Just Fools In The Making
Why are we so often the victim of people who intentionally, or unintentionally, lie or mislead us?
The answer is our trusting nature, systematic cognitive biases, and our inability to adequately arm ourselves against those who try to con us.
How to Keep From Getting Fooled (Again)
How many times in our lives have we been fooled by someone's lies? In relationships? In business deals? Promises made…
Because perception trumps reality
According to the Wall Street Journal, the president issued a few statements about his decision to kill a top commander of Iran’s military while in Iraq. These statements don’t come close to legitimately answering the question as to why this constitutes a militarily plausible reaction.
“It is better to ask a question and be thought a fool for a day than to keep quiet and be a fool for life.” — Confucius
The calculus behind such an attack at the start of a new decade will be the focus of our attention for the foreseeable coming weeks, months or decade. Major General Qassim Suleimani is not a hard target but a convenient one who happened to be in a country heavily occupied by American forces. America’s military occupation has been there ever since they invaded Iraq in 2003. This invasion was authorized by Congress in 2002 following the September 11, 2001 attacks, because of Bush’s “axis of evil” perception of reality.
Even though the 9/11 Commission Report concluded that both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were “not well served” by the FBI and CIA, we continue to embrace a false narrative, and conspiracy which has us overlook and undermine the cautionary and cerebral approach taken by President Obama during his time in office to defuse conflict and avoid staging endless wars — specifically in the Middle East. It becomes ever more apparent that the government has had a longstanding hawkish groupthink view towards so-called rogue states in the region. Sometimes those hawkish sentiments have led to America’s adversarial involvement alongside the very same rogue states or other rogue states posing as allies in many instances of defusing conflict in the Middle East.
But it hasn’t produced peace in the past, nor will it in the future.
President Trump’s order to kill Maj. Gen. Suleimani was meant to show bravado before his reelection — to show President Obama how it’s really done. To what can easily be interpreted as Obama’s race making him ineffective in dealing with the world — especially in the Middle East with the Arabic namesake, Trump is fomenting racializations that only inspire hate. Trump, his flunkies, and his supporters wants the world to know that they have the balls and the skin color to inherently rule the world. Many people in our government are inclined to believe in their own pathological hype about America’s cultural and ethnic supremacy at the expense and detriment of others whose contributions are marginalized. Funny, how we happen to be having this same conflict domestically as well.
The bully-in-chief has been a bully on his own soil. Trump has at times threatened or incited violence from his right wing support to silence oppositional rhetoric. He has put the Democrats in check and is simply unfazed by impeachment. This is all a game called “perception trumps reality” that only he knows best at playing and in his mind is also winning.
Perception is never a reality. I will let Jim Taylor, Ph.D. in psychology explain.
Think of it this way. Perception acts as a lens through which we view reality. Our perceptions influence how we focus on, process, remember, interpret, understand, synthesize, decide about, and act on reality. In doing so, our tendency is to assume that how we perceive reality is an accurate representation of what reality truly is. But it’s not. The problem is that the lens through which we perceive is often warped in the first place by our genetic predispositions, past experiences, prior knowledge, emotions, preconceived notions, self-interest, and cognitive distortions.
With the infinite wisdom of his flock the impeachment will be a distant memory and warped illogical and false sense of what is perceived as happened. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not be sending over articles of impeachment to the Senate for some time now that we are facing an international crisis, even as new damning evidence is being made available.
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The military will once again have its way on the battlefield only to be investigated by a commission again at some later date as to whether any of their actions were legal or illegal, or whether their miltary industrial complex strategies were in defense of peace or just more violence.
It was never wise to end the Iran Nuclear Deal out of spite, which at Obama’s insistence included Putin’s agreement and role in restricting its nuclear program. That took leadership and intellect. And even though that took conviction there was a sense that republicans ironically also took offense to a black president staring down a white adversarial one.
When a nation is blinded by their own wilfullness and ignorance the narratives become truly incredulous. Just like the reasons Trump is now offering for ordering the strike.
Officials reminded Trump that after the Iranians mined ships, downed the U.S. drone and allegedly attacked a Saudi oil facility, he hadn’t responded. Acting now, they said, would send a message: “The argument is, if you don’t ever respond to them, they think they can get by with anything,” one White House official said.
Trump was also motivated to act by what he felt was negative coverage after his 2019 decision to call off the airstrike after Iran downed the U.S. surveillance drone, officials said. Trump was also frustrated that the details of his internal deliberations had leaked out and felt he looked weak, the officials said.
How Trump decided to kill a top Iranian general
On Sunday, President Trump's most senior national security advisers joined him at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida…
Trump also had history on his mind. The president has long fixated on Benghazi and the Obama administration’s response to it, say lawmakers and aides who have spoken to him, and felt the response to this week’s attack on the embassy and the killing of an American contractor would make him look stronger compared with his predecessor.
Once again it really is about him and not the citizens of the United States in any particular manner of judgment.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal…
Trump: ‘We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war’
National security experts and even officials at the Pentagon said there was nothing new about Iranian behavior in recent months or even weeks; General Suleimani has been accused of prodding Shiite militias into attacking Americans for more than a decade.[…]
Senior Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, repeatedly said on Friday that new attacks under General Suleimani’s leadership were imminent.
But one Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said that there was nothing new in the threat presented by the Iranian general.
That the new attacks under General Suleimani by conclusion was imminent is an open-ended rationale, conveniently timed, and an absurd call to military action. Critics of the strike questioned whether its timing was meant to influence public opinion as Mr. Trump faces impeachment. While congress seems to be wondering whether the decision in and of itself will in fact prevent a war.
The perception here is far from reality.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
― Soren Kierkegaard
Unlike perception, which is entirely based on human subjectivity, reality is not subject to human conventions or interpretation, it is absolute in fact.