Aug 25, 2005

Chapter 42

Our logic often escapes them

Killiniq Island
The Doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.)

Inuit who were able to see the future
predicted that another group of people would be arriving.
And that they would have deadly weapons.
-John Amagoalik, Inuit statesman and broadcaster

I hate this chapter.
I hate this chapter and I haven’t even started it yet.
I hate this chapter because it is not about Beauty.
I hate this chapter because it is not funny.
I hate this chapter because it does not seduce you.
I hate this chapter because it is about the horror.
The horror.
The stuff nightmares are made of.
The ones where you wake up drenched in sweat, shaking, angry;
not knowing where you are, or why you are on the run,
or what is pursuing you.
I hate this chapter because I never wanted you to see this.
I wanted to be your shield against the rockets’ red glare.
I wanted to be able to shelter you.

It is in the shelter of others that the people live.


I felt that place within
That horrible place
where martyrs weep

and angels play with sin

Rare photo of the elusive Arsen Kazbeki
shown here terrifying a captive audience of 800 apparatchiks in 1967

I had the strangest dream
as I slept on the forest floor

I heard, as it were,
the noise of thunder.

And a voice
in the midst
of the Four Beasts


“Come and see”

and I went

And I saw:

Behold a pale horse
and his name that sat on him

was Death,

and Hell followed with him.

How is it going with “Outreach in the Arctic”? Providing information to the indigenous people, a little at a time, to help them fully appreciate our complex and sophisticated society; our profound devotion to democracy; our philosophy of pure logic; our objective and scientific knowledge, with none of their residual pagan superstitions. Did you manage to translate “global thermo-nuclear war resulting in the extermination of the human species” from English to Inuktitut? Did you explain to the Inuit the reasons why we built the Doom Machine and hired 25,000 men to string an electronic detection system 5,000 kilometres across their territory from Labrador to Alaska? Did you pay them to put up an Inukshuk in your honour?

Nnnnn nnn nnnnnn nnnnn

Inuktitut has no word for “war”.

It is not that their vocabulary is missing a word. It is that they have no concept of it. Hunter-gatherers, nomadic or semi-nomadic. Right into the mid-1960’s; some still lived in tents and igloos, and followed their food, depending on the season. No concept of conquering and owning territory. No wars of self-defence, as nobody could tolerate the cold long enough to invade them – how do you fight a war where it is so cold, iron shatters and gasoline freezes solid? No tribal wars, they had no tribes. No political wars, they had no politics, no ideologies to impose; no government, no political parties. No religious wars; they did not try to convert anybody to listen to a shaman; on the contrary, almost no one from the outside gets to meet a shaman.

No hierarchy. No President, no King, no Queen, no Mayor, no Generals, no police, no army, no bureaucracy, no boss, no Indian Chief, no superstars, no lawyers, no fences, no borders, no roads, no roadmaps, no ownership.

And no war.

Do not mistake this for peace and love and philosophizing; these people live in harsh reality and they are tougher than nails. An Inuk will stick a knife in you if it becomes excessively evident that you really should be killed. But that’s between you and the person with the knife; there are words for anger and murder and fighting and any bad behaviour you can think of, but war? Nothing to say. Never heard of such a thing. It cannot possibly be true that hundreds of thousands of men choose sides with identical clothing and then go out and kill each other. That is not a likely story. That makes no sense.

But the usefulness of a polar bear blanket in an igloo when the night lasts for months – there, they have lots of vocabulary: poetic, ribald, sensuous, factual, horny, appreciative. That is within the world they experience. The following is not:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Global thermo-nuclear war is not my cup of tea.
And as I don’t like it, I don’t see why I should have to pay for it.

World War III, Take One: Stalemate based on mutual fear

Username Kazbeki: It’s the mid-1970’s. (Port Burwell still exists). As usual, the world is in crisis. Wars and rumours of wars. I moved most of my army forward to the West German border, sent the air force on aggressive patrols, moved my submarines to deep water. My mentor in the Kremlin was preparing for full-scale war. I had five million men in uniform, all under my command. The End Game is underway. After all those decades of preparation, the moment is finally here; the moment we have been waiting for, the moment when the New Soviet Man brings history to an end, and begins a new history – this is the Year Zero One. Get the entire Red Army out, marching to the big kettle drums; fighter jets in low-level formation over our cities, send the fleet out in battle formation. The New Soviet Man will complete the victory of the proletariat – the last of the feudal and capitalist enemies of the people will attend re-education camps, or face the oblivion that meets all traitors and back-sliders. Soldiers, take up your positions; the Yankee Imperialists have grown fat and lazy; they are paper tigers, they will not fight, they will surrender when they see our revolutionary ardour, and then America will be ours. And it will be our turn to sing, Welcome to the Hotel California: you can never leave.

Evaluation: Kazbeki did not take into account that all this activity and chest-thumping was being monitored by American satellites, listening devices and plain ordinary spies: the Soviets were mobilizing and so they mobilized too. Kazbeki telegraphed his moves. Analysts at WestPoint and the Naval College could read Kazbeki’s plan like a book. The NSA routinely cracked Soviet encryption, and got copies of orders from the Kremlin almost as fast as the Soviet commanders themselves.

They call it a simulation; I call it a game
They make a wasteland and call it peace.

Curtis: “Comrade, what are your targets?”

Kazbeki: “I get to choose the targets? Excellent. Well, let’s see, hit New York, Chicago, Washington, L. A… hit their top 50 cities; and any city with bad restaurants and no live music. And blow up any city that voted for Herbert Hoover in 1932.”

Curtis: So you are ready for war, Comrade Kazbeki? Let me tell you what happens if you push the red button.

The largest warhead was designed for 100 Megatons; Soviet scientists were simply afraid of it, so almost half of the uranium was removed, and it was tested in Siberia at 57 Megatons – equivalent to 57 million tons of high explosives. Drop one on Manhattan and there would be nothing left but a crater. The initial fireball, 10 kilometres wide, hotter than the surface of the sun, turns all it touches to pure energy in seconds. People 100 kilometres away would be fatally burned by the first flash of light. People 125 kilometres away would be permanently blinded, if they were looking towards the explosion. An immense firestorm would burn the wreckage of cities and entire forests, creating its own mega-hurricane with 400 kmh winds sucking people and houses into the fire, and consuming vast amounts of oxygen. Following the flash of light and heat, the first shock wave would blast its way for hundreds of kilometres, ripping up the landscape, moving faster than the speed of sound. Those not killed by the initial blast would die of radiation poisoning within days. The fireball would be visible in the sky for 1,000 kilometres; pushing dust beyond the atmosphere, into space, possibly spreading as far as the moon.

All of the above is from one bomb.

Multiply that by that by tens of thousands of warheads; (although smaller than this one; the largest American warhead was 9 Megatons; more than enough to flatten your average city), it would turn the world into Danté’s Inferno.

This is the Brezhnev-era USSR, with 30,000 nuclear warheads; and the U.S.A. would fire back, with their slightly larger arsenal... 33,000 nuclear devices. (Tactical and strategic). The seismic shock of repeated explosions might cause an earthquake and tsunami. How many nuclear explosions can a tectonic plate take before it cracks? We don’t know.

After a full-scale nuclear war, the smoke, blotting out the sun, would cause a nuclear winter that would last for years. Day would turn to night; it would snow in the Sahara Desert; the entire planet would be freezing. There would be no more food.

All civilization would be destroyed. If any human beings survived, they would crawl out of the rubble and find themselves in the Stone Age. With the radioactive snow and no food, it is probable that the human race would become extinct within weeks. It is even possible that all life on earth would be killed, by the radiation alone.

Curtis speaks about himself: (Required 6 shots of Canadian Whiskey):
I spent my career trying to prevent nuclear Armageddon. At breakfast I would obsessively scan the top-secret CIA daily reports, with a stomach-clenching sense of dread. No one paid attention to the single most important fact since the creation of the Earth: that it could at any moment be destroyed, on purpose, by its most intelligent species. The most advanced nations, the wealthiest countries, the most educated people, invented modern science and then used it to find a way to commit planeticide, to destroy everything, to kill all living things in 60 minutes. A great cycle of revenge; justified revenge, took hold of the history of Cain’s children: the first murder and then the first massacre and then the first war. And there seems to be no way to break the brutal pattern.

We fight for freedom again and again, and smite those who deceived us and sold us as slaves to our enemies.

Why would I want to take your life?
You only murdered my father
and raped my wife
tattooed my children
with your poison pen
mocked my God
humiliated my friends.

You push this button, you get your revenge. The apple you were not supposed to eat, from the tree of knowledge in your First Story: You thought that your knowledge would be “objective”, by which you mean, “not encumbered by morality or justice”.
Man evolved intelligence to devise a way to destroy the world.

Darwin went silent, retired to his study, and never spoke again.

God turned and walked away, shaking His head.
He has taken up residence at the other end of the universe and no one dares talk about Earth – it throws Him into terrible depressions. “I gave them Beauty, I gave them love, I gave them freedom, I gave them life,” He says, perplexed. “What more do they want? Do they think I am just an errand boy to satisfy their wandering desires?”

Satan locked the gateway to hell – he did not want that kind of people moving into his neighbourhood. Destroy the world? WTF? That’s the best plan you could come up with, after 60 years of atomic weapons and trillions of dollars? Is there no Plan “B”?

Inuktitut does not have a word for “it”. You do not get to pick the targets; you do not get to decide who shall be Named, and who shall be Nameless.

“It” is a Great Divide. European philosophies and religions place Man at the centre of the universe: “The central study of mankind is what it means to be a human being, qua, human, and qua being.”
Thus spake the European deep thinkers about their own position: central.

Hunter-gatherers do not proclaim themselves to be at the centre of the universe. Your spirit is not greater than the spirit of the individual seal who dies so that your family may eat. The seal is not an “it”. If you disrespect the source of your food and clothes, then some day, somewhere, you are going to make a huge mistake and your people may starve. That is not a metaphor or simile or analogy. It is observed and observable fact. It has always been true, since the earliest time. When a hunter gets too wise in his own eyes, he misjudges the stability of the ice. When a hunter disrespects the animals, the animals can smell his sweat, and they stay away and do not agree to be our food.

Are you stronger than the ocean? The ocean is not generic. The rocks were here long before you arrived and they will be here long after you are gone. Maybe the rocks call you “it”. You are a temporary phenomenon. You are not superior to a boulder, not in the world of boulders. You arrived by helicopter, but the boulders were placed here by the last ten ice ages, and they will be moved again by the next ten ice ages.

The rock you are standing on has been a solid rock for four billion years. Before that, it was molten rock. And how old are you?
Look at the rock again. Is there any greater wonderment? Is there anything more silent? A great force moved and shaped them – some are split neatly in pieces; some need to be chiselled to reveal the animal or person contained inside the shape of the stone. You can look at stones and see what shape is inside them, if you learn how to see that.
Where is this “it” you constantly speak of? What is “it”? Name who you are and name what you are talking about. “Anonymous” is not enough information about you, and “it” is not enough information about “it”. Tell us where you were hunting and how thick the ice was and how the wind shifted and what did you actually come to tell us.

Words on paper may be advertising, or deceptive contracts. Words on paper cannot be trusted. You do not even know whose talk it is, or what their voice sounds like. Paper is a dead tree, and we don’t have trees, so do not try to hide behind a tree when you speak to us.

Do not send us photocopies of the same worn-out sentences made of pre-fabricated words that no one listens to; it has reached a point where you don’t even bother to read your own press releases any more. Speak to us with your voice and your honour. Lives may depend on hearing your story of when the white bear was hungry, and the bear correctly identified you as the only fresh meat in the vicinity. Describe that in every detail. How does it happen that you made it through?

We’ve got nothing but each other.

Survival of the group requires the transfer of experience and perception from one to another, and from one generation to another. Their language is where everything is kept in use for future generations. You can’t speak the language without being broadsided by their philosophy, world-view, sense of humour, ancient magic, and affection for complex language, inventive word play, and grammatical precision. Their grammar is more precise than Latin.

(It’s a trap, Captain. It’s a trap. It is not their language they are teaching you; it is everything they injected into their language for 4,000 years.)

Without judgment or blame, tell us what it was, what it is, what it is meant to be. Who were they, the ones who walked beside you? We’ve got nothing but each other. You don’t go migrating across the frozen landscape with someone you cannot trust to tell you the simple truth.

(Exercise 1): Go through your normal day, or write a letter or a story or have a conversation, never using the word “it”. Observe your mind tinkering with sentence structure. The pure form is when you don’t have to try to get around “it” because you have no concept of what the word refers to; there is no such word, no such category.

(Exercise 2): Go through your normal day, or write or speak, dictating that everyone and everything is an “it”, except you. You are the Higher One; everybody and everything else is Nameless. In your humble opinion.

In Inuktitut, “to create poetry” is the same word as “to breathe”.

They are the same thing. It is not “poetry” on one side, and “breathing” on the other side, with a pipeline between them; they are merged as one; some say it touches the ancient pre-soul, or proto-soul which some call anerca. When we breathe for ourselves, we also breathe for anerca. Breath infuses art with the energy of life, and art gives voice to the energy; surprised to be alive; even more surprised to understand we are alive.

Each time you take a breath, you are + speaking + chanting + singing + poem + prayer + song + drums + in + I + because + desire + here + I + because + anerca, (She who is eternal), and in those moments when you are entirely truthful to the universe, and your breathing and soul are fused together, you become transparent; we see through the window that you have made of your selfhood; you allow us to see, or glimpse, the eternal, the universal, the pure thing in-itself, as far as we can see; but also the mystery of the pure thing for-itself, with ways unknown to us. Through the transparency that your self has become, the window newly created, we see the light that floods the earth.

After that, believing is just about all you have to do.

We are life, thus breathing;
We are life that is conscious of breathing, thus poetry.

This is not a choice we make, it is a fact of nature. It is how things work.

It is how we respond to being unexpectedly born in a world we did not create, by a life force utterly beyond our comprehension, into a world we are invited to explore and witness. I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me howl at the moon. Thus, howling is also part of the merger with breathing. Or complete silence for a few days. You will have to make up some new words to describe what you witnessed.

(O.T.): When poetry and breathing diverge, it can be devastating to the individual: similar in some ways to “bi-polar”. Less severe but more widespread: the alienation and distance from Beauty of vast segments of the population of the world.)

The Inuit had no schools, no books, no Dead Sea Scrolls, no National Library to hand down their knowledge for 4,000 years; there is oral tradition, but story-telling can only go so far, and stories get forgotten; and in any case, most poems have no words, for years and years. You have to know your poem very, very well before it will start to create words. There are things you see when young that do not have words until you are old. The poem is there all that time; wordless, but mindful.

A dictionary encourages people to be static. Tell your experience in your own words; so that we all learn to see what it looked like; when the white bear charges you, it is too late to Google “Nanook”. Too bad for you, because you have become lunch for something higher on the food chain. But your story will be forwarded to many people, who will learn to avoid being an idiot like you.

The Inuit went paperless from the beginning: they embedded their philosophy in their language; it is not intellectual debate; it is how they speak. Their language is a dazzling tour-de-force of human beings witnessing life, one of the most elaborate and complex languages in the world, and one of the oldest.

It is a language that picked up quite a story along the way. As did you.

Poetry breathing and breathing poetry is one example.

There are other symbiotic relationships
woven into the fabric of the universe.
They are there for a reason.
A reason that surpasses our meagre understanding.

Do not go and buy a crowbar to pry poetry and breathing apart and sell the pieces as scrap to reduce your annual deficit. Who knows what would happen, but it would not be good. Heed the words of an equally ancient tribe:

Let no man rip asunder what God hath joined together

That is Fair Warning. People who have lived there for 4,000 years tell you as soon as you arrive:

(1) Don’t eat Greenland shark without special curing; it is poisonous; And:

(2) whatever you do, do not rip asunder what God hath joined together, such as poetry and breathing, or else you will find out why we forwarded this warning for 4,000 years from generation to generation; it is that important; you will find out that ripping a hole in the basic structure of the universe for your own personal ambition is not something that you can get away with. You did not create the universe. You were given a free chance to live in it for a short while. You know almost nothing about the universe. If you rip apart what holds it together, you will see that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t put it back together again.

Thus, the warnings. Don’t eat the red berries. You idiot.

We guarantee both sides will lose.
From Eisenhower to Obama, the Doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction is official U.S. policy. (Yes, we call it M.A.D., even in official documents.) Supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Here is the core of the Doctrine:

If you nuke us, we will nuke you. Nobody wins, everybody dies.
Think you can destroy our missiles on their launch pads before we can launch them?

We won’t wait for that to happen. We will launch ALL of our missiles before yours hit us. From the moment you press the red button, mankind is doomed; the destruction of all civilization will be complete in 45 to 60 minutes.

That’s the Doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. It is official government policy. If the enemy does “A”, we will do “B”. There are no alternate plans. There are two possible results: everybody dies if we do “B”; or nobody dies if the enemy does not do “A”. And the only thing preventing “A” is fear of “B”.

There is no “C”.

The balance of terror must be maintained in equilibrium; one side must not be much stronger than the other.
Mutual fear is the key.
There must never be anything or anyone persuading either side that there is a way to win.

They hid themselves in the rocks of the mountains
Here is no water but only rock Rock and no water and the sandy soil

Missiles launched in Siberia would reach the U.S.A. in 30 minutes. American satellites linked to super-computers would report the launch, calculate the speed and trajectory and predict the impact-point, all within the first 5 minutes. Most missiles would fly over Canada’s Arctic, where the only line of detection is the chain of radar and communication relay posts, anchored on the east in Labrador, passing through Killiniq, then across Hudson’s Strait, onwards to Alaska; the data is transmitted to the intelligence centre at Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario; then the data from sensors and satellites around the world are transmitted to the command centre which is literally inside Cheyenne Mountain in the Colorado Rockies.

Six thousand people work in an underground office park, in shifts of 2,000 each, to support 200 analysts and military decision-makers; a small city built to withstand a nuclear explosion, chiselled inside the mountain, with 2,000 feet of solid granite above it; it has 15 buildings, eleven of which are 3 stories high; all l5 buildings have separate escape tunnels; there is enough food for 2,200 people for one year; the security is higher than at the Pentagon. It is inside Cheyenne Mountain that most of the control of the war takes place.

and the chief captains
and the mighty men
hid themselves
in the dens
and in the rocks
of the mountains;

and said to the mountains and rocks:
Fall on us.

The President of the U.S. must give the order to retaliate within 15 or 20 minutes of the first alert, before the Soviet missiles hit. The entire war would last 45 to 60 minutes

With your stockpile of 30,000 nukes, Comrade, you can drop a nuclear bomb on each of the 24,000 incorporated municipalities in the entire USA – every city, every suburb, every town, every village with more than ten inhabitants – and you would still have thousands of nukes left over.

And the Americans have the same targeting dilemma: more warheads than targets. The U.S.A. could nuke every village in the Soviet Union, and still have warheads in stock.

And my job was to stall, delay the war, praying that over time the human race would look in the mirror and burst into tears.

So what is your decision, Comrade Kazbeki? Are you going to push the red button? Is that your decision? Then go ahead, Comrade. Push the damn button and get it over with. But you won’t be in the history books, because there will be no more history. The end of time is within the next 45 minutes. And with it, the end of your life, and the end of the human race. Your call, Comrade.

Kazbeki: I can see no good outcome if I push the button. It is not worth destroying the world just to get rid of the Yankee Imperialist War-Mongers. As Marx said, the victory of the proletariat is inevitable; Capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. Destroying the earth would end Marxism; anyone who destroys Marxism is an enemy of the people. Let us wait a few more years and the proletariat of the world will rise up and cast off the chains of servitude that bind them.

Curtis: Right. Good thinking. Well said. Congratulations, Comrade Kazbeki. You did NOT push the button. That is the right answer. That is the answer we were looking for. No matter what hateful reasons you have to kill us, you decided not to kill us because there would be no one left for the victory parade.

Mutual fear is the cement that binds. Our safety is in designing total destruction; we will be safe only if there is no hope of survival. It’s pure and elegant logic; we tell the enemy in advance what the agenda will be: we die about 20 minutes before they do; because their missiles strike us first, but we will already have launched ours in retaliation, so they will be all dead too, 20 minutes after us. As plans go, this one is elegantly simple, and takes only 45 to 60 minutes from beginning to end, but it does not have a lot of upside.

So sing your praise of progress

and of the Doom Machine

The naked truth is still taboo

whenever it can be seen

Note: Now that the Cold War is over, the U.S.A. and Russia agreed to vastly reduce their stockpiles of nuclear warheads. Instead of 30,000 nukes each, they now have only 7,500 nukes each. Evenly balanced. So get out your Atlas and choose the 15,000 cities to blow up. Nothing has changed in the balance of terror. It would still be enough to destroy the world,
M.A.D. still works. No one would push the button unless they were crazy, and you know they would never let a crazy person near the button.

Pre-fab words are cheap, but hollow. Better to make your own.
Probably no one has said this before in Inuktitut:
"I never said I wanted to go to Paris." The translation is:
It has to be said as one word, with no breaks in it. Spelling counts for points, and get the pronunciation right or it might sound like a different meaning. It is a word in Inuktitut that did not exist five minutes ago. Inuit make up words as they speak.

(h/t to Alexina Kublu and Mick Mallon, Iqaluit.)

In English or French, a sentence is a string of beads. Each bead is a word, a pre-fabricated word, from a list of pre-fabricated words called a dictionary, and the beads are strung together on a thread called a sentence to hold them in the same sequence to control the flow of meaning. Usually subject, verb, object.

English: I am happy to be here.
French: Je suis content d'être ici.


quviasuktunga tamaaniinnama
happy + I + here + in + be + because + I

Words in Inuktitut are not pre-fabricated. The words are constructed while you are speaking. There does not always have to be a subject. There is no pre-determined word order.

As when playing with Lego building blocks, you choose and assemble them in your own way. You gather elements of discourse. Each unit of speech is a root that carries a meaning. You can build an elaborate structure, or keep it very simple.

You might never say your deepest words the same way twice. You cannot step into the same river twice. The water has moved on. Your word constructions change all the time too.

Meese and geese

In English, there are many irregularities in the language, as if no one was paying attention when they listed the pre-fabricated words – if geese is the plural of goose, then meese must be the plural of moose.

And remember studying the verb endings in French?
Je danse
Tu danses
Il (elle) danse
Nous dansons
Vous dansez
Ils (Elles) dansent
The root “dans..” in “danser” does not change; you drop the “er” at the end and add your rather meaningless endings, “e, es, e, ons, ez, ent”.

The French and English languages are presented to you “déjà tout cuit” – already all cooked.

The ideal is to talk like a TV news announcer reading a list of yesterday’s news from a neutral script handed to the announcer 5 minutes before going on air.

“In tonight’s news, the top stories are… murder, unemployment, major pile-up on icy highway, electricity off in Winnipeg, reformed Senate vetoed, inflation rising. We take you now to Ottawa where Ryerson graduate journalists are asking the same questions to the same politicians instead of just replaying the old tapes...”

That is the ideal way of speaking, because you sound educated but it does not matter what you say because no one is really listening to you.

Everybody repeats the same catch phrases, receiving their words from the language, instead of using the language as software to help you create your own voice.

With Inuktitut, you enter into that other dimension.
Inuktitut requires you to find the ingredients, mix them to your taste, do the cooking, serve the guests, do the dishes, propose a toast; add floral arrangements if appropriate. All created on the fly. As you speak.

You studied French verbs? English verbs? Ha! Baby talk. Those are young, simple languages. Inuit invented verbs that can have 200 or 300 root verb endings; as many as 700. You must mark them for their subject and their direct object, if there is one, as well as for their tense. In some cases, verbs have a special set of suffixes when a question is being asked. Even simple nouns can have dozens of different forms. Added to the language over the centuries.

In addition to the three persons that other languages of the world distinguish, Inuktitut has a "fourth person" when two of the three persons are addressing different subjects or different approaches within the same discussion. Also, you must distinguish between singular, dual, and plural. Dual is two; plural starts with three. Noah’s system.

English has past and future; Inuktitut makes a series of distinctions depending on how far into the past or into the future we are looking.

In some extreme or ecstatic situations, nouns can become verbs and verbs can become nouns; things become actions and actions become things, as in the earliest times, people could become animals and animals could become people, if they wanted to. Those were the days when there were magic words, and the human mind had mysterious power, and what the people wanted to happen could happen. All they had to do was say the word.

Five of the 250 root verb endings for malik - "follow":
maliktunga — "I follow"
malikkassik — "because you two follow"
malikkit — "follow them!"
malikkuttikkuk — "if we two followed those two"
malingmangaakku — "whether I followed her"
245 more to go.
You got that? There will be a test. You’ve got some studying to do.

No, wait, we are the ones who send them teachers. Because we think we have so much to teach them, and they have nothing to teach us. Look Sally look. See Dick run.

"My work is based on teaching them English.
But it is no guarantee that they will understand us any better.

Our ways are not always theirs,
for our logic often escapes them."

World War III, take 2: Arsen Kazbeki destroys the world
If the radiance of a thousand suns
were to burst into the sky…

I am become Death
the shatterer of worlds.

Evaluation: Kazbeki came back for a second try.
The problem was the 30 minutes. It gave the Yankees time to launch their missiles.

Kazbeki decided to send his subs in close-range. From James Bay, and from off the coast of Labrador and New England, it takes an ICBM 6 minutes and 20 seconds to hit Washington. NORAD needs the first 5 minutes to identify and verify. Eighty seconds later the Soviet missiles would reach their major targets. America would not be able to raise a response in 80 seconds. Kazbeki could wipe out America before they would have time to shoot back. The USA would be gone; the USSR would survive.

Kazbeki’s plan was exactly, exactly, what the U.S. Military had been training for over the past 12 years, since the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the early 1960’s Krushchev suddenly started installing hundreds of missiles and nuclear warheads in Cuba – 90 miles off the coast of the U.S.A. The flight time for Soviet missiles to hit Washington from Cuba would be five minutes – scarcely long enough for the Americans to verify the attack. Essentially there would be no warning at all. President Kennedy risked a nuclear war to have the Soviet missiles removed from Cuba.
America’s response:
- There will be “no more Cubas”. Hostile regimes in North and Central America simply will not be tolerated.
- At huge cost, America built a fleet of small, fast, silent hunter-killer submarines, to follow Soviet missile submarines around. Soviet subs at that time were huge and noisy, and the Americans could follow them with ease, whereas a Soviet submarine commander could not electronically see or hear the American killer sub assigned to follow his every move.
So Kazbeki lined his submarines up along the coast of Labrador and New England and Hudson’s Bay and James Bay and ordered them to launch. But as soon as they started launching missiles, the American subs, and Aurora four-engine sub-killing bombers based in Labrador, immediately began firing torpedoes at Kazbeki’s fleet. Some of the Soviet subs managed to fire one or two missiles, or none at all, before being blown out of the water by the colossal strength of the U.S. Military.
But each missile carried up to ten warheads, and that was more than enough to trigger American retaliation. Both sides fired off every nuke they had, and, as predicted by the Doctrine of M.A.D., the world was destroyed. “A” was followed by “B” and that was the end of history, the end of the human race.

World War III, take 3: Arsen Kazbeki takes over the world

Kazbeki: Reboot the computers, I want to try again.
Curtis: You already destroyed the entire world with your reckless tactics.
Kazbeki: Oh, a cry-baby. “Arsen broke my planet, wah-wah-wah.” Look, I said I was sorry. I had a bad week. I’m sorry I blew up your world – things just got out of hand. Let me try again.
Curtis: Nobody goes in three times. There were two options: stalemate or mutual destruction. You tried both. Both showed that our M.A.D. Doctrine functions exactly as planned. No one can survive, so no one starts a war.

Kazbeki to his mentor in the Kremlin:
Here is my new plan.

First we will spread disinformation, to lull the Yankee Imperialist War-mongers to sleep;
- The KGB will scatter rumours that the Kremlin is undergoing a major thaw; that the younger generation is finally shoving aside the old men who had gained their positions by enforcing Stalin’s terror. A new day is dawning, we will say. It is morning in old Mother Russia.

- Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors will be sent on furlough.
- Top Politburo leaders will visibly take time off for “conferences” at a Westernized resort in Yugoslavia, where they proceeded to eat, drink and be merry, knowing that the CIA will be taking photos.

- Send the Bolshoi Ballet to play Carnegie Hall.
- Send the Russian hockey team to play a series against Canada.
- Pravda will be instructed to run an editorial saying that there should be more cultural exchanges between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., and they should share medical research.
- Soviet Air Force will stop taking threatening runs at Western airspace.
-A third of the submarine fleet will placed in dry-dock for “repairs and modernization”, expected to take years.
- Activity around Soviet military bases will be visibly reduced.
- Aeroflot will place cheeky ads in Western newspapers, riffing on the Beatles song “Back in the U.S.S.R” (“Those commune girls know how to keep their Comrades warm – come visit the U.S.S.R.”)
- And then, final proof: the Kremlin will invite Pepsi-cola to build a bottling plant near Leningrad. A sure sign of the End Times.
= Then we will ask our fellow-travellers at Time Magazine to make Kazbeki the Man of the Year.
By the way, is Alger Hiss still on the KGB payroll?

Then, we will attack America with ONE submarine, with 24 ICBM’s mirved for 10 warheads each. When the submarine leaves Murmansk, we will stage it as a training exercise for young crewmen; have their tearful girlfriends at the dock throwing flowers, and the young sailors saying they will be back within a couple of weeks, so keep the bed warm.

The submarine will get almost to the centre of the continent by going past Killiniq, deafening the sensors with an underwater explosion – or landing a sabotage team of scuba divers on Killiniq Island to take control of the communications system and detach or remove underwater sensors of “Canada’s Maginot Line”. (Both of these methods have been successfully tested in Canadian Arctic waters by nuclear submarines from Russia and France.) Then it is clear sailing, down Hudson’s Bay to James Bay, from whence it takes only six minutes for an ICBM to reach Washington. How ‘ya like them apples?

The U.S. Navy would not bother sending a hunter-killer sub to shadow the Soviet submarine, especially as the Soviet military was being unwarlike and peace-loving, and huge numbers of soldiers were sent home as being no longer needed in this brave new world. Obviously, one sub on a short training mission is no threat.

We will attack during the President’s annual State of the Union address. All Senators and Congressmen, the V.P. and all the Cabinet Ministers and Supreme Court Judges are assembled in one place at one time, along with many guests, ambassadors, and the Washington press corps, and it is all broadcast live on national T.V. We can vaporize America’s Executive branch and Legislative branch with one warhead. There will be no elected official left to give the order to launch America’s firepower, and the military is trained to obey the elected representatives.

Our strategy this time is very simple: decapitate the government. Washington D.C. will be gone, along with every state or provincial government. No use hitting Vermont or Prince Edward Island. We will destroy Albany but not N.Y.C., Sacramento but not L.A., Austin but not Houston; Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec City, but not Montreal or Hamilton; Springfield, but not Chicago. America will lose its governing class. Then we will link into the transmission system at Killiniq – land a small crew of men from the submarine on Killiniq Island to take control of the unmanned automatic information relay system, and the antennae on the Button Islands a short hop north of Killiniq Island, and from there we will send a message to the 6,200 people who work inside Cheyenne Mountain.

Kazbeki pre-recorded his message to them:

Fellow warriors. We have defeated you. Now it is your choice: will you launch your missiles against us in retaliation? If so, we will launch our land-based missiles against you, and both of our countries will be blown off the map. It is your decision. We have destroyed your governments, federal and state, but we did not attack your financial or industrial cities. Ayn Rand would approve. We did not touch New York City or San Francisco or Chicago. We have liberated you from your governing class. You lost about 50 million people – fewer than were killed in Europe during WWII, half the number killed by Mao; proportionately much less than Poland, where a third of the population died in the last war.

There are still 300 million Americans left, and you in Cheyenne Mountain will be the heroes of history books if you surrender now and end this war. We will then enforce world peace with the barrels of our guns. This must be the War to End All Wars; otherwise the human race will sooner or later blow itself up. The USSR will now disarm the rest of the world, by force if necessary. Peace through firepower. And as for Marxism –vs- capitalism, both will disappear some day and be replaced by some other “ism”; in the meantime, you will be to us as Hong Kong has been to China; the tail wagging the dog, making us prosperous. As Chou-en-Lai told Richard Nixon, "We no longer care what colour the cat is, as long as it catches mice." Regimes come and go; our duty is to keep the human race alive long enough for it to acquire a modicum of common sense. Today is the first day of Pax Kazbekia. I want my face on Mount Rushmore. And another case of Jack Daniels. The new capital of the USA will be Hollywood. Now do as I say and don't aggravate me. Ever.

And sure enough, Cheyenne Mountain surrendered and the war was over and everybody lived happily ever after.

Except for Curtis.

Curtis: You bastard! You son of a bitch! The whole point of M.A.D. is that no one can win. You just won WWIII with no casualties on your side. That is exactly what is supposed to be impossible. You are putting in danger the security of North America. M.A.D. only works if there is no hope of survival. You have just shown that M.A.D. can be overcome.

Dawson: Oh for God’s sake, Curtis, any 10 year old kid can beat any adult at these simulation games. If those were real ICBM’s coming in, I don’t know what I would do, but it certainly would not be this. I just wanted to show you that your Doctrine says there are only two possibilities – total destruction or no destruction because of fear of destruction; it’s like Franklin’s men debating whether to stay with the ship and freeze or starve to death, or walk south and freeze or starve to death. A third option – using Inuit methods to survive and prosper – was not even considered by Franklin. Your nuclear doctrine also had only 2 options, so you never prepared for any other possibility. You did not cook new words; you repeated the phrases that, all your life, were handed to you already completely cooked. Tastes okay, but you learn nothing and still cannot feed yourself. You stopped thinking as soon as someone said there are only two pathways.

Inuktitut has no word for “fish”. But they have a word for “computer”.
The word for “computer” is “machine that works like a brain”.
They are sea people; they catch fish, they eat fish, they export fish, they have fishing boats and fishing nets and a fish packaging plant and fish are a huge part of their culture. But they have no word for “Fish”.
What’s for dinner? Fish.
What’s for supper? Food.
What will we drink? Something liquid.
Now those are smart-ass answers.
There is no such thing as generic “fish”. It is man’s conceit to bundle them together. Are you telling us that Arctic Char (5 lb. and delicious) is somehow in the same category as a Greenland shark? (3,000 lb., and poisonous to humans) Or are you telling the shark it is a minnow? How much does “fish” weigh? Halfway between minnow and shark? By what criteria do you decide to group together items that are very specific? Give us the specifics; are you out on the ocean in your 25 foot canoe for shrimp or for cod? Why would you use the same name for both when they are not the same? Do you package people the same way?
What’s for supper? Food.
Smart ass.
Zebedee Nungak has been reading books about Qallunaat, and raises questions about who is civilized and who is savage.

We have an unknown in the system.

Sir, we have an unknown in the system.
Curtis: Is this part of the war game? Or is this real?
Sir, this is not part of the simulation; this is real. There is an unknown at Zulu445.
Launch site verified?
Enter valid in the system.
Roger, understand launch from the Soviet Union.
Valid is entered in the system.
Confidence is high; repeat, confidence is high.
General, at this time we report a launch from the Soviet Union.
Site report is valid.
NORAD copy
SAC copy
NATO copy
Surveillance copy
Standing by. Standing by.
Sir, we have another unknown in the system.
President’s hot line open.
Standing by.
Sir, hundreds of ICBM’s launched from the Soviet Union, 350 now over Arctic Canada. Off-shore launch from Soviet submarines still in progress; so far 100 being tracked. Assume 10 warheads per missile. Projected impact: all major American and Canadian cities within the next 15 minutes.

Message follows:
Tango 63 Delta Tango 61723
Valid Presidential order, confirmed.
And now to Washington…
The President has been meeting with his National Security Advisors…
Reports of a shake-up in the Soviet military leadership... satellite communications to Europe cut off…

This is Daniel Schorr at the White House. Air-raid sirens have just gone off all over Washington… there is every indication that something has gone terribly wrong… lots of activity at the White House but I am unable to…

What I did on my summer holidays: nuclear war camp for dummies.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

With a bang.
(After a pitiful whimper.)

Our logic often escapes them.
Yes, indeed.
So it does.

About once a year, a computer in the White House visits this website.
Last time, on a Sunday, they downloaded seven chapters. They spent 44 minutes and 28 seconds here.
Obama, the instructions are in the jar with the home-made cookies.
And don’t forget the Jack Daniels.

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnn

Curtis called me bad words but here is proof that it is Curtis who is a bastard and a son of a bitch.
Below: old photo shows Nick trying to defuse a bomb. Curtis came up behind him and burst that paper bag. And then Nick yells:
“You bastard! You son of a bitch!”
So that sets the record straight, about just who is a bastard and a son of a bitch. It’s Curtis.

Nnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnn
Curtis: I had to make decisions with the threat of nuclear war always hovering over my head. You said on your website that the evacuation of Port Burwell “followed a U.S. military decision to close the U.S.A.F. ballistic missile detection base on Resolution Island, across Hudson’s Strait from Killiniq Island.” Sure, it followed in time, just as July follows June. I was involved in the decision to shut down the Distant Early Warning Line and to de-contaminate the sites. But shutting down Port Burwell was not an American decision.

We had nothing to do with expelling the Killiniq Inuit. We would have preferred that they stay; we would have preferred a larger population there, and an Inuit Rangers base, to stand on guard for thee at the most vulnerable entrance door to the continent.

Dawson: Oh, hell, Curtis, everybody knows it was not you. If it was you, I would be on your case big time. It was a Canadian federal decision; that is not even debated. The Inuit were living in the wrong postal code, and Canada Post is the closest thing Canada has to a national government. They know where everybody lives, they know who shovels the steps to the mailbox, they know your love interest no long sends those perfumed pastel envelopes, and they know that your registered letters all come from Visa and MasterCard. Canada Post is a nation-wide occupation force. They have tens of thousands of followers in military-style uniforms - patrolling every street and every country road in the entire country five days a week.

Curtis: Well, the State Department would not approve of sending in the Marines to take out Canada Post, but if this was a Canadian decision, why are you talking to Americans about it?

Dawson: Because Americans listen when I speak; they do not peer out from behind their window curtains when I walk by, or stop their conversation when they see me on the street, like Canadians do. And because you invited me kindly and I got free food, free airplane tickets, a hotel room with a colour TV, and little bars of soap, and towels with a hotel name on them, all paid for just because I have convinced you that I know what I am talking about, when in fact I have no idea what is going on; I am just ad-libbing fast and furious while searching for an emergency exit door that is not locked. How about you? They closed the blast doors. But somewhere there has got to be a janitor’s entrance. Shall we make a run for it?

How long can you stay drunk on fear?

Oh God, not this again!
I heard the shattering of glass and looked up from my bed.
It was going to be one of those difficult nights.
Nice doggie. Nice doggie.


1st video. Interview with John Amagoalik, Inuk statesman, broadcaster; he should be recognized as a Father of Confederation.
2nd video. Interview with Zebedee Nungak, Inuk writer, film-maker, social commentator, essayist.
3rd video. Zebedee Nungak alerts Inuit that the society they are supposed to join is not the clean, pure, civilized place they had been told about. He is speaking Inuktitut.

All three clips are from Mark Sandiforth and Zebedee Nungat, Beachwalker Films, with assistance from the National Film Board of Canada.

We ripped the first two from “Qallunaat, Why White People are Funny”.
The third is from the Qallunaanik Piusiqsiuriniq, a conference held by the Qallunaat Studies Institute, which studies the strange and inexplicable behaviour of Qallunaat. The Institute does not really exist except in Zebedee Nungak’s creative mind, but it should exist.

The 4th video violates the copyright of a rather huge multi-national company, and I have already received formal warnings that it might get deleted by the host server with no notice. I guess if a man can own a rock, he must also be able to own images of World War III. Or maybe they bought the Inuktitut language and put meters on its use. Or maybe they nationalized the culture and you can visit it on Tuesday and Friday afternoons in the National Museum of Things That Used To Be For Everybody But Seem To Have Disappeared.

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