March 27, 2007

Sleepwalking to the End of the World

Almost nine months ago, on July 3, 2006, I published "Our Date with Armageddon." In part, I wrote:
The overall pattern at work here is exactly the same one utilized for Iraq: phony diplomacy, then U.N. action which will similarly make compliance by Iran impossible, then a few speeches accusing Iran of defying the will of the "civilized world" and of being too great a threat to be tolerated -- and then the bombing. And almost no one will be heard to say that the "crisis" was created out of thin air, and that in fact no crisis exists at all.


Let us state the final conclusion boldly and unmistakably, so we may appreciate its full horror: the Bush administration has already decided, and probably decided some time ago, that it will attack Iran. They want a wider war. Everything that is now going on is simply the cover for the moment when the bombing begins, intended to provide what will be accepted as "justification" for the attack by the American public and the world.

And all of it is a lie from beginning to end.

We must note one additional critical point. Up to this moment, there is not one major public voice identifying this madness for what it is. No one will say that the crisis is a completely phony one. No one will say that an attack on Iran would be completely unjustified and unprovoked, and that it would be a blatant act of aggression by the United States.

There is not even one person offering significant opposition to the Bush administration. Not one. And so we proceed to our date with Armageddon.

If there are any historians who look back on this period in years to come, they will wonder in astonishment at the nation of unthinking, obedient, herdlike animals we have become. We challenge our government on nothing of any importance. Most Americans aren't even aware of what is happening. The lunatics who lead us are taking us straight into incomprehensible catastrophe -- and we say and do absolutely nothing to oppose it.

Do we even deserve to be saved from our own madness at this point, and from our love affair with death and destruction? In the complete absence of significant public opposition to the insanity and unmistakable evil of this administration, I don't know any longer. I honestly don't know.
Here is just one part of today's Iran-related news:
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.

The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.

The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran's capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors nor were they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the same waters.

He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.

Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.


Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines.

"What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security," Aandahl said. "These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there's a destabilizing effect, it's Iran's behavior."
On that last point, Aandahl is unquestionably correct -- for we know that the United States is eternally on the side of Good, and that those we have designated as enemies -- even when they constitute no serious threat to us whatsoever -- always embody Evil at its most absolute.

I suppose I should remind you, since many people appear never to have understood this point despite history's multiple proofs, that war is and has always been the primary and necessary source of the greatest evils committed by governments. All of the Bush administration's major depredations -- its unrelenting assault on civil liberties, including the destruction of the very basis of liberty (an immense evil which the Democrats appear unable and unwilling to correct in the required manner), its profound and likely irreversible damage to America's economy, probably for the rest of our lifetimes and far beyond, to say nothing of the destruction of an entire country that never threatened us and the murder of over half a million innocent human beings -- are founded on war, and war provides the alleged "justification" for the ceaseless train of evils we have witnessed.

Despite all these horrors, and in a further demonstration of another of history's lessons, we have learned absolutely nothing. For all their supposed opposition to the Bush crazies, most of the liberal and progressive blogs have virtually nothing to say about the prospect of an attack on Iran -- or, to be more precise, nothing to say that impels them to act (or even to encourage others to act) in a way that might actually matter and prevent the ultimate nightmare from descending upon us, and upon much of the rest of the world. In the political calculus of these carrion-feeders, the most urgent story is the Bush administration's politicization of the Justice Department. Needless to say, before the installation of George W. Bush in the White House, misdeeds of this kind never soiled the intact virginity of the morally perfect American republic.

Take the lesson: murder hundreds of thousands of people for no reason at all, completely destroy a virtually defenseless country, and do everything possible to begin what could turn into a nuclear Armageddon that would murder millions -- and the worst that will be said about you is that you are an incompetent and stupid bumbler. That we are well on our way to becoming one of the most monstrous nations in history is the thought that cannot bear serious contemplation by our governing class, or by those bloggers who serve as its ignorant and/or corrupt apologists. But threaten the prerogatives of the privileged ruling elites themselves, and hellfire shall devour your soul. Never mind the suffering and death of "ordinary" people: trampling on the inalienable "rights" of those who already possess immense power is the unforgivable sin. Priorities, indeed. The final destruction of the American republic may be almost upon us, and the Republicans and Democrats and their respective blogger-enablers fight like disease-infested rats over the rotting, bloated, already stinking flesh of the doomed, permanently corrupted corporatist state.

I could point you to my essay from a month ago, outlining some critical steps that the Congressional Democrats and the rest of us could take if we genuinely cared about preventing what appears almost certain to unfold before Bush finally leaves office. There; I pointed you to it. Of course, the national Democrats and the Bush crazies share the identical assumptions that drive our foreign policy, one dedicated to ensuring world hegemony by and for the United States. Hillary Clinton speaks of "'remaining vital national security interests in Iraq' that would require a continuing deployment of American troops" -- "continuing" as in indefinite or permanent, phrases that could have been lifted from one of Crazy Cheney's speeches -- or from one of Crazy McCain's. And all the prominent Democrats agree that a potentially nuclear-armed Iran -- lying at least five or even ten years in the future -- would be the greatest threat "we" face. For these unapologetic, murdering imperialists, this possible future danger necessitates that we leave "all options on the table" now -- which means only that we reserve the "right" to launch yet another unprovoked war of aggression against another non-existent threat.

Shortly before last November's election, I wrote an essay which I deliberately had not reread until a few days ago. I remembered it as being very sour and bitter, and I recalled writing it in an especially bleak frame of mind. Considering that article now, "An Election Conceived in Nausea," and in light of recent events, I see that once again I was far too kind. I periodically note that error of mine, and swear that I won't do it again. And then I do it again. I prefer not to believe that so many people are so entirely rotten -- and then they proceed to demonstrate that they are rotten on a scale that is almost inconceivable to me.

In that piece, I mentioned three momentous issues on which the Democrats would unquestionably fail to take the correct actions: the repeal of the torture-dictatorship bill (also known as the Military Commissions Act), the ending of the loathsome occupation of Iraq, and the prevention of an attack on Iran. The Democrats have made a few feints about the Military Commissions Act, but it is hardly the urgent and vital matter for them that it should be -- and they are fighting this battle in exactly the wrong way.

The open secret about the Iraq occupation is that the Democrats could end it in a matter of months if they chose to, as Feingold, Kucinich and one or two others have made absolutely clear. Instead, and please let us state the critical fact accurately, the Democrats have chosen to fund the continuation of the Iraq occupation for the indefinite future. The Democratic apologists can spew and spit and slander their critics as much as they wish, but the further fact is that the Iraq abomination is now theirs as much as it is the Republicans'. In a particularly vile, fact- and logic-obliterating turn, one that in my view reveals an intellectual and moral corruption that is as irreversible as it is despicable, certain alleged "progressives" inform us that principled opponents of the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq are the ones prolonging this catastrophe -- while those who provide the money required for its continuance are actually those who are ending it. When the truth reveals you to be a contemptible, unprincipled coward, lies become your friends. Orwell would be proud. Most of the major "progressive" blogs echo this nauseating effluvium in various ways; liars, all of them. Since almost everyone who works in politics lies much of the time, I might overlook this unremarkable fact -- but it is impossible to overlook the fact that they're such lousy liars. For a glimpse of the truth, read John V. Walsh, or Dave Lindorff.

My ongoing series, "Dominion Over the World," analyzes the premises and goals that inform the foreign policy shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. A scroll through posts here over the last couple of months will turn up a number of entries concerning how the Democrats are even more hawkish about Iran than the Bush thugs (or start here). Beginning with Woodrow Wilson, the Democrats have embroiled the United States in more unnecessary and hugely destructive wars than the Republicans, a warmongering tradition the Democrats cherish and apparently are devoted to continuing in the future.

In that earlier pre-election piece, I also commented on a related issue that continues to tempt too many people onto the path of ignorance, even intelligent people who ought to know better:
Ah, but the Democrats will investigate the Bush administration's endless crimes. The investigations will restore honesty, decency and "true" American values to government. All the universes will be saved! Do people actually believe this nonsense? All such investigations will be exactly like all other government investigations of itself. People seem congenitally incapable of grasping that all politicians are now part of the same corrupt system, which aims only to protect itself and its existing prerogatives, as it simultaneously seeks to expand them. (The exceptions in the political class are so few that they don't matter.) In the end, all such investigations and committee hearings will conclude just as the 9/11 investigation concluded (and any other investigation you care to name): some criticisms will be made, general fault will be found but no one in particular will be condemned in terms that might cause distress, and some new guidelines and regulations will be proposed and enacted. Neither party wants to judge the other too harshly or cause irreparable harm: they don't want to, because they count on the same consideration in return. Both parties are happy to accede to this deal, for it is precisely how their system continues on its merry course, guaranteeing their lives of immense comfort and privilege, together with their hold on power. Many of the rest of us, both here and abroad, will be screwed, maimed or dead -- and just when exactly did that concern the governing class?

And then, in a year or two or five, and as on every other similar occasion, inventive ways will be found to circumvent the brand spanking new guidelines and regulations -- and the corruption and dishonesty will continue pretty much as before, via new routes and avenues. It's all a charade, by means of which politicians, the major media, and "serious" commentators (and bloggers) can convince themselves of their own virtue, that this time they really mean it, and that everything will be different now. An interesting question is how many times people can fall for such complete bullshit, and still be regarded as serious, credible or intelligent to any degree at all.

It helps to perpetuate the charade -- one that encompasses every aspect of domestic and foreign policy -- that most people know nothing of history, either our own or that of other countries. It's as if none of it ever happened before. For most of these people, it's as if nothing ever happened before. No wonder they so easily believe that this time will be different. For them, there are no other times at all. Everything is new to them, even and especially their own iniquity.
Let me spell out a further painfully obvious point that should be entirely clear, but apparently isn't. Anyone who feels any confidence whatsoever in the alleged benefits of investigations into government misdeeds has failed to grasp the primary motivation behind all such investigations in the current system. That motivation is only to damage the other party and to deprive it of power -- power which will then flow to the party conducting the investigation. The purpose is not to challenge even one element of the system itself -- for it is that system that makes possible their own exercise of vast power, and their own privileged lives. There is a handful of uncorrupted politicians in Washington -- but when the system itself has grafted corruption onto its every organ, artery and molecule, those few cannot exercise any influence of consequence. When an atypical politican appears on the scene -- say, a Dennis Kucinich -- the major liberal and progressive writers either ignore him, or they treat him as an object for cheap, adolescent mockery and ridicule. They certainly do not support him on any significant policy matter, such as ending the immoral and criminal occupation of Iraq, or preventing an attack on Iran. To do so would be to threaten the system, and that cannot be permitted.

As I suggested in "Building an Effective Resistance," opposition to the insanely murderous and destructive plans of the ruling elites will have to come from ordinary Americans -- perhaps like some of you who happen to read this. It will not come from the political class, from the media elites, or from the blogging elites of any political stripe. The system as it now exists confers benefits on all of them that they are not prepared to surrender.

I will continue writing, and I will even continue writing about politics. But I will do so from a very different perspective in the future, for I am now entirely convinced that a sufficient number of Americans required for a meaningful resistance movement does not exist. It perhaps would only take a few hundred courageous and dedicated people to begin to build such a movement, but it appears that such individuals are nowhere to be found. In a profound sense, I now feel largely detached from what may happen in the coming months and years, even as I recognize that the horrors may well touch me very personally, as they may touch all of us. There are many subjects and issues that are of great interest to me, and I still find many sources of pleasure in the world. But I feel no sense of urgency about any of it any longer. Given my own circumstances, there is nothing more I can do myself about the growing horrors that are likely to engulf us.

As for the rest of you, I leave you with the conclusion of an earlier essay, "Thus the World Was Lost." I wrote this about the Military Commissions Act in particular, but the same can be said about the criminal, ongoing destruction of Iraq and the likely coming attack on Iran:
So, take the time to be sure to understand the momentous nature of the battle. Speak out about it, wherever and as often as you can. Make clear to everyone you know what is at stake, and convince them to fight, too.

For the present, we have the certainty of the Military Commissions Act -- and the hope that we may still prevent its most ghastly eventualities. I pray that hope will be realized. The most terrible and terrifying thing of all, for those of you who will still be alive in forty or fifty years, will be to look back on this time, and to have to say, "Thus the world was lost" -- and to know that, because you did not do everything you could, you helped to lose it.
Most of you expend unceasing energy to barricade yourselves from the truth, you surround yourselves with trivialities and ultimately inconsequential controversies, and you seek to discredit those who criticize you with pathetically limp and obvious lies. Yet some of you will ultimately acknowledge the truth, but only when it is too late and when it can't possibly matter: with every hour that passes, you also help to lose the world.

For my own part, you are no longer any concern of mine.