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Empire's embedded intellectuals

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    Empire s embedded intellectuals Campus Watch in the Media by Abdus Sattar Ghazali University of California - Berkeley American Muslim Perspective
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2005
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      Empire's embedded intellectuals

      Campus Watch in the Media
      by Abdus Sattar Ghazali
      University of California - Berkeley
      American Muslim Perspective

      Empire's embedded intellectuals is a term coined by Prof. Hatem
      Bazian of University of California, Berkeley to describe persons
      engaged in the promotion and rationalization of power projects and
      programs domestically and internationally which is carried out at
      the expense of the majority of the American public and the world
      public as well.

      In a recent speech entitled "Empire's embedded intellectuals" at the
      University of California Berkeley, Dr. Bazian, Professor at the Near
      East and Ethnic Studies Department, explained that the embedded
      intellectuals are occupied in scholarship for a national or
      sometimes extra-nationalist goals and often subverting sound
      scientific methods of research and investigation, while asserting
      propositions and hypothesis from an already constructed ideological
      premise. "As such research questions are formulated ideologically
      and evidence to support the research is shifted for the nuggets that
      affirm them."

      Dr. Bazian said that he has coined the "empire's embedded
      intellectuals" term with the specific definition of empire meaning a
      supreme or absolute power held by individual or a configuration of
      individuals and organizations. " In this sense I define empire to be
      a configuration between the government elites as well as corporate
      elite, as the neoconservatives immediately after the victory in
      Afghanistan began to boast of the American empire. This is not the
      left terminology, it was the rightwing which began to speak of the
      American empire and how it is likely to be qualified for it. As such
      we have to coin a new term, empire's embedded intellectuals."

      Dr. Bazian pointed out that the term was born out of the concept of
      embedded journalists, used for the first time during the war in
      Afghanistan and used extensively in the Iraq campaign. In the Iraq
      campaign the military was able to manage access to the battle field
      and spoon fed the so-called independent media, the stories that it
      needed the American public to watch.

      The coverage of the war was more of an entertainment undertaking and
      less an honest and direct coverage of what is underway. The question
      is, should journalist reflect and act as representative of their
      nation, i.e. they cover the news with the national goals or
      interests of the ruling elites in mind or should they be observers
      to the truth and witness to the unfolding history.

      It is often said that truth is the first casualty of war but for
      whom? It is not the Iraqis that truth is kept away from them because
      they are experiencing truth as it unfolds. It is actually the
      American public for whom truth is the first casualty of war, because
      they were kept away from getting the actual information about the

      According to the Boston Globe, Factual information from journalists
      in the first days of the war had come overwhelmingly from government
      briefings and reporters "embedded" in military units. Such briefings
      were never a source of trustworthy news; reporters had few ways to
      verify what the military officers and government officials tell
      them, and history suggests we should expect officials to omit
      crucial information and fudge on facts. During the Vietnam War,
      Pentagon spokesmen kept insisting in news briefings that they
      could "see the light at the end of the tunnel." By accepting the
      Pentagon system, journalists trade independence for access to troops
      and a front-row seat to the battles.

      Who are the embedded intellectuals?

      Further elaborating his new terminology, Dr. Bazian said that the
      empire's embedded intellectuals are individuals and groups
      constituted in a number of public and private universities as well
      as in highly insular think tanks that are outside the public

      "Empire embedded intellectuals are wedded into the promotion and
      rationalization of power projects and programs domestically and
      internationally which is carried out at the expense of the majority
      of the American public and the world public as well. They contribute
      to empire through employing their pen to extol the virtues of power,
      its goal and mission, while at the same time being diligent towards
      critics, intellectuals, laymen and elected individuals alike.

      "The empire embedded intellectuals assigned themselves the role of
      patriotic defenders of America, love of their country is the only
      motivation they assert is their engagement for power; while denying
      the same type of intention for their critics. In their view all
      intellectual energies of the society should be directed at
      maintaining and expanding a highly militarized view of the current
      American empire, the only remaining super power, which must act, in
      their view, preemptively on global scale against any or all possible
      future enemies. Even those who oppose our allies, chief among them
      is Israel," Dr Bazian said.

      On the modus operandi of the embedded intellectuals, Dr. Bazian said
      that they are engaged in scholarship for a national or sometimes
      extra-nationalist goals and often subverting sound scientific
      methods of research and investigation, while asserting propositions
      and hypothesis from an already constructed ideological premise. "As
      such research questions are formulated ideologically and evidence to
      support the research is shifted for the nuggets that affirm them. I
      maintain that the embedded intellectual approach in research is to
      provide boost to empire's already constructed ideas or to find
      answers for pressing challenges on the field rather than engaging in
      research for the benefit of the truth."

      Three embedded intellectuals

      In this context he mentioned three embedded intellectuals, John Yoo,
      Law Professor of the UC Berkeley, Professor Alan Dershowitz of
      Harvard University and Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton

      Professor John Yoo at the UC Berkeley, to whom he described as
      professor torture, called for the complete dismissal of the
      international law in the current war on terrorism.

      It may be recalled that Professor John Yoo, while working for the
      Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, authored an infamous
      January 2002 memo in which he argued that terrorism suspects are not
      covered by the War Crimes Act or the Geneva Conventions. Prof. Yoo's
      arguments provide legal cover for the use of torture against
      detainees, and conclude that U.S. soldiers can't be tried for war
      crimes. He was also central to authoring the USA PATRIOT Act.

      Dr. Bazian asked, what is more critical for the foundation of our
      society, a critique of Abu Ghuraib or authoring legal memos that
      violate the enshrined laws of this nation, military code of conduct
      and the four Geneva conventions which is the law of the land?

      Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, has called for the
      establishment of torture courts in the country where Prof. John Yoo
      and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez can apply for torture warrants
      from the judge. In an interview with CNN on March 4, 2003, Dr.
      Dershowitz argued that torture could be justified with approval by
      the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice.

      He said that another embedded intellectual that can be identified is
      Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University who is credited with
      much of the thinking driving the current neoconservatives' views on
      the Middle East that force being the only language that the Arabs
      and the Muslims know.

      Dr. Bazian again asked what is more threatening to our society is a
      critique of policies by professors or dumping our founding
      principles? They argue that this is a different war. But if our laws
      have served us well for over 200 years, through a civil war, two
      world wars and almost 100 other military engagements they can serves
      us well now.

      Think tanks

      Speaking about the objective and role of think tanks, Dr. Bazian
      believes that the term think tank is often problematic because much
      thinking is not occurring in these tanks. "Take for example the
      Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the American Enterprise
      Institute, the Project for New American Century, the Heritage
      Foundation, Middle East Media Institute based in Washington, Center
      for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, Jehad Watch, Campus Watch,
      among many others, there are almost 50 think tanks, where not much
      thinking is occurring since they are all engaged in promoting the

      While addressing the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC
      on Feb. 23, 2003, President Bush proclaimed that you are some of our
      country's best brains that my government employed 20 of you. Well if
      the best brains were formulating our policy in Iraq then how come we
      have such a mess? Dr. Bazian asked and added that the best brains do
      not produce the best policy, we have an experience in Vietnam that
      was replicated in Iraq now.

      He recalled that Senator William Fulbright in 1966 wrote "power has
      a way of undermining judgment of planting grandeur in the minds of
      otherwise sensible peoples and otherwise sensible nations." If you
      don't know, in 1964, Senator Fulbright led the debate in favor of
      the Gulf of Tonkin resolution but became one of the strongest
      opponents of the war after discovering that it was total
      fabrication, just presently is the case with Iraq war and weapons of
      mass destruction.

      Policy makers

      Dr. Bazian argued that at the policy level, the choice of a set of
      responses or approaches to deal with the new enemies are result of
      particular forces, individual groups and organizations acting on
      behalf of a developed agenda to bring about the maintenance or
      furtherance of their defined interest. In addition there is often an
      attempt to cloud the best interests behind a particular policy
      recommendation with high moral purpose.

      On the societal level the leader of the policy maker groups need to
      enlist the support of the population on a project that is motivated
      by pure self interest and greed. This collective rationalization
      program is applied to make it possible for high moral purpose to be
      used for pacification of the populace. It is not the Iraqis that
      need to be pacified, it is the American public to be pacified so
      that it continues to support the war effort.

      At present, he added, the policy options are being advocated by one
      group to the exclusion of all others including those coming from
      other areas in the bureaucracy that are calling for re-consideration
      of the policy options. Consider the infighting related to the Iraq
      war and exclusion of the parts of the CIA and the State Department
      from pursuing any alternative policy options in the buildup to the

      A set of individuals and groups have managed to promote a particular
      set of ideas, making them the effective policy of the only super
      power, Dr. Bazian said adding: "First, my own interest in pointing
      this out is centered on the predominance of the Israeli centric
      individuals, groups and organizations that are effectively
      exasperating the Palestinian sufferings. Second, the Israeli centric
      picture is further strengthened by a particular millennium segment
      of the evangelical Christian right that considers the current period
      as a stepping stone towards the end of time scenario. Third, a host
      of corporations representing the military-industrial complex and big
      oil interests likewise are jumping on the band wagon. The forces
      mentioned above have managed to wrest the policy making centers in
      the US and aspiring for their narrow self interest and promoting
      their self serving agenda at the expense of the much of the world."


      Dr. Bazian went on to say that one area of interest for the above-
      mentioned forces has to do with the universities and academia in
      general since it provides somewhat challenge to the ideas and a
      possible introduction of the alternative to the existing set of
      policies at their behest.

      The universities and educational institutions in general have
      presented a challenge to every authoritarian structure, group or
      individual since the time of the Roman Empire. Empire structures are
      first defeated at the level of ideas, before their physical demise,
      since power does not take into account its own descending fortunes
      and view ideas expounding alternatives at that time a sort of
      rebellion to its authority which must be defeated and eliminated at
      all costs.

      Thus we are confronting a pacification program directed at academia
      with the intent of silencing ideas of descending fortunes and policy
      alternatives to empire's drums.

      According to the neoconservatives and Israeli centric cabal
      advocates, the universities' federally funded programs for Middle
      East studies have extremist "bias" against American foreign policy
      which must be remedied through connecting Title VI funding to
      empire's service.

      As the march for empire unfolds and the targeting of Muslims, Arabs,
      Asians, Africans and anyone expressing solidarity with them, a
      campaign is focused at academia by the forces mentioned above, the
      goal of which is to reintroduce a forgone paradigm, a new and
      improved version of Orientalism.

      The agenda is to reclaim the lost ground to the so-called "post-
      colonial paradigm," in the world of Stanley Curtis, critiquing Said,
      whose major sin is his argument that "it is immoral for a scholar to
      put his knowledge of foreign language and culture at the service of
      American empire or American power."

      Dr. Bazian pointed out that what the neoconservatives and their
      supporters are lamenting is their declining influence in area
      studies and the emergence of a new crop of scholars no longer wedded
      to the empire project even by force.

      As Curtis once again laments loss of influence in academic circles
      of Princeton Historian and best selling author Bernard Lewis,
      Harvard University professor Samuel Huntington and John Hopkins
      Professor Fuad Ajami. According to him their qualifications is that
      all support American foreign policy. So the criteria for being a
      sound intellectual in America is the fact that all support American
      Foreign policy. What Curtis and other like him are bemoaning is the
      loss of influence in area studies. But not necessarily in the more
      traditional departments where the fields overall are still resistant
      to the new paradigm. However this might change in the next ten years
      as the old guard is reaching the retirement age.

      Dr. Hatem Bazian went on to say that having scored a major success
      in the embedded journalists program during the Iraq war campaign, a
      new plan is a foot to create a new version of embedded intellectuals
      who are ready to serve the empire projects. To nurture the cadre, a
      congressional hearing was held on Sept. 17, 2003 to formulate a new
      policy, how to fund the area study centers? In the hearing opening
      statement, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the chairman of the sub-
      committee laid out his intention by stating the following:

      "The international study in higher education would increase
      coordination between these important international and foreign
      language studies programs to better meet America's national and
      international security needs."

      The bill, that is already passed by the House of Representatives,
      also clarified that programs under Title VI of the Higher Education
      Act are to support and coordinate with other federal programs in the
      areas of language, area studies and international relations, meaning
      that if you are studying a language, say Arabic, Persian, Urdu,
      Pushto or any other language that funding should be connected to
      some national security apparatus.

      Dr. Bazian pointed out that for almost two decades Stanley Curtis is
      saying that the American academy has been busy in undermining
      America's security not enhancing. So once again the role of the
      university is to enhance America's security according to the elite
      definition. Martin Kramer also laments where are the professors with
      a strong sense of national interest, lots of knowledge in the field,
      good intelligences, connections, a willingness to recruit their
      students and an eagerness to serve in this time of war. No such
      person exists in the Middle Eastern study. Kramer is asking for the
      development of embedded intellectuals. So professors who are
      teaching in areas of Middle Eastern Studies should not grade their
      students A B or C rather if he is good as an agent or he is bad as
      an agent.

      We can see a new charge given to all professors of the Middle
      Eastern studies and other related fields to become embedded
      intellectuals serving dutifully to the aspirations of empire, not
      unlike British or French scholars did some generations ago, Dr.
      Bazian said.

      He went on to say that the role model presented by Martin Kramer of
      the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is none other than T.
      E. Lawrence, that his role model and his mentor who according to
      Kramer says "It was David Hogarth, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum,
      who saw potential of young Lawrence and helped recruit him to the
      service of British empire." Hogarth later appeared as Lt.-Commander
      in the Royal Navy and a key figure in British intelligence in the
      Middle East during the first world war.

      Being nostalgic to such service Kramer recalls that it was Hogarth
      who arranged his (T. E. Lawrence) traveling scholarship, employed
      him before the war at his archeological dig in northern Syria and
      directed the wartime intelligence branch known as the Arab Bureau in
      Cairo in 1916. Lawrence acted on his behalf in Arabia, meaning that
      he was engaged in the archeological dig, he was funded by the Oxford
      University and he was acting in the Arab Bureau in Cairo in 1916.

      Not content with providing with historical role for the Middle
      Eastern studies, Kramer's attention shifts to the modern hero in the
      service of empire, he is non other than Harvard's Nadat Safran,
      noted professor of Middle Eastern Studies who is given credit for
      Abi Zaid Master degree in the field of Middle Eastern Studies.

      Prof. Nadat Safran works for the Rand Corporation, he got funding by
      the CIA for his Saudi project and conference on Islamism.

      The Rand Corporation

      Dr. Bazian said that the Rand Corporation is a non-profit
      institution founded 50 years ago to "improve policy and decision
      making through research and analysis," and its policy
      recommendations are reflective to service to power and in the most
      recent period has turned its attention to bring about "a reformation
      in the Muslim world."

      Its researchers pre-occupied with the question of Islam include
      Cheryl Benard who is recommending a civil war among the various
      parts of the Muslim community. She hopes that the end result will be
      that those who support their world view would prevail through our

      Cheryl Benard suggests this in a research recommendation,
      highlighting various components of the global Muslim community,
      highlighting the group that we need to support and highlighting the
      groups that we oppose. Placing the various groups against each other
      with the hope that, as she defined, the moderates will prevail
      through our own support. And their definition of modernists is that
      they support our world view essentially.

      It may be pointed out that the Rand Corporation issued two reports
      about Islam and Muslims last year. One report was issued in March
      2004 entitled: "Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and
      Strategies," is written by Cheryl Benard, a sociologist and fiction
      writer. It issued another 600 pages report in December 2004
      entitled " US strategy in the Muslim World after 9/11." The first
      report suggested support of the so-called moderate Muslims while the
      other study suggests that Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides
      should be exploited to promote the US policy objectives in the
      Muslim world.

      Dr. Bazian said that Cheryl Benard ideas are a mirror image of those
      coming out from "done it all intellectuals" and all at hand for the
      service of empire, like Prof. Bernard Lewis, who provided much
      advice, as an embedded intellectual to the Pentagon, justifying the
      policies by his research. In Bernard Lewis view the Arabs only
      understand the language of power, and don't pay attention to Arab
      public opinion since it is an irrational behavior not based on any
      reaction to our policy. Because if you connect to policy then it
      means that the people are reacting to policy.

      Similarly, Foad Ajmi, a Lebanese, a native Arab, affirms the already
      constructed view and paradigm, Dr. Bazian went on to say. The Arab
      predicaments and other writings that point to the inherent failures
      of the Arabs and Muslims to embrace modernity and democratic
      institutions, not that modernity and democratic institutions were
      not one of our interest for the past 50 years and we supported most
      of the authoritarian regimes in not only in the Middle East but in
      Africa, Central and Latin America.

      Dr. Bazian asked, how come we don't say that the predicament of the
      Christianity in central America relative to their lack of democratic
      institutions but we only frame it according to Bernard Lewis and
      Foad Ajmi in the pathological understanding that there must be
      inherently wrong with Muslims and Islam?

      Looking at the success of the neoconservatives paradigm in the past
      three years and its contribution towards preparing public opinion
      for an Iraq invasion, we can talk of their think tanks, intellectual
      foundations, position papers by scholars in the field, he said. And
      if you look at the individuals who promoted the Empire Project, you
      have Daniel Pipes, Kramer, Bernard Lewis. From the political arena
      you have Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz , Dick Chenny, Stanley
      Kurtz, Foad Ajami etc. All belong to the group of neo-conservatives.

      Dr. Bazian argued that the neoconservatives' view of the Middle East
      and their paradigm shift was formulated as a policy initiative first
      and foremost for Israeli leadership which then was imported and
      locked into the American process. As such the criteria by
      intellectuals of neoconservatives paradigm was maintaining within
      the defined scope.

      Evangelical Christian Right

      According to him, the initial success of the neocons is partly due
      to the many of the think tanks which are proliferating in Washington
      while the other half of this success points somewhere closer to home
      which is his second point – the Evangelical Christian Right.

      The Evangelical Christian Right coalition is espousing a messianic
      agenda of the Middle East. What is most profound is the marriage
      that was struck between the Evangelical Christian Right and the
      Israel centric forces in the US and abroad. As often the case,
      politics makes strange bed fellows. But no one from the time of
      Moses and Jesus would have thought such a wedding possible even if
      it was a shot gun wedding.

      Dr. Bazian pointed out that the Evangelical Christian Right
      coalition while powerful in many political and social circles,
      fundamentally lacks the intellectually formulation necessary to
      shape public opinion across party lines and across generations when
      it comes to the Middle East. The theological argument behind the
      Evangelical Christian Right is the imminent return of the Messiah,
      but that cannot be moved towards policy recommendations. However,
      once it is wedded with the Israel centric approach then the needed
      rationalization for this world view can be actualized.

      It should not come as a surprise to many that there is an inherent
      conflict between the Evangelical Christian Right and the Israel
      centric individuals that the return of the Messiah, would usher in
      the conversion of Jews into Christianity and those who refused would
      be killed, according to this Messianic view.

      However, real politics moves many neoconservatives who are pro-
      Israel to this alliance and their current support regardless of its
      foundation, theological or otherwise. Supporting the existence of
      Israel for the right wing evangelical coalition position is a pre-
      condition for the return of Messiah which is a welcome news for the
      Israeli supporters.

      Furthermore if many pro Israel supporters don't believe in this
      theological position but if the Evangelical Christian Right is ready
      to give an unquestionable support to Israel then they will take it
      and use it against their enemies in this current period.

      On college campuses, the Evangelical Christian Right has been active
      hand in hand with many of the Israel centric supporters and
      individuals attempting to silence debate and prevent a change to the
      existing paradigm, Dr. Bazian concluded

      The use of feminine paradigm

      In the Question-Answer session after his speech Dr. Bazian spoke
      about the use feminine paradigm against Muslims.

      The use of feminine paradigm is to attack the Muslim world and
      furthering the US agenda. I will say that the war on Afghanistan was
      promoted by means of the Burqa. It is the Burqa that sold the war.
      Event at one point a congressional aid was calling around Muslim
      organizations in Washington, if they can borrow a Burqa to war at a
      press conference and show the oppression in Afghanistan. Now there
      is no story about Burqa anymore although the Afghan women are still
      wearing the Burqa. It was the mater of generating the interest.

      There is an oppression of women in the Arab and Muslim world.
      Wherever there are men and women there is a level of oppression. It
      exists not because of Islam, it is just because you have men and
      women. That is the normative structure. But when we use it in
      relation to the Middle east and the Arab world, we think that we are
      dealing with some kind of pathology and try to follow ways to
      explain it that it must be Islam that is causing oppression.

      My response is the following:

      Every three minutes we have a woman raped in the US. It is because
      we have a large number of Muslims in the country? If that is not the
      rationale then what is the rationale. The rationale is that the
      society has a particular aspects to it that generate all these types
      of behaviors including battery and other types of repressions.

      It exists in the Muslim world, it exists in many other places, but
      here we use it as a way of advocating the agenda because it casts us
      as completely good and pure, we are the pinnacle of civilization and
      they are the barbarians that need to be civilized. So the white
      man's burden is articulated in new terminology and not realizing
      that actually it is the white man who has been the burden on the
      world for the past so many years.

      So the woman issue is in the forefront, how they deploy it for
      public relations purposes, this is just a master-slave narrative
      that is taking place at global level.

      This is not a defense of Muslim or the Arab society, we have
      problems that are not dissimilar to the rest of the world. If you
      live in a glass house don't go and through stone on others. Don't
      show others how women needs to be treated, when women in this
      country are still given 77 cents on the dollar.

      If you got raped, most likely the person who raped you is not going
      to jail as the legal system will find ways to hook him off the legal

      So once again this process to teach and civilize the barbarians is a
      paradigm that existed in the 1500 and now is being articulated in
      far more sophisticated Madison Avenue style dynamic and we need to
      be aware of it.



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