The Five Fingers of Death

“You know, they’re schemers: Schemers trying to control their worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are…You know what, you know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan: Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that like a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all part of the plan.”

– Heath Ledger’s Joker, the Dark Knight, 2008.

“They did not repent of their murders, their sorcery, their immorality, or of their thefts.”

– Revelations

There will be no such event called the Third World War as humanity is still playing out World War I, World War II and the Cold War.  The leaders referenced in the title of this article are, or will be, the primary instigators for continued waves of carnage around the globe. Their statements, executive decisions and political/military actions affect the lives of nearly every soul on Earth.

Surprise Attack!

If Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has is way, the Japanese military will start producing and fielding nuclear weapons. It will purchase more weaponry from the United States and enhance its defense industrial base to produce its own war making equipment. The rationale for these actions is China’s emergence as a world power. Already Abe has stirred up memories of WWII and has publicly attempted to glorify the actions of Japanese soldiers during that conflict. Abe also oversaw a revision to Japan’s constitution opening the door for preemptive military action by Japanese forces.  China has a vivid memories of Japanese soldiers raping and slaughtering women and children, young and old in Nanjing.

“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spent two full days in the resource-rich South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea last Friday and Saturday, underscoring the geo-strategic ambitions behind his government’s decision to ‘re-interpret’ Japan’s constitution to enable the country’s armed forces to engage in overseas military operations…he clearly glorified the military campaigns of World War II. According to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK World, Abe said Japan’s present-day prosperity was based on the troops who sacrificed their lives.”

The world is now seeing the 21st Century version of Nanjing as Israel has slaughtered-at-a-distance  close to 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has suffered 30 casualties soldiers. Most of the Palestinians murdered have been women and children, done in by Israeli soldiers flying American made aircraft and ordnance. President Obama and America’s political and military leaders have taken an “oh-well” view of this matter which one more phase of the Israeli scheme to eliminate the Palestinians and take there land and resources. Some call this genocide . The United States supports this action just as it supported the coups in Ukraine and Egypt. Clearly the nation’s priorities are twisted particularly with Israel. When the primer minister of Israel receives more standing ovations and applause from a joint session of the US Congress than the President of the United states, that’s the “tail wagging the dog.” And again we are reminded that Israel was a child of WWII.

When will there be a Real War? I want my Fulda Gap!

US President Barack Obama is overseeing a war against Russia in Eastern Ukraine and via international economic sanctions overseen by the US Treasury Department. Obama has openly stated that he will be sending US military advisers to support Ukraine’s military operations against pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine’s breakaway republics. But they are already there operating under the Foreign Internal Defense Operations policy and practice manual. And, if the US military and intelligence community is doing operations the right way, teams of CIA paramilitary and special operations operatives have been forward observing in Russia. At any rate America’s newest puppet, who will legitimize US military activity on Russia’s border, is Petro Porashenko put into office thanks to a successful US-backed coup against  the former president Viktor Yanukovych. Porashenko leads a ragtag government of wealthy interests and neo-Nazi groups whose support is based largely in Western Ukraine.

The destruction of Malaysia flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine has been used as a political football by the USA and its allies to demonize Russia and lay the blame for the tragedy at the doorstep of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.  Somehow the Russian government is responsible for the deaths of 292 people because it supports the pro-Russian rebels in their fight against US backed thugs in Ukraine. Duh, what are they supposed to do? What will the US do when splinter groups in Mexico, supported by the Mexican government,  cross the unto the USA and start placing IED’s in cities and towns in Arizona and Texas?

The USA remains upset because Russia moved to take back Crimea before the USA could get its hands on it and derail plans by Russia, China and the European Union to integrate by rail, pipelines, ports and highways many of the economies of Asia and Europe. Ultimately, the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to join the Russian Federation.

Looking around at world events it is hard not to seek guidance from character portrayals in the movies or biblical scripture.  People in the “real” world , particularly the impact leaders named in the title of this article, are the 21st Century versions of Timur (Tamerlane) who is said to have killed 17 million people or 5 percent of the world’s population. He sought to reestablish the Mongol empire of Genghis Khan. In like manner, members of the Five Fingers of Death are indifferent to the suffering, slaughter and displacement of their own populations, and those of other nations. The political/military leadership in the United States and the European Union—and their mouthpieces in the media—are maniacal cartoon characters who fancy themselves as some sort of a combination of Tamerlane, Cicero, Frederick the Great, Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. They seek Big War with China and Russia. World War II, the Korean War and Iraq and Afghanistan were not enough. Indeed, the War on Terror infuriates them because it is not a “real fight” like a full-scale war with “real military and economic powers.”

Hit Me Like a Diamond Bullet

The Islamic Caliphate led by Baghdadi apparently has studied history. Who would have guessed that Down with the 1916 Sykes Picot Agreement! would be a rallying cry for the front line soldiers of the Islamic Caliphate? The Islamic Caliphate is a ruthless and brilliant organization. Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando in the movie Apocalypse Now, describes them accurately: “I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn’t know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it… I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God… the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us. ”

The Islamic Caliphate should be judged carefully. It exists for many reasons. The obvious ones are America’s support for the overthrow of the Syrian government of president Bashar Al-Assad; America’s strategy of arming Al Qaeda splinter groups, with funding provided by Saudi Arabia, to fight the Syrian army;  America’s strategy of eliminating Assad to deny Russia and Iran a significant ally; the ongoing indigenous religious and civil war between Shia and Sunni taking place in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere; and America’s invasion of Iraq which destabilized the entire Middle East.

Baghdadi’s stroke of genius was to proclaim himself above all other Muslim leaders. Why? The answer to that is because the wealthy rulers/leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Syria have done little to provide employment, food and shelter to the millions that make up their populations. The unemployment rate of the youth of those countries, according to Al Arabiya, is a staggering 23 percent. In addition American military operations–or those supported by the USA–have caused millions to be displaced within Iraq and Syria and into refugee camps in Turkey, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon (the Christian communities in these countries have nearly been eliminated) And what more can be said about the suffering of he Palestinians? Arab leaders have used the Palestinians as pawns opting for the status quo of pain.

The Islamic Caliphate understand these matters well. Their actions and statements indicate that they are disgusted with all the duplicity and ineffectiveness of Arab governments and Muslim leaders the world over. They mean to take the fight to the false prophets of Islam and to the corporate religion of Capitalism. In so doing they are inviting the world to their back yard for a battle. And they are likely planning for attacks inside the United States, Europe, Arab capitals and Israel. Their fighters are mobile traveling from North Africa, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen to engage their foes.

They also know that consequences of American strategy, operations and tactics in the Middle East, and Persian Gulf regions: The creation of millions refugees and internally displaced persons–ideal recruits.  They pose enticing questions to those unemployed and the Arab world at large: “What has the government done for you? What have the leaders of Islam done for the poor, unemployed, disenfranchised and displaced? You have no prospects for work or education or even a purpose.” “Come join us,” they say. “We offer you the chance to fight and destroy these devious forces. You will know what camaraderie is for the first time. We will clothe, feed, arm and train you. The days will be harsh but rewarding. If you die, you will be martyr of the cause and never be forgotten.”

Let a Thousand Bilateral Agreements Bloom

Challenges to the post WWII financial system are threaten America’s financial and economic Instruments of National Power. The BRICS have openly challenged elements of that system—IMF and World Bank–recently by rolling out their own version of those two institutions. But that is not the most interesting move by China and fellow BRICS members. Peter Lee makes the point:

“The United States is backing off from its stated ‘honest broker’ position in the South China Sea to a tilt toward China’s adversaries, offering the possibility of direct confrontation over the PRC’s maritime claims and use of the sanctions regime to punish PRC misbehavior…. So the PRC internationalizes the yuan in a series of bilateral agreements with key trading partners, so that its financial transactions increasingly exit the dollar and are less vulnerable to US and Western sanctions; it tries to push its investors to look for adequate returns in friendly regions rather than dumping excess funds in Western financial centers…And the Xi Jinping regime must take into account the possibility that the outrage and sanctions machine, so intensively deployed against Russia over Ukraine, will be employed against the People’s Republic of China…”

Why the twin-fetish’s with Russia and China? Why the “holier than thou” egomania of US policy makers? Is it the curriculum and teaching methodologies at America’s elite universities?  West Point (General Stanley McChrystal)? Harvard and Yale (Barack Obama and Samantha Power)? Stanford (Condi Rice and Susan Rice)? Princeton (General David Petraeus)? Who knows? There are many similar to these folks from hundreds of lower caliber universities.

One thing for certain though: However they make their way to the US President’s ear, thinks tanks, opinion pages, the corporate boardroom or university professorship, they are the Messiahs of American Exceptionalism. They are placed into positions of power and influence by those who came before (Cold Warriors and their apostles) and were “produced” and selected to “lead” the country. They are funneled into political, media, academic military and economic positions of influence in government and industry. They are inter-changeable parts of the American national security machinery: On one day they are defending the US constitution; on another sitting on a corporate board pulling in $100,000 (US), or commenting on the latest disaster on newscasts. 

Humanity Flushing Itself Down the Toilet

The first decades of the 21st Century were predicted by politicians, economists and pundits to be the start of a new era of creative Capitalism, empowering technologies, and belief in the good faith and credit of the world’s American-backed financial system. Some social scientists proclaimed that the global wars of the 20th Century would remain confined to that century and have no place in the 21st Century. It’s not working out that way.

Humanity is the creation of the cosmos, local and universal; in particular, the interactions between geography, climate, culture and human/nonhuman generated events. History is the reporting done to explain to current and future generations what human actors, individually or as a collective, were doing at some point in time. “Everything flows,” as Vasily Grossman, the author of a book of the same name, once said. History is not unlike the Nile River or the Mississippi River with dozens of tributaries, streams, and unseen aquifers affecting the main body of the river. In short every person, place or thing is connected in some fashion to the flow of life, of history. And each person will, at some point in a lifetime, be affected by what has taken place 10, 20 or 100 years ago.

Humanity has no learned much it seems. We have learned how to kill and communicate faster. We live longer but for what purpose? World War I began 100 years ago this August, 2014. World  War II ended just 70 years ago. The Cold War and those two World Wars are with us still. Consider this: The USA still operates under the Carter Doctrine: “ An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States. It will be repelled by the use of any means necessary, including military force.”

American presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan approved the training and arming of Islamic fundamentalists to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and instigate, or carry out, violent acts in the former Soviet republics. Pakistan was critical in this effort. Operation Cyclone was one such operation that took place in Afghanistan in the grand theater that was the Cold War. Al-Qaeda was formed amidst the conflict between the USA and USSR.

Operation Cyclone’s driving force was Michael Vickers, born during the Cold War in 1953. He is currently the US Defense Department’s Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. His official US Department of Defense biography notes with some bravado that “During the mid-1980s, Secretary Vickers was the principal strategist for the largest covert action program in the CIA’s history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan.”

The rest is history.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at





John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at