Welcome to the mind of John Scott Ridgway. Beware falling rocks and angels.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER WHAT THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CALLS THE 'WITTING.' The implication being anyone who doesn't know what is truly going on in the world is 'unwitting.' I have an academic/artist background that includes three books, oil painting, radio and tv... though mostly, I write on the web and give the words away. Better read than dead, I always say. I studyied military intelligence, cults, english, history, and philosophy, among other subjects that I took in my quest to have something to say in my work.... I am proud to say I studied under peaceful warriors, like Dr. Danial Stern, an icon in the sixties who hung out with the panthers, dealt with agent provocaters, spies.


Find me on facebook at john scott ridgway... there are two of me... one is active. I trust you can figure it out. Doing a lot of stuff there. Basically showing my daily trek throughout the dozens of papers I peruse while waiting in some bush, pr parked somewhere, you know, out stalking, or whatever, you know... hunting humans, maybe... but not in an illegal way. Really.

I urge you to try out my new Jesus, blog, too. He is nothing like you have read before. This creature from the planet Heaven is mistaken for an alien, a cult leader, a terrorist.... Military intelligence agents and secrets are thrown all over in this blog.... please spread my writing whereever forfree... The book is not just for Christians. I am almost an agnostic... I, Christ... will lead you to heaven, or at least give you a lot to think about. After years of getting mostly a's in college, I can at least parrot a few things you have not heard.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

John Scott Ridgway

John Scott Ridgway

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the kindred of the lost 
invoked with coffee and loneliness
you discuss yourselves slowly into madness

out goes all the reasoned notions
in come
and potions

they wake that morning and turn on the major stations
watch excitable people talking 
about a predator
who creeps in the bushes
snatches kids 
outside school yards 

watch you from far 
on the other side of sanity
see the storms
that blew apart your dark life
shredded you down
stripped your humanity
to the bare animal core
your ways have
left a cruel sneer on your face
an ugliness in your hard eyes 
no makeup will hide

a settled look of disgust
smears the mask you wore this  last decade
your insides dry and brittle
ethics emptied out somewhere
along the way
pissed and puked into a stained toilet 
there was no need for morality during the 

Why are you surprised to find yourself in the line up?

Saturday, May 15, 2010



"DR. BOB HAS BEEN BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE TO DEAL WITH MANS LATEST DISCOVER -- THE PLANET OF DRUNKEN STONERS.   Hello, Rocky Stone Macho Man Mervin Shebenstein reporting folks... today is the day we have all been waiting for, when the clone of dr. bob, founder of a.a., will be arriving at THE PLANET OF DRUNKEN STONERS for the biggest intervention since the advent of the universes zero tolerance policy. We are riding on the good ship UrgeKill, which is due to dock in just twelve short hours.

Earlier today, we spoke to Reverend Notapervert III, one of the first to lobby the intergalactic counsels of rules, regulations, and anal lubricants, to revive Dr. Bob and send him, along with various other founders of aa and ten thousand, nine hundred therapists trained to see through the lies of  addicts.

When asked how the negotiations were going with the planet of drunken stoners over length of treatment (they of course want outpatient), the Rev. Notapervert III responded, "Oh, they try to weedle out of all responsibilty for anything, so getting them to own up to needing thirty days in treatment is tough. They have fought me all the way, as drunken stoners will. When we first started asking them about why everyone from their planet had red eyes, they were all like, "Oh, yea... we have, uhmm, like allergies? They claim this same 'allergy' causes them to have to lay down for hours at a time doing something they call, 'Chillin."

"What is chillin, sir?"
"Something productive, sober citizens need never worry about."

After talking to the Rev. I decided to find out if the planet of drunken stoners were really as screwed up and in need of help as he said, so I called them to ask a few questions and the phone rang and rang and then when someone did answer, it was just to say, "The planet isn't home, man. I don't know when it's getting back."
"Wait, you are the planet... " I told the sleepy sounding voice, "I dialed the planet, so anyone who answers is the planet."
"I am?"
"Is it true you guys call all your three daily meals, 'Munchfests?'"
"Would you be willing to start?"
"Cool, man. Hey, the planet is home. Talk to him. Hi, this the planet of drunken stoners?"
"Aren't you the same guy that I was just talking to?"
"Duhhh.... yea. I mean, probably. I think so. Maybe I took notes... sometimes I take notes, usually forget about them and then... wow, there are some cookie crumbs in my pocket. If I lick my hand, then shove it back in... whoa, cookie hand, man? Want a lick? After me...
Wait, am I making an obscene call, because if I am, this isn't me, man."

After this the planet launched into  a  lengthy diatribe on the merits of various Ted Nugent guitar solos and why the planet would really, really like to have one of those pot belly pigs, and some taffy.   I finally hung up. The phone like immediately rang back.   I answered and heard the planet  screaming into the phone, "Dude, dude are you alright? Dude? Duder? Did you pass out, or OD or something?   Dude, duder man?"

OF course, afterwards, I woke up back here, in this six by twelve foot cell.  Sentenced to die for a crime that I didn't commit -- and it all came down just two days before I was retiring from the police force to move to Florida on the beach.  Not-to-mention,  it was a mere week after my family was killed by a shadowy government conspiracy of one armed men with tiny, ferret noses. 

 All I ever wanted to do was grow beets somewhere, on a little bit of land all my own. Shoot a few rabbits, maybe... invescerate them and mix their innards with my road kill collection of stuffed, lacquered and glistening  guts... just take it easy and try be.... freeeee.... but, no. ... the man just wouldn't let me. You kill one little busload of school children and they all turn on you just like that.  Fucking fair weather friends.

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Johnathon Jackson has been working to save this city, literally, since birth.  He is a Finance Major who knows more about the crises we are in than any expert you talk to.  In 2012, the same balloon payments that bankrupted the middle class and stole their houses, is going to come due for Commercial Loans.  They cannot meet the balloon payments anymore than the housing community could.   Thousands of businesses are supposed to tank.  Johnathon is the man we are going to need to survive this -- Daley and his cronies will just figure out a way to make a few bucks off of this, or sell off the sidewalks to a private concern, or.... well, we all know how they operate.   I urge you to watch Operation Rainbow Push on Saturday mornings at 10am on their site, live, or on television.   Johnathon's astute lectures will convince you I am right.

For too long, the racists have hated the Jacksons', and many in the black community do not think they are radical enough... well, Johnathon is radical enough to make some serious changes.  The hundreds of children killed in our city every year -- more this year than the soldiers who died in Afganistan and Iraq combined, would have the Marines going door to door if this happened in a white hood.  I know only an afra-american mayor will take this as seriously as it should be.   The national guards should have been brought in, if for no other reason than to show the kids that their society cares.

So, please, sign the petition and help Chicago move away from the Machine.   AND add a message for Johnathon.  To learn about his astute mind and sweeping heart and fire, watch him at 10am central time on Rainbow Push.  They are on their website,  local tv channels, etc...  You will hear a professorial explanation of current history spoken in the words of a dynamic poet, and probably the best band in Chicago.  Going down to the actual event on 51st is like seeing Martin Luther King with a great soundtrack.   

this work is protected by a commercial common use license. Feel free to spread my words...john scott ridgway

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rare phenomenon: Once every 3000 years this flower appears!

Rare phenomenon: Once every 3000 years this flower appears!: "From the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar website:
“The Udumbara flower (ficus racemosa) is a small flower of the Cluster Fig. In Buddhism, it is a metaphor for that which is supernaturally rare. In the summer of 2007, it began blossoming at various places in the world, most notably Taiwan and California.”"

From the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar website:

“The Udumbara flower (ficus racemosa) is a small flower of the Cluster Fig. In Buddhism, it is a metaphor for that which is supernaturally rare. In the summer of 2007, it began blossoming at various places in the world, most notably Taiwan and California.”

move this to waking up jesus

Monday, March 08, 2010

Operation Clambake presents: Baloney Detection Kit

Operation Clambake presents: Baloney Detection Kit

There is an excellent section of this that deconstructs the stupid shit I see in all the comment sections.
  • Ad hominem - attacking the arguer and not the argument.
  • Argument from "authority".
  • Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an "unfavourable" decision).
  • Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence).
  • Special pleading (typically referring to god's will).
  • Begging the question (assuming an answer in the way the question is phrased).
  • Observational selection (counting the hits and forgetting the misses).
  • Statistics of small numbers (such as drawing conclusions from inadequate sample sizes).
  • Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!)
  • Inconsistency (e.g. military expenditures based on worst case scenarios but scientific projections on environmental dangers thriftily ignored because they are not "proved").
  • Non sequitur - "it does not follow" - the logic falls down.
  • Post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "it happened after so it was caused by" - confusion of cause and effect.
  • Meaningless question ("what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?).
  • Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the "other side" look worse than it really is).
  • Short-term v. long-term - a subset of excluded middle ("why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?").
  • Slippery slope - a subset of excluded middle - unwarranted extrapolation of the effects (give an inch and they will take a mile).
  • Confusion of correlation and causation.
  • Straw man - caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack..
  • Suppressed evidence or half-truths.
  • Weasel words - for example, use of euphemisms for war such as "police action" to get around limitations on Presidential powers. "An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public"

Saturday, March 06, 2010

here is an odd thought...

as so many of  mine are....  There was no defitcit under Clinton... then Bush ran up a deficit by giving the richest of the rich tax cuts, in a dream of trickle down economics that proved to be Voodoo Economics (what Reagan himself called Trickle Down before adopting the policy when his handlers decided to use their puppet that way).. Now, they are using said deficit to cut social programs.  Is there a connection?

It does not matter if this was the plan or not, it is the reality.  How can the average person change this?  Oddly, the voices on the net are finally getting a bit of heft.  Politicians are being effected by the huge number of signatures on petitions -- and they know, these are voters who will punish or praise them.  Durbin, from Illinois, a champion of the people, brought the Public Option back around after being Petitioned about it, then went on to start his own Facebook petition for a good cause.   This is Democracy in action.

The unfortunate other side of today's news... another Nut has wasted his life shooting at armed security guards working at what they see as THE BEAST.    This time it was the Justice Dept.  His family has already come out with a plea that he was metally ill, and asking the press not to demonize him.  I agree with them.  The pundits make too much of the supposed reasons crazed people do what they do?   IF they are right wing and the killer is left, they blame this... if the person used drugs... they blame this... if they are black...  unemployed...  a member of some right wing or left wing organizations...  They use that corpse for a talking puppet, and their pseudo-experts make up all the words, imrpov up a reality they pretend has something to do with the world outside of their studio.

The Conspiracy theorists who kill people...  they are the tip of an iceberg of frustration.  I have been thinking since I was a teenager and came across a Penthouse with an interview with Othello, and FBI informer who went on the run and was exposing CO_INTEL-PRO   .  This is old news to some, but at the time, discovering the sleazy tricks our government was using on law abiding citizens -- Dr.  Stern, who taught me Military Intelligence, talked about how the cops sent people to his communist/peace activist meetings to try to get them to kill people, blow up shit... anything that could be used to get them all put in Jail.   I mean, the sold the Black Panthers guns, then put together a swat team to bust them for said guns, and went in with guns blazing... hoping to kill as many  of these young activists as possible.

I should be more of a conspiracy theorist, since I have actually had a lot of dealings with the Intelligence community and they end up making less and less sense everytime something happens that reminds me they have an active interest in me (my home address disappeared from my facebook as recently as last week, after I challanged some boof to come to my house so I could kick his ass.  I left the address off the entry.  I cannot tell exactly why someone chose to do this, but I do know there are people who watch out for me -- they are the same ones who informed me of various death threats and more directed my way after I had Bin Laden put out a Fatwa to cover goats assses, because they turned him on as much as the 12 year old boys they also keep covered.  Won me no friends in the middle east.  I want peace there, and in Iran, which has won me fans among the Iranians, who I know to be a very interesting and wondrous people, who value freedom with the hunger of someone who has been slightly starving for years;  look at the difference between what happened in the states when Bush stole the elections.... basically, nothing, and that which happened was BRUTALLY SUPPRESSED.   In Iran, the populace really took to the streets, in numbers the state sponsored media could not ignore, and the world press played up.  They are raised over there being told they are revolutionaries, and when that turned around and bit their present government on the ass, they reminded those citizens just what they are -- the bitches of the red guard and the mullahs.

I have been having conversations, through facebook, with various political views.  A lot of people who like my form of humor, my cynicism, are right wing.  I have confused people for years about what I believe in.  I have been raised a Spartan in America, a war-culture.  Briefly during my childhood, the anti-war movement and the hippie movement and free love and pot all seemed like they were going to change everything .... the came the Right Wing Back Lash, sending out a union busting, actor to start a cult of personality they could manipulate into cutting their taxes, and getting ups some good wars going to keep their munitions stocks rising.

I think conspiracies are often about like asking if there is a God?   We are never going to get the perfect answer, which would be God just not playing coy, coming down for personal appearances, to clean up the planet, stop war, end death, etc...    We just have to start with what we have now, and say we are stop certain things from happening in the future.  I would rather that the CIA straighten out their use of private prisons, out-sourced torture, assassination (character and otherwise), without some kind of witchhunt that destroys their capacity to act.  On this one I agree with Obama, look forward not back.  Still, I think this requires that they open up, release a plethora of documents that are top secret only to cover a few peoples asses, and this alone would destroy a lot of conspiracy theories.  Truth.  This would leave the crazies no room to make stuff up.

This is the problem with secrecy -- humans are pattern makers, and they will decide on some reason for just about everything, even if they have to resort to astrology.

I learned a harsh lesson is the Government when I inadvertently published top secret intelligence in my first novel, a tale told by an ex-Navy Seal who used to come in as co-professor for some of Dr. Stern's classes.   I based Matt Slane on him (though the name, which has been criticized for being too metaphorical, is just the name of my best friend, who happens to be very tough).   They want the story told their wa

Ill. judge won't toss torture suit naming Rumsfeld

Ill. judge won't toss torture suit naming Rumsfeld

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Friday, March 05, 2010

NY Daily News - Discussions - Sean Penn tells CBS' 'Sunday ...

NY Daily News - Discussions - Sean Penn tells CBS' 'Sunday ...

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Thursday, March 04, 2010



RAHM: This was Chicago, I would have the bastard killed. Can't someone just kick his ass?"
OBAM: Rahm... come on. We can get health care passed without killing anyone. Look, you almost got me to off that bastard from Kentucky, then he backed off.
RAHM: Bush got away with fucking 9-11, and you worry about some retarded hillbilly?
Fucking retards, all of them... I should be in Charge of these fucking retard... got to get my hands on that button, then they'll listen to Rahm."
OBAMA: Uh, excuse me Rahm?"
Rahm: "Uh, nothing Mr. President. I guess we'll just send them horses heads then."
Obama: "NO, start with their pets. Then the... maid. Then... break their kids legs... all of them, at the same time, no matter where the hell they are in the world.... They'll vote for health care... because they are going to fucking need it."
Rahm: "You sure you turned that... the mic is on."
OBAMA: "Well, we are just kidding anyways, and Senate pets die everyday. Why should today be any different? Coincidences happen. And that my friend, is the power of plausible denial.
Rahm: "You bastard, you do hate whitey, don't you? As a Jew, I think all these gentiles -- genitals as we call them are..."
OBAMA: "Rahm, I do not hate anyone, really. Hate is... I just know this is important to millions, and I want it passed... so, we are going to all Chicago on the bastards. Filibuster this, you Romulans!
Rahm: I would take him by the goddamn throat and....
OBAMA "Why did I hire you again?"
RAHM: "The pictures of dress up night, with the wife, when you were doing Diana Ross."
OBAMA: 'Yea, i keep thinking it was that other thing..."
RAHM: "I am saving that back for an Ambassadorship in the Caribbean, I'm thinking... I'll let you know.
OBAMA: "Yes, I am sure you will. You're still leaving at the end of the year?"
RAHM: "Not being able to have people killed... or destroyed by the machine... no, I miss Chi-town. There I could just catch these assholes at a grocery store and....
OBAMA: Yes, yes, Rahm, we all know how tough you are. Could I, uhm, get back to signing these papers and doing... other stuff... by myself?
RAHM: "Can we just discuss one more time why Cheney got his own hit squad and yet I can't have one?I could be taking down these fucking retards, start with Palin.."
Rahm: "You still have the hots for her."
OBAMA: McCain didn't hire her for her brain, Rahm. She has something . . . "
RAHM: "You gotta let this go."
OBAMA: "That note she sent me... the things she wants to do..."
RAHM: "Yes, and we have phone transcripts about how she would then claim a black man was trying to rape her... she wanted to meet you in Texas, for God's Sake!!!"
OBAMA: "I still think she wanted me... too. I'm sure of it."
RAHM: "When I leave here, you're pulling up those nude survaillance photos of her again, aren't ya?"
"You got a jiz rag?"
"Yea, right here... you bastard."
Rahm: "Caught you again. That's how many times?"
OBAMA: It relaxes me... this is a tense...
RAHM: "36 times I have caught you whacking to her."
OBAMA: "I don't think we need to keep track of... You know, Rahm, everyone knocks, except you Rahm, why is that?"
RAHM:"I secretly take pictures of everything... you know, in case I need another favor."
OBAMA: Oh, God... I was just trying to be bi-partisian!"
RAHM: "I know,sir, I know... I have her on my screen saver. Got the wife wearing one of those masks of hers. Something about fucking that retard in the ass."
OBAMA: Rahm, must you use the word, 'retard,' every time you put together a sentence?"
RAHM: "Those bastards think they can stop me from calling a retard a retard are retards."

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

We Need To Stop This... by ANY MEANS NECESSARY,


Santa Fe Institute economist: one in four Americans is employed to guard the wealth of the rich

By Cory Doctorow at 10:45 PM February 5, 2010
Here's a fascinating profile on radical Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, an empiricist who says his research doesn't support the Chicago School efficient marketplace hypothesis. Instead, Bowles argues that the wealth inequality created by strict market economics creates inefficiencies because society has to devote so much effort to stopping the poor from expropriating the rich. He calls this "guard labor" and says that one in four Americans is employed to in the sector -- labor that could otherwise be used to increase the nation's wealth and progress.

The greater the inequalities in a society, the more guard labor it requires, Bowles finds. This holds true among US states, with relatively unequal states like New Mexico employing a greater share of guard labor than relatively egalitarian states like Wisconsin.
The problem, Bowles argues, is that too much guard labor sustains "illegitimate inequalities," creating a drag on the economy. All of the people in guard labor jobs could be doing something more productive with their time--perhaps starting their own businesses or helping to reduce the US trade deficit with China.
Guard labor supports what one might call the beat-down economy. Community Action's Porter sees it all the time.
"We have based almost everything we have done on the idea that we always need a part of our workforce that is marginalized--that we can call this group into action at any time, pay them nothing and they will do anything that needs to be done," she says.
More discouraging, perhaps, is the statistical fact that a person born into this workforce has little chance of rising beyond it.
Born Poor? (via MeFi) is protected by a commercial common use license. Feel free to spread my words...john scott ridgway

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Getting People Out To Vote... at Gunpoint.

I think all the gangs should get some good press, and a good lesson  in real power, by being paid to go door to door getting people to vote.  Of course, they should be heavily armed.  Like I do around here.  Believe me, you shoot up a couple houses on your block, and when you go by with a megaphone later telling them to line up to vote...   They come right out.  I mean, they know I have explosives hidden somewhere on their property that will go off if they piss me off and all.  Of course, at this point, I usually groin kick the republicans, break their legs, whatever... believe me, that ambulance ain't heading toward the voting booth...   It is surprising how many republicans have become democrats on my block because of this policy.  I then march them -- and yes, on this block, they damn well better be able to march, or at least get a wheelie out of their little traveling chairs...  then I take them one by one into the voting booth and 'show them' how to vote the right way.  There is nothing like being a serial killer for the CIA for getting to live like a rugged individualists.  Like Cheney said during one his late night chat's with Satan, "Plausible denial. Works like a goddamn spell on these sheep."   

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After reading an article about town hall protesters, the president holds up the paper to Michelle, asking, "Honey, how does it feel to be a woman from the south side of Chicago who is married to Hitler?  A commie, muslim, Indonesian, anti-christ, Hitler, none-the-less."

"Not in front of the girls, Barrack."
"Daddy, are you Hitler?"
"No, dear, Daddy does not like Hitler.  He was a very, very bad man.  Daddy is your daddy.  These people like to pretend that is what I am like."
"Remember when we talked about bullies?"
"Well, they are bullies."
"Tell the teacher, daddy."
"You know what, I think I will."

Check out all of my blogs by googling my name, John Scott Ridgway

this work is protected by a commercial common use license. Feel free to spread my words...john scott ridgway

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From The Daily Beast.,..




Iraq soldierMaya Alleruzzo / AP PhotoToday’s pullout from Iraqi cities vindicates Bush’s "surge" strategy, says former Marine Zachary Iscol. The change in tactics—which reversed our fortunes in Iraq—could even help Obama in Iran.

As a Marine, I learned that peace is predicated on compromise, not superior firepower or belligerence.

Today, witnessing U.S. troops withdraw from Iraqi cities, I find the right’s accusations of appeasement levied on President Obama about most issues in the Middle East incredibly ironic. Today’s withdrawal, perhaps the greatest success of the Bush administration, would not have occurred if we hadn’t learned to appease.

Today’s withdrawal, perhaps the greatest success of the Bush administration, would not have occurred if we hadn’t learned to appease.

When President Bush announced the "surge," on January 11, 2007, he was announcing much more than the deployment of 35,000 additional troops to Iraq. He also was adopting a set of successful tactics that had already been implemented successfully by a few industrious officers. It amounted to a radically different approach to how troops would be employed on the ground.

In 2004, I took little risk with the lives of my Marines. It was simply too dangerous. If a vehicle failed to stop as it crashed through our checkpoint, we used deadly force. If a military-aged male was in the vicinity after a roadside bomb detonated, he would be detained. I often wonder if some of our tactics created more insurgents than we were able to kill or capture.

In the violent summer months of 2004, we put the risk on the civilian population, but in 2007, as the surge began and General David Petraeus took over, the force began to accept more risk in order to protect the population. Troops moved out of large, fortified bases and lived in smaller outposts among the population. They patrolled more often on foot instead of in armored vehicles. At first, casualties went up, but then something remarkable happened: Coalition casualties plummeted.

FM 3-24, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, published on December 16, 2006, encapsulates a number of the paradoxes of counterinsurgency. It turns out, “The more you protect the force, the less secure you may be.” And “Sometimes the more force is used, the less effective it is.”

Perhaps former Bushies are so quick to criticize Obama because they never really bought into the change in tactics and strategy that reversed our fortunes in Iraq. Over time, it was our military, mainly junior officers and NCOs, who realized that the vast majority of people in Iraq were not our enemy—but that our tactics and emphasis on force were turning many of them into enemies. This, more than anything else, is the Achilles’ heel of the counterinsurgent.

Antagonizing and creating new enemies is much more dangerous than failing to kill one, which is why Obama’s limited response to the political unrest and demonstrations in Iran is commendable. Action or support from the United States would largely alienate the demonstrators from greater support from the population of Iran. As the counterinsurgency manual states, “Sometimes, doing nothing is the best reaction” especially when action would be counterproductive or foster greater resentment. Those critical of Obama’s initially tepid response would do better to explain what they hope to accomplish and how through more active support for the demonstrators in Iran.

In 2004, as a young Marine lieutenant, I gave a poster of George Washington crossing the Delaware River to a local tribal leader named Sheik Jabbar. I was 25 years old and he was a foot taller than me, regal, wise, and twice my age. As I handed him the poster, I explained that he had the opportunity to be his nation’s Thomas Jefferson. He graciously accepted the poster and then asked me if I meant he would write his country’s declaration of independence, be its ambassador to France, or serve as its president. He then listed the names of his family’s patriarchs going back 1,200 years. He wanted to be like his forefathers, not mine.

Last Friday, Obama clearly articulated that what is going on in Iran is not about us. It is about the Iranian people seeking justice for themselves. Obama understands, much better than I did, the folly in thinking otherwise. He also understands the incredible danger of taking action and siding with the protesters. Creating the illusion that the protesters are American pawns would alienate them and fracture their ranks. Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction.

Over kabobs, chai tea, and the hookah, I learned a tremendous amount about Iraq’s history and local issues from Sheik Jabbar, and he would often complain to me about the local city council. Unelected bodies, the city councils had been appointed by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority with the intent that they would become legislative bodies after elections were held. For Sheik Jabbar and most of the local people, they were an illegitimate and corrupt governing body that would siphon funds for local municipal projects for personal gain. I soon learned that the tribal councils were much more democratic and just than our appointed councils, but we treated them as an archaic remnant of Iraq’s past and alienated them. So they came to see us as occupiers, supported al Qaeda as liberators, and fought against us.

But in 2005, two years before the surge, along the Euphrates River Valley, Marine company commanders began working closely with tribal leaders, shifting their emphasis from promoting democracy to promoting the peace. Former enemies became close allies. Soon battalion commanders and regimental commanders were following the path laid out to them by junior officers. The generals followed. Soon even Bush was gripping and grinning with the tribal leaders of Iraq as Democrats in Congress cried appeasement and debated the merits of a bill deriding the Maliki government for offering asylum to former nationalist insurgents with American blood on their hands. Almost overnight, the most violent province in Iraq became one of the most peaceful. This willingness to appease fostered the peace that now enables us to withdraw our troops from Iraq’s cities.

I recently returned to Fallujah, this time as a journalist, and I was astonished at how different the city had become. Four years earlier, the city lay in ruin. It reeked of death and was littered with trash and human remains. As I accompanied one of the last Marine patrols through the city, I wondered where we would be and how long we would still be there if we had never learned to appease.s work is protected by a commercial common use license. Feel free to spread my words...john scott ridgway