Those who do not remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.

—George Santayana    

Our memories are much too short. How quickly we forget. Terrorism last struck Americans right here at home on a global scale1 when Pluto2—the planet not the dog—last passed3 through Sagittarius4—the sign not the constellation. The terrorist leader5 hoped to start a war by massacring and mutilating the citizens of a powerful nation.6 He succeeded more than he would ever know.7 After all, foreigners had invaded his sacred land.8 He wanted his kingdom back.9

Terrorists and their victims both lived in loosely-knit confederacies.10 Some terrorists fought against us11; some fought with us.12 It was a holy war pitting one religion against another, even though the major players both shared the same Bible.13 The war began in a wilderness area close to Pittsburg14 and spread as far as the Philippines.15 It was the first war in history to practice premeditated biological warfare.16 Many Americans, however, believed the best way to fight terrorism was with good deeds and material aid for the enemy.17

Over the years, terrorism gradually died out; for even terrorists want modern comforts.18 Finally, after more than a century, the largest American corporation chose the most famous terrorist as a corporate emblem—not in mockery—but with honor.19 Without realizing it, Americans had gradually merged their religious beliefs and spiritual values with those of the terrorists: both now believe that this land—this earth—is sacred for all.20

—Oct 11th 2001    

  1. 1756-1763: Locally, the French & Indian War; globally, The 7 Years' War. James Fenimore Cooper described it 60 years later in the first chapter of The Last of the Mohicans. “The alarmed colonists believed that the yells of the savages mingled with every fitful gust of wind that issued from the interminable forests of the west. The terrific character of their merciless enemies increased immeasurably the natural horrors of warfare. Numberless recent massacres were still vivid in their recollections; nor was there any ear in the provinces so deaf as not to have drunk in with avidity the narrative of some fearful tale of midnight murder, in which the natives of the forests were the principal and barbarous actors.” Francis Jennings described it 225 years later with more objectivity: “It is astonishing to find that the weapon of deliberate, calculated terror was used extensively by powerful men on Our Side as well as theirs, and that such men on both sides used terror against their own people as well as their enemy's. b xx

  2. Pluto: god and planet from the nether regions indicating schisms between the living and the dead, the new and the old, the progressive and the reactionary.

  3. Last time: 1748-1762. This time: 1995-2008. One Pluto cycle around the Sun takes about 246 years. So how could anything that small and far away cause anything here abouts? But who said anything about cause? Perhaps it is only one of the many hands on our biosolar clock.

  4. Sagittarius: sign of the Archer, the Centaur's arrow, religion, law, imperialism, and prophecy, holy book, holy justice, holy batdip, Batman!

  5. Tanaghrisson, chief of the Senecas and Half King of the Six Iroquois Nations, feared that he would lose leadership of the tribes west of the Alleghenies if the French settled the Ohio Valley. Tanaghrisson's scheme was to force the French to declare war on the American colonies; then Britain would retaliate to protect its Anglo-American subjects. To do so, the British would need to drive the French out of Ohio. a 56-57

  6. Jumonville's Glen, May 28th, 1754: Tanaghrisson and his scouts joined forces with young Lieutenant Colonel George Washington on his way to force the French to abandon Fort Dusquesne, site of present day Pittsburg. On the way, they encountered a French patrol. After a brief skirmish between the French and the Virginians, Tanaghrisson and his warriors massacred and scalped the wounded French and Canadian soldiers who had surrendered. Colonel George did not stop them. Thus began the 7 Years' War. a 5-7

  7. October 4, 1754: Tanaghrisson died 4 months after the skirmish from a mysterious disease.

  8. Ohio was the sacred land. The French were building a series of forts along the Ohio River and the Great Lakes, thereby shrinking the Iroquois Nations' domain of influence. Deganawidah, their supernatural being, had promised them peace through war. a 13

  9. Indians on the other side of the Allegheny Mountains felt the same way about the British and Americans. “But what made this conflict unique among Indian wars of the colonial period...was a religious vision, which for the first time in American history enabled many Indian groups to act together. a 535 In 1763, Neolin, a Delaware prophet, inspired a holy war to rid the red coats from the land. “In part the religious awakening of these years stemmed from the dual afflictions of disease and famine that beset the western Indians generally in 1761 and 1762. Epidemics and want, of course, were messages from the Master of Life sent to prompt his children's renewal. In addition, however, British commanders forbidden by [General] Amherst's policies from distributing gifts did little to alleviate the suffering and much to fulfill prophecies that relations between whites and Indians would continue to deteriorate until war broke out. a 537

  10. Americans and Canadians lived in colonies; Indians in tribes. England and France were the super powers who owned these colonies. They had been fighting since 1689 to dominate all of North America and the rest of the world.

  11. Indians to the east of the Alleghenies, mostly those of the Iroquois Nation, fought with the British and Americans. These were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. (Today, Mohawk tribesmen are reputed for their skills in the construction of New York City skyscrapers.)

  12. Delawares, Shawnee, Mingos, and Ottawas to the west, fought with the French and Canadians. Some tribes, such as the Senecas, switched sides.

  13. The British and Americans were Protestants; the French, Catholic; Indians, neither.

  14. Fort Dusquesne, later enlarged by the British and renamed Fort Pitt in 1759. “On September 10, its inner walls began to rise within a wide glacis and moat...It was a symbol of dominion, an emblem of empire; and by autumn the Ohio Indians were beginning to discern its meanings only too well. a 328-29

  15. Major conflicts of the 7 Years' War: Ohio, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Mediterranean, West Africa, India, Philippines...

  16. June 24th, 1763: British Captains Ecuyer and Trent, under commands of General Amherst and Bouquet, presented Delaware chiefs, beseiging Fort Pitt, blankets infested with smallpox as a token of esteem. Smallpox rapidly spread throughout the Indian tribes.

  17. July 20th, 1756: Quakers begin subscription of funds, which becomes the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures. b 323

  18. The Ohio Indians, of course, needed the goods that the traders sold and to that degree welcomed even the chaotic commerce that grew up at Pittsburg in 1759. a 327

  19. In 1763, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, led Delawares, Shawnees, Mingos, and other tribes in rebellion against their new British rulers, hoping to entice the French to return. “Indians attacked and took possession of forts at Le Boeuf, Venango, Presque Isle, Sandusky, La Baie, and outposts on the Saint Joseph River, Miami River, the Ouabache (Wabash) River and at Michilimackinac. d 155 So began the next series of wars to drive the imperialists (i.e. colonists) out of the Old NorthWest. “They [the British] never understood that the evidently synchronized attacks were loosely coordinated local revolts, all responding to the common stimuli of conquest, white encroachment, and [General] Amherst's Indian policies, all animated by a religious revival with pan-Indian overtones, and all motivated by the desire to restore to North America a sympathetic European power to act as counterpoise to the British and their numerous, aggressive colonists. a 546 This series of conflicts endured throughout the Revolutionary War until 1795. In 1926, Chief Pontiac was reincarnated as a 4 wheel, 6 cylinder vehicle. In 1932, Pontiac joined the tribes of General Motors.

  20. As Robert Pirsig sailed through the Great Lakes and down the Hudson, he reflected on American morals including the assimilation of Indian spiritual values by American culture. “...American Indian mysticism is not something alien from American culture. It's a deep submerged hidden root of it. c 467 He meets with Robert Redford and analyzes the mystique of Western movie heroes such as the Sundance Kid. “Then would be seen for what they were, the famous old traits of the American Indian: silence, a modesty of manner, and a dangerous willingness to sudden, enormous violence. c 48

  1. Fred Anderson. Crucible of War. Knopf, 2000.
  2. Francis Jennings. Empire of Fortune. Norton, 1998.
  3. Robert M. Pirsig. Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Bantam, 1992.
  4. Seymour I. Schwartz. The French and Indian War. Simon Schuster, 1994.