"The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds." ~ Isaiah Berlin
State of Deceit
Exclusive to STR
October 31, 2006
Just in case you've been too riveted to the pathetic dirty-old-Congressman-chasing-teenage-boys scandal involving U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, there has been big news of late that superstar journalist Bob Woodward has published a new book, State of Denial: Bush at War Part III. In an interview promoting his latest tome, he finally came right out and said what someone of his notoriety and stature should have said a long time ago about the bloody and misguided Iraq War: You know, it 'may be mismanaged.' It's been 'poorly executed,' you see, and 'poor execution' in the pursuit of a war of occupation in a foreign country, especially because it was driven largely by 'idealism' and 'the right motives,' is the 'essence of tragedy.'
So somebody finally came out and told the complete, unvarnished, no-holds-barred truth: Iraq may be a bloody, tragic mess, but it wasn't because the hearts of the U.S. government technocrats who planned it weren't in the right place'they're just not very good managers, you see. They clearly have not read Kevin and Jackie Frieberg's Nuts!, or else they'd have the current bloodbath in Iraq looking like the Southwest Airlines of wars.
Sarcasm aside, I guess I should commend former Naval intelligence officer Woodward on at least using the term 'tragedy' in relation to the Iraq War, a term that most of the neocon warmongers wouldn't dare utter without going into violent spasms. But if his definition of 'tragedy' in Iraq is 'poor execution,' then I would reckon that his new book'which I must admit I have not read'would be more fit for post-toilet sanitation than serious historical scholarship. (Notice that in the interview, Woodward denies that truth has to be the 'first casualty of war' and then immediately contradicts himself and condones government employment of the 'bodyguard of lies' as 'sometimes' being necessary during wartime'good reason to view anything he says or writes with your bullshit detector turned up a notch.) A few years back, I once saw Sammy Sosa go to bat against the New York Mets as I sat about seven rows back from home plate at Wrigley Field in Chicago . Bases were loaded and he was so intent on whacking that ball that it seemed as though he wanted to shred it to bits with his bat; it was clearly visible that his whole body was one big ball of tension. He swung good and hard three times, slicing wind without even so much as kissing the ball. Now that's 'poor execution.' Fans may be disappointed and may even get angry when a pro ball player like Sosa strikes out, but who dies? Nobody. How many homes are pummeled, or buildings reduced to rubble? None. How many widows are made by a baseball player's poor execution of a swing at the ball? None. How many children are orphaned, and how many are blown to bits? None.
Judging from Woodward's choice of terminology, he could just as well be talking about the Cubs vs. the Mets at the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded rather than a long and protracted war that may have resulted in as many as 655,000 more deaths in Iraq than would have otherwise occurred had that conflict never been initiated by the Bush Gang, though the use of newspeak (or is it doublespeak?) by the news media may provide us with a clue as to how the American masses have become so desensitized to the idea of war over the last century or so.
'Poor execution' is not the tragedy here. The war itself is the tragedy, a war started by a government, a state, headed by a president who rationalized his and his gang's criminal actions with blatant lies to his countrymen about alleged WMD , the existence of which could only be verified by the sight of mushroom clouds hovering over American soil, at least according to him and his fawning, bootlicking acolytes. He and his capos now confess that it looks like there were no WMD in Iraq after all, but what does a few lies resulting in 655,000 deaths matter in comparison to the wonder and splendor of the glorious new socialist democracy that will surely bring blissful freedom to the Iraqi people? Those 655,000 dead human beings apparently matter not a whit to the statist class and their cheerleaders. According to them, the real tragedy here is not an unjust war that has left so many dead and ruined, but that said war was just so poorly executed and managed so incompetently, made all the sadder in that it was borne of 'idealism' and 'the right motives.' Makes you kind of wonder: What exactly is Woodward's idea of a war that is well executed? If he thinks that a war managed competently'if we may momentarily indulge ourselves in the delusion that waging war can ever be a competent act'would result in fewer dead innocents, then he is in complete denial of the nature of government and warfare. If he actually hopes for a 'good war' that would result in more deaths but that this would be a good thing provided that the deaths were of those who dared to get in the way of the U.S. bureaucrats' deadly democratic idealism and allegedly pure motives, then he is both delusional and bloodthirsty to boot. And if he thinks that a well-executed war would result in less terrorism, then he's just plain ignorant.
Like the revelations of Congressman Foley's lustful pursuit of young male pages, Woodward's latest opus is well timed for the mid-term Congressional elections and equally as distracting from the real root issues that so desperately need to be addressed: The horrific crimes of states against the rest of humanity and the system of delusional, morally bankrupt ideas that provides a superficial moral cover for such crimes.
Whenever this or that scheme of state central planners inevitably flounders and yields disastrous results'a phenomenon every bit as natural as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west'the largely government-regulated and cartelized corporate-state news media can always be counted upon to spin such massive failures as being the consequences not of the corrupt and perverted philosophy inherent in statist plans, but as that of the particular individuals charged with executing and managing such plans. The concept of sending 160,000 or so soldiers to another country on the other side of the world to 'liberate' its population from totalitarian oppression by means of maiming and killing them should sound to the masses, particularly in this day and age, about as reasonable as bombing a nursing home in order to cure its residents of their various ailments'followed by the bombers bragging about their noble service to the greater good and expecting the shell-shocked survivors of the massacre to throw rose petals at their feet in eternal gratitude. Neither proposition makes any sense unless you uphold death and destruction as a reasonable solution to human problems. That is the mentality of the caveman, the barbarian, and the ancient pagan eager to sacrifice other human beings to his imaginary gods. And that is statism.
As I write this, the word is that the USS Eisenhower carrier strike force is very close to the Gulf of Hormuz , just off the coast of Iran , or is perhaps already there. For anyone with even a cursory acquaintance with recent U.S. military history, this very much appears to be preparation for the initiation of yet another senseless war. If the U.S. attacks Iran 'and I fear that such an attack will come before January '07 if not before the upcoming congressional elections next week'a major turning point will have been reached. The delusional and bloodthirsty bizarrocrats in Washington will have plunged this country ever deeper into the abyss of a continually widening regional conflict on the other side of the globe, the costs of which will be staggering.
It's really a marvel to behold the great U.S. Federal Megastate's propaganda machine at work. Even as the U.S. government lines up its well-armed ducks for an eventual attack on Iran, Washington has'with the help of its puppets and shills in the news media'successfully focused the world's attention on North Korea. Somehow, a country in which much of the population has been starving to death poses every bit as much of a danger to civilization as did Saddam's Iraq , which to people with an ability to think logically translates as no threat at all. And yet, North Korea 's flaky leader fires off a nuclear device in his own country and the news media cranks the fearmongering into high gear.
This is not to say that the fact that a goofball dictator has set off a nuclear explosion is not a reason for concern, but it should be viewed in its proper perspective. Setting aside the pure, unmitigated gall of the U.S. government, the only entity in history to have deliberately attacked civilian population centers with atomic bombs not just once but twice, to presume itself the final arbiter of which foreign governments get to have nukes and which don't, let's stop fooling ourselves with the ridiculous idea that Kim Jong-Il is hellbent on nuking our country or any other. He may be obsessed with the Hollywood fantasy factory, but he's not so lost in dreamland as to risk his own destruction, which would surely be the results of the nuclear retribution that would most likely occur in response to his firing off a nuclear missile at anyone. The fact of the matter is that Kim had been masterminding an elaborate blackmail scheme by which Americans, through their taxes, were forced by Uncle Sam to finance Kim's totalitarian socialist regime. Perhaps Kim would not have had the financial resources to make any nuclear devices if the U.S. government had not sent hundreds of millions of our hard-earned dollars in financial aid to him in the first place. But then that would have been one less boogeyman in the world that the U.S. government could use to scare its subjects into submission, wouldn't it?
Meanwhile, the nuclear-powered Eisenhower and its attendant vessels of mass destruction prepare for a blitz on Iran , unbeknownst to an American public distracted by the cartoonish Kim Jong Il, Mark Foley, the 'mismanaged' Iraq War and gay marriage. This would be the third war initiated by the U.S. government in just a little over five years. This will also be yet another bloodstained lesson showing the whole world why concentrating immense firepower into the hands of a relatively few high priests of central planning is a very, very bad idea. Preach the obvious evils of statism in this day and age and you're likely to get a vapid lecture on the alleged importance of voting.
What is needed to save civilization from these bloodthirsty despots is not another trip to the ballot box, but rather the courage to accept a singularly radical truth: We don't need government and it would be in our best interests to be rid of it. It's an idea whose time has come. The Earth is neither flat nor the center of the universe, the moon is not made of Swiss cheese and the state is an evil that is wholly unnecessary.
But I suspect that states will live on for quite a few more years yet, perhaps for several more centuries, and it will be because a critical mass of humanity will continue to stubbornly cling to the foundation of statism's sick philosophy, the fallacy of authority. Authority is the greatest lie ever perpetrated against the human race. It is the illusory notion that a group of humans who, regardless of being every bit as flawed as anyone else, should be entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the rest of us protected, paid, fed, sheltered and well medicated in pursuit of some muddled and ill-defined 'greater good' of the collective whole. Advocates of such authority-based systems believe that they will be spared the great tasks of thinking and providing for themselves, but implicit in delegating these responsibilities to the authoritarian rulers is conceding to them a legalized monopoly on the initiation of force and violence. That such a power for this relatively small group of people we call 'government' inevitably corrupts them and leads them to commit such horrific atrocities as mass warfare has been amply demonstrated time and again throughout human history, but too many people choose to believe the fanciful lie that somehow, no matter how much they continually make things worse, supposedly enlightened bureaucrats are preventing the fire and brimstone that would supposedly fall from the sky without them. People want to believe this lie so badly that they are utterly blind to the fact that it is this misguided belief that is destroying everything beautiful in this world.
Many Americans have bought into a particularly pernicious version of the authority fantasy called 'democracy.' This is the belief that authority chosen by the majority should always rule by virtue of the sheer number of people who showed up on a particular day to cast into a ballot box or punch into a computer a choice of slave masters, regardless of whether or not there are others who want to be ruled by any masters at all, let alone those chosen by the majority. It is the conceit that the greatest number should be allowed to plunder and dictate to the smallest number'that might makes right, and that the brute force of the mob, rather than ideas, should be the only acceptable currency among a 'civilized' people. To propose that the plundering and bullying be waged by the ballot rather than the gun makes democracy no less brutal than any other form of government, contrary to all the claims of benevolence made by its most ardent supporters. When the war on Iran is launched, catching most of the country by surprise and prompting dissenters to take to the streets and the Internet in protest, Bush may very well be able to fully utilize his newfound power to suspend habeas corpus at his personal whim and jail perhaps thousands of anti-war activists under the false pretext that they give support to terrorists. Such an act would reveal democratic government for the sham that it is, but the social democrats would no doubt still blather and dither that such governmental actions reveal not any natural defects in the system itself but merely show that those individuals charged with operating the system had 'mismanaged' it and betrayed it with 'poor execution,' made all the more tragic in light of their 'idealism' and 'right motives.'
Bad ideas based on lies and deceit cannot be improved upon by democratic means, and fortunately good ideas'ideas grounded in truth and reality'cannot simply be voted out of existence. Tragically, we can expect much more poverty and warfare before enough people wake up to the fact but statism is a bad idea based on fairy tales that inevitably leads to massively destructive consequences no matter who is charged with executing its central planning. It will finally be relegated to the dustbin of history only if one day people stop consenting to authority-based systems and voluntarily adopt complete and total self-responsibility instead.
That day can't come soon enough.