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The Truth Is Hiding
Among the Joshua Trees.

Monday, March 17, 2003

A Surprise Awaits Us All.

Pale Afternoon,
Deepening Night.

The Premise of Combat Is Amended.

from the Planet X Think Tank
at Bald Mountain near Rachel, Nevada

On the afternoon of the tomorrow of the moment of truth, the sun floats pale behind thin haze, reminding us of the natural order. We search for the spoken-of truth by turning the long-eyed telescopes of Planet X upon distant pinnacles of power, but at half past noon on the Monday of decision we are forced to deduce that the moment has not yet arrived.

"We concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world," the President of the United States of America said yesterday on an island in the deep blue sea of the Atlantic Ocean.

Have you seen it written down, heard it spoken? Some here in the desert believe the truth is hiding in the closeby stand of Joshua trees. Others among us drift in and out of the now, accepting the elusive nature of the prize, and shifting from plane to plane in willful exploration of the linear geometry of time.

In Search of Sequential Clarity.

On Saturday we contemplated winter's last days. "It was a vain attempt to reconnect," Le Ti Lam Ngoc announces from the briefing room, where she watches the monitors and wires in search of sequential clarity. She sips pale green tea and saws gently on her nails with a new emery board. Le Ti is Planet X's resident expatriate and refugee dreamer, one of our Think Tank of Nine.

During the desolate days immediately ahead, each of us shall sift through the blood-drenched sands and wreckage of cities.

Cynicism like dust gathers on the hardwood floors of bedrooms and hallways. Data congregates into incomprehensible heaps, unmined. We have neither the technical expertise nor sufficient motivation to mine it. We will sweep-up the dust at our leisure.

Mystery of Lust without Desire.

"I think about the mystery of lust without desire," Isis Diana O'Malley on Saturday whispered from her hammock, gently swinging, gently swaying in the dry March breeze. Auburn-haired child of poverty and chief of Think Tank security, mistress of countermeasures and designer of ramparts and defensive perimeters, Isis compensates for her shallow well of experience by calling on the deep vitality of her youth. She asks good questions and knows how to separate the chaff from the wheat.

So calm, so quiet it was on the Saturday before the storm. Mr. Bush inspired the quiet when he announced that he would fly to the Azores Islands to meet with his allies from Britain, Spain, and Portugal. At last the diplomats shut up. "Admit it," Old Alfred scowled. "The debate is played out. The other side won."

Too often I refuse to contemplate my nationality, don't want to stare it full in the face and become the inquisitor of a supra-identity beyond the unknowable self, don't want to own the American within. The passport in my lockbox is a powerful reminder.

Better to Be a Genome.

"I love DNA. It's our friend," the victim of rape who became spokeswoman for the repository of genetic markers said. She was speaking above the din in a strangely melodic lilt. We heard her on the radio as a commercial messenger between the newscasters' prophecies of doom. We thought how much better to be a genome than a truth seeker.

Now we wait. The President's sudden call to his partners to meet him on a distant island broke the deadlock of appeasement at the United Nations. The Azores Summit appeared and dissipated like a waterspout. It was a minor mystery.

We deal with another episode in the last act of The Dissolution of an old world order. How much more war will be necessary to fully destroy it and establish the new?

Once ago some of us entertained the idea that world peace, defined by the absence of armed combat between nations, was possible, feasible, and attainable. Now we see it as a noble dream for the young, a dogged escape for the old. The present movement for peace in USA and Europe is a ghost-image of bygone revolutionary glories.

Dark Double of Terrorism.

The premise of combat between uniformed military forces representing traditional groupings of nations, tribes, and formal alliances is amended by the rise of combat's dark double, terrorism.

Then ago, the peoples of Planet Earth cut their wars cleanly from well-worn patterns of geography, blood, and nationalism. On one side rallied the champions of democratic capitalism and laissez faire republicanism. On the other side prowled the minions of national socialist fascism and dictatorships of a communist proletariat. They battled one another to death by the tens of millions for control of soil, the settlement of old scores, and colonial hegemony in grim competition for resources to exploit and consume.

Today under amended rules of engagement, religious identity unseats nationalism. The battle cry of The Dissolution draws inspiration from one's choice of prophet and saviour as much as from one's citizenship.

The struggle for primacy in a new world order pits a great army of phenomenal temporal power against the fragments of the dispossessed, the have-nots, and the disenfranchised. Islam as agent of terror, led by stateless clerics and rootless revolutionaries, stands against the monolithic secular state of amoral capitalism, led by civic Christians of varied stripes and degrees of devotion.

Divine Cover.

Both sides claim the powers of god, but differently. Islam unites the godhead with the seat of government and infuses religious doctrine into legal code. Christianity in Europe and USA provides private divine cover for the leaders of government institutions, but is jettisoned on the public square in the odd march toward a secular state built on consumer materialism.

"Dammit!" Fagus shouts. "Where are you going with this interminable repetend of political babble? Let's just do it, get it behind us, move on."

Fagus Wilhelm Noske may be the only capable man of action dwelling among us, but he is barely twenty-one. He runs into the desert at half-past midnight. I hope he finds a morsel of the truth on the dunes before dawn.

Between the pale afternoon and the deepening night, something changed. The President of the USA addressed the Planet. He was severe, direct, threatening. We listened as he pledged his nation's resolve to service of the will to power. We found no reason to doubt him. We found no moment of truth.

The calm before the storm is over now. The gathering of the storm ensues. A surprise awaits us all. When the great storm arrives at midweek, a surprise awaits us all.

| David Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles |
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