The City of Disney Book XI

The Massacre of the Innocents

Augustine of Epcot and his Scribe

EVANGELIST UPROAR: While "... visiting another megachurch's worship service on a Fourth of July years ago," Reverend Boyd [an evangelical minister resisting militarist propaganda disseminated by US Churches] witnessed that "the service finished with the chorus singing 'God Bless America' and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses."[1]

MICHAEL HARDT & ANTONIO NEGRI: Empire creates a greater potential for revolution than did the modern regimes of power because it presents us, alongside the machine of command, with an alternative: the set of all the exploited and the subjugated, a multitude that is directly opposed to Empire, with no mediation between them. At this point, then, as Augustine says, our task is to discuss to the best of our powers, "the rise, the development and the destined ends of the two cities ... which we find interwoven ... and mingled with one another." [2]

ROBERT FISK, BEIRUT: What's happening [in Lebanon] is obviously the mass punishment of a whole people, the Lebanese, in response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of three others on Wednesday of last week... I think the massacre of the innocents must obviously apply to both sides. The Israeli dead have an equal right to that claim. But the scale -- I mean, "disproportionate" is not the word for it -- the scale of the response is obscene.[3] Even a small example, I'll give you. Yesterday, something fell out of the sky over a small area of Beirut called Qurashim [sic]. I think it was part of the wing, the wingtip of an F-16. The Israelis say it's not, but I think it probably was. And it crashed in a fiery volcano glow and burned trees, bushes, the roadway, and decapitated a young man in his car who was driving home to his family.[4]

RAMI G. KHOURI, BEIRUT: The strength and assertiveness of the Islamist movements -- whether through military confrontation like Hizbullah or through winning elections as in many other cases -- is a sign that majorities of Arab citizens are not content to remain docile and dejected in the state of subjugation and defeat that has defined them for decades. Israel and the US have shown they are prepared to destroy an entire country to assert their interests if not also their dominance in this region... [5]

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: His prayers are evil who hopes to have someone to hate or to fear in order to conquer them. If, therefore, it was by waging 'just wars,' not impious or iniquitous ones that the Romans were able to acquire so great an empire, why shouldn't Foreign Iniquity also be worshipped by them as a goddess? For we see that She has contributed much to the extension of empire, she who fabricated unjust foes so that there would be enemies with whom the Romans could wage just wars and augment their empire. Why, moreover, should'nt Iniquity also be a goddess -- at least one of foreign nations -- if Trembling Fear, Pale Terror, and Fever have merited being Roman gods? [6]

I went to Epcot (may its name be blessed) with Augustine in Late July to visit the World of Shops orbiting the Pond of Fireworks, but, despite our apparent connections with Divinity, we were forced into Parking Remote from the Kingdom. During the long wandering in Exile on the Asphalt Plain, the City's neon Glow on our horizon, my Mentor stopped suddenly, transfixed, seeming to look into the Sun (towed across the sky by Tinker Bell), and began to report a Vision which, I must divulge for the sake of objectivity and fairness, may not have been genuinely inspired by Walt but, alas, only the result of Heat Stroke consequent on Republican "Climate Change" (for we 'Americans' must not use the forbidden phrase, "Global W*****g"). Inspired by his new Insight, he pumped the saintly Bellows of the Spiritus Sanctus, detailing a vision itself revealed by Pageant Wagons peopled by a curious assemblage of Dramatis Personae, all of which took shape like an informatic mirage from his words, which I shall do my best to relate.

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (appearing from the digital tesserae of a great Video monitor rolled on Wheels of Plastic, looking up from his papyrus Confessions as if in a Roman mosaic, takes a Reflexive Look at the Tele-visual consumption of suffering by the Comfortable): Theatrical spectacles used to carry me away, filled with images of my own miseries and with fuel for my fire. Why is it that a person wishes to feel pain when he views mournful and tragic scenes on stage that he himself would, nevertheless, be unwilling to suffer? And still the spectator wishes to suffer pain from these things and the pain itself is her pleasure. What is this if not miserable insanity?[7]

PETER HERSHBERG, JERUSALEM (riding the Online Anti-War Wagon): After pounding Lebanon from the skies for nine days, the Israeli army has begun, without any official announcement, the ground phase of its military operation, with thousands of elite troops having crossed the border into south Lebanon to hunt down Hezbollah fighters and their stockpiles of rockets... But some military observers in Israel caution that this is the moment for which Hezbollah has been waiting. Having continued to fire rockets into northern Israel despite the fierce aerial blitz, they say, the Shi'ite organization is now trying to lure Israel into south Lebanon, where its fighters are firmly dug in and where the rocky, mountainous terrain gives them an advantage in fighting a conventional military force.[8]

SAYYED HASSAN NASRALLAH, BEIRUT: "Any Israeli incursion will have no political results if it does not achieve its declared goals, primarily an end to the rocketing of Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine ... I assure you that this goal will not be achieved, God willing, by an Israeli incursion."[9]

ROBERT SCHEER, NEW YORK: (standing on a vast stage where the World Trade Center stood): Those who mindlessly support Israel, right or wrong, from President Bush on through the cheerleaders in Congress and the media, betray the security of the Jewish state. They are enablers who have encouraged Israel's dependency on the drug of militarism as a false escape from the difficult accommodations needed to bring peace to the Middle East.[10]

NOAM CHOMSKY (dressed as Moral Conscience of Empire on a Wagon Built all of Language with an Aura of Truth): The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner -- and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis -- there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails. That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources -- most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defense (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.[11]

DEMOCRACY NOW: (Placard in Black Letters on White held by a Statue of Liberty, on a Wagon of the same name): Lebanon is marking a national day of mourning, a day after Israeli warplanes bombed the village of Qana killing 57... After the attack, Israel released what appeared to be video footage of Hezbollah rockets being launched from Qana towards towns in northern Israel, and the Israeli military said that Qana had been targeted because Hezbollah had been using the village as a base from which to launch rockets. This is not the first time that Qana has been devastated by Israeli fire. In 1996, more than 106 villagers died after Israel bombed the UN compound where they were seeking refuge. In the aftermath of the strike 10 years ago, reporting by Robert Fisk led to the United Nations condemnation of the attack.[12]

BEIRUT DAILY STAR: (Rising Spectrally over the Pageants): Israel destroyed the home and office of Hezbollah's leader Friday and tightened its seal on Lebanon, blasting its air and road links to the outside world to punish the guerrilla group -- and with it, the country -- for the capture of two Israeli soldiers... Hezbollah's Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and his family were safe after missiles demolished the two buildings in Beirut's crowded southern neighborhoods, Hezbollah said.[13]

SAYYED HASSAN NASRALLAH: (speaking from a mobile phone booth with wireless Internet connections): "You wanted an open war. You will get an open war!"[14]

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: (Beirut, August 3, 2006, represented by a Statue of Justice on the Wagon of Compassion) -- Israeli forces have systematically failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes.[15]

ROBERT FISK: (Appearing in the Venerable Twin Masks of Journalist and Ethicist, riding on a Wagon called Courage): And there was no doubt of the missile which killed all those children yesterday. It came from the United States, and upon a fragment of it was written: "For use on MK-84 Guided Bomb BSU-37-B." No doubt the manufacturers can call it "combat-proven" because it destroyed the entire three-storey house in which the Shalhoub and Hashim families lived. They had taken refuge in the basement from an enormous Israeli bombardment, and that is where most of them died.[16]

EDWARD SAID: (in the crimson mantle of Philosopher of the People, on a Wagon called Wisdom): Without a well-organized sense that these people over there were not like "us" and didn't appreciate "our" values -- the very core of traditional Orientalist dogma -- there would have been no war [in Iraq].[17]

WASHINGTON, July 21: (delivered by a crier of 'news'): The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.[18]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, August 1: (on the Bull Wagon, drawn by elephants, speaking through a large horn, standing before what was a Burning but which is now only a Smoldering Bush): Clearly, the tragedy in Qana was, first of all, a terrible tragedy for the Lebanese people, for people everywhere. And it was deeply saddening, and the United States immediately expressed its condolences.[19]

GIRL BLOGGER FROM IRAQ: (sitting before a Flying Notebook with multicolored board, whose keys miraculously sound with the Music of the Spheres floating just above a Wagon called Rebellion): I woke up this morning to scenes of carnage and destruction on the television and for the briefest of moments, I thought it was footage of Iraq. It took me a few seconds to realize it was actually Qana in Lebanon. The latest village to see Israeli air strikes. The images were beyond gruesome -- body parts and corpses being hauled out from under tons of debris. I'm so frustrated I can't think straight. I'm full of rage against Israel, the US, Britain, Iran and most of Europe. The world is going to go to hell for standing by and allowing the massacre of innocents.[20]

GENERAL CHARLES SHIKHANI (addressing the SLA [South Lebanon Army] while raising the red and white cedar Lebanese flag, again, over Marjayun, a Christian town 7 km from the Israel-Lebanon border, recently occupied by the IDF): "The Lebanese people are waiting for you. We salute on the solemn day firstly the martyrs who have shed their blood on the earth of the motherland. And we salute the resistance [Hezbollah]... The Israeli forces forgot that our army was supported by its people and by the resistance..."[21]

ROBERT FISK: (turning blazing eyes toward a broken-down, low-on-Fuel Wagon called America): And I keep saying to myself, "If I was a Muslim, how much more outraged might I be?" I turned to an American friend of mine tonight back in Beirut before I came home, and I said, "You know, I've been watching this now for more than two weeks, and there's going to be another 9/11." There's going to be another 9/11, and then we're going to hear all the usual claptrap about how it's good versus evil, and they hate us because we're good and democratic, and they hate our values, and all the other material that comes out of the rear end of a bull that your president and my prime minister talk.[22]

GEORGE W BUSH: (Peeking from between Smoking Branches his words coming forth, miraculous, in obscurantist Billows, seemingly distracted by a psychomachia with the Daemon of Weaponry): For decades, the status quo in the Middle East permitted tyranny and terror to thrive... And as we saw on Sept. 11, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States, and it had to change.[23]

HASSAN NASRALLAH: (speaking via Satellite TV Wagon, "[explaining] the roots of Zionist occupation and American colonialism and [the] so-called "New World Order," as puts it): When we go back and read some of the words or phrases of the American president Bush speeches during the past few days, weeks and months, we will find that some of his words and phrases identified the title of this war... he said: it is the responsibility of each American at the present time to guarantee the domination and the spread of the American values in other parts of this world... addressing his officers and soldiers, encouraging them to be patient, endure and tolerate the difficulties, he told them we are fighting for the values of civilization (of course it would be the materialistic American civilization!). He promises to send forces to this country ... and that he aims at transferring the values of the American society to the various countries, societies, and states, since terror cannot be exterminated by the means of military and security only. Yet he says it should be fought by means of culture, which means that we should wipe out the culture that gives birth to terrorists and uprisings, in order to replace it with another culture, which would not push those societies' individuals to commit acts of terror (of course it would be the terror according to the American comprehension).[24]

SHIMON PERES (Israeli Vice Premier speaking from the PBS NEWS Wagon): May I say one thing? There are four operations [for the Iranians], not one. One is against Israel to break our heart (inaudible) The second is against Lebanon, to de-Lebanize Lebanon and make it a Shiite country, instead of a multinational country. To convert the Middle East from an Arab region to a Persian one, under the spell of Iran. Then again to win in Iraq. There is a great ambition of Iran to take over the Middle East, and those four points, all of them, stem from the same ambition.[25]

EDWARD SAID: (reflects): Let's examine first what US Middle East policy has wrought since George W. Bush came to power almost three years ago in an election decided finally by the Supreme Court, not by the popular vote. Even before the atrocities of September 11, Bush's team had given Ariel Sharon's government a free hand to colonize the West Bank and Gaza, to kill, detain and expel people at will, to demolish their homes, expropriate their land, imprison them by curfew and hundreds of military blockades, make life for them generally speaking impossible; after 9/11, Sharon simply hitched his wagon to "the war on terrorism" ...[26]

NEWS RUNNER (10 August, 2006): British authorities said Thursday that they had thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up multiple airliners traveling between Britain and the United States, creating "mass murder on an unimaginable scale."[27]

Comic Interlude: The Carolina Cycle

MAX WEBER: (on Summer Vacation in North Carolina, surprised by [verwundert über, as he's said] his witnessing a full-immersion baptism, and contemplating the Shade of Jesse Helms): Any number of "orders" and clubs of every conceivable kind have now started to take over some of the functions of the religious community. There is hardly a small businessman with ambitions who does not wear some badge in his buttonhole. But the original model for these formations, all of which serve to guarantee the "respectability" of the individual, remains the church community.[28]

GEORGE W BUSH: (with a rustle of withered and sooty limbs, his every word emerging from the snapping of a burned branch in the Tree of Life, amidst newly Logged forest, whose sap has been Consumed for Profit, as his once miraculous Shrubbery is circled by Vultures reeling and Sick on the fluorocarbon Wind above the poisoned waters of a mountain stream): My attitude is this. There are a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace. And those of us who are peace-loving must work together to help the agents of peace -- Israel, President Abbas, and others -- to achieve their objective.[29]

SHADE OF SENATOR JESSE HELMS: (fuming about USAID to practitioners of Voodoo): . . if the Administration insists on funding these programs I shall not stand in the way, so long as you agree to the following conditions: 1) that no funds be obligated to any affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) in Haiti, including PROFAMIL; and 2) that no funds be provided directly or indirectly to any group whose programs include producing material intended to be used in a voodoo ceremony ... A.I.D. is funding programs that endorse or legitimize what amounts to witchcraft.[30]

WEBER: I'll keep your view of Haitian family values in mind, Senator, but, you may have your issues confused; this conversation is supposed to be about Lebanon and, besides, Bill Clinton is no longer President. Al Gore was elected after him, though there is still some confusion about the result. But don't worry, the Church of Business still rules, and Castro isn't feeling well.


MEL GIBSON: (wandering in Drunk and Bearded, he thinks, like Jesus; he drives, with some considerable swerves, a wagon called Vice): "F*****g Jews! The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." To police officer, "Are you a Jew?"[31]

OFFICER: As a matter of fact, yes: I'm Jesus -- and you're under arrest.

NOAM CHOMSKY: I'm a Jew too, you nut, and, while I have your wavering attention, let me quote you what I recently wrote about the alleged Israel Lobby that is supposed to have convinced US policymakers to sacrifice their own interests over the years: after pointing out that 1) US energy corporations made vast profits from Middle East oil during the 60 years since Israel was founded and 2) the US has successfully armed and used Israel to combat Arab nationalism for its own strategic advantage, I argue that the US pursued the destruction of democratic regimes and independent economies elsewhere in the world, just as it has done in the ME, manipulating various other regimes apace; "The Reason [that the Israel Lobby thesis has so much appeal] is that it leaves the US government untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility, "Wilsonian idealism," etc., merely in the grip of an all-powerful force that it cannot escape."[32]

MEL: You mean I'm blaming the Jews for my own sins? Jesus, I need a drink! I'm on the wagon!

HEZBOLLAH MP HUSSEIN HAJI HASSAN: (who soberly declines Mel's offer to buy him a tall one): Israel's history is based on aggressions and wars. The last Israeli offensive was in fact a US attack on Lebanon.[33]

OFFICER: Quiet in the back of the Police Wagon, please!

GEORGE BUSH: (on the Bull Wagon, surrounded by his Vulcans) "See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over," apparently referring to the guerilla force's firing of rockets into Israel. "I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with [Syrian leader Bashir] Assad and make something happen."[34]

MARTIN PERETZ: (on the Band Wagon, which is moving steadily to the Right): The administration has evinced stunning moral and military clarity in the face of international pressure to rush toward a premature resolution, and its Democratic opponents seem also to have accepted its logic, if some a bit squeamishly. Condoleezza Rice has been a compelling voice in the public argument and in the arguments among allies, as well.[35]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: (spinning in circles with her Bull horn, on very expensive shoes): But the United States is still talking to all of the parties, and we're going to continue to talk to all of the parties, because everyone recognizes that the United States wants to have an end to this violence.[36]

RAY SUAREZ: What do you mean by talk to all of the parties, because three of the main instigators identified by the Bush administration in this particular conflict -- Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran -- the United States doesn't talk to?

EDWARD SAID: The appalling consequences of the US and British intervention in Iraq are only just beginning to unfold, first with the coldly calculated destruction of its modern infrastructure, then with the looting and burning of one of the world's richest civilizations, and finally the totally cynical American attempt to engage a band of motley "exiles" plus various large corporations in the supposed re-building of the country and the appropriation not only of its oil but also its modern destiny.[37]

ROBERT FISK: On the ground, when you're here, when you see the wounded, see the dead, you realize the immorality, the obscenity, the atrocity of statesmen, as they think they are, claiming that, you know, it isn't yet time for a ceasefire. A hasty ceasefire would not be a good thing, as Condoleezza Rice said. 24 hours before, I saw a picture of her on a beach in Malaysia. And people remember this. People remember this. In the hospital it was a young man who said -- turned to me, he said, "Why have you done this to us? Why have you done this to us?" And the woman I was talking to said the same: "Why does the West want to do this to us?"[38]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: "What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing -- the birth pangs of a new Middle East and, whatever we do, we have to be certain that we're pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one."[39]

HASSAN NASRALLAH: If there is something important for the Americans it is the money, power, and technology. That's all. There is no other civilization, philosophy, values, ideologies, human ethics or virtues, passion or love....[40]

YITZHAK LAOR (hailing from the crow's nest of a heath schooner dubbed The London Review of Books): The [Israeli] media fell back on the kitsch to which Israelis grow accustomed from childhood: the most menacing army in the region is described here as if it is David against an Arab Goliath. Yet the Jewish Goliath has sent Lebanon back 20 years, and Israelis themselves even further: we now appear to be a lynch-mob culture, glued to our televisions, incited by a premier whose 'leadership' is being launched and legitimised with rivers of fire and destruction on both sides of the border ... they think that stopping the war without scoring a definitive victory would amount to defeat... This logic reveals our national psychosis, and it derives from our over-identification with Israeli military thinking.[41]

GREGORY BATESON: (Riding, with Margaret Mead, on the Wagon of Ethnography, circled by a chorus of mosquitoes): [Studying Iatmul ethos] led to the recognition of schismogenesis [which involved] two classes of regenerative or "vicious" circles. Both of these were sequences of social interaction such that A's acts were stimuli for B's acts, which in turn became stimuli for more intense action on the part of A, and so on, A and B being persons acting as individuals or as group members. [The formal properties of symmetrical and complementary schismogenesis were linked to] L.F. Richardson's equations for the international arms race... These equations assume that the intensity of A's actions ... is simply proportional to the amount by which B is ahead of A.[42]

VIRTUE: So, in other words, the militarization of a schismogenic relationship between peoples can only escalate the generative fracture splitting them in the first place? The conflict will build until a) one party is made to submit by the other, or b) both parties are destroyed? Is this why Israel's "disproportionate" response to Hezbollah will lead, if Bateson is right, only to escalation of the larger conflict?

BATESON: A degenerative pattern, quantified, can only become more degenerate. Sending more weapons into a schizmogenic cycle can only further quantify the schism, leading toward the destruction of one or both groups, perhaps spreading a wider regional or even global break-up. The only way to correct schismogenic runaway is by communication -- as in Martin Buber's "I-Thou" instead of "I-it" relations.[43]

VIRTUE: That's like, "talking," right?

MARTIN BUBER: (on a wagon circled by doves, surmounted by a sail embroidered with Shalom [peace]): The primary word I-Thou can be spoken only with the whole being. Concentration and fusion into the whole being can never take place through my agency, not can it ever take place without me. I become through my relation to the Thou; and as I become the I, I say Thou. -- All real living is meeting.[44]

BATESON: Of course, it's difficult to discuss the rules of gravitation during an earthquake.[45]

MEL: "Maybe I could have a drin ..., meet with the leaders of the Jewish Community to seek forgiveness."

LEON WIESELTIER (Literary Editor on The New Republic's Wagon): ... it is the elders' considered view that whereas alcoholism may require a process of recovery, anti-Semitism is a more intractable and less chic failing."[46]

PRESS QUESTION: Does the President forgive Mel Gibson or not?

TONY SNOW: The President believes in the forgiveness of sins for all who seek forgiveness.[47]

POPE BENEDICT XVI: (on the Vatican Wagon): I thought forgiveness was my job!

HIGHER POWER: (on an Evangelical Wagon donated by Alcoholics Anonymous): I thought it was mine![48]

WEBER: (dripping from a recent involuntary immersion): I told you America is a Church!

VIRTUE: (thumbing through the Torah and the Qur'an): So Samuel Huntington is wrong in arguing that the West and the Middle East are in a "clash of civilizations"? It's rather a dysfunctional religious family dispute amplified by rabid capitalization and Daemonic Weaponry -- compliments of the USA?[49]

IRS: Your tax dollars at work!

VIRTUE: So, if Scheer is right, weaponry has the same effect on the structures it inhabits as a drug: it makes the recipient feel powerful, while magnifying his flaws. Americans are selling 'drugs' to the Israelis? I guess drunks love company!

BATESON: Addiction has the same schismogenic structure as an arms race: the alcoholic is in escalating symmetrical competition with "the bottle" until he or she "hits bottom" and starts the degenerative cycle over again.[50]

MANKIND: Or consider oil, the more we get, the more we need, and the more quickly we turn up the burner under the pot in which we sit, like Bateson's (and Al Gore's) unwitting frog.[51] So, if we add weaponry to increase the oil supply, and then throw in self-righteous religious devotion to prevent even the possibility of considering that we might be wrong, then presto: we have a script for extinction.

GODDESS OF LIBERAL ARTS: (Riding on a Wagon called Ecologia Litteraria) Bush's America's contribution to world literature!

VIRTUE: A New Sacrament for a New Middle East: Bread into Weapons, Oil into Blood -- like Transylvanian Transubstantiation! I hope that's not what Jesus had in mind when he (according to local drinkers) changed water to wine in Qana!

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Hezbollah's attacks in Israel on Sunday and Monday were at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they were serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes ... the warheads used suggest a desire to maximize harm to civilians. Some of the rockets launched against Haifa over the past two days contained hundreds of metal ball bearings that are of limited use against military targets but cause great harm to civilians and civilian property. The ball bearings lodge in the body and cause serious harm.[52] ... In addition to strikes from airplanes, helicopters, and traditional artillery, Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions against populated areas, causing civilian casualties...[53]

A Morality Play

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: For every man even in waging war is seeking peace; but no one makes war by pursuing peace. For even those who wish for the peace in which they exist to be disturbed do not hate peace, but wish it to be transformed in keeping with their own preference. It is not so, therefore, that they do not wish that there be peace, but that they wish for that peace which they prefer... In fact robbers themselves wish to have peace with their cohorts, so that they can be more forcefully and securely hostile to the peace of others.[54]

LEO TOLSTOY: (rolling into the internecine action, wearing a T-shirt that says Agapê (love), on a mighty Wagon called War & Peace, offers a homily): There can only be a semblance of ethics in which murder in the shape of war and the execution of criminals is allowed, but no true ethics. The recognition of the life of every person as sacred is the first and only basis of all ethics.[55]

JOHN BOLTON: "It is a matter of great concern to us ...that these civilian deaths are occurring. It's a tragedy... [But] I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts." [Israel's military action is clearly]"self-defense" [which has had] "the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths."[56]

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: (directing his digital quill at the Bush Team and their alleged 'War on Terror'): And so, if justice is removed, are kingdoms anything but great bands of robbers? ... Thus a pirate whom he had seized gave an elegant and true answer to the Great Alexander. For when the ruler asked the man why it seemed right to him to infest the sea, the pirate answered with open contempt: "The same thing that you do when you occupy the world; but because I do it with a little ship, I am called a 'pirate'; because you do it with a great fleet, you are called an 'emperor.'"[57]

HASSAN NASRALLAH: "A tall man in a blue shirt ... seemingly glimpsing the vista of ruins for the first time. "All of us are Hassan Nasrallah!" he bellowed. "Every man, every woman, every stone is Hassan Nasrallah!" "We are not against the American people, we are against American foreign policy," he said, switching from Arabic to French to talk to a reporter. Not the Hezbollah leader, he quickly explained; he simply had the same name. He works at a bank nearby and is a distant relative of the revered cleric...[58]

ROBERT FISK: It's quite clear from listening to the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] statement today that they believe that family deserved to die, because 90 feet away, they claim, a missile was fired. So they sentenced all those people to death. Is that what we're supposed to believe? I mean, presumably it is. I can't think of any other reason why they should say, "Well, 30 meters away a missile was fired." Well, thanks very much. So those little children's corpses in their plastic packages, all stuck together like giant candies today, this is supposed to be quite normal, this is how war is to be waged by the IDF.[59]

SHIMON PERES: No, we never have had a strategy to hit civilian lives and clearly not to hit a single child. Every child that loses his life is a tragedy for us we never intended. But, alas, at war there are mistakes. The greatest mistake is the war itself...[60]

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The pattern of attacks shows the Israeli military's disturbing disregard for the lives of Lebanese civilians. Our research shows that Israel's claim that Hezbollah fighters are hiding among civilians does not explain, let alone justify, Israel's indiscriminate warfare. [61]

BATESON: ... there is the question of weapons. If you believe in a unilateral world and you think that the other people believe in that world (and you're probably right, they do), then, of course, the thing is to get weapons, hit them hard, "control" them... But it is still epistemological lunacy and leads inevitably to various sorts of disaster.[62]

'PRESIDENT' BUSH: Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our own people, and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility.[63]

VIRTUE: I love Imperial Religion. Save me a good seat in heaven!

AUGUSTINE: Aren't they all 'good'? As I used to say, "They are insane whom any of Your creations displeases"[64] The Celestial City is the One ever beyond the Greedy Reach of Empire. You'll know it by its mirage-filled deserts and bubbling oases, its rolling whale roads and Nordic wildernesses, its snowcapped mountains rising through aqueous skies, its intractable scrublands, rolling grasslands, and vast tundra, its tropical flora and other sophisticated forms of solar architecture, its biomorphic cities, its powerful rivers and immaculate streams, as well as its charismatic megafauna some of whom, by the way, eat hominids. Darwin insisted on that touch. It's just beyond the historical Dialectic of class struggle, as my friend Marx thoughtfully suggested, and, contrary to reports on Fox News, George W. Bush is not President there.

MARTIN PERETZ: (now in parade uniform on the Band Wagon, strangely echoing President Bush's 'educational' policy): The Israeli military does not leave even its dead soldiers in enemy hands. And, given what finally awaits living Israeli captives, there is an even greater compulsion to retrieve the kidnapped. Let's call this ethic "leave no soldier behind."[65]

ROBERT FISK (here on the Wagon of Journalistic Responsibility): Hezbollah use houses as cover for their missile launching. But the odd thing is the idea that for the Israeli military that somehow it's okay to kill all these children; if a missile is launched 30, 90 feet from their house, that's okay then. I'm sitting here, for example, in my house tonight in darkness -- there's no electricity -- next to a car park. What if someone launches a missile from the car park? Am I supposed to die for that? Is that a death sentence for me? Is that how Israel wages war? If I have children in the basement, are they to die for that? And then I'm told it's my fault or it's Hezbollah's fault? You know, these are serious moral questions.[66]

AL-GHAZZALI: (on a miraculously invisible Wagon only marked by the sign Tawhîd [the oneness of God and all creation], with in a eulogy and a hope for innocents): Know that the world is one stage of the stages of the journey to God Most High. All in this station are travelers. Since the destination of journey of this caravan of travelers is the same, they are all as one. There must be friendship and unity among them and mutual aid.[67]

AMAL SAAD-GHORAYEB (consulting a vast copy of Hizbullah: Politics and Religion) ... the [Hezbollah] resistance functions as a form of political compensation for Shiite political under-representation; although an estimated 35-40 percent of Lebanese are believed to be Shiites, the community is allotted only 21 percent of parliamentary seats. Accordingly, any plan that seeks to disarm the resistance will be construed as a form of communal disempowerment and will render the Shiites a potentially destabilizing force, eager to upset the political status quo. Unfettered by Syria or its priority of resisting Israel, Hizbullah could well play a starring role ... striving to enact its regional agenda through a majoritarian democracy and in so doing, entrenching itself as the custodian of the Shiite political identity.[68]

HASSAN NASRALLAH: Completing the victory [in Lebanon] can come with reconstruction. Hezbollah's strength [derives in part from] the gross vacuum left by the state ... [Hezbollah] is a state within a nonstate, actually.[69]

RAMI G. KHOURI: This convergence of worldviews and behavior does not augur well for a stable, peaceful Middle East. What we just witnessed in Lebanon and Israel may have been a terrible foretaste of larger furies to come, unless more rational minds prevail and work to ensure, once and for all, the equal rights of Arabs, Israelis, Iranians and all others in this region.[70]

HARDT & NEGRI: ... two traditional characteristics [of bellum justum or "just war"] have reappeared in our postmodern world: on the one hand, war is reduced to the status of police action, and on the other, the new power that can legitimately exercise ethical functions through war is sacralized... Just war is no longer in any sense an activity of defense or resistance, as it was, for example, in the Christian tradition from Saint Augustine ... as a necessity of the 'worldly city' to guarantee its own survival. It has become rather an activity justified in itself."[71]

VIRTUE: Is That why we have jets and flags over the altar?

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO: Anyone who sadly contemplates evils so great, so horrendous, so fierce, must confess his misery; furthermore, whoever either suffers or thinks about these things without remorseful spirit is certainly for that reason more miserable by far, for he thinks that he is happy only because he has lost human feeling.[72]

AUGUSTINE OF EPCOT (overdubbing his words onto the moving tesserae of the Original Augustine's mouth, in an animated bubble): I was born in AD 354 in Tagaste (Souk-Ahras, Algeria). I was Educated there, in Madura, and at Carthage. I became bishop of Hippo Regius (Annaba or Bona) in 396, in the Days of the Roman occupation of the 'Middle East,' a land that was a great meeting place of religions and peoples under the aegis of Empire. I learned something then that has been paraphrased by modern commentators (for lack of an 'authentic' citation): In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas. "In essentials unity, in inessentials, liberty, in both, charity."[73] Christianity then was in an ambivalent position with the Imperium: on the one hand, it resisted worldly dominion, but on the other it needed the Imperial network, the roads of commerce, language, and communication, in order to flourish. As an African under Rome I was on the periphery and in the center, in the 'world' of Empire but not of it, so to speak. So I set out to build the diaphanous house of a New Order, beyond Roman Dominion, in the Hyperspatial domain of supernatural Mentation, the City of God as it were, ever on the Horizon like, nowadays, the Magic Kingdom. In those days, in the late 4th century, the Imperium was fractious at best, its horizon bleak, except for those who could see Over it. I thought that I had a kind of Providential Vision of things to come, of a unifying creed for a Multitude of peoples. There's the issue: how to reconcile the two cities, that inconceivable One and the irreducible diversity of the many. How to feed a crowd on just one Fish, so to speak; it would take a political miracle. But Now, in the new Electromagnetic Information Space of postmodern Empire, can the material semiotics, the biopower of embodied spirits, at last throw off their subjugations? Can Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, with living eyes, see through the Shroud, the Entropic Corruption of Empire's Command and Control, the Weaponry of Anti-Life, of Wealth dedicated to Extinction? As if describing Bush Administration energy policy, with its necessary constitutional subversions and preemptive invasions, its 'smart' weapons and dull diplomats, Hardt and Negri, who quote me so I'll quote them, adduce an Ecologic Metaphor: "Through corruption, imperial power extends a smoke screen across the world, and command over the multitude is exercised in this putrid cloud, in the absence of light and truth."[74] A daunting cloud, for sure, but raised really by so few at the expense of so many; a feat only made possible because We Let Them Get Away With It. So Hardt and Negri go on to invoke my wisdom, to point out: "The great reigns are only the enlarged projections of little thieves."[75] So what if the revolutionary potential of the Multitude, who produce the wealth of the world, do its work after all, were to overturn the Pageant Wagons of Command and Control and, instead, Power their own Displays? Would the Two Cities then be reconciled, interwoven, in a humane and livable world?

At this point Epcot's Augustine fell suddenly Mute and, as if waking from a trance (which he did), renewed our walk, like Socrates to Agathon's Symposium, toward the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and the Magic Kingdom.


[1] Laurie Goodstein, "Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock," NYT 31 July 2006.

[2] Empire (paperback edition, Cambridge: Harvard U P, 2001), p. 393; the citation is of Augustine, City of God, IX, i: "That the contrary propensities of good and bad angels have arisen, not from a difference in their nature and origin, since God, the good Author and Creator of all essences, created them both, but from a difference in their wills and desires, it is impossible to doubt. While some steadfastly continued in that which was the common good of all, namely, in God Himself, and in His eternity, truth, and love; others, being enamored rather of their own power, as if they could be their own good, lapsed to this private good of their own, from that higher and beatific good which was common to all, and, bartering the lofty dignity of eternity for the inflation of pride, the most assured verity for the slyness of vanity, uniting love for factious partisanship, they became proud, deceived, envious." Mutatis mutandis, this is a good account, Hardt and Negri imply, of the private appropriation of the information space not only of public communication in the networks of the nöosphere, but also in the phase space of evolution. Will the weaponized privatization of the planet, and the desperately escalating race to appropriate wealth and resources that this entails, not soon include homo sapiens in the "mass extinction event" that now is enveloping the biosphere? (See Christopher Flavin, "A Dying Planet," Worldwatch Institute, 3 August 2006, online:

[3] For a well documented schematic look at the dates and levels of violence by Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces, respectively, see Stephen R. Shalom, "Lebanon War Question & Answer," ZNET:</ a>.

[4] Robert Fisk, "Israeli Assault on Lebanon Inflicting 'Mass Punishment on a Whole People,'" Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, 19 July 2006: =thread&tid=25.

[5] "A Foretaste of Larger Furies to Come," The Daily Star, 16 August 2006, online: article_ID=74758&categ_id=5.

[6] City of God (De Civitate Dei), IV.15, my translation: Mala uota sunt optare habere quem oderis uel quem timeas, ut possit esse quem uincas. Si ergo iusta gerendo bella, non impia, non iniqua, Romani imperium tam magnum adquirere potuerunt, numquid tamquam aliqua dea colenda est eis etiam iniquitas aliena? Multum enim ad istam latitudinem imperii eam cooperatam uidemus, quae faciebat iniuriosos, ut essent cum quibus iusta bella gererentur et augeretur imperium. Cur autem et iniquitas dea non sit uel externarum gentium, si Pauor et Pallor et Febris dii Romani esse meruerunt? As Michael Hanby argues, this passage might be sobering to commentators who claim Augustine as a contributor to "just war" theory. I am indebted to Hanby for a number of key insights and citations regarding the interpretation of Augustine in the post 9/11 world. See his "Democracy and its Demons," Augustine and Politics, John Doody et al., eds. (Oxford: Lexington, 2005), pp. 117-144. See Chomsky's critique of Michael Waltzer's just war theory, "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy," C-Span 2: Book TV, 29 May 2006.

[7] Confessions (Confessiones) III.2, my translation: rapiebant me spectacula theatrica, plena imaginibus miseriarum mearum et fomitibus ignis mei. quid est quod ibi homo v,ult dolere cum spectat luctuosa et tragica, quae tamen pati ipse nollet? et tamen pati vult ex eis dolorem spectator et dolor ipse est voluptas eius. quid est nisi mirabilis insania?

[8] Peter Hirshberg, "Invasion of Lebanon Plays into Hezbollah's Hands,", 22 July 2006:

[9] "Nasrallah: Invasion will not stop rockets," Aljazeera.Net, 26 July 2006, online: 381ABD3EAD7C.htm.

[10] Robert Scheer, "Israel's Dependency on the Drug of Militarism," The Nation, 2 August 2006:

[11] Noam Chomsky, "Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine," Letter, 19 July 2006:

[12] "Robert Fisk Reports from Lebanon," introduction: =thread&tid=25.

[13] "War of Destruction: Friday Afternoon," 14 July 2006, online: article_ID=73967&categ_id=2.

[14] "Hezbollah Declares War on Israel," Aljazeera.Net, 15 July 2006, online: 9EA595F2D4B1.htm.

[15] "Israel/Lebanon: End Indiscriminate Strikes Against Civilians," 3 August 2006

[16] "How Can We Stand By and Allow This to Go On?" ZNET1 August, 2006:</ a>.

[17] Edward Said, "Orientalism, 25 Years Later." Counterpunch, 4 August 2003:

[18] "Turmoil in the Middle East: Weapons; US Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israeis," NYT 22 July 2006.

[19] "US Secretary of State Rice Hopes for UN Resolution by Week's End," Interview by Ray Suarez, Jim Lehrer NewsHour, 1 August 2006, PBS: .

[20] "Baghdad Burning, Girl Blog from Iraq," 30 July 2006:

[21] Sammy Ketz and Taher Abu Hamdan, "Residents cheer as Lebanese army raises flag in south," Beirut Daily Star, 17 August 2006, online: 2&article_id=74801.

[22] "Robert Fisk Reports from Lebanon," 31 July 2006: =thread&tid=25.

[23] John Broeder, "Bush Calls Attack on Qana 'Awful,' but Refrains From Calling for Immediate Cease-Fire," NYT 1 August, 2006.

[24] Hassan Nasrallah, "War on Terror," Beirut, Lebanon, 4 April 2002,, online:

[25] "Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres Defends Israel's Actions," PBS Online NewsHour, 1 August 2006, online:</ a>.

[26] Edward Said, "The Appalling Consequences are Now Clear," Counterpunch, 22 April 2003:

[27] "Plot to Bomb Jets is Thwarted in Britain," NYT 10 August 2006.

[28] Max Weber, "'Churches' and 'Sects' in North America," p. 207.

[29] BBC News, 13 July 2006:

[30] Mother Jones, 23 March 1999:

[31] Mr. Gibson's arrest report is online: see page 2 for anti-Semitic remarks:; for my critical perspective on Gibson's filmic theology, see "The City of Disney, Book VIII: Christ Comes to Haiti," Ctheory 5 May 2004, online:

[32] Noam Chomsky, "Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine": freely adapted with comic-poetic license:

[33] "Hajj Hassan: 'Hizbullah's arms are part of national defense,'" 18 August 2006, online: E12F962FDC36.htm.

[34] Cited by Robert Sheer, "Open Mike, Closed Mind," The Nation, 19 July 2006:; for "Vulcans," see James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004).

[35] Martin Peretz, "The New War. Just Cause." The New Republic, 27 July 2006:

[36] "US Secretary of State Rice Hopes," .

[37] Edward Said, "The Appalling Consequences are now Clear," Counterpunch, 22 April 2003:

[38] "Robert Fisk Reports," Democracy Now! 31 July 2006: =thread&tid=25.

[39] Cited by Robert Sheer, "Labor Pains of a Stillborn Foreign Policy," The Nation, 31 July 2006:

[40] Hassan Nasrallah, "War on Terror," Beirut, Lebanon, 4 April 2002,, online:

[41] Yitzhak Laor (on the IDF), "You are Terrorists, We are Virtuous," London Review of Books, 17 August 2006,

[42] "Bali, the Value System of Steady State," Steps to an Ecology of Mind (Northvale NJ: Aronson, 1987), pp. 107-127, p. 109.

[43] Freely improvised for the late anthropologist, who says: "[Martin Buber] differentiates 'I-Thou' from 'I-It' relations, defining the latter as the normal pattern of interaction between man and inanimate objects. The 'I-it' relationship he also regards as characteristic of human relations wherever purpose is more important than love" (Gregory Bateson, "Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation," Steps, pp. 446-453), p. 452.

[44] Martin Buber, I and Thou, 2nd edition, Gregory Smith, trans. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1958), pp. 24-25.

[45] See "Ecology and Flexibility in Urban Civilization," Steps, pp. 502-513.

[46] Cited in Maureen Dowd, "Next Stop for Gibson: dinner theater Shylock," NYT, 3 August 2006.

[47] White House Press Briefing by Tony Snow," 1 August 2006, 2.54 EDT: forgive&hl=en&gl= us&ct=clnk&cd=1.

[48] See Gregory Bateson, "The Cybernetics of Self: A Theory of Alcoholism," Steps, pp. 309-337 for a discussion of the communicative structure of Alcoholics Anonymous and the role of the "higher power" in overcoming the alcoholic's schismogenic battle with the bottle.

[49] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order ( New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996).

[50] Gregory Bateson, "The Cybernetics of Self."

[51] "There is a quasi-scientific fable that if you can get a frog to sit quietly in a saucepan of cold water, and if you then raise the temperature of the water very slowly and smoothly so that there is no moment marked to be the moment at which the frog should jump, he will never jump. He will get boiled. Is the human species changing its own environment with slowly increasing pollution and rotting its mind with slowly deteriorating religion and education in such a saucepan?" Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature (New York: Dutton, 1980), p. 98: cf. Al Gore's use of this parable in the film, An Inconvenient Truth, dir. Davis Guggenheim (Paramount Classics and Participant Productions, 2006):; and see my "City of Disney, Book VI: Promethean Fire Sale," 11/27/2001:

[52] Human Rights Watch Report, 18 July 2006:

[53] HRW "Israel/Lebanon, 3 August 2006.

[54] City of God, IX.12. my translation: Omnis enim homo etiam belligerando pacem requirit; nemo autem bellum pacificando. Nam et illi qui pacem, in qua sunt, perturbari uolunt, non pacem oderunt, sed eam pro arbitrio suo cupiunt commutari. Non ergo ut sit pax nolunt, sed ut ea sit quam uolunt... Proinde latrones ipsi, ut uehementius et tutius infesti sint paci ceterorum, pacem uolunt habere sociorum.

[55] Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You: Christianity not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life, trans. Constance Garnett (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), p. 313.

[56] John Bolton, UN, 17 July 2006: mideastconflictlebanon_060717204728.

[57] City of God, IV.4, my translation: Remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia? quia et latrocinia quid sunt nisi parua regna? ... Eleganter enim et ueraciter Alexandro illi Magno quidam comprehensus pirata respondit. Nam cum idem rex hominem interrogaret, quid ei uideretur, ut mare haberet infestum, ille libera contumacia: Quod tibi, inquit, ut orbem terrarum; sed quia ego exiguo nauigio facio, latro uocor; quia tu magna classe, imperator. Also see Noam Chomsky's Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World (Boston: South End, 2003), which is clearly written based on Augustine's insight.

[58] Robert W. Worth, "Beirut: Returning Home to Ruins: Shock Is Mixed With Outrage," NYT, 15 August 2006, online: http:/ /

[59] "Robert Fisk Reports," Democracy Now! 31 July 2006: =thread&tid=25.

[60] "Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres Defends Israel's Actions," 1 August 2006, online:</ a>.

[61] Kenneth Roth, HRW "Israel/Lebanon," 3 August 2006, "Israel/Lebanon: End Indiscriminate Strikes Against Civilians":

[62] Gregory Bateson, "Pathologies of Epistemology," Steps, pp. 486-495, p. 494.

[63] State of the Union Address, 29 January 2003, NYT, A12.

[64] Confessions VII.14, my translation: Non est sanitas eis, quibus displicet aliquid creaturae tuae ..."

[65] "The New War. Just Cause."

[66] "Robert Fisk Reports from Lebanon."

[67] "The Duties of Brotherhood," Alchemy of Happiness, Muhammad Nur Abdus Salam, trans., Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ed (Chicago: Kazi, 2002), xvii, ii,, p. 17.

[68] Hizbullah: Politcs and Religion (Oxford: Polity Press, 2002). Citation from "Hizbullah's arms and Shiite empowerment," Beirut Daily Star, 22 August 2005, online: article_ID=17828&categ_id=5.

[69] Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, cited by John Kifner, "Hezbollah Leads Work to Rebuild, Gaining Stature," NYT, 15 August 2006, online:

[70] "A Foretaste," op. cit.

[71] Empire, pp. 12-13. On Augustine's alleged support for "just war," at least as understood in the modern sense, see Hanby, "Democracy and its Demons."

[72] City of God, IX.7, my translation: Haec itaque mala tam magna, tam horrenda, tam saeua quisquis cum dolore considerat, miseriam fateatur; quisquis autem uel patitur ea sine animi dolore uel cogitat, multo utique miserius ideo se putat beatum, quia et humanum perdidit sensum.

[73] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, pp. 650-653 (repr. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965); cited by J.J. O'Connor who points out that this quotation originates in the 17th century, not with Augustine, but is in accord with his heart if not his, more rigid, creed. See O'Connell online:

[74] Empire, p. 389.

[75] Empire, p. 390.

Daniel White is Professor of Philosophy and Classics in the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University He is author of Postmodern Ecology and coauthor of Labyrinths of the Mind (both published at Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998).