Monday, November 06, 2006

Necon Surety Has Cut-and-Run

I was witness to a ghoulish, reprehensible display this week that revealed to me -- painfully so -- why America takes the idea of going to war with another nation so lightly; takes it on eagerly; almost gleefully, like going into this year's Homecoming Game.

At my unnamed place of work a department wide meeting was called earlier in the week, during which much talk of our position in the marketplace was bandied about. At one point, a maniacally smiling man and a jolly bloated woman addressed the audience. Nauseating patriot music was piped in and a photograph of American soldiers taken during World War II was displayed on the screen at the front of the room. As the duo read their parts with saccharine gusto, they compared our company's position in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace to the American soldiers portrayed in the HBO series Band of Brothers fighting the Battle of the Bulge.

The duo related a scenario so familiar from our culture: the United States up against insurmountable evil; the U.S. distinctly in the role of the underdog. The climax of the presentation came when the maniacally smiling man read out the scene when a German scout was sent to the American line with a note from the German commander asking if the Americans would surrender. The American commander scrawled on the note "Nuts," meaning, no. And incredibly, "Nuts" became our rallying cry in that antiseptic auditorium. When the maniacally smiling man asking if we were going to give in to our competition, the dull-eyed drones shouted back, "Nuts!"

Well, the smiling man did capture the sense of his presentation in that moment. It was truly fucking nuts. One of the most morbid and nutty displays I've ever witnessed in corporate life.

But sensing how people in the auditorium were slurping up the familiar pablum of how America overcame adversity and won the day, yet again, I saw immediately -- clearly, crystaline -- how it is that America takes going to war so lightly. How there is almost a feeling of the Olympic Games come earlier among those who support warmakers. America starts wars seeking more Battles of the Bulge so that these stories can then be used to motivate corporate zombies to slay the dragons that keep their bosses from getting ever richer. War is the ultimate sport because it requires no athletic skill. You don't have to learn the tedious technique of vaulting over a bar set 18 feet in the air, using nothing more than arms and legs and a long pole. There is no shot to be put in war. In the case of the war in Iraq, there is no boring strategy to be adhered to. No thinking in war. Just run and grunt and shoot and hope not to be shot.

Of all the images emanating from Iraq, there seems to be no Battle of the Bulge forthcoming. There is Abu Ghraib, there is Mission Accomplished, there is the hellish sprial into mayhem. The warmongs ask, "How can this be happening?" I ask, "How could you not see this coming?"

I'm not psychic and have no access to an oracle, but to me it was pretty elementary.

You've got George W. Bush -- silver-spooned-leaden-brained progeny of corporate and political criminals. He is propped up by a sordid viper's nest of moralists and following the 2000 presidential election, literally becomes a squatter in the White House. He does not win the election, but is handed it by the Supreme Court. Handed it like his plum spot in the Champagne Corps during the Vietnam War, handed to him like every job in his life and every cent of venture capital or sack of money to rescue whatever company he was strangling to death at the moment. The man is as inarticulate as a carburetor. And I don't think it was any mistake that it was specifically George W. Bush -- dullard son of George H.W. and the Silver Douchebag. He had the Bush name, but more importantly no mind to comprehend the ugliness and treachery ahead of him. Doubtless the people propping up W. knew he would go down in history as the worst of America's presidents. The man's name would become an obscenity even before he completed his second ill-gotten term in office. They knew that his brow would never furrow above his too-close-together eyes with the question of what was happening around him.

This is not to let George W. off the hook for his administration. He's as culpable for the horrors he has wrought as Pol Pot or Stalin. W. thinks in a child's scrawl of hierogliphic Christian jibberish. And he truly embodies the "banality of evil."

A dozen years ago I wrote a one-page short story titled Interview with the Devil as a reaction to the ideas in our culture that evil, evil men, and even the devil (if such an entity exists) is not an urbane, educated, sophisticated personage who knows what wine to drink with what meal, who listens to classical music and reads Proust. The Hannibal Lechter of the retched film Hannibal is absolutely not my vision of evil. My idea of evil is that of a malicious dullard who amuses himself by pulling the wings off of flies.

He is the truck left in neutral that rolls over a child.

Even his once rabid supporters have lost heart and faith in him. The articleNeo Culpa in Vanity Fair is a stark window onto the twisted souls who aided and abetted W. in his push to "liberate" Iraq:
Kenneth Adelman, a lifelong neocon activist and Pentagon insider who served on the Defense Policy Board until 2005, wrote a famous op-ed article in The Washington Post in February 2002, arguing: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Now he says, "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
Worse yet is:
Kenneth Adelman: "The most dispiriting and awful moment of the whole administration was the day that Bush gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to [former C.I.A. director] George Tenet, General Tommy Franks, and [Coalition Provisional Authority chief] Jerry [Paul] Bremer—three of the most incompetent people who've ever served in such key spots. And they get the highest civilian honor a president can bestow on anyone! That was the day I checked out of this administration. It was then I thought, There's no seriousness here, these are not serious people. If he had been serious, the president would have realized that those three are each directly responsible for the disaster of Iraq."
And then there is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lamenting during his visit to Spain recently that the world is unfairly frowning upon modern day America:
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday he believes some of the U.S. actions in its war on terror have done damage to the image of the United States abroad, particularly its commitment to the rule of law.

The U.S. has drawn criticism around the world for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, its treatment of detainees and secret renditions of terrorism suspects to clandestine prisons in allied countries where they are allegedly tortured.

"The notion that the United States does not fully support the rule of law is one I find very disappointing," Gonzales told reporters, especially given that President Bush "believes the Unites States is the leader, is a beacon of hope in the world and it's important that our actions should reflect a total commitment to the rule of law."

He blamed the country's deteriorating image on misunderstanding in Europe about what the U.S. is doing to fight terrorism.
Uh, no.

No, it's the CIA prisons, it's Guantanamo Bay, it's Abu Ghraib, it's Jose Padilla, it's the PATRIOT Acts I & II, it's the dilution of the Geneva Convention, it's the arrogance, the unthinkingness, the violence -- the goddamnable violence -- that has the world looking at America and wondering, "Have you gone fucking crazy?"

So, the neocons' surety has cut and run and another America election looms. I wonder how many years it will take for the political parties to put away their advertisements and settle down to the true competition in an American election -- the Republican blackbox hackers against the Democrat blackbox hackers.


Jackson's Scraps said...

Never underestimate an American weapon's contractor's desire to sell more bullets, tanks, and guided missiles, or a Bush president's desire to invade another country and arrest a sitting president who used to work for them, a la Noriega and now Sadam.

Oh yeah, and never underestimate the American public's desire for another Holy War. I mean, if our troops are deployed on the battlefield, the cause MUST be righteous, right? It's axiomatic, right...?



Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Now that Donald Rumsfeld has resigned, how long before he can be tried for Crimes Against Humanity? I'm sure Islamic extremists would love to bestow upon him their version of the Medal of Freedom for his above-and-beyond efforts that smoothed the way for their recruitment efforts these last five years.

Ascendantlive said...

The corporate cheer leaders were indeed sick. Hearing that kind of crap compared to's like comparing shoe tying to an Olympic sport. It is so reprehensible and morally corrupt...sick.

And not all Americans are war mongers. There are just far too many ignorant ones who think of war in terms of John Wayne WWII films, and buy into all that 'wars are where heroes are made' crap. If evil isn't Hannibal Lechter then heroes don't come from war.

I also think that we have had an enormous hubris over the American military. The philosophy was that with enough bombs, rockets, planes, and technology the U.S. military could accomplish anything. Unfortunatly a lot of people are paying the price for this lesson in humility.

Jackson's Scraps - as much as a lot of people would like to believe the cause is righteous, not many do anymore. 100,000 people marched on the White House last year to say otherwise.

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Ascendantlive, apologies if I made it sound like I believed that all Americans are warmongers. That's absolutely not true. So many people I know are as horrified and dumbfounded by BushCo as I am. The colleagues I spoke to after that horrid presentation found it equally ghoulish and morbid and ridiculous. The great travesty of BushCo is that it's taking so many good people down with the ship, giving so many Americans an undeservedly bad image to the rest of the world.

Ascendantlive said...

You're right Matt. He's taking down more than people...he's taking my country's self-respect and dignity too. In '91 Iraqis surrendered to American forces because they knew they would be well they think they'll be locked up for years on end with no recourse and tortured...and even worse they're partially correct. America used to have some moral high ground, now it feels like we really are becoming the 'evil empire'.