Sunday, September 23, 2007


What I object to is that America is just a pawn. That hardly seems right. America. A pawn. No. It should be -- well, not even a queen. Not even a king. It should be a player. A chess master. But it’s a pawn.

We are, you see, being manipulated. That’s what terrorism is. Our qualities are known, have been weighed, and are exploited. The assessment is that we are not a threat. Indeed, we have been, somehow, maneuvered, manipulated into a position advantageous to inimical forces. They don’t mind the risk. They don’t mind the sacrifice. Sacrifices in chess are well thought-out. “Gambit” is the word -- a chess term, that means a sacrifice for a greater advantage.

I made a little joke in one of my letters to you. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. Ho, ho. There was a lot there that needed development. This is one of them. Of course you recognize the allusion. An evil playbook, a Satanic Book of Revelation on how to corrupt, irredeemably, the world, that a sinister force may prevail. No, it isn’t the Jews, not Israel. Abraham’s other son, call him Ishmael, along with Elam. The Arabs and the Persians. Islam. They want to take over the world. And take it to hell.

They’re doing it. Doing it not by corrupting our youth, but their own. Madrases of hatred. The lure of sex. Young minds made fanatical unto murder and self destruction. Well, of course. The cult of the Old Man of the Mountain. Hello again, dark monster. It set the precedent. Young men were doped up on hashish -- hence the term assassin -- and in their drugged haze were ushered into a specially prepared oasis, of sweet fountains and lovely houris. I suppose they did ejaculate 72 times. From then on these young men knew no fear of death. They had seen Paradise.

Now they’re doing it again. Osama is the New Man of the Mountain, promising an eternal erection that starts with the explosion of a suicide bomb.

The Arabs are fierce and subtle traders. They know how to count the cost. The Persians -- Iranians -- well, they invented chess. America? We have a superbly pragmatic mind, in a small-town way. Dams and rockets and jazz and the movies. But we are small town, as they are village and bazaar. When these meet, West and East, at some geopolitical meridian, some faultline of civilizational tectonic plates, who survives the ensuing earthshock? In old fashioned wars we do, of course. In haggling, however...

Yeah. Haggling isn’t a small town virtue. Compromise is.

So what, then? Somehow the USA became the British Empire. Alas, we don’t have the urge. Not a nation of Babbitts, surely -- rather, good-natured and accommodating hicks abroad in the wide evil world, too trusting for our own good. Nations it seems are simplistic caricatures, one dimensional characters as if invented by a hack writer. Say, the kind who would compose such a work as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Ah well. There must be hope. History and fiction collide -- the Old Man and the Protocols. Two mountains, Zion and the Assassin’s. The mountain of God and of Satan. Sanity and islamism. The current-events application is to queen the pawn -- plod on in a nominally straight-forward course until we get to the other side, where we discover the power of perseverance.

Yes, they invented the game, and I do suppose they are better at it than we are. Where then is our victory? How can we prevail? Maybe it’s this: We only think we’re a pawn. Maybe we have power, and capabilities, and capacities, untapped if not undreamed of. It may be fitting, fitting indeed, for us to grasp the crown, and wear it.

It moved me to tears, last night. What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? So many contradictions. Power and virtue. But we cannot afford the luxury of ambivalence. This chessgame is on a timer.


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