limps nearer, “Your shoes have not been matching your underwear.” Then she rips the ball gag off a shivering Jennifer Lawrence. She begs, “Ohhh! Mommy dearest! Forgive us! We did not know what you know so well! We will all be better! O please! O please don’t. Not the nose!”

What Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t know is that it’s all an illusion. None of this is actually happening to her. If she had only read a little more Descartes, she could have slept in peace. Rene Descartes wasn’t actually right about anything. His adolescent inquiries into the Cartesian cogs and springs of interstellar dust even offended the Protestants. As his students were cutting open the stomachs of live dogs, the dogs mysteriously howling in pain, Descartes told his students to “ignore their screams, it’s merely the creakings of the machine.” But Descartes was still right about one thing: his dieu trompeur, his evil demon who is “as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me.” It’s the evil demon who has orchestrated all this lusting waking reality, all our dreams and romances and penetrative scripture. All the fond religions, all the drunken nights, all the Einsteinian measures of intellectual progress—they all pay their debts to thedieu trompeur, the Mephistopheles of intellectualism, for it was She who made us think this life was real. She came to Descartes in a dream, a horrible Caucasian batlike woman, and she whispered in his ear, “I am Joan Rivers, therefore you are.” And Descartes woke, trembling, and began writing, scribing his famous scripture, “I think, therefore I am.” All those who think freely, she hates. Freewill is simply a demonic puppeteer with the face of a clown. It’s easier to give up now.

Back in the dusty shriveling park, the little boy has been locked in checkmate. Joan Rivers stands and metamorphoses into a human-sized bat. She spreads her wings and wraps the boy into them. The seagull knows he must fly away as fast as he can. He flies madly, nearing the golden light, the other seagulls looking at him, screaming. Suddenly, he feels a jerk, his feet are caught. Suddenly, his world turns black forever again.

Israel Hates Fireworks

(Originally published on http://www.paradiseofstorm.tumblr.com on July 16, 2014)

by Guy Walker

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The little boy was running down the narrow alleyway, past all that torn sad rubble, past the fresh market with the thousand shouting vendors and their thousand scents, and the call to prayer summoned all the holy merchants to their knees, and the evening pushed its better light upon the walls of all the buildings. The boy knew he would be late for supper if he didn’t run, and he had promised his mother he wouldn’t be late. But it was just a little further now.

At the same time, an Israeli warplane was lifting off from the tortured dusty grounds of a military base. It headed towards Gaza. The sky between Israel and Gaza just a thick traffic of clouds from planes and rockets.

Minutes passed. The boy arrived home just on time, just as the evening sun warmed his family’s blue front door. Then the stray sad dogs looked up and started barking madly, yelling at the sky. A flock of pigeons burst from their perch. Then everything was bright and horrific and deafening. The building to the family had been blown to bits. The streets were filled with running screaming mothers, children everywhere, a cathedral of rubble and agony behind them emerging from the ashen air.

Another attack aimed at the Islamic militant group Hamas struck a Palestinian family instead. The Islamic militants have so far fired more than 1,200 rockets towards Israel, fueled by a several-decade feud over land occupation. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has intercepted at least 150 of the missiles fired, resulting in its first Israeli death. As of July 15, after eight days of Israeli retaliation, at least 220 Palestinians have been killed. No major reports could be immediately confirmed about exactly who was killed, but the Los Angeles Times offered that about half of those deaths were women and children. The reports couldn’t be confirmed because the attacks were on civilians, not the Islamic militants themselves. In other words, a bunch of praying families in their homes. Israeli supporters call the innocents that have been killed ‘collateral damage,” meaning a mother or child or shopkeeper that may have been killed was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But collateral damage doesn’t exist in the storm of war. On July 16, an Israeli naval ship bombed and killed four Palestinian children playing on the beach in the Gaza harbor. When the remaining surviving children ran for cover, a second shell was reportedly aimed at them.

The rockets being fired from Gaza are more like very banal forms of firework shows. Kids with sparklers could hurt more Israelis than Hamas militants. A 2012 analysis revealed that roughly 12,000 rockets fired over twelve years resulted in twenty-two Jewish deaths. That is, a kill rate of 0.175%. In 2013, of all the proud sparkling skies in the United States, an estimated 11,400 injuries were reported from fireworks. That is, when it comes to rockets, a drunken howling patriotism is possibly more threatening than the Hamas militants.

President Obama has offered to moderate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, calling for a peaceful resolution. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israel’s Prime Minister Netanayhu directly by phone, telling the Prime Minister he thought it was a good idea if everyone stopped killing each other, and that the United States could actually broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. But Netanyahu said before a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, “We don’t know when the operation will end. It could take much longer.” He assured that Israel would only continue to act “in a patient and levelheaded manner,” as it always has, in places like the Gaza harbor, restoring peace and security to its country. Egypt also proposed a ceasefire plan. Israel accepted, while Hamas said the proposal, “was not worth the ink it was written with.”

As President Obama imposes new sanctions on Russia for their attacks on Ukraine, he ignores the significant threat of enduring war in the Middle East—US money and weapons. Since the Israeli state was formed in 1948, the United States has contributed more than $234 billion towards the stability and security of the state. Moshe Arens, former foreign minister and ambassador to Washington, puts it another way: “As a democratic country, the U.S. has good relations with other democratic countries, which have economic and military importance. In the past, during the Cold War period, Israel sided with the United States and today Israel is the best partner America has in the war on terror.” The best partner in the war on terror doesn’t just mean killing children playing on the beach, or killing eighteen members from the same family—it also means the Israeli children longing to “return to their ancient homeland,” something that the few remaining Native Americans surely empathize with the Israeli-dependent defense system. That is, $234 billion dollars to kill Palestinian families, to further divide the Middle East into a lawless arenaceous dystopia of broken gods in misery. That’s close to $6.5 million a week, every week, for six and a half decades. But the United States is not foolish with its money—it has already made some of that money back. In 2001 alone, the U.S. sold a hundred F16s to Israel for close to $3 billion. In 2013, it sold $10 billion worth of arms to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, “provid[ing] missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran,” says the New York Times. In other words, the U.S. is giving Israel huge amounts of money so they can spend a little bit of that money buying an American military arsenal. The “threat from Iran” means the threat from some volatile Arab nuclear state. Nobody wants a nuclear war, except maybe Ann Coulter, who wants to corral all the Arabs and all the soccer balls together, and kill them or turn them Christian. But Israel might actually be worse than Ann Coulter. In May of 2010, the Guardian reported, “Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.” Pretty much everyone wants the escalation of misery—it makes people happy.

Israel is the American military’s ‘A’ student, as its sordid escalation of death is almost as good as death itself. Israel’s reaction against Hamas-dominated Gaza is something strikingly similar to the U.S. military’s Battle of Fallujah in March of 2004. Iraqi insurgents had ambushed a convoy of Blackwater USA, the private mercenary company now known as Academi, under the umbrella company Contellis Holdings, killing four American private mercenaries. The U.S. military responded by invading the city of Fallujah, under the name Operation Vigilant Resolve. It didn’t resolve much. It killed at least 600 Fallujahns, at least half of which of non-combatants. In violation of the Geneva Convention, the Marines closed both of the city’s main hospitals, positioning U.S. snipers atop one of the hospital’s water tower. It was a very patriotic moment for the military and for its taxpayers, as Sgt. Maj. William Skiles described it, “may the dogs of Fallujah eat hardy off our dead enemy.” And a few days later, when Paul Bremer announced a ceasefire, wanting to facilitate negotiations itself. And the stray dogs roamed the streets and chewed on all that enduring fatless misery.

Israel is modern romance compared to Iraq. No American troops deployed. No bad press. A potentially endless war, requiring an endless arsenal of death, bought from the United States itself. But even the Iraq war was mature and thoughtful in its own right. By attacking a country preemptively, and wrongly predicting they had weapons of mass destruction pointed at the Americans, the United States would have made Niccolo Machiavelli like a proud young father staring down at his firstborn. Still bloody and screaming and blind, our umbilical cord has finally been cut. Now we can scream freely into all that florescent light above. After 500 years of our gallant heights of Western misery, the United States has turned Machiavelli’s prime written wisdom into the real thing. No matter how immoral, Machiavelli argued, the ends always justified the means for preserving and restoring political authority. By this philosophy, the four children playing on the beach really were collateral damage—they were in the way of the machine. And the family of eighteen really was not a decent enough substance against U.S.-made and sold F16s.

Just as nobody knows why we really went to Iraq, and killed an estimated 500,000 of their men, women, and children, nobody really knows why the United States gives Israel so much money and so many weapons. “As for Israel,” says Obama, “our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values.” This kind of vague sardonic torment of the human capacity for clear communication is something only Machiavelli could teach. Never reveal your true intentions, he wrote, and “act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state.” And so another missile strikes. And the mothers scream.

When New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond was asked what book he would require President Obama to read, Diamond answered with Machiavelli’s The Prince, because it illustrates that “we are not helpless in the hands of bad luck.” No we are not. The children playing on the beach are. The family of eighteen is. As are the rest of the 220 Palestinians killed so far.

But across the desert there is a river running smooth and slow. And a little boy has run all the way from school to sit and watch the fish roam and sometimes look up at him. And he drops little pebbles in to see the fish turn their heads again. And the sun goes down near the horizon and turns the trees many colors, and the boy thinks to himself that he is very lucky to see all these pretty things. And then the sky turns completely white.

ISIS, the Beautiful

(Originally published on http://www.paradiseofstorm.tumblr.com on July 5, 2014)

by Guy Walker

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They are pushing further and further, routing through the scarred and desperate areas, their borders swelling like the scare of some empyrean sickness you see spreading on a world map. But instead of the Plague, it’s the world’s wealthiest and most well-equipped militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, a separated division of Al Qaeda. It’s like the angry kid growing up, he’s just a little more sophisticated and a little more angry this time. Their caches of weapons and U.S. antipathy are already substantial, already tromping through police stations and security posts, taking possession of more and more stockpiles of weaponry. Predominately Sunni Arab militants, ISIS “has already seized large swaths of northern and western Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second-most populous city,” reports the Los Angeles Times, also “reportedly snatched the equivalent of close to $500 million in cash from a Mosul bank … “its riches easily eclipse those of Al Qaeda under Osama bin Laden.” They have taken hold of weapons stores from multiple Iraqi army divisions, collecting munitions enough for some 200,000 soldiers.

This is the Sunni’s most luxurious war, like some tragic parade of death, it marches through the desert and seizes oil fields and cities like they were new frontiers. They are recruiting children as young as ten years old, convincing them that “Allah chooses you” to fight for the Islamic state, to restore the caliphate as a literal successor to Muhammad. But they aren’t just another rebel group, they aren’t an accident of hate that swelled in the exhaust of war. ISIS is the maturing grandson of U.S. occupation and military training. As the U.S.-trained Iraqi army and Iraqi police forces flee their posts like roaches on a kitchen floor, and ISIS militants seize U.S.-made armored Humvees, a helicopter, rifles, rockets, trucks, and a myriad of other munitions, the U.S. has again unwittingly armed the enemy. And the U.S. response to ISIS as a growing threat is not that unusual: arm and train the opponents of ISIS. President Obama now seeks $500 million from Congress in order to train the “moderate Syrian opposition.”

Arming the opponent of the current threat to the United States is nothing new. Facing an unforeseeable future war with U.S. trained, equipped, and financed militants is also something of a favorite pastime for the U.S. government. Most famously since World War II, the United States has trained, equipped, and financed the opponents of their current opponents, only later to fight against their former perversions of allies. In World War II, the United States befriended the communists to fight the fascists. In the Cold War, they took the fascists under their wing in order to fight the communists. As Soviet and British forces occupied Iran, taking it as their own oil state, the U.S. used Iran’s airports and roads to transport around $18 billion worth of military aid to Stalin. But then there was the Cold War. Quite literally, the CIA enlisted former Nazis as their own. Mikola Lebed, for example, led a Ukrainian “terrorist organization” (as described by the CIA itself), was later recruited by the Agency and described as “rendering valuable assistance to this Agency in Europe.” During the Korean War, the CIA dropped guns and ammunition into Burma, arming general Li Mi and his band of nationalists, pointing them to fight Mao’s advancements. They did not advance. Twenty years later, the CIA ignited another war in Burma to kill off the heroin labs and the global drug empire Li Mi and his men created. In 1953 the U.S. attacked the same Guatemalan army forces they originally trained to topple Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. In 1959, several officers of the intelligence agency described Fidel Castro as an ally, offering that he deserved U.S. guns and money. The U.S. poured billions of dollars worth of arms into Afghanistan, into the hands of Islamic guerrilla warriors, in order to fight off the Soviets. Hence, the Taliban. Hence, Al Qaeda. A seemingly endless war on terror is in effect. And too often it’s armed on both sides with U.S.-made weapons. In 2010, the ATF allowed guns from the U.S. to pass freely into the hands of gun smugglers so they could be traced to the Mexican drugs cartels. The operation was named Fast and Furious. They lost track of the guns, hundreds of them, one of which was later used in the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Since late 2013, and perhaps even earlier, the U.S. has been sending weapons to Syrian rebels, many of which are falling into the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, another Islamic terrorist organization, as described by the United States itself.

$500 million to train the “moderate Syrian opposition.” Modesty to save the Middle East. Because the moderate opposition—armed with glistening caches of western weapons and a stipend of half a billion dollars—won’t turn their backs later. Western thought has always loved its modesty. Modesty to rule them all. Modesty—that is, armed-and-heavily-trained-and-financed-modesty—has always loved its promise of furthering war. It’s a symptom of western thought. Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics argues that the moral good always lies between two extremes, that moderation is a virtue of the great. No one less than Alexander the Great turned to Aristotle’s philosophy as his own, looking to modesty as a virtue of his own, later slaughtering hundreds of thousands who were apparently not modest enough. Nothing has improved since Alexander. The West has just outsourced its imperial construct with a little more tormented hilarity than it has before. A modest opposition doesn’t exist here. There was nothing modest about the Afghani rebels who fought back the Red Army. We know that now. And today there is nothing modest about Jabhat al-Nusra, who affirms its allegiance to Al-Qaeda, who has orchestrated various car-bombs, suicide attacks, assault of military bases, assassinations of political figures, who fighters have been filmed eating human hearts. The weapons will invariably end up in the hands of the enemy. It’s never done otherwise. These momentary allies, poised like gurgling perversions of chanting friends, don’t likely believe in a coming American Dawn. Because it’s just another violent tragic dawn.

If Aristotle wrote a book on ethics, and Alexander drew pictures of swords and horses in its margins, then the U.S. government wrote the treatise on peace and said more guns could achieve it. According to the New York Times, the United States tripled their weapons sales in 2011, primarily driven by the Persian Gulf allies and their concern of Iranian ambitions. The United States sold $66.3 billion worth of weapons oversees in 2011, more than three-quarters of the global arms sold. It’s impossible to account for those weapons. Fast and Furious was supposed to be a controlled operation, and it lost control, losing track of its weapons. It’s impossible to know how many of those $66.3 billion worth of weapons ended up in the hands of the enemy. And it’s impossible to know who the ally really is. Because the ally has before so often turned towards the enemy.

Alexander never satisfied his diabolical lust for modesty—there was not enough world for the world’s most modest. And no republic has ever lived more than three hundred years—and the United States is now two-hundred and thirty-eight, and is giving weapons to angry men in the desert. So another sort of plague spreads across the ancient dusty frontier, and America celebrates another birthday.

 

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