Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blundering Pajama Pundit on Secret Societies


           Recently an article was published in FP. Its focus was Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh speech in Qutar. Hersh stated that the US Joint Special Operations Command is run by officers who believe they are in a holy war. He went even further by stating that they where also in Christian secret societies such as the "Knights of Malta" and "Opus Dei". The article was seemingly to denounce the notion with statements such as "conspiracy-laden diatribe" and "down hill from there".

          The article didn't come across the way he planned. The article just had too much Hersh and not enough denouncing. So another post was made where he again tried to denounce Hersh and clarify his own stance. With four points he provided more ammunition for conspiracy theorists.

1, In reference to the accusation there is a pervasive attitude of a Christian crusade he stated you would have to do a survey of JSOC. "Good luck with that" was his assessment of the possibility of that happening. He is correct there is no chance of a specop survey of whether they believe they are on a crusade.

2, The second point was to defend the organizations themselves as referring to the Knights of Malta as a "Public service organization" and suggesting that because Opus Dei has a facebook page there can't be anything insidious about it.
3, He points out how he knows there are some crusaders like Erik Prince who went private with his "security firm" and brought up the religious texts that were on rifle scopes.
4, He points out that the military doesn’t have crusader coins the have challenge coins.

           None of this is surprising. There are semi secret society groups of all kinds. In their upper education establishments some include fraternities, clubs, and other organizations of like minded individuals. Some are sure to have religious overtones others direct religious purpose. The military and ROTC programs have them in some form and/or members from them. These groups are private and conduct themselves accordingly. (It would presumable be difficult to get a secret hand shake out of college social fraternity student, they often wear big Greek letter if looking to ID them. It would be very unlikely that it would be easier to get it out of the special operations community, they blend.)

           Its important to assess this kind of thing for the civilian leaders who can attempt to keep it in check. The military is given a lot of latitude in how it does operations and always has a lot in what it reports. The military has also taken a lot of what used to be state department territories as relates to foreign policy and its implementation.

           There will always be like minded individuals who try to further their beliefs. That is what political parties are and they have their own secret meetings. While secrecy on some matters is important it is arguably more important to know who has it and what they are doing with it, particularly in a democratic system.

Hersh speech transcript.
First FP article
FP floundering into quagmire