"The art of politics, under democracy, is simply the art of ringing it. Two branches reveal themselves. There is the art of the demagogue, and there is the art of what may be called, by a shot-gun marriage of Latin and Greek, the demaslave. They are complementary, and both of them are degrading to their practitioners. The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots. The demaslave is one who listens to what these idiots have to say and then pretends that he believes it himself." ~ H.L. Mencken
"The Time for Debates Has Ended"
I was watching CNN Wednesday night, on the eve of the start of shooting in Bush's war of aggression, and one of the innumerable talking head commentators was on. "Many conflicting opinions about war have been expressed in the past months. Now the time for debate has ended," he intoned, "as all of us rally behind our president and our troops." He spoke this line as if it were Received Wisdom, self-evident and unquestionable.
I would humbly beg to differ.
Let's forget for a moment about George W. Bush, who cowers behind layer after layer of high-tech safety barriers as he sends others out to kill and to die. Let's begin by rallying around our troops, shall we? Bring them home!! Surely we have not forgotten Gulf War I, a relative cakewalk compared to the new slaughter unfolding, yet one that has debilitated hundreds of thousands of the U.S. troops who participated. It's still not known for sure what combination of toxins is responsible for Gulf War Syndrome, but in spite of the U.S. government's repeated (and pathetic) attempts to dismiss it as "all in their heads," the disease has been shown to be frighteningly real. AND it's apparently passed on to the children of people exposed as well.
Putting American troops, and their children, in harm's way without a damn good reason, is treason.
But Bush assures us he has a good reason. Here's a typical quote: "The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder." And yet we DO live under such an outlaw regime: George W. Bush's. At this very moment, weapons of mass murder are pulverizing innocent people, paid for by my tax dollars and yours. And we're expected to zip our mouths and salute?
A question for the CNN commentator and others who think "The time for debate has ended." Is this the advice you would give German citizens as Hitler pushed the button and invaded Czechoslovakia? Or Poland? Or France? "Just shut up and rally behind your leader, like a good little Citizen!" What's that I hear you say, that Bush is not Hitler? We'll come back to that question in just a second, but for the sake of argument, let's say that Hitler was a far nastier guy than Bush is. Now answer the question: what would you advise citizens of Nazi Germany to do as Hitler went insane and tried to take over the world? The answer strikes me as obvious: to the maximum extent possible, protest and resist!
If you answered, "Germans, support Mr. Hitler, your leader," you can stop reading now.
If you answered, "Oppose Hitler but support Bush, because Bush is not Hitler," let's explore a bit further. What set of criteria made Hitler evil enough to oppose but Bush different enough to support? Hitler did of course murder a huge number of innocents in cold blood; Bush has not yet achieved that distinction. But I'm posing this hypothetical question in the late '30's, before the death camps were in full swing and certainly before they were known to most Germans. Hitler had a plausible set of reasons for everything he did, every bit as plausible, I believe, as the transparent set of lies Bush is peddling about why Iraq has to be blown to bits today.
Oops, I've tipped my hand. I'm worried, VERY worried, that Shrub W. Junior is every bit as evil as Hitler. Now, I've been cautioned by someone whose opinion I respect very much that I may go overboard with regard to the insults I sling at Bush. Calling him a complete idiot and all - who will I convince who does not already believe that? So let's pretend for the moment that Bush does what he does, not because he's incredibly stupid, but because he has some clever plan he's causing to unfold.
What plan would that be? The fantasy that we'll bring peace to Iraq? I predict the following: smooth sailing at first. Mass surrender by Iraqi conscripts. Occupation of the country with loss of life less than feared by many. Self-congratulatory orgies of ticker-tape parades. And then . . . things start to go wrong. The Kurds are shooting at everyone they oppose: Turks (who have invaded despite U.S. objections) and even Americans. In the south, the Sunnis and the Shiites are settling old scores, and now new ones, with American troops in the crossfire. Etc. Etc. Gulf War Syndrome II kicks in more and more as time goes on. And how long are we in Iraq? Can you say "decades in an ongoing war of attrition?" And our payoff is . . . oh, I almost forgot! We get to rip off lots of oil, and piss off every Muslim who had previously loved America. As for the people who ALREADY hated America, watch film at 11 to get details on the next terrorist act.
But hold on; let's not lose sight of Bush's larger Plan, as expressed so openly by all those neo-con hotshots (who, to a man, like Shrub himself, are armchair warriors, aka Chickenhawks). Iraq is just a beginning, right? Iran, Syria, that pesky North Korea, and maybe even Saudi Arabia are the next likely targets of our Pax Americana dream. Stay tuned for new wars; we'll let you know when we think it's time (let's see, when is the next election? Back up a year plus, then blow up a few thousand more people in some God-forsaken part of the globe. Wheee!!!).
Silly me, I almost forgot, the time for debate has ended. It's the patriotic thing to do, to keep quiet. Right?