My last two articles, judging from the volume of email I got, were very well received. People want to know how history, like the seasons, tends to happen in cycles and patterns that are somewhat predictable. When it comes to the United States government repeating history, that is easier to predict than the weather. One thing I touched on in a previous article is the fact that the West, and the United States government who pulls the entire West along like a child pulls a toy wagon, is unable to understand the concept of tribal violence. In truth, tribal and clan violence has not changed, as far as motivations for it go, in several thousands of years.
First, let us understand that this violence in the Middle East is not actually created by the religion of Islam. People have mistakenly imagined it is because they wish it to be so simply explained. In fact, what we have in the Middle East is a shaky confederation of tribes and clans that are only loosely held together by the common faith of Islam. What does not change is that a tribe has its own codes, laws, and taboos that cannot be violated without severe consequences. For example, in many Middle Eastern nations, the penalty for murder is death. We all know that. But what people don’t know is that’s not the only penalty there is.
In many Middle Eastern nations, the penalty for murder is as follows: The family of the murderer has the choice of demanding death for the murderer or accepting what is called “blood price”. This is a cash or barter value of the murdered person’s life, set by tribal law, the sheik (their chief, basically), or clerics. In 1990s Afghanistan, for example, blood price was 100 camels among some clans. The family could ask for or accept blood price and then the murderer would go free. If the murderer or his family could not afford to pay blood price, then the murderer would be put to death. Of course, the family could refuse an offered blood price and demand death and so the murderer would be put to death. That’s how it works and still does in many places.
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The United States government and the West fail to understand that two things are owed to certain tribal factions and clans in the Middle East. That being, blood price for people whom the United States has killed, or a life for a life in revenge. This is inescapable. Until one of those two things is obtained, so-called terrorist attacks will continue without end. There can be no cease fire or peace treaty because blood price has not been paid. There is still the matter of tribal and/or clan law that has not been satisfied. One or two people can sign a cease-fire, yes, but they don’t speak for every tribal faction or clan. The United States government ought to understand that quite well, having had experience with his very dynamic in the 1880s.
It took the United States government about thirty years to finally subdue the Apaches. In the end, the Apaches were not truly defeated; Geronimo got tired and surrendered. There is a difference. The Apaches were defeating governments way back into the 1500s. The Spanish government was not able to protect their own settlements in what is now Southern Arizona. Neither was the Mexican government that came after them. The towns of Tubac and Tumacacori were repeatedly attacked by the Apache and neither the Spanish government or the Mexican government after them were able to defend those two towns.
Enter the United States government who got hold of the land after the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s. The United States military told the people living in what became Southern Arizona that the Mexican government failed to protect them against the Apache and so deserved no allegiance. Tough talk coming from a military that would not be able to wangle a surrender from the Apache until the 1880s. The government thought it had dealt with the Apache because it had gotten peace treaties with some tribes and clans and then put them on a reservation. However, Geronimo and his people fought on for quite some time. Geronimo did not sign a piece of paper with the government. He was not bound by one signed by other Apache leaders. Nor would be bound even if he did and the government failed to live up to its end of the bargain, which they did all the time with others.
Geronimo had already seen the United States government betray his people under the guise of a “peace talk”. Geronimo and his men went out and proved that the United States military could not defend Arizona and New Mexico. Stagecoaches and freight wagons were attacked and burned. Stagecoach way stations were raided and burned. Ranches were raided and burned. People killed all over the place. The modern equivalent is attacks upon airliners, buses, trains, airports, and train stations. Basically, Geronimo was able to bring safe travel to a standstill in Arizona. The United States military would arrive after the fact to write up the casualty reports. Sound familiar?
But understand this: If one takes into account the entire “settlement” of America and let’s say it began in 1700, it took the United States government and the British government before it about 190 years to fully defeat or get a surrender from every Native American tribe. The Spanish government and Mexican government in the Southwest failed to be able to defeat the Apache and then it took the United States government decades to finally get a surrender from them. That’s pretty impressive. It seems to me that the United States government has got a long road ahead of it in the Middle East. Historically, we’re only dealing with the Powhatan Confederacy right now.
What the United States government fails to see is that tribes are not impressed by governments. Why? They don’t really need governments. They have a system of codes and taboos enforced by social values instilled from birth. Commerce is simple: trade, barter, and currency backed by some tangible object be it gold or wampum. Their markets truly are free, therefore, they don’t need much to survive. They don’t collect taxes. When tribes coalesced into civilizations, they often failed as did the Anasazi and the one based at Cahokia because the governments became too big to sustain. That’s also why large caliphates finally failed in the Middle East, too.
Make no mistake, what we are seeing is only the beginning. The United States government is stuck this time, however. They’re not going to be able to sell smallpox infected blankets to the Middle East. They are not going to be able to shoot all the buffalo and starve them into submission. They’re not going to be able force them all onto a reservation. The Middle East knows that. They can hold out for hundreds of years, and they will. For one thing, they’ve seen that treaties from the United States government aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, just like United States currency. Then there’s also the matter of revenge and blood price has not been paid. How can you think you can sit down to a peace talk without even presents to give to the tribe and clans? That has to happen first! Gifts must be made and not just some bogus “Freedom Medal” the U.S. government stamps en masse from a zinc-copper blank.
What does history say? It says prepare for these attacks to continue for at least twenty years, possibly two hundred. Look, the entire Middle East is awash with weapons and ammunition. In some places, it is a standard of exchange used in barter transactions. And the government is going to defeat them how again? Right, they can’t. There is no military solution. The only true solution is to sit down, give gifts, and find out what the blood price is. Pay it and let the Middle East live the way they wish to! It works for them, okay? We have no right to say our “way of life” is better and force it on them at gunpoint! Otherwise, the need to exact a life for a life will continue. You can thank the United States government for getting this whole thing started with their foolish idea to “bring democracy” to tribes who existed without it for thousands of years. Great going, Great Father.