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Clay Edwards

Introduction by Anis: "Clay is a networking colleague and peace advocate from the USA. I met him on the internet and published some of his writings from 2002 to 2006, see below.

Einleitung von Anis: "Clay ist ein Networker-Kollege und Verfechter des Friedens aus den USA. Ich traf ihn im Internet und veröffentlichte von 2002 bis 2006 einige seiner Schriften, siehe unten.

On this Page:
- Clay Edwards: "The War for the Extinction of Saddam Hussein; Confronting Evil and the Doctrine of Lethality in Politics" (2002)
- Comparison of post-regime change and pre-regime change killing behavior in Iraq. (July 30, 2006)
- Letter about Nonkilling from February 26, 2006
- What is Nonkilling? Essay (2005)
About Clay Edwards

Clayton Edwards originally is from Encanto in southern San Diego County. He moved around a lot as a kid because his mother was an entertainer. He spent the early years of his life in San Diego, the Los Angeles area, San Francisco, and for a while at his grandparent's lodge next to Yosemite National Park in Northern California where they had a gas station, a motel, and a restaurant. He went to many different schools including two military academies, Mount Lowe Military Academy in Altadena, California and Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California from where he graduated with a high school diploma in 1971.

He attended University of Hawaii where he majored in Political Science and Communication. He took a course in Political Leadership from Dr. Glenn Paige (See Glenn Paige's Room). In his class he wrote a paper on Turkish political leadership (Kemal Ataturk). He wrote other papers dealing with such topics as the Maoist conception of law in China.

During his studies at University of Hawaii, he began extensive traveling in Asia in the summer of 1973 attending seminars on mass media and economic development at Mara Institute of Technology and Universiti Sains Malaysia in Malaysia and Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand. He became interested in opium crop substitution projects of the United Nations and the King of Thailand, visiting agricultural experimentation stations in the mountains and presented a paper on the subject at an American Universities Field Staff seminar in Singapore. He also studied Thai, Southeast Asian history and religion at Chiang Mai University and Srinakarinwirot University in Southern Thailand and Chinese history at Soochow University under the auspices of Saint Olaf College in Minnesota and the University of Hawaii. He traveled in Laos during the changeover to a communist regime in 1975.

After returning to live in Hawaii, he operated a retail store and restaurant in Honolulu and graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1976. He was married to Kayoko Ozutsumi from Ibaraki, Japan in 1977. She currently runs two Kumon reading and math schools in San Diego. He received a Masters degree in Education in 1979 from what is now Alliant International University in San Diego and a certificate as a lawyer's assistant from University of San Diego in 1980.

From 1980 to 1983 he worked in San Francisco in refugee resettlement nongovernmental agencies including Catholic Social Services as a job developer and for a Lao refugee organization (Lao Lane Xang Association) as a grantwriter and English teacher.

After returning to San Diego, Clay Edwards attended law school at Western State University College of Law and worked as a paralegal researcher, writer and investigator in criminal law including homicides and drug trafficking felonies, family law, immigration law, antitrust law, distressed real estate, insurance, contract, and personal injury tort law. He received a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from San Diego State University and performed computerized business mapping and regional market analysis for Jack in the Box, Inc., one of the largest US retail fast food restaurant chains. He also worked in special needs education for severely physically and mentally challenged students in the San Diego Unified School District. In 2004 he began teaching English including advanced writing to children and to adult professionals including engineers and doctors in Nantou County, Taiwan.

In 2001 he became acquainted with Glenn Paige's work at the Center for Global Nonviolence in Honolulu, Hawaii. He wrote a letter to him Christmas of 2002 about the impending Iraq regime change war published by Anis Hamadeh. He argued for a transformation of anti-war movements into nonkilling movements as the means to enhance their effectiveness in peace making and peace keeping and to prevent their marginalization into narrow interest political movements that can be ignored or otherwise discounted. Clay Edwards is married to Khammany Bouasone, a children's book translator and writer in Vientiane, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic.

The War for the Extinction of Saddam Hussein
The War for the Extinction of Saddam Hussein
Confronting evil and the doctrine of lethality in politics
by Clay Edwards (12/25/2002)
M.A. Education; B.A. Political Science and Communication; American Bar Association approved Certificated Paralegal;
Graduate Certificate, Geographic Information Systems, 11179 Camino Ruiz #67, San Diego, California USA

(1) The desirability of eliminating killing to secure just and lasting peace

Opponents of lethal warfare against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq should be prepared to embrace a paradigm shift that opposes all human killing by pushing a rational transition to non-lethal philosophy, methodology, and technology for the purpose of settling political disputes. Unless this is a core value of the movement, an uncompromising stance against all killing, generating a rational plan for a transition to non-killing culture, the movement can be manipulated to support evil as expressed in injustice, violence, and killing.

Whether or not war with the Hussein regime can be averted in our present killing culture is at present an unknown although the pressure for war continues to mount. Killing and threats to kill have long been used in an attempt to achieve political goals that may include the creation of a non-killing environment. With world-wide mass killing technology available to man, the lethal risks to mankind as a whole mount. Waging political struggle without the expedient of lethality available for any party puts a different face on politics and human culture. I am convinced that the mosaic of human culture will be enriched by expanded political participation, more honest and free communication, opportunities to amass wisdom, and concomitant ethical value- based decision-making more free of intimidating cynicism and fear.

The peace movement should do everything possible to build confidence in peaceful, non-lethal action designed to implement the strongest moral imperatives for a peaceful, secure, just world community. Assuming Saddam Hussein is a killer tyrant, would it be wonderful if Saddam Hussein and his killer followers could be incapacitated from killing and threatening to kill? Would it also be wonderful if man is able to prevent killer leaders and followers from attaining political power over political substate networks and nation states?

(2) The Culture of Killing: killing against killing

Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, 1976 defines culture as ""The concepts, habits, skills, art, instruments, institutions, etc. of a given people in a given period; civilization". Additionally, "The study of culture must be seen …as one of the keys to the understanding of man's place on earth and in the biosphere." L.L. Langness (1977)

Unfortunately, killing of people by people is a concept, a habit, a skill cultivated by man, expressed in man's art, refined by man's instruments, reviled but also justified and even glorified by mans' institutions. Killing ping-pongs between individuals and groups, between individuals and between groups. Whether killing is legal or illegal, people have a wide variety of reasons, justifications, and rationalizations for killing and continuing to kill. Thus there are legalized executions, killing in war, criminalized killing, and excused killing. Disapproval of killing is generally qualified. Because of the wide range of reasons, techniques, philosophies and technologies that may be used to engineer killing behavior, all humans living on earth are at risk to human inspired and engineered killing and improper intimidation.

(3) The vacuous efficacy of a continued existence of Killing Culture

The Bible indicates human killing began as a volitional act arising out a spirit of disobedience and rebellion against God in Genesis. After the flood, God covenanted from each man an accounting for the lives of his fellow men and warned that men who shed blood would themselves have their own blood shed by man. I suspect this consequence would be family, clan, intergenerational, etc. of the perpetrator. On the flip side of the consequence continuum, the Quran sets forth the idea that a human life is so precious that saving one life is like saving the entire people.

Congruent with the character of a killing and death oriented culture, the behavior of killing operates as an expedient in settling immediate disputes among men and women. However, Man acts out the consequences of rebellion and disobedience against God in killing, whatever the motive. Thus, killing does not affirm or reaffirm a moral value in itself but expresses man's suffering and continuing suffering arising from exercise of lethal choices.

God's desire is that Man exercise his volition making the change from a death oriented culture to a life-oriented culture. "Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O House of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and Live!" Ezekiel 18: 31.

The technology of killing makes fewer and fewer people more and more dangerous to greater numbers of people in this killing culture. As it appears that a world wide war is developing between the United States, the world's most advanced industrial/military power and enemies seeking global guerrilla warfare against the United States, people talk of dirty radiation bombs, manmade smallpox plagues, suitcase nuclear weapons, lethal nerve gas attacks. Man is becoming so dangerous to himself that some fanatic killers talk about killing everyone in the world if they think it would advance a principle. Killing simply cannot be tolerated over the long term as a solution to human problems and must be regarded as a universal mortal menace to mankind.

(4) The killing culture and the tyranny of Saddam Hussein

The threat (real or imagined) of Saddam Hussein to engage in international mass killing is an issue for which credible non-lethal intervention action is sorely missed.

The whole philosophical underpinning of this upcoming conflict is that Saddam Hussein is a killer who threatens more killing in the course of satisfying Hitler-like political ambitions. Yet the killing of Iraqis in Iraq alone would require the international community to leave this man alone to continue his brutal rule.

A major justification given for war in Iraq is the possession and threatened use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction, either directly by the Saddam Hussein regime or through proxies such as Hezbollah or Al Quaida.

There are differences of opinion as to whether Saddam Hussein poses such a double barrel threat. Yet man's differences of opinion scarcely provide comfort as to the lethal inclinations and capabilities of a dictator seeking a redistribution of political power.

The peace movement cannot rest its arguments against forcible lethal regime change targeted at the Hussein regime on a bare unsupported argument that Hussein is not inclined to mass killings and is not behaving as though he was so inclined.

On the other hand, the lethal potential of war activated by speculation as to current capacity and future threat of killing can generate a witch- hunt creating a phony threat and shallow pretext for lethal action. Hitler fabricated a border incident with Poland as an excuse for invasion of Poland in 1939 and triggered World War II.

A secondary justification for war would be the killing already done or threatened internally. As previously indicated, this justification should be seen in the light of the historical ambivalence man has for politically motivated killing confined to the borders of a country afflicted with the plague of tyrannical human rule. During the 1990s, the world ignored genocide in Rwanda and eventually NATO and the United States were politically embarrassed into intervening in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia to stop the slaughter of Muslims in Southeastern Europe. Somehow, priorities must shift to address and stop localized killing as a matter of principle, a matter of world- wide safety and security, and as machinery of a non-killing culture.

The peace movement should be in the forefront of confronting localized perversions of human rights, pushing for equitable systems of human rule and justice as the most immediate and pressing political issue faced by mankind. The metaphor is that of prevention of death by cancer - to diagnose and treat early in the process. When localized killing spreads it becomes a more perceptible threat yet much more traumatic and painful for the world to combat and defeat. World War II is often cited as the most notorious example of localized tyranny turning the world into a cauldron of killing behavior because the tyranny and its killing behavior was not addressed early and decisively.

An antiwar movement against U.S. military action against the Saddam Hussein regime seemingly does not countenance lethal action taken against a killer and international aggressor. If the movement has its way, a killer tyrant may owe his future killing capability - at least in part - to the anti-war movement.

This is not an attack on the peace movement. It is simply an observation that man is deficient in providing credible, non lethal philosophy, methodology, and technology to predict, address, and defeat killers and their threats to kill.

Unfortunately, it would seem that the peace movement is in a reactionary position, off balance, objecting to the use of lethal force, but not dealing with killing and threats to kill as predecessor activities to President Bush's threats and preparation for war. Consequently, they are unprepared to deal with the spread of such horrible behavior.

The peace movement must utilize sustained action aimed at influencing an intellectual and moral shift to non-lethal political action to facilitate change to a culture where lethal action is not a viable policy option. THE PEACE MOVEMENT MUST PREPARE TO MEET ADVOCACY OF LETHAL ACTION ON ANY LEVEL BY ANY POLITICAL LEADER OR FOLLOWER WHATEVER REASON, JUSTIFICATION, OR TRADITION OR CONCEPT OF JUSTICE DRIVES THE CALL FOR KILLING

The opposition must: (1) discredit lethality as a moral, logical, efficient, and effective means of accomplishing political goals and meeting their supporting objectives and (2) promote rational non-lethal political thought, method, and action to compete with and eventually overtake and supplant lethal political culture.

Non-lethal social, behavioral, and physical sciences and their accompanying philosophy, methodology, and technology have not been given the intellectual and material support needed to create real impetus for a paradigm shift from killing politics. The consequences of this neglect have been a horrendous waste of human lives and treasure of this earth, an unnecessarily prolonged torture of the human spirit, and in the twenty-first century, the unrestrained development of increasingly lethal technologies that terrorize and may indeed ruin life on this planet.


Seemingly no one has come forward to defend the human rights record of the Hussein regime. Nothing can discredit a peace movement faster than any toleration of killing behavior by killer tyrants.

Such toleration is no better than the moral depravity of the supremely arrogant Usama Bin Laden, who couches his killing network in a rubric of defense against who he describes and slanders as killers of Muslims. Some say this viper poison justification resonates among many of the Middle East who can be recruited into tomorrow's legions of killers under Bin-Laden's Lethalist inspiration.

Indeed, Usama Bin Laden calls for the killing of non-combatants of any age, gender, or capability, making distinction between killers a monstrous joke played on mankind. A baby with a social security number may pay taxes to the Great Satan America and help kill Muslims and a devout non-killing Muslim in the wrong place at the wrong time can be killed in an Al Quaida killing operation. This latter collateral damage is dismissed as martyrdom... There is no clear connection of effect between the lethal action of his followers and the preservation of any human life, Muslim or Non-Muslim. In fact, there is a deliberate expenditure of human life including the lives of his followers in the process of killing others. Since saving a single life has high value in Islam for its effect in saving multiple lives, it would seem that Bin-Laden's terror war is reflective of the politics of despair and a messianic/theological fraud on mankind.

But this is not simply Bin-Laden's moral default in black hole politics. The history of civilized nation states has shown many failures of civilization to protect people from mass killing behavior. This needs to change.


The opposition must assist political leaders and followers in identifying and developing credible non-lethal policy options adaptable to all situations and circumstances to enable political leaders to solve even the most dangerous problems without killing. It would indeed be tragic if in the twenty-first century, the opposition cannot refute the charge it is morally bankrupt because it is unprepared or unwilling to confront and defeat evil. The struggle against evil cannot be separated from the struggle against injustice, violence and lethality.

So many of the opposition arguments against lethal regime change in Iraq focus in the wrong direction. Many of the arguments against regime change rest on procedural matters, i.e., getting approval from the United Nations and not moving unless such approval is given. Others argue that the weapons that Saddam Hussein claims not to have will be used as far away as San Diego, California if Hussein is provoked and the President of the United States should not be allowed to endanger their lives. Still another argument is that there are plenty of other immoral regimes that kill in the Middle East or there is North Korea - rhetorically, why don't we pick on them first? Finally, there is the charge that in attempting regime change using lethal force, the U.S. has selfish motives - acting like a big bully - the imperialist, colonialist charge from the Cold War reincarnated.

None of these arguments can be effective because they fail to address the struggle against evil. They simply are demands that action (probably lethal) should not be employed against the Hussein regime regardless of unrefuted charges of mass killing by the dictator. They provide no real strategic or tactical recipe for confronting and defeating the evil this man is associated with in his rule over the people of Iraq. Thus, they are not convincing in dissuading of the threat that this regime poses to others outside Iraq. Bad faith charges against President Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld and their Republican backers merely reflect an opposition bereft of constructive ideas for dealing with killing or threatened killing.

In a world where killing is not an option, evil loses much of its coercive power to enslave man. Man cannot compromise with killing and expect to confine it to a class of people who "deserve" or "require" being killed or are otherwise "expendable" for "peace in our time". All men and women share mortality and all are vulnerable to human engineered killing, as we are to other disease and plagues.


Substantive thinking is a predicate for substantial action to prevent and end politically motivated killing. The kind of thinking reflected by the anti-war arguments identified above is insubstantial and merely argumentative. These criticisms carry nothing of hard substance that a political leader with mortal responsibilities in the position of President George Bush can use to resolve a political dispute peacefully.

1. Killing by Majority or Unvetoed UN Vote

Getting specific United Nations approval for the use of lethal force is a legalistic argument that really displays no clear moral ground - right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter how many or how few pick or reject a given course of action.

The peace movement would do well to avoid getting bogged down in interminable procedural arguments and keep its eye on the prize, the abolition of killing politics.

2. The killing confined by geography swindle on the anti-war movement
How selfish, petty and trite it seems that opposition could be primarily based on what will happen to a person in San Diego if any move is made against Saddam Hussein in far away Baghdad. If Saddam is a killer tyrant and the argument has the effect of convincing people that they are safe in not doing something about torment to fellow human beings in apparently far away and out of sight and out of mind places, then this basis of opposition to lethal military force lacks moral force itself.

A long time ago, when I wrote an English friend about killing by the Irish Republican Army in her hometown area (Woking Surrey) and remarked unfavorably about it, she wrote me telling me I was not involved. How can anyone think that ignoring evil practiced against another human being is not his business due to Geography? How can any human being place relative values on human life based on geography? The worldwide reach of Usama Bin-Laden's Al Quaida killer network, the apocalyptic potential of the Cold War and the virtual world wide scale of violence in World War II should provide ample warning that mankind cannot afford not to care about evil that is out of vision, hidden by physical distances, and not readily apparent to the senses.

In Genesis 6:
The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time……11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was filled with violence.

If the magnitude and scale of violence and evil in the world prompted God to flood the planet, can any one human being be any less concerned about the existence and spread of this virus of human violence and killing?

3. The idea that evil is everywhere does not permit man to refuse to take action against any individual component of the menace of evil

The argument of opponents of Iraq regime change that the world has many regimes that practice evil does not address the moral choice of doing nothing or something about evil. It raises a tactical issue possibly for the purpose of protesting the specific action planned at the time and questions motive for the contemplated action of regime change. How often have drivers stopped for speeding violations protested that they were tagged and all those other scofflaw drivers escaped tickets? The objection has nothing to do with the morality of their conduct in endangering safety on the road. The selfish concern is that justice is overly selective. The rejoinder by law enforcement has been prosecutorial discretion. In selecting targets of evil to confront, President Bush was given the power to develop and implement a plan to systematically disable threats to the national security, giving each threat a priority commensurate with that discretion and take action according to that judgment. If his discretion is to be questioned, opponents should set forth sound reasons to show that action, lethal or not lethal, against Iraq is an abuse of his discretionary power. Unfortunately, this argument does not get at the root of the problem of lethality that gives any leader including President Bush power to order actions that will result in killing.

George Bush identified three regimes as part of an "axis of evil", Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Also goes the opposition, moves against Hussein could interfere with the "War on Terror" i.e., against Al Queda, possibly Hamas, Hezbollah, and a panoply of sub-state killer groups and individual freelance killers. The mass media calls it "spreading ourselves too thin".

This argument has the effect of dividing killers into classes of dangerousness and may fail to understand killers in freelance roles or more formal networks. It can be applied worldwide to delay action against killer regimes, substate killer organizations, and freelance killers. It impliedly moves Saddam Hussein down the dangerousness scale and makes him relatively benign. From the point of view of Saddam's victims, he certainly is not benign.

Again, we are faced with the moral issue of deprioritzing victims of killing. Who in America should care about turbaned bearded herdsmen and their women and children in Kurdish villages or Shiite towns or Arabs in Baghdad compared to business executives, office workers, and firefighters in the World Trade Center towers in New York? Such insensitivity to the problems of others is morally indefensible and as a practical matter, an invitation to others to behave callously in the face of human suffering in America.

Politicians and community leaders condemn violence and killing, as they should. However, the same old answers - imprisonment, executions, repressive political measures, punishment and war remain the main fallback answers to killing. Sometimes, no action is taken, possibly because people fear the consequences of confronting evil, or of getting dangerously involved in someone else's life and problems. Mankind now is confronted with nuclear weapons and biochemical concoctions that could destroy us all, in essence, because collectively mankind has refused to take responsibility for mankind's collective welfare and the dangers posed by lethal weapons, technology, methods, and philosophy.

The true solution, as indicated in Genesis 9 is to confront this evil of violence and killing in all its forms, oppose it with all possible means, to try to reduce, if not eliminate the consequences God warned man about in his covenant with Noah.

4. American imperialism: The use of the morally flawed actors argument to prevent confrontation of Evil

The argument that in taking lethal action against Saddam Hussein, the United States is acting like an imperialistic bully is another way of arguing against a confrontation with evil. It appears to be nothing more than an attack on the motives of the United States and President Bush. It by no means mitigates the evil that President Bush complains about. Nor can it be used as an excuse to fail to confront evil, whatever the historical shortcomings of the actor.

Integral to the attack on President Bush is the implication that President Bush has no conscience about ordering killing behavior and risking the lives of American military personnel and non-combatants for venal political and economic ambitions. This attack implies a land / oil grab and American monopoly over natural resources that fuel American cars, SUVs and trucks and planes and helps keep homes warm or cold as needed and Bush's oil buddies rolling in green from selling black gunk.

This attack on American motives as being selfish really adds nothing positive to the debate and expresses unproductive vitriolic bitterness and hatred of the President. Nothing shuts down communication between human beings faster than an ad homonym assault on a person's character. Our object should be to help our political leaders govern with wisdom and responsibility, seeking justice at all times while working to remove killing as a political option of political leadership and replacing it with a more effective non-lethal context in which to wage political struggle. No matter the defects of political leaders and institutions, the argument of imperialism is a sell-out of personal responsibility to think clearly about problems, processes, and actions that have a reasonable chance of influencing positive change in human behavior.

The imperialism argument again illustrates the dilemma man has in using lethal force to combat a perceived evil - that evil is self-generating because man has trouble focusing on the evil behavior to be corrected or prevented. The politics of hypocrisy, in which the actor's imperfections are used to thwart action against evil, is evil itself and expresses the pervasiveness of the evil man must fight.

America illustrates that human dilemma. - the mixture of evil and good described in Genesis - the torment that complicates any sincere human effort to do what is right, moral and good. This recipe for moral default could have serious implications for the administration of justice in any society and is a prescription for more exploitation, killing and war.

It is legitimate to take action to vindicate human rights including the right to life and liberty - of Saddam Hussein's Arab and non-Arab victims resident in Iraq and those killed in Iran and Kuwait as a result of Saddam Hussein's warlike policies. If that means incapacitating those who kill and threaten to kill without killing them, it is difficult to argue against the morality of such action.

In the case of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, it seems that peace activism is very much on the defensive to the Lethalists, those who have already concluded that lethal war is necessary to stop Hussein's killing and threats to kill. The Lethalists may charge that the complaint of imperialism is a red herring inserted into the argument over the question of war and peace, dangerously naïve at best and potentially encouraging of a most disastrous global conflict between tyrannies and democratic values. Perhaps the most damaging and dangerous charge Lethalists may levy, is that peace movements have fomented cowardice in the face of evil, have encouraged and promoted war by discouraging preventive action against increasingly belligerent, aggressive and powerful tyrants, such as the Axis alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1930s.

For example, the proponents of lethality can point to the problem of sanctions against the regime - that Saddam is using sanctions as a means of whipping up hatred of the west. So long as Hussein is in power, his attitude will drive his behavior for killing no matter what good weapons inspections do in eliminating his current lethal capability.

The Lethalists may go on. If Saddam complies with all demands and remains in power, what will have been accomplished by this armistice that General Schwarzkopf imposed on Iraq in 1991? The Armistice took place when the United States and the coalition decided to stop their slaughter of Hussein's army while it still had substantial punch, leaving Saddam free to slaughter more Shiites, Kurds and other political enemies. Thus, left in power, Saddam exercises the ancient privilege of mass murder by a sovereign, his family getting richer while Iraqis suffer and others outside Iraq feel threatened. In addition, his bitterness and hatred of the United States and the West may cause him to cooperate with dangerous international terrorist groups to facilitate attacks more devastating than the September 11, 2001 hijackings and kamikaze jetliner attacks on New York and Washington.

The true line of attack on Lethalism takes place when the peace movement develops the moral fiber to declare that there is a point where human beings will have to stop killing and refuse to cooperate with systems, individuals and political leaders that kill, for the safety of all. Sometimes people who kill recognize this and stop killing beyond a point. Yet the true war is against violence and killing in toto, not an argument over who is permitted to practice killing and when. The fact that lethal means may be employed to eliminate the Hussein regime is part of the continuing tragedy that ties human societies to war and killing.

The Lethalists themselves advocate irresponsibility when they fail to take affirmative action to join with a peace movement to help develop non-lethal thought, philosophy, technology and related means to prevent or terminate killing behavior. The technology that man can turn to lethal purposes in the 21st century create stakes that are too great to continue to tolerate killing.

6. Killing as a last resort is a homicidal fraud perpetuating rationalizations for irresponsible and dangerous to life misconduct

Some argue that killing should be employed only as a last resort. Unfortunately, this apparently attractive ideal is not a rejection of killing but a description of circumstances that would justify killing with all the same old problems. It is difficult to ascertain how people can reach a universal consensus of when that point of last resort arrives. A last resort timeline might range from pre-emption to hostilities where one is in an immediate life and death lethal emergency with a bayonet lunging for the chest. The timeline could be stretched into interminable argument. Thus, Usama Bin-Laden can command killing of taxpaying babies with social security numbers to defend himself and his fellow Islamists or Muslims from being killed. Non-lethal politics may change the whole dynamic of defense because the correction of injustice in defense would be more elastic without the permanence of death to perpetuate an injustice and motivation for revenge, retaliation, or worse.

Some people facing violent death try to cooperate with the killer hoping the killer will relent from killing. They may miss opportunities for self-defense and defense of the lives of others or the opportunity to escape. Many people may have believed that if Hitler was permitted to swallow Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, "there would be peace in our time". Yet it seems clear in retrospect that Hitler wanted war and killing. By the time the world mobilized effectively against him, his armies trampled all over Europe and much of the Soviet Union and North Africa. His partner in crime, Japan, occupied and tormented much of China and most of Southeast Asia before being defeated in a prolonged bloody conflict. The point of last resort was a dangerous time indeed and has raised serious questions about the efficacy of such thinking where last resort almost became synonymous with "last extremity".

Thus, lethal options in politics make man a mortal danger to himself, whatever restriction man tries to place on the application of the killing option. The doctrine of last resort is so vague that it is difficult to assess its reliability as a political tool to avoid killing. Conflicts need to be identified when they can be resolved peacefully. War and killing terminate lives but do not necessarily terminate a dispute that may transcend the life spans of multiple generations.

With the specter of lethality hanging over man's head, good faith and fair dealing is especially important in avoiding killing. However, managing those hell-bent on killing to prevent an exchange of killing behavior among potential and actual combatants is a formidable task. There is no margin for error where killing is an option to settling disputes.

7. Saddam should not be forcibly removed because we don't know what devil may follow him is a rationalization for irresponsible inaction against tyranny.

Another argument worth discussing is the complaint that no one knows what will come after Saddam Hussein. Therefore, the implication is to leave him in power, regardless of his killing behavior. Such an argument makes no sense. It is nothing more than a refusal to take the responsibility that we will have to take anyway. If killing is a consequence of our past failures to prevent killing, we still have the obligation to make every effort to prevent or terminate further killing behavior.

A paradigm shift that rules out killing as an "any resort" and identifies and employs effective non-killing means of preventing and terminating killing behavior is desperately needed in a world that has so long been tormented by the curse of killing.


Man faces an unavoidable war with evil. It is a life and death struggle. Evil generates violence and killing. Killing itself must be killed. We either act in partnership with each other in this struggle or we default on perhaps the most sacred covenant we have that binds us to all that is good, decent and moral, and protects us from evil.

We have a responsibility to each other to act to save lives. We cannot refuse to take this responsibility just because others seemingly abdicate it. Sun Tzu in Art of War indicated that war without fighting is the highest art form in waging struggle:

III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM 1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. 2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

In other words, lethal war is nothing for man to ever have pride in. In the end, ideas and ideals engineering change are worth more than killing for an idea, a philosophy, a religion, an "ism", a faith, a belief, a political system, a culture, or to otherwise vindicate ones own life. It is not an act of genius to destroy an opponent but a true act of genius to promote your ideas and beliefs through your opponent, who provides the test for those ideas. Through non-lethal struggle, one keeps the highest moral entreaties of the religions, philosophies, and ideas that man so often concludes he must die and kill for, to preserve ones own life and the life of ones opponent in the struggle of ideas and values.

While the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) may have enabled the former Soviet Union and the United States to avoid direct military action against each other in the Cold War, proxy brush fire wars continued in areas where the two sides perceived a collision of their interests. MAD has little meaning to Usama Bin Laden and others who are convinced of the utility of risking or sacrificing their lives and killing others for a principle. In a world with increasingly worldwide dangerous lethal technology driven by greed, obsession with power, and an assumption of arrogant superiority over others, it becomes difficult to manage conflict without terminating human life, infecting and devaluing human life with an unfathomable bitterness and hatred.

Freedom from the bondage of violence and killing may come as man becomes conscious of a power to refuse to become a part of killing culture and rejects this ultimately unproductive form of behavior when engaged in political struggle. Certainly, tradition indicates that such effort would be looked upon most favorably by powers beyond man. For atheists and theists alike, it should certainly comport with a more ethical, moral and ultimately safer local and global society. Political Scientist Glenn D. Paige in his Book "Nonkilling Global Political Science Page 102 specifically and compellingly states the case:

A preventive political science contribution (to stop the respective emergence of killing-prone leaders supported by killing prone followers) is to identify and help to reconcile vengeful animosities, however recent or ancient, before they erupt in atrocities. To stop the rise of leaders and followers who celebrate vengeful extermination of enemies, political science must clearly commit itself to prevent killing, to reconcile the vengeful, and to create conditions of nonkilling life.

Dr. Paige, pages 103 - 104 sets out the visionary hope that should guide a true peace movement and the broad outlines of a plan to kill killing behavior:

Killing-zone interventions against hitler-type atrocities, of course, pose an even greater challenge to applied nonkilling scientific creativity. But they are not unthinkable, especially in an age of unprecedented capacity for technological innovation. Measures to be considered and tested in problem-solving simulations include microscopic and mass evocation of leader-follower, spiritual-psychological, nonkilling capabilities-inhibitions; global condemnation of, withdrawal of support from, and resistance to killing (not burden of victims alone); provisions for rapid exodus; and space-air-sea-ground interventions by forces equipped with sophisticated techniques for incapacitating individuals, groups, and technologies that kill. Focus comprehensively emergency intentionary pressures, direct and multi-channeled, negative and positive, upon sources of lethality as identified for prevention.

In the aftermath of hitler-type traumatizations, transformative affirmation of nonkilling human capabilities among survivors - killers, victims, and relatives-must be sought. Political science must be engaged in creating processes for recognition of responsibility for atrocity, restitution, reconciliation, and most importantly facilitating preventive and structural changes that favor realization of nonkilling societies in a nonkilling world. Drawing upon every source of spirit, science, and tradition-nonkilling must be celebrated as the heart of future cultural identity and pride among peoples. Practical commitments must be made to ensure that such atrocities will never happen again.

To end the era of mass atrocities from genocide to war, nonkilling political science must engage in three applied science tasks; prevention, intervention, and post-traumatic nonkilling transformation. It must liberate itself from the barrier to creative service imposed by the conventional assumption that such atrocities cannot be eliminated on nonkilling principles.

This essay has set forth the charge upon all of us to develop and implement a plan to terminate human killing. Killing culture is morally offensive, makes man slave to cynical expedience in attempting to terminate disputes, and is dangerously self-generating and a universal threat to human life in the twenty-first century.

Comparison of post-regime change and pre-regime change killing behavior in Iraq
Comparison of post-regime change and pre-regime change killing behavior in Iraq
A Response to Andrew Greeley's article: "Who grieves for dead Iraqis?":
http://suntimes.com/output/greeley/cst-edt-greel28.html [Link expired]

July 30, 2006

By Clay Edwards

What was the worth of a single Iraqi life prior to the coalition invasion of Iraq? What is the worth of a single Iraqi life now: A response to Andrew Greeley's article: Who grieves for dead Iraqis?

Andrew Greeley focuses on the coalition decision to go to war itself as a criminal enterprise directly engineering postwar violence and killing in Iraq. He further complains that the decision to go to war is evidence of American failure to respect the value of Iraqi lives. Because the Bush Administration was not called to account for its actions in misleading the American people, the American people have displayed a lack of conscience, shame, and guilt about assessing the conflict concurring with a policy that Mr. Greeley does not agree with.

If Mr. Greeley had attempted to address the problem of killing prior to the coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, perhaps his comments would resonate as a true moral proposition. Instead, they come about in the context of a policy disagreement with the Bush Administration and demolish the beginnings of what could have been a most promising argument against programmed and choreographed killing.

Instead of assessing the war and its aftermath in the context of Iraqi internal politics and the interaction of Iraq with the international community, he seeks to accuse and condemn a party to the conflict as remorseless criminals, aided and abetted by an uncaring American society. In this, Mr. Greeley provides nothing new to the arguments against programmed killing in war in general or the Iraqi regime change war of 2003 in particular – reducing the effectiveness of his arguments to just another incident of finger-pointing.

It is unfortunate that anti-war activists and writers focus on "just war", as though we can pick and choose who we kill as part of an ideology we might refer to as "legitimate killing" as opposed to "illegitimate killing". Those who in Andrew Greeley's view should bear shame for the post-war violence have no shame – in Greeley's lights. They just don't care – and the American people JUST DON'T CARE.

It is important that we do not mislead ourselves into linking the value of a human life to a given policy decision whether or not we approve of the decision. "Just War" standards of programmed, choreographed human killing imply human life – the essence of being itself, is something which has no enduring, uncompromised value.

By linking killing to behavior we disapprove of, we imply that human life has no value while behavior and products of human behavior mean everything. Such a belief system is morally and logically bankrupt because without human beings, there can be no human behavior and no products of human behavior, whatever the value – or lack of value we deign to assign to those behaviors and products.

The journey of life is a journey of mission, of ministry, if you will. Human behavior and human created products, whatever they are, are works of creation, of whatever value we human beings assign them. Human life, on the other hand, is the agent of creation itself. Human beings are made in the image of God, as creators. Morality refers to life itself, regardless of the behaviors and products of life. Morality refers to the protection and nurturing of human life, often in very difficult circumstances, and sometimes in contexts in which killing occurs – in the course of attempts to protect certain life from destruction. It is in such contexts that human beings argue over whether killing is just or unjust, lawful or criminal, moral or immoral.

It is indeed arguable that the United States and its coalition allies emphasized overly narrow and selfish aims in going to war with the Saddam regime in 2003. Such a position may be buttressed by the notion that the human rights angle – i.e., relieving Iraqis of a murderous regime – did not receive the same play as WMDs. Indeed, the regime was permitted to exist over a period of nearly a quarter century. How important were the Kurds and Shiites and others slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured by the regime? Where was the world when Iran was invaded and suffered for most of the 1980s? Iran, another "enemy" of Washington probably shed no tears over the departure from power of Saddam Hussein.

Think of the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq after the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Saddam Hussein and others complained vociferously that the sanctions were injuring and killing "innocent Iraqis". Bin Laden complained in 1998 that the United States was responsible for the deaths of a million Iraqis and made this a critical basis of his "jihad" against the United States BEFORE THE REGIME CHANGE WAR. What was the value of the lives Bin Laden claimed were taken before the invasion?

The human beings who died under Saddam are no less important than those human beings who have been killed in the post-war power vacuum. We should never forget that human lives are linked, the living and those no longer living. We share a commonality – life, regardless of the time or place we live in.

Greeley does point to a real problem outside of the issue of whether the US and coalition fought a just war. That is the human difficulty in properly reflecting on our own actions and their impact on other people and ourselves. The death of an Iraqi is more than just a personal disaster for the dead person and those who loved that person. Mr. Greeley's remarks should be extended to the fact that the killing of Iraqis is a concern of every Iraqi, every American, every human being on the planet Earth. I wish that Greeley had gone further in his analysis to show other than by condemnation, how important the life of every human being is to every other human being. I wish he would have argued that killing, post-war and pre-war, was equally immoral.

Greeley mistakes lack of outrage and grief and feelings of guilt over the loss of Iraqi lives in post war violence as a further indictment of the American people in a final message of biting sarcasm and bitterness that his position on the war was not adopted after the rationales (WMD) etc., were exposed as groundless.

Yet, the anti-war movement was nowhere to be found when the killing incidents for which Saddam Hussein may be condemned to death for were occurring? This observation is not an attempt to defend the Bush Administration decision to go to war, but only to point up a long-standing problem of violence and killing accepting, aiding and abetting, and ignoring behavior. That Bush may have referenced this issue as a part of the rationale for going to war seems lost in the arguments over the war and the justness of engaging in it. In such sense, Greeley's article is unfairly biased to the point of making a kind of "I told you so" political statement over the bodies of the dead and those who are going to die in this postwar phase of Iraqi history in this long tormented country.

On the other hand, the Bush Administration, like its predecessors, Clinton, Bush, Sr., Reagan and Carter knew or should have known what Saddam and his henchmen were doing to Iraqis. Both the pro-war and anti-war forces need to revise their understanding of the importance of the protection of all human life as the ultimate moral, regardless of right and wrong behavior, proper or improper products of human beings.

Often the world recoils at the "innocent" being killed in warfare, as though soldiers and fighters should be fair game for killing and being killed. Such an attitude is symptomatic of the moral dilemma facing society as it grapples with the tiger of killing, a dangerous wild animal upon which we humans rely to "protect ourselves". We see this in the efforts to procure an immediate cease-fire in the Lebanon – Israel – Hezbollah conflict. We expect and perhaps even approve of soldiers and fighters dying but the plight of "innocent" Lebanese civilians leaves people shocked and horrified – as though a war killing warriors only should be able to keep our consciences clean and sanitary.

There is a failure across society to recognize and appreciate the problems arising from the idea that we human beings can and should engage in programmed and choreographed human killing. So long as programmed and choreographed human killing by human beings is incorporated into our notions of justice, we will continue to see human life- including our own, as unimportant, while behavior and products of human behavior drive us to kill ourselves and each other.

Justice is the function of fairness, sound and good reason. Is it fair and reasonable to kill people because we think they are good or bad? What gives us the right to make that call? It is one thing for people to kill and be killed because they or others behave dangerously. It is entirely another thing for people to be killed because WE DON'T LIKE THEM for what they do or have done – or what we think they have done.

What gives the function of fairness, sound and good reason to the cultivation of killing as a cultural lifestyle, a practice, a form of art, for revenge or other calculated purpose? What is "just" about killing someone because we think we can judge them fit or unfit to live or die?

Just War is a horrendous joke on mankind. The doctrine protects no one and endangers everyone because it permits human killing as a calculated, cold- blooded exercise. Anyone can argue that he or she is just in killing and accuse someone else of being unjust. So long as there is an element of subjectivity in the activity, we embrace danger instead of controlling or eliminating danger – to ourselves and to others.

The Iraqi and Palestinian- Lebanese – Israeli conflicts are intimately linked by a culture of killing, driven by product and belief

No more killing- innocent or guilty!

Anis's comment on Clay:
I read both articles and think that the one by Greeley is closer to the situation. The following quote seems to form Clay's main thesis: "Yet, the anti-war movement was nowhere to be found when the killing incidents for which Saddam Hussein may be condemned to death for were occurring? This observation is not an attempt to defend the Bush Administration decision to go to war, but only to point up a long-standing problem of violence and killing accepting, aiding and abetting, and ignoring behavior." – It is certainly true that all killing is to be condemned, yet I don't see the necessity to mention ALL killings equally when talking about a case. Certainly Saddam is a criminal. But what have the USA to do with that? There are legions of criminals in the world, what has the US to do with them? Greeley criticizes his own country, because he feels a responsibility. It is an authentic call. Clay's point: "No more killing – innocent or guilty!" is correct as long as it does not lead to a relativisation of guilt. The argument: "Not only the US (or Israel, resp.) commits war crimes, look at other countries!" is, in fact, regularly used by war-defenders. It belongs to the standard topoi in the discourse. In this context, it is often forgotten that the West is so proud of its democracy and human rights. The case of the USA is special, because it is the world's military superpower. At the same time it attacks other countries for dubious reasons.

Letter to Bill

February 26, 2006

Clay Edwards
540 Post Office Nantou Box 7-100
Jonghsing, Nantou City, Taiwan 54099 ROC

Bill Bhaneja
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Hi Bill

Following is my reaction to your paper on Glenn Paige's Nonkilling thesis and political science research.

I want to start with an apology to you for being so unprepared to make an immediate response to your review of Glenn's work. It is outstanding, not because it reflects my views, which it does, but because it talks about a pain in the human spirit that runs as an undercurrent in human thought and occasionally boils up like the unconscious blasting through from the bones to the skin surface like a chemical reaction to a deep seated injury to the body.

Killing is not simply a phenomenon of human life but comprises an element of programming in human cultures around the globe. It is one thing that killing occurs. It is entirely another thing that we cultivate the practice like farming and machining and fashioning products and services. We depict it in the arts and humanities as a way of life, often in a glorified manner when in fact it shows up as the ultimate expression of self-centeredness in expressing oneself as a human being. I don't condemn human beings for behaving in this way. I simply point out that it is dangerous behavior, to be extinguished in the interest of human safety. While we may choose to behave in certain ways, we cannot presume to choose the consequences of our behavior. You and Glenn are absolutely correct in posing a direct challenge to the pro-killing attitude in managing human affairs.

It is one thing for killing to be a byproduct of human interactions as error, entirely another thing to practice it as if it were a cultural norm or otherwise as a desired outcome in an exercise of dominance. It is important that we understand the difference between behavior designed to ensure dominance and behaving to exercise and multiply power and empower in an exponential manner in our human relationships. Power is life and the promotion of life and action, not the engineering of death threatening and death-dealing domineering as a project of life.

Glenn Paige has exercised true leadership in his profession of leaders and scientists saying in the loudest way possible, STOP THIS LETHAL NONSENSE! It is like a doctor telling a depressed patient, "Stop being depressed?" when seeing his patient developing the self – demeaning and de-powering mindset. I remember as a kid learning how to swim. I held onto the edge of the pool – I did not believe I could float by myself on the water. When my grandmother came by the pool and dunked me as she was passing by, I was at first quite angry and then suddenly I realized I was floating by myself. I was alright. I could swim and I could help others swim, perhaps not in such a drastic way – but it did get my attention and got me out of a rut where my life was constrained by fear I could not survive in the water alone. Perhaps that is what the profession of political science has gotten into – a rut – of lethality being so second nature that the academic and scientific communities don't seriously examine programmed killing in a meaningful scientific, academic manner, consistent with the highest standards of scholarship. I am glad people are starting to address this issue forcefully.

By failing to deal with the problem of lethalism (lethal culture of programmed killing) in a systematic, analytical manner, the profession loses the opportunity to exercise true leadership and influence in political affairs and leaves the field to self-centered partisan politics that spread the rot of lethal thought like a virus, infecting other academic disciplines, corrupting science, religion, philosophy, and ordinary transactions within global society with programmed killing dogma. From a professional standpoint, the political science profession cannot afford to become suborned to a political method or ideology or it risks losing its integrity as a community of thinkers that deserves public or private support. The world community needs political scientists to behave like the intellectual leaders they are, not as if they are a community of slaves to a biased mindset supporting dangerous outcomes of a given human or institutional interaction.

A reasonable perspective, in my view, is to treat programmed violence and killing as a private and public health problem, requiring remedial action and preventive measures, as a preventable disease. One can draw examples to analogize, such as Avian Flu and SARS which have been traced to dangerous disease promoting animal killing practices in the production of exotic food and medicine in Southern China, a region dubbed by scientists the Petri dish of the world for the spread of human flu viruses. The fact that the government of China has attempted to shut down live animal markets indicates that the price for tolerating such behavior is increasingly perceived as untenable.

Programmed killing in readiness to cope with violence from rape to holocaust is a flawed intellectual concept because it is based on guesswork and speculation about the nature of human beings and human transactions. I remember addressing the issue of "last resort" in my essay about the impending Iraq regime change war. I argued that the anti-war movement was falling into a trap by embracing arguments that the U.S was not using force as a last resort when it was planning to implement a military solution. I argued that the Bush Administration was prepared to argue that it could not afford to be drawn into indefinite speculation in a situation where its intelligence about Iraq's military capabilities and intentions was limited. What the opposition is left with is conclusion (a) that the administration is negligent and incompetent; (b) the administration is a bunch of liars seeking an underhanded solution to a political problem. The opposition was left with no influence and openly expressed its irritation and frustration with the Bush and Blair Administrations.

I argued that such polemics fail to substitute for quality analytical thinking. A Canadian government official called President Bush "stupid" because she disagreed with his position on prosecuting the war in Iraq, also opposed by the Canadian Liberal Party leadership. Bush has also been labeled a latter day "Adolf Hitler" and the most dangerous man in the world. When a friend of mine expressed dismay at being American because George Bush was reelected after no weapons of mass destruction were found, Bin Laden remaining uncaptured, a raging post-war campaign of violence in Iraq, Abu Graib, Rendition, Guantanamo detentions, I suggested that he begin really thinking about the question "Why didn't these "outrages" turn the American public against George Bush? Does the Bush faction have a point of view that has a fundamental appeal to "decent" human beings, despite pitiful media poll numbers? Is it possible that while we argue under what circumstances the country's politicians are able to call for programmed killing behavior by our military, we are failing to give ourselves, our politicians and our military the equipment, training, technologies, and philosophies – even the religious or theological bases that can help us formulate nonkilling solutions even in the most dangerous and difficult circumstances?

This partisan political attitude toward lethal war, in which we debate circumstances of using lethal means, as opposed to examining lethality itself as a phenomenon only highlights the dangerous way human beings treat themselves in this world and justifies a vigorous effort at prevention and remediation avoiding such shocks to the human conscience that brought out millions in demonstrations against the Iraq regime change war.

When its critics excoriated the Administration for going to war on faulty intelligence, it appears that the two sides were talking past each other because the Administration argued that it was precisely the problem with limited intelligence that made the decision for lethal war appropriate. The Administration argued that it was foolish to assume Saddam did not pose a threat because the Administration did not have good intelligence about Saddam. It was up to Saddam to prove he was not plotting a long distance war against the US and that he had no means to conduct such a war with unconventional weapons of mass destruction.

The intellectual construct in the administration was programming for lethal war, possibly driven by paranoia, but in any case reasoned and rationalized. Once people argued on this basis, the debate became when and under what circumstances to kill, the anti-war movement didn't have a chance. The anti-war forces seemed to have pinned their hopes on continued sanctions and weapons inspections to stop a military assault on a regime well known for its brutality on its own people. When an anti-war or peace movement is prepared to oppose lethal military measures against a brutal dictatorship, it has to be prepared to establish unquestioned moral authority for its stance- a stance that implies support for justice and clear opposition to inequity and oppression. In this, the anti-war movement was in a rather ambiguous moral position.

Indeed, the arguments against the war tended to be narrow centered on questions of whether the war was justified by national and international security needs. Fundamental relief for Iraqis from oppression by the regime seems to have been bogged down or ignored as people fought over whether the international community was threatened by the regime. Such is the tragedy of war debate driven by national security and legalisms while injustice and oppression and programmed killing arising out of Saddam's injustice and oppression were unaddressed.

The upshot is that the anti-war movement was a late awakening phenomenon stimulated by the fact that many people failed to understand the Administration's argument that it was part of the war on terror. In fact, many have condemned President Bush's thinking as conducive to engineering dangerous conflict in the service of narrow perceptions of interest. Yet condemnation is not necessarily effective argument. An effective argument had to be based on a consistent moral and public policy theme grounded in solid fundamentals of thought in managing human and international relationships. US policy over many years had been pushing the nation in the direction of a confrontation with Iraq and Iraqi policy did likewise. This statement is not made as a condemnation but an observation, an observation that programmed killing would and did become a part of the policies of both nations in handling their dispute. The pro-war and anti-war factions were ill-equipped to avoid the conflict. The Saddam regime similarly was unable or unprepared to avoid the confrontation. The stage for tragedy was set.

By arguing that Saddam was not a threat unless the Administration proved otherwise, the polar opposite of the Administration's position, that it was up to Saddam to prove he was not a threat, it focused the argument not on the question of killing itself, which brought the parties – Iraq and the US- to the brink of war, but on the question of when and in what circumstances we could program killing behavior as a tactic or strategy in conflict. There is a built in assumption or presumption that favors killing tactics and facilitated the tragic suffering of Iraqis and Americans. .A nonkilling approach is specifically tailored to help decision-makers avoid accommodating or embracing tragedy in the pursuit of perceptions of their interests. Iraq's tragedy is indeed the world's tragedy and the very nature of tragedy is a failure of power and the phony triumph of the spirit of dominance and oppression.

Political scientists either had nothing new to offer President Bush to help him avoid armed conflict or the politicians and their staffs were not familiar with or prepared with adequate nonkilling thought to help Saddam and Iraq escape a war. Saddam himself predicated his political life on programmed killing and threats to kill and avoidance of his being killed to obtain and maintain dominance. Perhaps this is why he was not prepared to be up front about disarming, fearing his enemies' intrigues if they thought he was weak. Therefore it seems like the thought of the time on both sides was conducive for the two sides to have a train wreck that might have been avoided with reasonable care.

Governments including their militaries need assistance from political scientists in nonlethal wargaming to test nonkilling tactics and strategy with the means of dropping programmed killing as a tactic or strategy in conflict. Gene Sharp has made a heroic effort to compile a list of nonkilling actions that can be taken for purposes of defense without programmed killing. More help is needed. After the sanctions and the oil for food program disasters in Iraq, it is important that these failures get serious objective study to carry on further the magnificent efforts of Gene Sharp and others in the area of nonkilling alternatives – so as to avoid other miserable confrontations such as the Iraq conflict.

Certainly antiwar activists will and have justified their position against the Iraq regime change war on the basis of its enormous cost. People spend money for many reasons and not only because something makes economic sense. My thought is that people are emotionally tied to programmed killing practices as a means of acquiring and demonstrating and maintaining dominance. Money is a useful tool to buy lethal behavior in support of various objectives – whether for suicide bombers in Israel or cash for planting improvised explosive devices in Iraq. It would seem that someone believes there is a payoff in killing practice, economic or otherwise. Money has long been a lure for violent and lethal behavior.

I don't agree that money is the root of all evil. Money is simply a symbol of mastery and dominance over a given situation, circumstances, and environment and thus tends to reflect attitudes that suggest where money comes from and where it flows. Nevertheless, financial support for lethal policies and activity is a driver of violence accepting systems and behavior.

I agree that the nonkilling construct is philosophy, a spiritual – religious hypothesis, and a practical policy tool. It makes moral and analytical sense. I worry however that people have long made a distinction between moral values and peculiarly placed interests and have long concluded that there is a place for both nonviolence and violence and killing in support of peculiar interests. My view is that nonkilling is the norm and programmed killing a problem in itself.

As a linguistic proposition, Morality deals with life itself including the protection of life at its heart. Many people get the idea that morality is something that is imposed on people in an effort to exercise dominance and produce correct behaviors and products. Yet morality empowers and dominance oriented thought and action expresses a perception of a lack of power and a desire to influence others to give up power. Power cannot be collected like rainwater in a can. It can only be given away and thrown away.

As a teacher in a classroom, I have seen young students giving up power over their own lives in an effort to exercise dominance over their environment and over other people within a classroom. By doing so, they limit their choices in life inside and outside the classroom. This is the making of human tragedy. When we tout law in its social engineering aspects, we often fail to appreciate the operation of law as the outcome of tragedy, where people are penalized or deprived in an exercise of dominance by individuals and groups over individuals and groups and societies over individuals and groups. Thus dominance should be understood as denial of choice, denial of freedom, part of the institution of oppression and killing.

I would suggest that we seriously examine the very concept of morality as nonkilling, sustaining of life, supportive of life and as a warning of uncontrollable consequences. What is most insidious in crossing morality in our behavior is that there may be circumstances perhaps of grace where consequences that we might predict to happen do not happen as we might expect. At another time they could occur. Because we don't control consequences, we could add to an existing deception. Therefore, science – behavioral and otherwise – like anything else we do in life – should service moral values, not be exalted as co-extensive with morality.

My thought is that religious institutions historically have been mistrusted and condemned for moral hypocrisy – promoting war and killing and oppression. Christianity was co-opted as a state religion and fractured into quarreling and infighting over both matters of doctrine and the most venal corruption. Europe was torn apart by sectarian violence for many years. Islam fractured into Sunni, Shiite and Sufi denominations and over a 1300 year history Muslims have suffered enormously in conflict against each other and the Christian west and in conflicts with Hindus and Jews. Even Buddha images in Afghanistan were dynamited by Taliban that seemed to go out of its way to alienate people in the interest of promoting its beliefs by force of arms.. It is difficult to see a line between religious institutions and overly narrow self-centered political behavior poisoning the moral atmosphere and polluting relationships between people who after all may control what decisions they make but do not have a full understanding of and choice in the matter of consequences. Consequently, we humans are exceptionally vulnerable to deception and all the injury that goes along with lack of knowledge and control of the past and future. Moral leadership includes the education of the young of the importance of placing limits on themselves and influencing others to do likewise in a dangerous world.

In post Saddam Iraq, the ongoing religious institutional assaults against worshippers and mosques and clerics seem to be escalating in outrageous ferocity, symbolizing enormous disrespect and intolerance for religious practice and institutions – perhaps reflecting a consciousness that religious institutions are not guardians of morality but must be reflective of moral values to survive as credible institutions through which people can express their respect and love for life itself. The Islamic religious leadership of Iraq is torn and increasingly militarized and collectively is having great difficulty protecting the wider community. Tribal leadership and other institutions that might tend to exercise social control seem to be failing. A weak government seeking sectarian consensus is struggling to prevent civil war. Perhaps something here explains how a brutal leader like Saddam Hussein could develop and rule this unfortunate country. In any event, we need to work with Iraqis to address a moral and morale problem which requires all available tools including academic and scientific and political to open doors through which healing communications must flow.

Glenn Paige is correct in distinguishing nonkilling from nonviolence and peace. Nonkilling reflects the approach that killing not be the programmed consequence of any actions human beings take. Nonviolence deals with a tactic that may help avoid killing consequences in given transactions but this is not assured. Nonviolence tactics may indeed stimulate a lethal response. Peace implicates a time of freedom from war and conflict but where programmed killing lays dormant, deadly transactions are a program away.

Programmed killing results from choices we make but we can't choose the consequences of killing because we can't choose the past, can't choose the present, and can't choose the future. We choose only what to do in the present, using facts, perceptions, illusions, guesses, estimates, choices, we or others make – of past, present and future – to guide us. I remember hearing that Prime Minister Tony Blair, when recently asked about the wisdom of entering the Iraq regime change war indicated that history would be the ultimate judge of this. He maintained he felt he made the right decision at the time. Yet what is history but an imperfect and incomplete collection of facts about the past and the opinions of various people as to what is important and what is not important.

Blair's remarks made me think of a conversation I had with a Taiwanese friend that arose from my asking simple questions about his family history in the area where he was living. He indicated there was a lot he did not know. He remarked that prior to 1992 when Taiwan was under martial law, people were constrained in discovering and understanding history including even family history. Today, Taiwanese are struggling to uncover the truth about their land and its history – a history that includes fifty years of martial law, a White Terror, persecutions, mass jailings, disappearances of people, and allegations of tens of thousands of people being killed, a history which allegations have become the subject of reparations and lawsuits. What do we humans really know and understand about history?

It has been said that people who do not remember history are bound to repeat it. If this is indeed true, it is a poor prognosis for humanity, especially where oppression and programmed killing influence human conduct. With an unclear, incomplete understanding of the past and a future with prospects of deadly interactions we can only imagine, it seems reasonable that a good choice is to refrain from programmed killing as a behavior and product of our interactions.

Refraining from engaging in programmed killing is ultimately the best choice human beings can make because while we can't choose the future, we can help others impose limits on themselves and at least avoid contributing additional injury and damage from our own actions of programmed killing.

Thus we are not free to choose the consequences of programmed killing by engaging in this behavior. Others will make choices relating to the choice of killing. Mass killings or genocide policies may reflect consciousness of this. Indeed, the Iraqi killing campaign seems calculated to incite Shiites and Sunni Muslims to program killing between them.

Nuclear bombings in Japan wee designed to force Japan to stop fighting World War II. Yet for all the destruction, many Japanese soldiers were determined to fight on. Bin Laden made reference to the nuclear bombings as a justification for acts of horrendous violence and mass killing that his Al Quaida movement might conjure up.

This is why true power, as Spence (1995) stated, is given and can only be given away or thrown away. It can't be appropriated or taken by killing force or other oppressive means. There is only so much of it. Dominance is not a substitute for power and is not power in itself. It merely demonstrates the slavery to the instincts of frustration with human beings. In programmed killing, the very existence of human beings is a source of frustration and irritation, a goal being to eliminate the problem.

In the case of fighting invasions of a person's home or the Grand Mosque, Koranic scripture appears to provide the defender no option but to inflict death on the invader so long as fighting takes place. The invader makes the choice to invade and fight and therefore has no choice in the matter of consequences and has therefore failed to guard against danger. Neither does the victim have a choice in the matter of consequences. If the aggressor survives long enough to desist from fighting, it appears that the Muslim defender must desist from further attempts to kill and therefore cannot presume to control the consequences of the deadly deeds of the invader. (See Mohammad 47) Consequently, any programmed killing engaged in by Muslims – killing for any reason given – would appear to transgress the limits of the faith and be scripturally unIslamic.

I fear that honest, well meaning people of the Muslim faith who are prescribing programmed killing, such as stoning to death adulterers or engaging in programmed killing jihad, including suicide attacks may have mistakenly grafted a killing culture onto Islamic morality. Likewise, committed Christians may have made the same mistake in promoting programmed killing, such as the remarks of the Reverend Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez.

The Old Testament relates that pervasive violence on earth made God cry. God made it clear that human deaths gave God no pleasure. The New Testament was a story of human beings in trouble who were shown profound love through the sacrifice and martyrdom of Christ. Christ was a teacher for Muslims but was not a suicide bomber martyr for lethalist jihadism. The Prophet Mohammad in dealing with Jihad warned against phony Muslims engaging in programmed killing and made it clear that whatever their deeds, they provided no basis for entering Paradise.

I have to reread Glenn's work but I sense that his concept of nonkilling is the absence of programmed killing through such devices as the tolerance of conditions conducive to lethal war or other lethal activities. Non-killing in thought, word and deed implies activist nonkilling thought, nonkilling words and deeds. One acts out of a presumption that nonkilling behavior is the social norm, rather than the presumption that nonkilling is the exception in dangerous conflict.

It is indeed a very legitimate inquiry to attempt to understand the causes of killing and nonkilling behavior, develop understanding of the causes of any nonkilling transitions, and to identify and describe the characteristics of killing free societies. Anything less constitutes a compromise with honesty, judgmental bias and prejudice unfairly favoring lethal policies and behaviors, moral failures including the failure to respect and honor the needs of others or seek counsel of others affected by overly narrow concepts of the consequences of human interaction, lethal or nonlethal, a failure to defend those who can't defend themselves, failure both of sincerity and decisiveness in protecting human life, promotion of negative attitudes toward others that redound to ourselves. We need to have high expectations of human beings and to believe in our success as human beings, respecting the right to temporal existence even during very bad, very frustrating, and dangerous times.

We need to seek first to understand why killing occurs, how nonkilling occurs, how transformation into nonkilling political arrangements can be and are made, and how societies are able to get along without killing. Then we are in a position to be understood in advocating nonkilling change. We must assume and believe that nonkilling is Win / win – seeking to win and to make others win at life as well.

We need to understand that unlike the dismal capitalists and others who fight over resources and the fruits of labor, the world has plenty for everyone. To promote nonkilling behavior, we need to value the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of others through the way we manage and control our own affairs, act on situations and opportunities to promote nonkilling behavior. It is not proper to permit ourselves to be acted upon and pass responsibility all on to others while permitting ourselves to retain destructive options. We need to keep ourselves from the addictive and destructive habits involved in endorsing programmed killing behavior and develop nonkilling habits that expand our capabilities and choices. Nonkilling is a matter of living with integrity and making a positive difference in the lives of other human beings.

The next section of your paper dealing with the problem of institutional support for violence and policy related killing behavior is tremendously insightful. The Koenigsberg studies of warfare involving sacrifice heroics is something that I have thought a great deal about and wrote to Glenn about. I think I shared some of those thoughts with you.

Sacrifice has come to take on two meanings in the English language. One meaning is that which is given out of love and the other is that which is given to manipulate and exploit others. I read materials about Pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and South America, Japanese, Etruscan, Roman, and other ritualistic killing and referred to them not so much as sacrifices but in terms of sacrifice for gain – a sort of chess gambit in which one trades off something demeaned in value to obtain a greater value. Life is demeaned in value in its being relinquished. The martyr Jesus Christ stood to gain nothing but simply confirmed love – did things for people just because of who they were, even in encountering death by execution on the cross. He urged forgiveness of his killers and those demanding his death because they did not know what they were doing.

On the other hand is the lot of suicide bombers who seek Allah's paradise following their loss of life in delivering death and destruction. It is a product centered behavior centered approach to earning through death and destruction. It involved a bargained for exchange, in behavior of dominance over other human beings and their lives. It is oriented to personal benefit of some sort – at the expense of others. The martyrdom of Christ, on the other hand, was true sacrifice in genuine love because Christ personally gained nothing from it. Christ simply behaved out of the nature of who he was – one in love with the human race. In his dying moments, Christ appealed for the safety of all including his tormenters. Christ did not wheedle, con, or manipulate people or God.

True sacrifice has nothing to do with self seeking that we may see in a game of chess where a player sacrifices a pawn to improve his position in trapping and checkmating a king. True sacrifice has nothing to do with paying off debts or receiving rewards in the afterlife like a rat in a Skinnerian operant conditioning experiment trying to get food pellets. After all, if God created life, why would he desire what he has already created and controls in a death roll? The Old Testament God detested violence and killing and exhorted believers to get a new heart, a new spirit, and avoid being killed.

Men were charged with managing conflict so as to avoid bloodshed and were to be held accountable for bloodshed by God. Your observation that a programmed killing policy directed at terrorists has killing consequences is just as true as 9-11 created killing consequences from New York to Kabul. For Bin Laden or for George Bush to argue they chose the actions is not to equate the behavior of either as empowering them to choose the consequences. This was Cain's mistaken assumption – that he could and should be able to control God by manipulating, conning and wheedling favors. If this is the spirit of sacrifice in this war, biblical precedent suggests it will gain nothing of true substance.

As you imply and the preceding imply, love is the powerful force of life. Power is not dominance, trickery and manipulation but the genuine act of empowerment of people multiplying and exponentially increasing effort and work by the maximum number of people in the interest of productive life sustaining and life supporting activity.

The last part of your essay – Is a Nonkilling Society Possible? I share the view that it is. My thought is that morality would not call for something that Man was incapable of doing. It is a matter of making choices to support life and living so that one can protect against non-choice consequences. We don't have full knowledge of the past, ability to undo all past inequities as if they did not occur and we cannot select consequences of events we or others set in motion. We can choose what we do so as to guard against danger – to ourselves and to others. Glenn Paige has observed that most people do not kill, that there is great spiritual, scriptural support for nonkilling behavior, that the sciences show that nonkilling behavior is within human capabilities, that policy shifts away from programmed killing are, in fact, occurring, that there is a significant growth of nonkilling institutions in world society, that there are historical precedents supporting the notion that a nonkilling global society is possible, and human beings are exercising leadership to bring nonkilling conditions to the political life of the world.

You and Glenn empower me both in studying the subject and most importantly in inspiring me to want to live better and more effectively. It is my hope I can one day be in a position to really help, as opposed to simply cheering from the sidelines. Thank you for including me as a participant, even in the smallest way, in perhaps the most worthwhile endeavor I can imagine, saving and promoting human life.

What is Nonkilling?

Nonkilling philosophy is the notion of always acknowledging, accepting and supporting the need and the right of every human being to "be", to exist, to live, reflected in all thoughts, words, and deeds.

Clay Edwards, 2005


Once when I wrote the term "nonkilling" in a letter to Professor Glenn D. Paige, author of the landmark book "Nonkilling Global Political Science" published in 2002, I used a hyphen between non and killing. As I thought about the matter, it seemed more and more apparent that the word nonkilling – would be the most appropriate term to describe an effort to free the human race of programmed human killing behavior. Nonkilling is about preserving human lives in the face of attitudes that advocate, program and choreograph their destruction in a temporal world.

There is a belief that being a person is about giving up, sacrificing, and eliminating human life because the notion of being a person does not always comport with the continued existence of every human life in a temporal world – one's own or another, or both. Who we are (our identity as persons) is entwined in the separation of life from body – a metaphor among the metaphoric temporal world of forms, images, matter, and energy. It is institutionalized tragedy, played out on the world stage in innumerable settings.

Malcolm Bradbury in reviewing the life and works of Ernest Hemingway set forth the spiritual toll of a killing culture on man grasping for a meaning of personhood in an existence that comprises the process of losing everything – the temporal world of love, joy, pain and loss: 1

"Indeed war, the wound of war, the recovery from war, were becoming, and would always remain, Hemingway's central theme. War and brutal death were pervasive, present alike in nature and political culture, an eternal condition and a modern historical fact. They provoked a sense of life as tragedy, an individual confrontation with nullity demanding an essential courage that was born from an existential pain……A Farewell to Arms is sometimes interpreted as a work of strong religious intimation, but it feels more like a work of tragic fatalism, its end always predicted in its beginning…….but there in so much of Hemingway's writing, the urgent need for love and romance, which pain and control only half conceal"

How disjointed the idea of nonkilling really seems to be in our world – a world struggling for sense and meaning where loss, death, and nullity seem predominant, inevitable, and irresistible. My first remembered dream as a child was of being pulled through the air by an unseen, unrelenting force into the waiting jaws of a big dog.

Yet while there is a clear and urgent need for love – and romance – the stuff that brings joy to life – that makes the moment at least – worth living, where is the "need for death, death dealing, especially programmed killing? How does one conjure up a need or desire for brutal death? Why does man actively participate in creating conditions of nullity that man must confront? Why does man inflict on self any notion that stimulates the existential pain that demands such "essential" courage?

Cornel West spoke about existential freedom in the context of the struggle of Americans of African background to throw aside the physical, emotional and spiritual chains used to denigrate their humanity. West suggests that the struggle to defend and promote basic human existence in a world that seemingly institutionalizes man designed and engineered killing, death and loss lays out a philosophical roadmap to the elimination not of struggle but of the conditions that promote and incite the misery of oppression and its deadly consequences. His observations readily lend themselves to nonkilling analysis of the problem of programmed and choreographed human killing2:

"I think an important dimension of the quest for freedom for people of African descent has been the quest for existential freedom. And in many ways it's enacted in a famous letter that Chekhov wrote to his good friend Suvorien when he said that the aim of my life is to squeeze the slave outside of myself drop by drop.

And what he meant by that in part was to try to wrestle with the forms of bondage that he felt his soul was inscribed in. And it was a form of bondage to a certain fear, insecurity, anxiety, to material toys, to certain kind of idols, certain kind of lies, certain forms of mendacity. And we are all in a perennial struggle to squeeze the slave out of ourselves in terms of the various kinds of bondage that we all find ourselves linked to.

And I mention Chekhov because he is in many ways the John Coltrane of modern drama or, of course, Coltrane is the Chekhov of jazz and the music and the history of the black freedom struggle has precisely been one to take the level of struggle for existential freedom to its highest height because what Coltrane and Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong, in part, were trying to do was to squeeze the slave out of themselves and become soulful enough so they could share the soothing sweetness that allows all of us to allow freedom to become contagious.

And that is a perennially human affair and it goes far beyond politics and far beyond economics and far beyond simply a matter of living a good life. It ends up actually a quest for living a wise life and that's a profound insight, I think that the black struggle has provided for humankind as a whole."

At first glance, one would think that brutal death would be a tough sell. Yet somehow, human beings perceive what can only be termed a perverse payoff in the development and practice of programmed or choreographed killing arts and activities that affirm and reaffirm the very bondage and slavery and death and loss and accusation and pain and emotional devastation painted in the tapestry of Hemingway's saga of love and romance amid overwhelming disaster.

Is the prokilling life a life of wisdom, of liberation, or is it a futile embrace of nullity – the reverse process of the existential liberation of Chekhov, of John Coltrane, of Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong – that locks the mind, imprisons the soul and makes us oppressors and victims- the antithesis of the wise life?

People encounter, endure, even seek relief, embrace, or somehow find their own personhood within the context of programmed and choreographed killing, as a matter of asserting their status as persons.

The very futility of enforcing slavery as the end game is that out of hell comes the courage to face it and to live in an environment defined by and demanding entropic degradation – the temporal world we are part of and to which we cling. This temporal world of killing is where spirituality, soul if you will, seems lost in a preoccupation with and even cultivation of tragedy in human systems and human relationships.

Living a life of wisdom that Cornel West speaks of in the context of Bradbury's description of the struggling relationship between love and loss involves thinking and acting out of conviction that loss can never consume everything, but that love does indeed and will prevail and that it is useless, painful and futile to fight it.

Thus,: "[d]estruction of unreasonable patterns of behavior, thinking, and reacting, instilled in us in the process of upbringing", …that is, attaining the state when we learn to act not according to our reflexes or because it is customary to act so, but in accordance with advisability…learn[ing] to look at all situations with the eyes of the Creator3 – is nothing more than accepting ourselves as the reality, as being and as human beings. To do anything else is futile and unwise.

The loss of balance (oppression) is born of an illusion or false perception in which it appears that wisdom and love do not prevail in spite of all. If one gives up on love because loss inflicts overwhelming feelings of grief and cynicism one spiritually succumbs to one's feelings of loss. It is perhaps the most insidious deception that plagues the human perspective in that it implies the loss of freedom as a reality and in response to a demand to surrender life, to give away, to dissipate that power that is within us, that will to be and to change as part of being.. It implies a struggle for dominance and a turning away from power, where lethal oppression and courage to be engage in a kind of yin yang interaction of embrace in love and death. . It is a reflex transaction between interchangeable roles of oppressor and victim.

Oppression dynamics describe a life that denigrates wisdom and seeks after destructive nonsense. Yet that essential courage described by Bradbury needs an infusion of initiative for change such that the effort to remove the oppression slave that Chekhov may have sought to squeeze out of his body is fueled by something other than and more than courage. Of courage, Don Juan Matus observed:

"Men of courage are dependable men, noble men perennially surrounded by people who flock around them and admire them; yet very few men of courage have will. Usually they are fearless men who are given to performing daring common-sense acts; most of the time a courageous man is also fearsome."

Thus courage in itself, the quality so lauded in a human being, is a palliative to relieve pressure, but is insufficient in itself to liberate from a condition of slavery and oppression. It does not imply avoiding danger – the attitude that enforces oppression and slavery. I am convinced that the Muslim Koran was founded on the notion of guarding against danger not by mere displays of courage in facing it, as in deadly jihad, but in the will to live life to change the conditions that promote danger.

Indeed, the outbreak of lethal war reflects a failure of human beings to avoid danger, often from attitudes that fail to reflect wisdom and will. Gandhi's and Martin Luther King Jr's confrontational tactics of nonviolence, like Bin Laden's tactic of violence and killing have represented efforts that call for "courage" to encounter unpleasant and dangerous situations (jihad) – to cope. They involve attempts to dominate an environment but have nothing to do with power. Spence (1995) observed that power is something that has meaning as the essence of being. All of us have so much of it. It can only be thrown away. Thus, Don Juan Matus observed in contrasting courage with will:

"Will, on the other hand, has to do with astonishing feats that defy our common sense. Will is a power. Will is what can make you succeed when your thoughts tell you that you're defeated. Will is what makes you invulnerable. Will is what allows a sorcerer to go through a wall, space, to the Moon, if he desires. Will is a force which is the true link between men and the world. What you call will is character and strong disposition. What a sorcerer calls will is a force that comes from within and attaches itself to the world out there. It comes from within through the abdomen…"

Scripture in the Muslim Quran or Holy Book observes that "oppression is worse than slaughter" Slaughter and killing imply human conduct that implicates "courage" to face and cope with ugly death. Slaughter and killing imply some form of relief from oppression. However, slaughter (programmed killing) does not implicate wisdom or will or power, but efforts to cope and dominate. Slaughter is horrendous dissipation of power from among human beings and the instrument of human bondage and slavery born of oppression. It has nothing to do with liberation – and it is not wisdom and is not love. Rather it is futile behavior because it changes nothing. .

Programmed or choreographed killing merely defines the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical walls that we generate that delimit spirit and psychologically – and physically imprison us. Programmed killing is man's house of torment and terror, magnified by attitudes comparable to sadism and masochism – reflective of a madness born of hell and demons that make human existence itself – an instance of bondage with death becoming a mirage vehicle of escape. However, killing does not kill existence.

Osama Bin Laden's remarks embracing lethal jihad against the United States in 19984 and again in February, 20035 , a month before the US led Iraqi regime change military operation began might be viewed in this reflexive light, as has been the response from the U.S. and other targets of Bin Laden's lethalism.

In the 1998 Fatwah Bin Laden uses the term "liberate" as though its meaning is interchangeable with relief. Liberate implies setting someone or something free. Relief implies removing or terminating anxiety. It may be a precursor to actual liberation, but like a painkiller may do nothing more than relieve a consequence of a condition that torments. In Bin Laden's scheme of lethal jihad, existence is affirmed and reaffirmed by the resulting killing product -the creation and production of the temporal nullity. It is a palliative to soothe sore and painful feelings, to relieve insult, humiliation, to patch a wound, but does not by definition implicate cause and the removal of cause.

Law courts struggle with the notion of cause in ascribing and delimiting responsibility for injury and assessing damages where the conduct involved was unlawful. Compensation is relief but not liberation from suffering. Punitive damages in the case of a legal cause agent making evil choices in the course of causing or inflicting injury seeks to punish and deter but even punishment is no more than a means of relieving an aftereffect by assessing a penalty for misbehavior. When tumult and oppression stops, the human race has no further need of nullifying or punishing others by taxing their existence with programmed killing behavior:

"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

While Bin Laden talks about defeating the enemy occupation and grasp on holy sites and Islamic lands through a campaign of killing and violence, he discusses a condition of fighting that exists until conflict ceases, somewhat of a circular condition that is difficult to conceive of as a process that brings about peace. It implies fighting and even killing to continue indefinitely, for occupation and military activity must not only cease but all potential threats from those sources must be ended forever as prerequisites – the price for – nonkilling behavior.

Such a call to arms is for a seemingly open-ended lethalist campaign. Bradbury's essential courage as reflected in Bin Laden's lethal jihadism – is about an embrace of a temporal nullity – anticipating change in the future and that the change will occur whether or not a given individual participates in the jihad. Bin Laden merely says that others will participate "in your place". Therefore, he regards lethal jihadism as an inevitable condition of the world, an irresistible will of God until God makes some change.

This condition – lethal jihad – is driven by divine intimidation – perhaps to get people to kill as a matter of divine will. Morality implicates but one choice for a Muslim while God has a free hand to work any consequences God wills. Thus, man's choices do not imply liberation at all as a consequence, but solely as reflexive response to a demand from God apparently channeled through Bin Laden and perhaps from the Prophets.

We therefore come back to the question of what it means to be, to exist and the implications of being, existing, in association with faith. Does one have faith in jihad or manufactured behavior, including lethality as a policy driven behavior, or does one have faith in one's own being, which implies responsible choice in support of the notion of being, of existence of the person and of God and the sense of faith driven behavior? Indeed, the Prophet Mohammad made it clear that faith (Islam) is the necessary foundation of the works we engage in. Without faith, human works do not have any significance in human ascendancy to Paradise and do not save the actor from the Hell Fire.

In many ways, Bin Laden's approach to lethal jihad is a rehash of Hitler's observation that struggle is the father of all things. Hitler claimed that without the most brutal struggle, life cannot be won.

Bin Laden and Hitler and others who think in a similar manner call for an abdication of human responsibility for their actions, placing both consequences and decision making all on God. It is an insidious demand on human beings to give up their power of choice and at the same time make them non-responsible objects and instruments of reflex action. This approach reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature and rationale of life itself, which is that human beings are, and always will exist, as free people, people who are a product of the most profound love and in themselves an affirmation of the most profound wisdom. That recognition is part of the process of reclaiming our very soul as individuals, as free people, in squeezing the slave out of ourselves- that slave that the slavemaster uses to turn off our brains and tyrannize us through our reflexes.

Don Juan set forth: "To assume the responsibility of one's decisions means that one is ready to die for them. What injures the spirit is having someone always on your back, beating you, telling you what to do and what not to do." That is the true expression of oppression, not a call to affirm and reaffirm human nature, but a call to embrace tyranny and totalitarianism, the ultimate escape from a perceived burden of decision making and let God or Providence or something non human do all your thinking for you. This God does not do and Bin Laden's call for such conduct is a moral deficit in human thought.

God controls consequences, as Bin Laden and even Hitler seem to concede, but to cede human decision-making and choice, as both men seem to suggest, is to embrace an insidious, hidden notion of Hitler's call for brutal struggle and Bin Laden's call for lethal jihad. One acts out mindlessly and reflexively, without serious reflection on the fundamental call for human beings to exercise their power of choice. Choices, as Bin Laden suggests can result in divinely painful consequences, but it is God that controls the consequences such that Non Muslims do not enter Paradise through their works but through taking faith, a fundamental choice that only humans make. When one operates from faith as the rock, his decisions may or may not be correct, but it is through faith that we recognize the need for change in what we do to enhance human safety and the living of a wise, responsible life. The essence of liberation, of soul, of freedom, is that very sweetness that implies cherishing and promoting life through reflection. When reflection is employed to help us control our reflexes, we affirm God's rule, participate in our liberation, and show ourselves as free people.

Bin Laden's words exhorting lethal jihad place programmed killing tactics at the center of struggle and therefore associate the product or behavior – killing – with the seeking of approval and avoidance of punishment, like operant conditioning, increasing a behavior (programmed killing) by offering a reward (Paradise- conditioned on faith) and by decreasing a behavior (nonkilling) by punishment. Where a believer feels unready to kill and die in jihad, divine punishment awaits.

"Almighty God also says "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."

But what is God's cause? Don Juan clarifies the issue raised by Bin Laden: "I have heard you say time and time again that you are always prepared to die. I don't regard that feeling as necessary. I think it is a useless indulgence. A warrior should be prepared only to battle." Bin Laden places emphasis on killing and dying in battle. The danger in such exhortation is the call for human beings to make dying and killing the centerpiece of not just strategy but faith itself – a faith in non-choice, a faith in slavery, a faith in simple reflexive belief with a reflective deficit. It is a demand that human beings choose to be irresponsible slaves, an open invitation to be capricious and cruel to life.


Bin Laden's exhortation is intended to make the believer achieve clarity of mind to eliminate fear of encounter with violent death. It fortifies courage and a sense of purpose in an act but fails to reflect the will of the believer and the choices and decision-making process engaged in by a free human being. Don Juan Matus observed:

"That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds. It forces the man never to doubt himself… If the man yields to this make-believe power, he has succumbed to his second enemy and will fumble with learning… The man may turn into a buoyant warrior, or a clown…, but he will no longer learn, or yearn for, anything. (If he defeats this enemy,) he will know at this point that the power he has been pursuing for so long is finally his. His wish is the rule. He sees all that is around him. But he has also come across his third enemy – power. The man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing in on him. And suddenly, without knowing, he will certainly have lost the battle. His enemy will have turned him into a cruel, capricious man.

Perhaps nothing symbolizes cruelty in the current Iraqi violence more than the image on a website of a masked jihadi cutting off the head of a helpless prisoner who has submitted to captivity. Such conduct is prohibited by the express language of the Muslim Koran in Mohammad 47which encompasses the appropriate use of force and the humane treatment of prisoners including their ransom and release during wartime. Allah tests believers in the way they treat their nonbelieving enemies. When they mistreat the enemy, they become the very thing they claim to be fighting….unbelievers. Claiming belief does not make one a believer. Following is a story collected in the Muslim Hadith:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 297:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

"We were in the company of Allah's Apostle in a Ghazwa, and he remarked about a man who claimed to be a Muslim, saying, "This (man) is from the people of the (Hell) Fire." When the battle started, the man fought violently till he got wounded. Somebody said, "O Allah's Apostle! The man whom you described as being from the people of the (Hell) Fire fought violently today and died." The Prophet said, "He will go to the (Hell) Fire." Some people were on the point of doubting (the truth of what the Prophet had said) while they were in this state, suddenly someone said that he was still alive but severely wounded. When night fell, he lost patience and committed suicide. The Prophet was informed of that, and he said, "Allah is Greater! I testify that I am Allah's Slave and His Apostle." Then he ordered Bilal to announce amongst the people: 'None will enter Paradise but a Muslim, and Allah may support this religion (i.e. Islam) even with a disobedient man.'"

Bin Laden's life is dedicated to lethal jihad bonded to first and third party killing as a necessary condition of life until some fundamental change takes place in human affairs – the prevalence of justice and faith in God. Until that time, programmed and choreographed killing and death reign and participating in and advancing violent death is the behavioral norm of the slave who claims to be a Muslim. Cruelty and capriciousness are disguised as clarity of purpose and even seen by admirers as displays of courage and dedication – the hallmark of heroism crusted with divine pleasure indulged in by the creator.

Yet God is defamed – something like the collection of gods in the Greek pantheon, a mixture of cruelty, capriciousness, jealousy, and lethal danger to man. The serpent in the Garden of Eden defamed God as weak, cruel and oppressive and the Greeks created pantheons of Gods to be feared but seemingly with the qualities we associate with character weakness including cruelty and capriciousness, unworthy and incapable of being rulers of people, truly dangerous beings. The cycle of rejecting and imposing God on people goes on indefinitely.

The cultures of sacrifice of the Incas and Aztecs viewed gods in a similar way, with man empowering them through sacrifice – propitiation without love, to obtain relief from the seeming capriciousness and cruelness of nature – and man, through an institution implicating cruelty and capricious destruction of human and animal life. Indeed, even warriors could volunteer themselves to be sacrificed. The institution of sacrifice is something akin to a business transaction, in a most notorious form – even a businessman paying off a gangster to leave him alone and perhaps to protect him against other predators.

Through this process, God is reduced to a talisman, subject to the whims of man, and therefore to be propitiated and manipulated. God becomes a "null value" in both worship and in repudiation. At the same time, God is on the payroll of the programmed killer, articulating the killer's point of view, the agent of the killer. God is weak but vicious, capricious and cruel while exercising enormous energy in dominance, destruction and intimidation against an enemy of the killer.

Yet that nullity promoted by man, by its very nature, is a futility that cannot mask love – and finding wisdom within the embrace of temporal nullity is to chase an ever- receding mirage of water on a hot summer day on a desert road.

Indeed, the quest for temporal nullity is programmed and choreographed killing – the condition of going nowhere, changing nothing, achieving nothing, while seemingly advancing – even a pyrrhic relief. The killer and perhaps the victims elude liberation and avoid freedom. To the contrary, Don Juan Matus taught that in order to approach God, one has to take the path of heart – that is the path of Love.6

The image of paths and pathways and trails should not lead us to think we need to be anything other than what we are, that which exists and lives and to respect that fact in the way we treat ourselves and the way we treat others.

The earth is not a place to escape from, a place to harness oppression for more works of oppression – but to live in – because death, a universal condition of temporal being, teaches us the importance of every moment of our lives, not in the preoccupation with leaving life, but in its living.

"The life of a warrior cannot possibly be cold and lonely and without feelings, because it is based on his affection, his devotion, his dedication to his beloved… The Earth knows that he loves it, and it bestows on him its care. That's why his life is filled to the brim and his state, wherever he'll be, will be plentiful. He roams on the paths of his love… This Earth Only if one loves this Earth with unbending passion, can one release one's sadness. A warrior is always joyful, because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the Earth, embraces him and bestows upon him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings. This lovely Being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me freedom. Only the love for this splendorous Being can give freedom to a warrior's spirit; and freedom is joy, efficiency, and abandon in the face of any odds."

Cervantes' Don Quixote is a tale of a heroic quest for love and goodness and truth shrouded in many satirical adventures in the face of insurmountable obstacles. The dreamy knight Don Quxote's idealism seems to be madness in a world that sometimes views heroism and love as forms of insanity, and therefore a quest saddled with tragedy. Yet the tragedy never overwhelms love.

Don Quixote is a Spanish nobleman who comes to believe that he is a knight who must combat the world's injustices. He travels with his squire, Sancho Panza, an uneducated but practical peasant. Don Quixote's mount is an old, bedraggled horse named Rocinante. Don Quixote travels in search of adventure, dedicating his actions of valor to a simple country girl whom he calls Dulcinea, seeing her as his lady. He sets himself the task of defending orphans, protecting maidens and widows, befriending the helpless, and serving the causes of truth and beauty. His imagination often runs away with him, so that he sees windmills as giants, flocks of sheep as enemy armies, and country inns as castles. What romance, what soul, in perhaps a cloak of pathetic comedy!

Which is the true madness: (a) the quest for nullity through killing in the temporal world: or (b) the quest for love and romance in a temporal world that cannot rid itself of the need for love and romance, while burdened down like an overloaded mule with programmed killing ranging from homicide to genocide.

Faust (1978) wrote that people behave according to the picture they have of themselves. Indeed, Don Quixote so behaved. When one's identity as a person is inconsistent with or in perceived conflict with the continued physical existence of the person, the person abandons physical existence. Such is the behavior of a soldier, for example, who jumps on a live hand grenade to protect a fellow soldier from harm. It is also the way of programmed killers of other people.

It has been said that cowards die a thousand deaths while heroes die but one ….to live a little longer while abandoning others to their fate by avoiding an encounter with violent death may not comport with the soldier's picture of that soldier's person. Such encounter with death is not liberation but relief from a condition of personal danger – in which the person is endangered by a danger to another and his failure to confront the danger and redirect its deadliness – even onto himself. If the soldier is considered a martyr, it has nothing to do with his mode of exit but with his conduct in affirming his own humanity, in Don Juan's words, a man ready to die for his decisions, not a man deciding to die."7


Martyrdom and killing of others implies programmed killing for a valid reason. The soldier jumping on a live grenade to save other lives is seen as encountering death for a valid reason. Executing criminals and killing in war is legally protected activity while murder and manslaughter are not legally protected activities. Disputes over whether programmed killing is legal and comports with the demands of "morality" tend to dominate debate over killing. The notion that programmed and choreographed killing is universally unacceptable practice – nonkilling – is not universally accepted in human society.

Characteristic of the prokilling mentality, Bin Laden criticized the Iraq Regime Change War of 2003 because in his view, the war was being fought for the wrong reasons by the wrong people:8

'Unjust war'

Amid this unjust war, the war of infidels and debauchees led by America along with its allies and agents, we would like to stress a number of important values:

First, showing good intentions. This means fighting should be for the sake of the one God.

It should not be for championing ethnic groups, or for championing the non-Islamic regimes in all Arab countries, including Iraq.

God Almighty says: "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil."

So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

The implication is a policy of fighting based on an intervention in a political dispute between Saddam Hussein and the coalition forces and their allies. The stated mission was to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein. The prospect of an Iraqi government owing its existence to the coalition military intervention and possibly friendly to the United States was and is unacceptable to the Bin Laden jihadis, regardless of whether it is an "elected" government. This opens the door to what carnage the jihad movement could conjure up.

Bin Laden's unjust war statement is a plan for additional fighting after the coalition overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. It gave President Bush a rationale for coalition troops to fight – to take the offensive, in President Bush's words – and maintain large forces inside Iraq to help the Iraqis bring "order" to a society divested of its formal government. The ingredients for a continued tragedy in Iraq suggest the witches brew of lethal ambition mixed in Shakespeare's MacBeth.

MacBeth is a study of evil emanating from a pathological vision of rulership born on the wings of an all consuming ambition by the aspiring King MacBeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth with a brutal campaign of programmed bloody killing. The struggle for Iraq seems very similar.

Three witches, who appear on the stage when the play opens, confront Macbeth and prophesy that he will one day become king of Scotland, and that his companion Banquo will beget kings, although he will never become one himself. Macbeth, who is already a hero because of his skill as a soldier, cannot rest with his knowledge of the prophecy but instead takes fate into his own hands. Macbeth and his wife feel compelled to protect the station promised them by the witches, and to thwart the heirs of Banquo and any other possible heirs.

With Lady Macbeth as his accomplice, Macbeth murders King Duncan and is elected king of Scotland. Duncan's son Malcolm flees to England. Suddenly suspicious of Banquo, Macbeth has him assassinated, but fails to kill Banquo's son Fleance. Another high-ranking soldier, Macduff, who does not trust Macbeth, goes to England to join Malcolm, and Macbeth takes the opportunity to murder Macduff's wife and heirs. Macduff returns as a member of Malcolm's avenging army and kills Macbeth, and Malcolm is then made king.

As in many of Shakespeare's tragedies, the action of the play-in this case, its sustained evil and violence-is balanced by its study of the minds of its main characters. Macbeth and his wife are repulsed and torn by their own behavior, and they both seem to verge on hallucination and madness as they recoil from the mayhem they have created around them. Still, the lust for ambition proves the overwhelming force.

Iraq has become a magnet for military action and a bloody campaign of mass killings, bombings, shootings, kidnappings, infrastructure sabotage, beheadings, Abu Graib, and mosque fighting in a horrendous display of programmed killing madness, much of it emanating from pursuit of security and the consolidation of political control between different interested groups and entire nation state coalitions. The horror of this situation is reflected in enormous pressure on restraint of many people who consider themselves pious and decent human beings.

For all the Christian and Muslim notions of the importance of the protection of life and religion, it seems that the various parties to this conflict do the opposite. They seem madly obsessed with their pursuit of dominating political positions in shocking displays of violence that show clarity of purpose, sometimes magnificent courage in suffering but show a lack of will to change, as in MacBeth. As in MacBeth, the struggle in Iraq betrays a fundamental powerlessness that spits in the face of the very goal they so passionately declare to be their own – peace itself.

In MacBeth, Shakespeare suggests that once one decides to use violence to further one's quest for power, it is difficult to stop. Iraqis have been wading in blood with no effective and credible security apparatus to restrain the gangster like mentality that suffuses combat strategy and tactics among the struggling groups.

In MacBeth, there is the opening scene where the captain describes Macbeth and Banquo wading in blood on the battlefield and interminable references to the bloodstained hands of Macbeth and his wife. MacBeth begins with a bloody battle in which he defeats the invading Norwegians to thwart their plans to take over Scotland. This "victory", like Bush's "Mission Accomplished" is followed by a horrendous serious of bloody butcheries called murder the victims of which include King Duncan, Duncan's chamberlains, Banquo, Lady Macduff, and Macduff's son. In the last battle, MacBeth's forces are bloodily defeated by Macduff's forces and MacBeth is beheaded. By the end of the action, blood seems to be everywhere, washing through MacBeth like the biblical flood. symbolizing an obsessive mad quest for power and security but which provide neither. The result is unquenchable guilt and self-loathing. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?" Macbeth cries after he has killed Duncan, even as his wife scolds him and says that a little water will do the job (II.ii.58-59). Later, though, she comes to share his horrified sense of being stained: "Out, damned spot; out, I say . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" she asks as she wanders through the halls of their castle near the close of the play (V.i.30-34).

The issue arises as to whether the policy of fighting and killing is more to embarrass the coalition, undermine its efforts to help get a government running that may not be to the liking of the resistance, than a matter of fighting occupation. In any case, the programmed killing of large numbers of Iraqis would appear to be designed at least to make Iraq ungovernable and at most to bring back rule similar to that of Saddam Hussein, founded on crude efforts to dominate people. .

In Islam, the implications are quite clear from a reading of scripture and the Hadith. The fact is that fighting and killing cannot be for the sake of vanity, notions of human self importance or the taking of offense, human judgmentalism or attempts at punishment or revenge. Rather invasion AND fighting in homes and the Grand Mosque seem to be the main dangers that fighting and killing are supposed to cope with..

In Mohammad 47, programmed killing in battles against unbelievers was not the central focus in fighting but in bringing about submission through overwhelming force. Bin Laden, equated smiting the enemy with killing the enemy with the sword and Bin Laden indicated that he was opposed to taking prisoners using the argument that it would have been unseemly for the Prophet to have prisoners during hostilities. Yet Mohammad 47 seems to call for restraint in the use of force in battle, the taking of prisoners and the release and ransoming of prisoners even during periods of active hostilities and the Koran is supposed to be the number one reference for all Muslims. In the English language at least, smiting an enemy is not governed by a killing result. Applying physical force to restrain or incapacitate an enemy from fighting seems the important function of "smiting" Killing seems to be the lazy man's way to solve a problem, a person with courage but with a lack of will, a slave to evil, wading in blood as though he was merely wading across a river. . .

Moreover, punishment of unbelievers was the affair of Allah and Allah used unbelievers to test those who professed belief. Programmed and choreographed killing are extremely dangerous forms of behavior not just because of the physical danger interposed in fighting but because of the danger of people becoming the arbiters of the mortal fate of other human beings as well as themselves.

Perhaps this was why killing was ordered in the narrow cases of defense – in home and mosque INVASIONS COMBINED WITH FIGHTING BEHAVIOR only. As shown in MacBeth, the assumption of killing as the primary result to be achieved in dealing with an enemy is a most dangerous state of human affairs, implicating a failure of discipline, restraint and will to exercise ameliorating influence for a peaceful, soulful, loving life, the sweet liberation described so eloquently by Cornell West.

Thus, ambition, quest for security and consolidation of political control, suggest a losing confrontation with power itself and defeat symbolized in a failure of will. Bin Laden's ambitions are to create or defend an Islamic state or caliphate by fighting a murderous war for his idea of the Muslim faith. He ties faith to the temporal including geographic boundaries of Islam, control of the wealth of the land and its protection from western Christian crusaders and exploiters, to carry the killing to anyplace he can find someone he thinks he can label an enemy. Like Vietnam, he embraces body counts as offerings on the road to Islamic safety and security.

Yet Bin Laden has not been able to articulate a clear linkage between killing results and political progress, vaguely relying on the enemy to become tired of fighting. Bin Laden's notion of victory is a zero sum game of life and death in which victory for one requires a corresponding loss by the opponent. In the case of Vietnam, body counts accomplished nothing because they were offset by the spirit of sacrifice that Bin Laden himself counts on to defeat any body count notion implied by the superior mass killing technologies of the American military. President Bush relies on the notion of "sacrifice" as consolation for loss and as a motivator for continued fighting to realize a "victory" in the Central Front war on terror. Because killing is programmed and choreographed, killing is very difficult to stop.

, Moreover, Bin Laden's ambitions may overshadow the very reason for creating an Islamic reality in the first place, submission to God and the requirements implied in God's scripture. Thought should be given to past efforts to build earthly Muslim caliphates and their long term failure as empires. Whether Bin Laden truly has a new wrinkle to make the Caliphate political proof that requires killing as a necessary ingredient is the perplexing and confusing aspect of his whole notion of lethal jihad. It begs the question: why is killing required of a Muslim, or anyone?

This "alliance of convenience" for prokilling policies is the cultivation of killing through the formation of cooperative effort with the ungodly – a mixture of moral with the immoral people to carry on the killing of other anti-god elements together with the self- sacrifice that propitiates God. Thus, the question of why this killing in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places by jihadi movements is taking place implicates the possibility of error in jihad at best or at worst a refusal to carry out Islamic values in behavior by the jihadi movement through programmed human killing. Alliances of convenience in killing behavior is certainly a "death dance" with interchangeable partners.

Bin Laden's writings tend to focus on behavioral methods (lethal style jihad) without critically questioning the very efficacy of programmed killing behavior. His sole rationale is that his enemy is purportedly fighting and killing Muslims, giving him a right to not just in kind behavior but to engineer wrinkles in the choreographing and programming of killing – the practice and art of killing behavior – against military and non-military personnel alike. He will use anything and everything to achieve the killing result – not a struggle against death in the temporal sense – but the embrace of temporal nullity – as opposed to a confrontation with temporal nullity.

Yet this prokilling approach never completely conceals the urgent need for love and romance – that spiritual food that gives life meaning – and that quality of life that is and craves what it is. The fact that killing is set out as a defense of life itself suggests how seriously we take life while engaging in the most revoltingly brutal activity of programmed killing.

Regardless of this reliance on the killing rite of passage into temporal nullity as a means of affirming life, the killing arts and sciences and practice implicate the efficacy of programmed and choreographed human killing by human beings.

Bin Laden's lethalist jihad fails to offer temporal liberation to Muslims or others through the philosophy and practice of the arts and sciences of killing but relief from the temporal life by the practice of killing. It embraces temporal nullity for the promise of spiritual closeness to God – conditioned on "right intentions".

Curiously, – what is a Muslim? In the light of the Jihad story of the man who claimed to be a Muslim, fought alongside Muslims and was mortally wounded in battle, and who the Prophet claimed was not a real Muslim, this Christian writer notes that in the Arabic language, the word Islam means "surrender" or "submission"-submission to the will of God.

A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which in Arabic means "one who surrenders to God." The Arabic name for God, Allah, refers to the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians. Islam's central teaching is that there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God, and this God created the universe. In the English language, surrender means to give over – to the will or law of God. The Koran implies that any failure to surrender and any act that is related to such failure are acts of futility, leaving the unbeliever with no helper, in desolation, with nothing, a nullity if you will. This leads to a suggestion that a declaration of faith is not enough in itself to make one a Muslim. The actual surrender must occur, even if a declaration of faith is not subject to review by religious authorities.

Thus, the truth may lie in the relationship with God that a human being has, a true faith that does not depend on behavior itself. The declaration of faith must reflect faith itself – the essence of being, that fundamental existential quality of existence, an existence (wellspring if you will) of anything that follows. Without faith, action is futile. The Koran emphasizes the importance of faith guiding action – even action that may appear in error.

Faith in my view implies profound respect for life, one's own and the lives of any other human being – the existential heart that suffering, humiliation, agony, etc., do not eclipse. That profound respect for life assumes its inherent value, an inalienable value, a value that is not and cannot be demeaned in a material world by any material means, process, action, or product.

Indeed, through any temporal activity including the most horrendous evil including death dealing behavior, the meaning of being – existence – is confirmed, affirmed, and reaffirmed, God uses everything and anything to demonstrate the inherent value of being. Cornel West's citation of Chekhov and John Coltrane is to that soulfulness that generates itself as "love" and the contagiousness of love through their writing and art and other means of expression – that smites, invigorates and values others who themselves reflect faith through their soulfulness.

I remember a Muslim friend a long time ago who must have known I was a Christian – but one day declared to me, "You are a Muslim". I never declared myself a Muslim but such a statement suggests I made an emotional connection with him – that in his view may have reflected something that he understood as a submission to God. .

I only relate this story because the question of good intentions is an issue raised by Bin Laden in jihad. I mention this with profound fear of demonstrating a lack of soulfulness – of outright arrogance – just by mentioning it. Hopefully, the risk I am taking is justified by some possibility that he touched on truth – a truth that demonstrates respect for life and an effort to promote a nonkilling ethic reflecting in all words, deeds and actions, the uncompromising value of being, as reflected in the temporal existence.


Interestingly, there appears to be a kind of congruence of conclusions between Bin Laden and the anti-Iraq war movement and politicians in coalition countries who would act, as they have in Italy and Spain, to repudiate the decision of previous governments to participate in the US led military coalition. The fact that this action removed one of history's most brutal contemporary tyrants from power seems to suggest a tier of considerations that reflect matters more important to the international community and even "Muslims" than an attempt to remove a mass killing human rights abuser political leader from power.

The prokilling side took action primarily because it articulated an external threat to the international community that was hotly debated by anti-war opponents. The essence of the debate is joined: Was the programmed killing designed to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq the way to handle the killing and oppression of the regime promotive of nonkilling values or was the failure to forcefully intervene to remove the particular source of killing behavior promotive of killing.

Since the arguments floated around the issue of security, comparable to the considerations that consumed MacBeth, the international community was a bystander, aider and abettor, promoter and participant in the programmed killing activity that seems to have mushroomed in that unfortunate land. Local politicians and others perceiving an interest in that geographic location called Iraq focus on a condition in politics requisite to ending programmed killing also as a misplaced understanding of priorities – politics is the cart placed ahead of the propelling force (the horse) of nonkilling.

Anti-war opponents including Bin Laden concluded that the Bush and Blair Administrations started a war in bad faith and this seems to have overwhelmed any sense of relief that should have been engendered by the idea that Saddam and his captured henchmen and lieutenants were neutralized and in custody. The above observation should not be viewed as an attempt to endorse or otherwise justify programmed killing in the course of removing the regime but simply to observe that the debate, in the context of the long suffering of the Iraqi people under the harsh abusive rule of Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party seems unhealthily self-centered and tragic. Likewise is the justification for war not on the high moral ground of removing a tyrant but resting on the need to remove a longstanding threat to non-Iraqis – a long delayed relief that no lover of humanity or human freedom can evaluate uncritically. .

One can only plead with such apparent heartlessness to examine what it is that makes the international community – a community that has long repudiated human rights abuses through democratic government – so protective of itself that it lacks the soulfulness to materially aid a people which for 24 years was under the heel of a harsh and cruel dictatorship. What makes a jihadist so protective of the notion of programmed and choreographed killing and self-killing in a narrow attempt to gain paradise at the expense of the temporal lives of self and other human beings – to affirm slavery and bondage to the temporal nullity of destruction because the "enemy" overthrew a brutal tyrant for the "wrong reasons."

It bears emphasis that "nonkilling" is the attempt "to squeeze the slave out of (ourselves) and become soulful enough so (we can) "share the soothing sweetness that allows all of us to allow freedom to become contagious." If being a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, or Communist, Capitalist, or other ist or other identity is anything different, then Paradise itself is repudiated and existence unnecessarily prolonged in bondage to tyranny. Nothing can be more futile than to resist Paradise and freedom itself for the sake of political or material security. I see no other explanation for the continued references in Koranic and other scripture that condemn oppression and evil as the lonely desolate path of people without helpers, cultivating a garden that in substance is overgrown with poisonous weeds – with works devoid of value, expressions of fraud and deceit in their origins.

The fact that there has been a prolonged deadly postwar campaign of programmed and choreographed killing in that unfortunate country following the 2003 invasion does not diminish the injustice and basic moral bankruptcy embraced by the anti-war movement in excoriating the coalition because it did not keep hands off the regime. Expressing malice toward President Bush or Prime Minister Blair for lying should be tempered by the tragedy that compounded and recompounded as deception piled on deception – in human philosophy lived inside out, devoid of wisdom, acquiescing to injustice piled on injustice, tyranny, oppression and killing seemingly carrying the day, and demonstrating its futility in ongoing, repeated lethal conflicts.

Because Bin Laden argued on his audiotape that Baathist Socialist interests converged with Jihadi interests in battling the US led coalition, no matter which way Shiites turn, they either get death from Saddam or death from Jihadis and Baathists. What existential courage Shiites must have to endure this ongoing tragedy and try to live as stealth killers dog their daily lives over apparent doctrinal differences with other denominations of Islam. What existential courage Sunnis must have as they or their loved ones become victims of programmed killing by death squads.

Yet the lethal show must go on – because it goes on for the right reasons or rationale – which is to show opposition to killing. We give up everything including our temporal lives and all our material treasure to cultivate programmed or choreographed killing.

In such manner human society promotes and drives institutionalized programmed and choreographed killing behavior. So long as we disagree on who has the right to kill instead of taking the initiative to repudiate the practice, human bondage is institutionalized and protected from restraint. Human life ping- pongs between man's existential courage and the nullity promised by a killing culture.


A proposed UN humanitarian peacekeeping mission to stop programmed killing in Darfur is likewise condemned by Bin Laden as a nefarious Western plot to rip Sudanese territory away and appropriate it for anti-Islamic western interests.9

"The US was not satisfied by all the sedition and crimes, but went on to incite sedition, the largest of which was the west Sudan sedition by exploiting some disputes between the tribes and sparking a savage war between them that will spare nothing, prior to sending in Crusader troops to occupy the region and steal its oil wealth under the pretext of peacekeeping."

Sadly, the people of Darfur would seem to be trapped, as the Iraqi people have been, in a culture of killing. It would appear that Bin Laden and others agree that the disaster is man-made but men seemingly are prolonging and exacerbating the suffering of the people while they argue over the past and the future in this troubled region. Thus, tragedy blooms like weeds in an untended garden as men build their senses of self- importance into destructive behaviors.

Global Security.org10, suggests an existential cause at work for the violence that has been ruining life for people in Darfur – the sense among Darfur tribes that they have been consistently "socio-economically marginalized" and need to be able to exercise greater power over their own lives to maintain their own social and economic viability. They blame the government of Sudan and perhaps each other for the terrible humanitarian conditions existing in the region.

The harsh Janjaweed military campaign and the failure of the government of Sudan to restrain these Arab militias exacerbate the problem of reaching a decent accommodation between the government and the Darfur population. The Sudanese government attributes the problem to intertribal conflicts while denying charges that it is actually using the Janjaweed militia either for genocide or terror as part of its policy of pacifying Darfur.

Whether or not the west has exacerbated and exploited tribal differences in Darfur was unexplained by the Bin Laden audiotape. Whatever the truth, killing and oppression are always first and foremost in Bin Laden's view – even of a purported humanitarian mission backed by heavily armed troops supported by the United Nations. Iraqis and Darfurians seem trapped by the most cynical evaluations of human beings and their tendencies and motivations and alleged plots.

To sum up, human life is bonded to prolonged suffering expressed in programmed and choreographed killing. People have had protracted difficulty in getting past the bondage of fear, insecurity, anxiety, and material needs, idols, perhaps even mendacity and lies – that ties them to killing arts and practice..

As Cornel West's discussion of the nature of existentialism indicates, relief – humanitarian, political, or otherwise is not liberation from these devils whether it comes in the form of political, economic, social reforms, United Nations aid, peacekeeping, lethal jihad, genocide, or otherwise. Living through a policy of programmed and choreographed killing is not a life of wisdom, but one of unwisely cultivating tragedy. To play an active part in manufacturing human tragedy out of motivations to punish and deter is meaningless if in Bin Laden's words, man has to wait for God to institute God's rule to relent from practicing the killing arts and sciences. This assertion is materially no different from Hitler's notion that struggle is the father of all things and that the most brutal struggle is the way that life is won. Both place responsibility for change on something outside themselves, while proclaiming the responsibility of humans to engage in lethal struggle.

Liberation comes from the notion of nonkilling – the notion of always acknowledging, accepting and supporting the need and the right of every human being to "be", to exist, to live, reflected in all thoughts, words, and deeds. Such is the true liberation of Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, and all living outside these troubled regions of the world.


Perhaps the reason for the split thinking treatment of the subject of nonkilling as expressed by the lack of a notorious common dictionary term to describe this concept is that human beings have not systematically conceptualized a nonkilling philosophy rejecting programmed and planned human killing. We need to make the effort to fuse the two concepts into one – to provide a direct intellectual challenge to the prokilling lobby seeking the human soul.

Nonkilling, as suggested by Cornel West's liberation existentialism is "that soothing sweetness" of our souls which "allows all of us to allow "freedom to become contagious." Freedom is enabling, not disabling, by its very nature, because freedom implies independence of action free from any external determining force. Freedom is the expression of power and dominance is the expression of a lack of power and an attempt to deceive others into giving their own power away. Even Bin Laden knows that God does not determine our choices but does control the consequences of our choices. Thus, people have choice and bear responsibility for those choices. That is our deal with God.

Through that deal God enables us and means for us to be free. Yet God is in control and uses our existence and even the nullity we perceive pressing in on us to affirm and value God's own creation. No alternative to being is possible, temporal or spiritual and therefore death, loss, and killing themselves are, in the great scheme of things, a nullity in themselves. Therefore, it stands to reason, as Cornel West stated so eloquently, that life and freedom are the human quest, and living the wise life is the insight of nonkilling – recognition of reality, recognition of the mandatory condition of being – always acknowledging, accepting and supporting the need and the right of every human being to "be", to exist, to live, reflected in all thoughts, words, and deeds.


Nonkilling is the behavioral norm for humanity for the very reason that human beings do value their lives. Programmed killing is advanced in a killing culture and practice because its proponents view it as an affirmation of human existence and somehow within the recesses of its terror and lethal effects is a key that once found liberates the soul. Yet there is a profound concern that such a notion is in itself an exercise in self-deception where human beings cultivate tragedy as an affirmation of the value of their own existence, a concern that kills by magnifying a notion of self-importance, of life taking itself much too seriously, being unable to exercise the joy, romance and love implicated in the living of life, but at the same time unable to repudiate joy, romance and love as an overriding value that keeps human beings living when in killing culture, the exit from the temporal life becomes of all consuming importance.

MacBeth's characters were enslaved and tormented in a deadly living hell that they did not have the will to repudiate. They gave away power and threw life away. MacBeth is re-enacted today by a world obsessed with its security, seduced by the quick fix of killing, repelled and scared of programmed killing, yet eager to embrace the practice and get others involved as killers when human judgment – in a world riddled with deceptive forms and appearances – is convinced that such deadly conduct is appropriate. Our out is when we get tired of it, rest, lick our wounds, and eventually find another reason to do the same thing – perhaps when security of our beings becomes an overriding concern and a pathological quest.

Killing culture has no overriding utility in serving the interests of man's existence. It is a seductive maiden with a deadly siren call to people on a quest for existence that already exists and for which they seek "protection". Life teaches that the idea of killing can be a sexy idea indeed, an assassin dressed as a protector of humanity, a transgressor of the limits set by mercy and compassion, an excess of self-love at the expense of health and safety.

If anything should be killed as a matter of practice, practicality, and in the interest of humanity and morality, it should be programmed killing of human beings by human beings, replaced by an overriding love and respect for life, even in very difficult and demanding circumstances. That would be the ultimate affirmation and reaffirmation of the true reality of existence.

1: From the introduction to Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, a novel about World War I Italy, a tragic romance and love culminating in exile and death, and the most profound devastating loneliness, by Malcolm Bradbury, Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. Bradbury is author of The Modern American Novel and the Modern World; Ten Great Writers. His own novels include The History Man, Stepping Westward, Rate of Exchange and Eating People is Wrong. (back)
2: Cornel West on Existentialism. A Talk produced by Microsoft Encarta, 1993 – 2004. West's scholarly writing pursues philosophical inquiry into the realm of the political, exploring the existential dimension within the moral, spiritual, and political space. In Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America (1993), he continues to engage with philosophy, spiritual tradition, and history. (back)
3: Vladimir Antonov, The Teaching of Don Juan Matus. Translated from Russian by T.Danilevich, A.Teplyy, M.Nikolenko © Antonov V.V., 2000 www.swami-center.org. Don Juan Matus was a Yaqui Indian Sorceror in Mexico. A person who resolved to lay claim to immortality, first, has to become a "hunter". But not that hunter who kills game, but that for knowledge, who walks the path of heart – caring, loving both the Earth and beings that live on it. Having mastered the stage of "hunter", he can become a "warrior"1 – that is the one who "traces" Power (God), striving to "stalk" and cognize It. (back)
4: Text of Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans Published in Al-Quds al-'Arabi on Febuary 23, 1998 Statement signed by Sheikh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin; Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Jihad Group in Egypt; Abu- Yasir Rifa'i Ahmad Taha, a leader of the Islamic Group; Sheikh Mir Hamzah, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan; and Fazlul Rahman, leader of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh (back)
5: full text of an audio message purported to be by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, broadcast on Arab television station al-Jazeera on 11 February, 2003 (back)
6: From Carlos Castaneda. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (back)
7: Person-centered Teachers in Product- Centered Schools. . This book was an unpublished manuscript used as a training text for teachers pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Education at Alliant International University, 1978. Verne Faust's notion of person-centeredness is based on an understanding that a person never changes in the fundamental notion of being, but becomes educated to change what he/she does. When society values behavior and products of being in such way that the person creating the behavior and products is forced to rely on these behaviors and products for acceptance as a person – love conditioned on behavior, the person becomes a menace to himself and to others, because no one can be a perfect behavior specimen. Any slip-up can and does mean the withholding of love and affection. In such conditions, the person is robbed of the fundamental essence of being a person, being a human being – and is totally insecure in his person. The consequence is to create insecure emotional cripples, and therefore poor decision-makers – persons not bound by healthy behavioral norms. (back)
8: Usama Bin Laden, audiotape, February 11, 2003 (back)
9: Bin Laden Sudan, audiotape proposing attacks on UN / NATO led peacekeeping forces that may be sent to Darfur as part of a peace deal with the Sudan government, April 24, 2006, from Al Jazeera. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F9694745-060C-419C-8523-2E093B7B807D.htm (back)
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