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"The Men who Stare at Goats"

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    "The Men who Stare at Goats"

    TMwSaG is a fascinating book by British investigative journalist Jon Ronson, on some of the bizarre influences of New Age thinking on the US military during the '70s and '80s (and into the "War on Terror"). Among other things, it details the "Jedi Knight" program which was set up to create super-soldiers who could read their enemies' minds, walk through walls and assassinate enemy leaders by telekinesis.

    Here's the first part of a three-part documentary based on the book. It's long, but very interesting and includes quite a lot of MA content. Among other interviews, it features the martial arts instructor who is claimed to have dropped a "test goat" simply by staring at it and a military close-combat instructor who keeps hurting Ronson with a plastic doodad called "the Predator".

    http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=124

    BTW, apparently a movie based on the book and starring George Clooney is currently in production.
    Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

    Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

    #2
    Sounds interesting.

    Comment


      #3
      BFD. I can kill a yak from 200 yards away.
      With mind bullets.
      *********************************************

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by DdlR View Post
        TMwSaG is a fascinating book by British investigative journalist Jon Ronson, on some of the bizarre influences of New Age thinking on the US military during the '70s and '80s (and into the "War on Terror"). Among other things, it details the "Jedi Knight" program which was set up to create super-soldiers who could read their enemies' minds, walk through walls and assassinate enemy leaders by telekinesis.

        Here's the first part of a three-part documentary based on the book. It's long, but very interesting and includes quite a lot of MA content. Among other interviews, it features the martial arts instructor who is claimed to have dropped a "test goat" simply by staring at it and a military close-combat instructor who keeps hurting Ronson with a plastic doodad called "the Predator".

        http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=124

        BTW, apparently a movie based on the book and starring George Clooney is currently in production.

        I did see this at the time on UK TV but can't remember too much. I recall that one chappie (Lt Col) who claimed to the deviser of the idea of the Earth Battalion - an alleged PENTAGON project, sort of "Blue Sky thinking" [awful cliche] - and when Ronson asked who was the CO now, the chap said it was him as he'd never stood down. Oh my word. A CO does between 2 and 3 years in the UK sooooo, this bloke saw himself as a CO some 25 years on. That made me wonder about his sanity.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Eddie Hardon View Post
          I did see this at the time on UK TV but can't remember too much. I recall that one chappie (Lt Col) who claimed to the deviser of the idea of the Earth Battalion - an alleged PENTAGON project, sort of "Blue Sky thinking" [awful cliche] - and when Ronson asked who was the CO now, the chap said it was him as he'd never stood down. Oh my word. A CO does between 2 and 3 years in the UK sooooo, this bloke saw himself as a CO some 25 years on. That made me wonder about his sanity.
          That would have been Jim Channon - he's featured in the book and in the documentary I linked to. Comes across as an old hippie, but is apparently a very shrewd customer who likes playing games with how he's perceived.

          The First Earth Battalion was never (originally) meant as an actual fighting force, more like a notional blueprint for how to improve the army by thinking outside the box. That was Channon's idea, anyway. Apparently Channon was named the "CO" at an upper-echelon military intelligence meeting about 30 years ago.
          Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

          Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

          Comment


            #6
            It's a good book i read it a few years back.

            I also remember the BBC did a documentary based on the book which was pretty amusing.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Kambei Shimada View Post
              It's a good book i read it a few years back.

              I also remember the BBC did a documentary based on the book which was pretty amusing.
              The first part of the BBC documentary is linked to in the OP.
              Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

              Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

              Comment


                #8
                The book's great - and reading it completely destroys any notion of "having taught the US military" being a qualification which marks martial arts training as effective.

                I'm a little worried about the movie; it seems to me that if people's first exposure to the wilder excesses of US military research is through the movie, they'll treat them as essentially fictional.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DdlR View Post
                  That would have been Jim Channon - he's featured in the book and in the documentary I linked to. Comes across as an old hippie, but is apparently a very shrewd customer who likes playing games with how he's perceived.

                  The First Earth Battalion was never (originally) meant as an actual fighting force, more like a notional blueprint for how to improve the army by thinking outside the box. That was Channon's idea, anyway. Apparently Channon was named the "CO" at an upper-echelon military intelligence meeting about 30 years ago.
                  Thanks for this. Nice point about playing games. I'm reminded of a US Marine Colonel (with a great waxed moustache) who commanded at Khe San and when questioned by journos on his strategy played it low key. When they asked him if he'd read "Hell in a small place" by Bernard Fall (Fr.) he effected to never having heard of it. This drove the journos nuts as it was the story of the Vietminh encirclement of the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu. Michael Herr (author of "Dispatches") wrote that the US Colonel know Very Well what had happended there and had Fall's book.

                  Cheers

                  Comment


                    #10
                    This sort of thing leads to nowhere good.

                    YouTube - Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy Part 1 - 1:5
                    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


                    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

                    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
                    Luta Livre flees the fight,
                    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
                    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by War Wheel View Post
                      This sort of thing leads to nowhere good.

                      YouTube - Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy Part 1 - 1:5
                      For the foes of the Nazis, it was a bonus.

                      Any effort the jolly-jumpers of the Turd Reich diverted to this sort of nonsense was effort not devoted to their actual war effort. Not to mention the effect of such delusion on strategy:

                      "Ja! Ve're descendants of Atlantis. Der Russians von't stand ein chance."

                      And so the tide turned...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Sophist View Post
                        The book's great - and reading it completely destroys any notion of "having taught the US military" being a qualification which marks martial arts training as effective.

                        I'm a little worried about the movie; it seems to me that if people's first exposure to the wilder excesses of US military research is through the movie, they'll treat them as essentially fictional.
                        Clooney will handle it right.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Vieux Normand View Post
                          For the foes of the Nazis, it was a bonus.

                          Any effort the jolly-jumpers of the Turd Reich diverted to this sort of nonsense was effort not devoted to their actual war effort. Not to mention the effect of such delusion on strategy:

                          "Ja! Ve're descendants of Atlantis. Der Russians von't stand ein chance."

                          And so the tide turned...
                          If they hadn't believed "mud blood" was diluting their Godhood, there would have been no ethnic cleansing. If they had not believed Thule (white atlantis) was in central Asia, there would have been no invasion of the U.S.S.R.

                          If the Nazis hadn't been the political arm of an esoteric society, WWII would have been just another roll in the hay between France and Germany.
                          Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


                          KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

                          In De Janerio, in blackest night,
                          Luta Livre flees the fight,
                          Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
                          Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by War Wheel View Post
                            If they hadn't believed "mud blood" was diluting their Godhood, there would have been no ethnic cleansing. If they had not believed Thule (white atlantis) was in central Asia, there would have been no invasion of the U.S.S.R.

                            If the Nazis hadn't been the political arm of an esoteric society, WWII would have been just another roll in the hay between France and Germany.
                            I'm inclined to look at it from the other direction. The Nazis appropriated a wide range of more-or-less crackpot mysticisms (von List's runes, Ultima Thule, etc.) and banned a bunch more, depending on whether a given belief/practice was politically expedient and/or appealing to a senior Nazi.
                            Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

                            Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by DdlR View Post
                              I'm inclined to look at it from the other direction. The Nazis appropriated a wide range of more-or-less crackpot mysticisms (von List's runes, Ultima Thule, etc.) and banned a bunch more, depending on whether a given belief/practice was politically expedient and/or appealing to a senior Nazi.
                              Sure, just sayin' that you can not understand many of the specific policies of the Third Reich unless you understand the nutty new age world view that was driving policy.

                              I think there is a tendency in the american academy to down play aspects of the Nazi world view that would be associated with the Left in this country. It doesn't fit the standard interpretation of the politics.

                              Just sayin'

                              Sorry fer the derail.
                              Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


                              KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

                              In De Janerio, in blackest night,
                              Luta Livre flees the fight,
                              Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
                              Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!

                              Comment

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