Category Archives: Addicted to War
Living the Good Live
So he wasn’t in a cave after all. Osama bin Laden, master marketer of mass murder, loved to traffic in the image of the ascetic warrior-prophet. In one of his most famous videotapes, he chose gray rocks for a background, a rough camo jacket for a costume and a rifle for a prop. He portrayed a hard, pure alternative to the decadent weakness of the modern world. Soft Westerners and their corrupt puppet princes reclined in luxury and sin while he wanted nothing but a gun and a prayer rug. The zealot travels light, his bloodred thoughts so pure that even stones are as cushions for his troubled sleep.
Now we know otherwise. Bin Laden was not the stoic soldier that he played onscreen. The exiled son of a Saudi construction mogul was living in a million-dollar home in a wealthy town nestled among green hills. He apparently slept in a king-size bed with a much younger wife. He had satellite TV. This, most of all, was fitting, because no matter how many hours he spent talking nostalgically of the 12th century and the glory of the islamic caliphate, bin laden was a master of the 21st century image machine.
No Hollywood filmmaker ever staged a more terrifying spectacle than 9/11, which bin Laden conjured from a few box cutters and 19 misguided martyrs. When the Twin Towers collapsed, he became the real-life answer to the ruthless, stateless and seemingly unstoppable villains of James Bond fantasy. It was necessary then, to find him and render him mortal again, reduce him to mere humanity – not just as a matter of justice but as a matter of self-defense.
They could have captured him, but that would lead to the hassle of putting him on trial. Besides, what if he revealed his long connection with the CIA and US officials? Can’t have that. So the kill order was given, along with a quick disposal of the body, mafia-style (as in “sleeping with the fishes).”
So it goes….
The local marine life has yet to begin to digest the rotting carcass of the now officially deceased arch-enemy of Murka, Osama bin Laden but the bottom-feeders of the American political system and it’s media support system are in full feeding frenzy. USA! USA! USA! is being chanted at sporting events following the rendition of the bloody good nationalist anthem the Star Spangled Banner or the ode to the incestuous breeding of war religion and nationalist frenzy “God Bless America”. The beer-sodden buffoons watching the pro basketball and hockey playoffs in swanky tax payer subsidized venues as well as in thousands of smaller gatherings across the fruited plain are whooping it uo. In the third day of orgasmic national euphoria following the coming out party of one Barack Hussein Obama, a man who was born in the USA and now has bagged the mother of all trophies much to the enduring shame of the swine, vermin and useful idiots that used to be the vastly overrated political force of nature called the Tea Party. You almost have to feel for the poor Republican fascist slobs who bet the entire house on their ability to infiltrate, hijack and then manipulate that now pitiable mass of angry, low-information, pasty, lard-assed and perpetually pissed off white folk into a re-branding of the same old god n’ guns, gay bashing, racist garbage that had been their ultimate trump card for decades. The Republican Tea Party, not that long ago heralded as real change that you can believe in by the propaganda organs of the oligarchy such as the vaunted Wall Street Journal has suffered monumental and irreversible damage in less than a fortnight. It is almost surreal that just last week the full throated roar of the corporate media propaganda machine and their newest celebrity avenger, the Donald, were closing in on the wounded and feckless Obama, a man equally detested by the pigs who hide their vitriolic bigotry under the cover of the Republican party banner as well as his own base for his callous and endless series of betrayals. Then lightning struck, the storms rolled in much like ravenous destructive tornadoes through the very heart of peckerwood nation in Alabama and Obama emerged forever changed, toughened by the scrum and brandishing the bloody scalp of the villain of all villains, Osama bin Laden like a powerful talisman.
I have personally been on record on a fairly consistent basis throughout the years as believing that Osama bin Laden was in fact dead. Somehow it was hard to imagine a prolonged period of longevity for a man accused of heading up the greatest ‘terrorist’ attack in U.S. history who was dragging around a dialysis machine though the most rugged parts of the Afghan mountains. Who knows, maybe he did survive in order to be hunted down and have a couple of caps busted into his skull over the weekend by U.S. Navy Seals who were likely under orders not to take him alive. But if that is the case, then it really brings about far more troubling questions, for example why exactly was he still alive, living in pretty nice digs in a Pakistani military town? That the United States would NOT have known about this sooner and taken him out for his alleged crimes would lead a skeptic to believe that just maybe he was still alive for a reason. Perhaps a reason like just maybe he was still an active intelligence asset, laying low and kept under protection by an ally in Pakistan until he outlived his usefulness or perhaps he was going to go rogue and spill his guts about his days in the semi-employ of the USA. This would explain the killing and subsequent dumping of the body, after all, dead men tell no tales but the absence of a body also begs the question of whether any of it is real at all, I always keep thinking about what a son of a bitch it must have been to lug around that dialysis machine though the Hindu Kush.
But I Digress…..
All that George W. Bush ever had was Saddam’s gun which he took great joy in fondling; now Mr. Obama has the mojo and has grabbed a ride upon the back of the raging beast of a new nationalism while the Republicans and their hideously botched and badly whupped angry white male teabaggers slinked away with nary a fig leaf to provide cover for their now embarrassingly inadequate pee pees. They have once and forever been exposed as the bald-faced lie that they always were – Tea Party my ass!. Newt Gingrich? Please, get the fuck out of here. The Donald? Like his pet birthers, his sorry, obnoxious ass is yesterday’s garbage. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? You gotta be fucking kidding, the Thelma and Louise of the neoconservative movement are so yesterday now, shorn of their Obama the Muslim and Sharia law cant, whatever remains of the GOP isn’t about to let those two dizzy, crazed bitches drive it over the cliff. Mike Huckabee? Even Mr. fascism wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross has turned on the free-falling star demagogue Glenn Beck. Mitt Romney? The smartest of the bunch from the get go, he has announced that he is skipping the gathering of loons and closet Nazis that is the Republican party debate later this week. Ron Paul? His anti-interventionist, pro-civil liberties stance is anathema to the party of the plutocrats and blood drinkers. With a wave of Ayn Rand worshipping Koch Brothers owned governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Florida taking flak and alienating more non-dead-enders by the minute, their Republican state legislatures eschewing their once promised work on jobs and economic rejuvenation to instead focus on revoking women’s rights, busting unions, cutting budgets for all but their crony projects and destroying education as we know it are about as popular as genital herpes and will likely be either recalled or voted out of office in the next election cycle.
This is the metaphorical perfect storm for the Republican party, a collection of America hating, fascist fifth columnists that should have been eradicated when George W. Bush’s helicopter lifted off the White House lawn but survived only because they could appeal to the emotions of those whose gullibility knows no bounds and whose stupidity is incomprehensible. They are now facing their Götterdämmerung, it must be pretty bleak down in the bunker as the Russian army is closing in and it’s going to be sweet justice to see them hoisted on their own petard of 9/11 and the War on Terror. With the only card left to play, the coming holy war over the raising of the debt ceiling, the GOP is on the brink of suicide, failing to raise the bar is only going to drive away the moneychangers who will side with the now heroic Obama. The exodus of plutocrats other than the Bircher Koch Brothers whose family fortune came from their daddy building oil refineries for Stalin will leave the party rather than face the prospect of a limit be placed on the national credit card that funds their addictions. In the end, which is coming soon, the fascist Republicans who through decades of sociopathic and cocksure, ruthless Mayberry Machievellian cynicism combined with a regressive ideological perversion courtesy of a symbiosis with the delusional tent preachers who hit it big off their ability to mobilize Rapture freaks, stone crazy dimwits and recalcitrant neo-confederates has ensured that it would carry within it’s pustulent, sweating belly the self-destruct mechanism that will soon be triggered.
Any sane Republican (and that is pretty much an oxymoron these days) is like Ripley heading for the escape pod on the Nostromo. There has never in the history of this country been an entity that is so desperately in need of a purge, a massive makeover and a mange dip than the GOP. Once a legitimate entity with much to offer it shed itself of those who were rational but were deemed to be heretics by the neocon utopians, loyal Americans like economist and former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts, now a prolific writer who has spent the better part of the last decade trying to fight the brownshirts that took over his party, rudely casting out the rational in favor of the greed-crazed monsters and the war freaks. A good deal of what ails America today is due to a failed political system, an opposition party that lives in a reality based world and has more at stake than a lust for power backed by a deranged mob of berserkers seeking to use the power of the state to punish their enemies and erect their perfect society has no future. That is going to become very apparent to all but the dumbest of the dumb, the purebred haters sequestered behind the cornbread curtain who were I a religious man would venture to suggest just reaped the wrath of God when the tornadoes came.
Sweet Serendipity: Little more than a week ago Barack Obama was little more than the exemplification of failure at every level, the economy is still horrible, gas prices are spiking, joblessness is rampant, an out of control Federal Reserve continues to shovel more and more counterfeit money into the maw of a crack ho economy. There are also the wars that are multiple, costly and unwinnable, his enemies smelled blood and were closing in for the kill, allegedly a swarm of private investigators were allegedly dispatched to Hawaii to hunt down the real story of Obama’s birth certificate, the tabloid media was drooling over the prospect of a long-running and cruel crucifiction running up to the primaries. Then, in some sort of though the looking glass Horatio Alger story the President sweeps like a whirling dervish from the outhouse to the penthouse and in an act of raw blasphemy in a culture that reveres celebrity and greed as the highest of all human virtues rudely evicts reality television star and real estate swindler Donald Trump from it.
Obama, now ironically eight years to the day that his predecessor George W. Bush landed on the deck of the USS Lincoln in a Top Gun style flight suit that boasted a codpiece that must have had John Holmes rolling over in his grave, has the nation eating out of his hand. Now a country filled with dangerous freaks whose basic understanding of life can be summed up by their basic ability to comprehend an us versus them, cinematic, fantasy view of the world as it has been fed to them by John Wayne, Dirty Harry, Rambo, Jack Bauer or any other renegade,bad assed, rule-breaking tough guy has at least for the moment united in support of Obama for his successful slaying of the ultimate evildoer. Were he a serious man with serious solutions he would use this rare opportunity to seize the controls of the good ship America and drive it out of the rancid and regressive wormhole that it plummeted into after 9/11 thanks to the political exploitation of the horror of that day. First and foremost, get the fuck out of Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. Now is the time to declare victory in the phony war on terror and come home. Maybe it’s just bullshit and fantasy that Obama can claim to have won the GWOT but it is just a different spin on the Reagan won the Cold War myth, and Christ knows that Obama has been open in his admiration of The Gipper. It will be hard to not do the rational and right thing for the country and just leave that sucking black hole of money, drugs and death, especially if the early reviews from the sycophants in the media carry any currency with our newest Murkan hero, here is a sampling:
From Dana ‘Skull and Bones’ Milbank over at the Washington Post
The White House advance team put the presidential podium at an odd angle in the East Room, so that an oil painting showing George Washington would be in the shot behind President Obama. This made it appear from a certain view that Washington was patting Obama on the back.It’s not such a stretch to think that the first president would join the backslapping over Sunday’s killing of Osama bin Laden. Heck, even Dick Cheney was congratulating Obama.
Now, stop questioning Obama’s legitimacySo much to say about the long-awaited visiting of justice upon Osama bin Laden.But there’s one effect on U.S. domestic politics that deserves a thought:Here’s hoping that we have at last seen the end of this ugly insinuation that there is something less than fully American about the black president with the exotic name.On Wednesday came the release of the long-form birth certificate that provided the final decisive refutation of the birther lie that the President Obama was born elsewhere than the United States.On Saturday at the White House Correspondents Dinner, the most visible proponent of that lie, the blowhard TV tycoon Donald Trump, was publicly ridiculed in front of an audience of 3,000 people, without a voice to excuse or defend him.And then late Sunday, the president told the nation of the execution of his order to shoot and kill bin Laden.The success of the bin Laden operation is a great moment for the United States — and not only for the United States.But it is also a deservedly bad moment for some of the destructive forces in American public life, for those who have substituted for ordinary politics a sustained campaign to brand Obama as an outsider, as un-American, as non-American.
When Obama yesterday called former President George W. Bush to inform him of the end of the decade of the exhausting hunt, both knew that without Bush’s wars in Asia, Obama would not have been elected president, and that after being elected, he continued on his predecessor’s path in fighting terror and interrogating prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. He used the same secretary of defense, Robert Gates, and the same commander, Gen. David Petraeus.But since everything is personal and everything is a matter of timing, Commander in Chief Obama will get all the glory and will hope that Petraeus doesn’t give in to Republican wooing to retire from the military and run against Obama. To judge by the outburst of public enthusiasm, bin Laden’s end has put to rest doubts about Obama’s devotion to his homeland and to concerns that he is soft and sympathizes with Islam. More than his birth certificate, his speech in which he waved bin Laden’s scalp has crowned Obama head of the American tribe.
Now that the death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly the kingpin of the ‘terrorist’ attacks on September 11, 2001 that threw the United States into a bizarre parallel universe where war became peace and lies became conventional wisdom in a land where a choking, always present fear was the coin of the realm has been announced, it is a strange period, an interregnum. It is like that certain ‘moment of clarity’ that alcoholics occasionally experience, the one time that they can emerge from their disease, see the wreckage of their lives and be shocked into corrective action. In any sane country this could be a moment to reflect upon what we have become, all as the neocon tools and their propaganda have insisted has been justified on the existence of this evil evil man. We have had our civil liberties shredded, the Constitution has been gutted, the insane doctrine of preventative war has led to a Middle East and parts of Eurasia aflame, the bodies of both the guilty and the innocent can be stacked more than halfway to Jesus. We have seen our airports turned into abominable places where law abiding citizens are treated with suspicion, ruled over by drooling TSA government thugs, forced to remove our shoes, march silently through the naked body scanners promoted by the corrupt former head of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, the ‘pat downs’, a grossly Orwellian term that in true American style puts a nice sugar coating on sexual assault have become more aggressive, children are felt up in front of their parents, potentially causing lasting psychological damage and if anyone dares to complain about it, the TSA has now come out and stated that they would be targeted for even more harassment.
Police departments have been militarized under the guise of fighting terrorism, a term that has over the last decade morphed into something as vague as to label legitimate political dissent as terror. The country has established a vast network of secret torture gulags or black sites, extraordinary rendition (or kidnapping) is standard operational procedure. Torture by the way now is the official law of the land, thanks to a sadistic gang of psychopaths in positions of power and assisted greatly by foreign media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose state favored, right-wing propaganda machine FOX polluted millions of minds with their insipid torture promoting series 24 featuring America’s favorite Nazi Jack Bauer. We are all spied on constantly, arms of the national security state such as the NSA are out of control and engage in data-mining and predictive analytic patterning that comes very close to Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report and the Department of Pre-Crime, if not official government entities then the spying is farmed out to the private intelligence firms that have raged through the nation like a mutant form of kudzu, all of it is being funded on the backs of the taxpayers who are forced to pay for our own enslavement. Chances are that if you live in a major city you have at least one fusion center where military, big government and local police intersect to spy on you. Habeas corpus is a thing of the past now and any American could find themselves scooped up and disappeared, just like in Stalin’s Russia or in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, totalitarian states that were built on the big lie of protecting the people from terror.
What truly bothered me yesterday was the outpouring of national bloodlust over the ‘death’ of Osama bin Laden. There were parties, fans at sporting events chanted USA! USA! USA!, the media was filled with slavering platitudes and other dreck celebrating the death of the evil one, even Sports Illustrated got in on the national orgy of vengeance slaked with ace football writer Peter King (not the I.RA. terrorist supporting, anti-Muslim wanna be McCarthy from Long Island who shamelessly used the news to deliver a kick to the hated Obama and to endorse torture) leading off his weekly column with a bit of red, white and blue rah rah. There were homages paid to national unity anew, just like that warm feeling of a national mob mentality that largely existed after 9/11 itself, never have I seen such an orgy of rapturous glee over an assassination. It could be that this is just a cathartic moment, one where a people beaten into submission by fear and yoked by a fanatical government hellbent on creating a police state finally rid themselves of both their demon and the fear that has enslaved them while they were beggared, ripped off and foreclosed upon to finance the hunt for the national villain .
More likely though it will be something far darker as things in the new American century have a tendency to be. The renewed unity comes at a time of severe economic privation, an increasingly restive populace fed a constant stream of anti-Muslim propaganda to dehumanize ‘the enemy’ and a fascist political party in the Republicans that is looking for that man on the white horse, desperately seeking to return to power in order to force their dystopian vision of a society upon others and now there is a police state infrastructure to back it up. The past week may have beaten back the more vile elements when Obama produced his long form birth certificate and newly minted GOP gladiator Donald Trump was publicly ridiculed but the bin Laden death (sans body as it may be) could rather than provide the aforementioned catharsis could instead go the other way and serve to justify all that has taken place since the day the planes hit the buildings. It is already being spun that the fascist, surveillance, torture state was instrumental in bagging the bad ass bogeymen, as the end justifies the means and the wars could despite the looming bankruptcy of the country be expanded rather than winded down now that bin Laden is officially deceased.
The beast has been loosed and now it has acquired a taste for blood….
Just my two cents over the mornin’ cup o’ joe
I awoke this morning to see the screaming massive headline DEAD in my morning newspaper all above the fold, momentarily thinking that it may have referred to Dick Cheney I immediately removed the protective plastic bag to see that lo and behold – Osama bin Laden, the baddest badass bogeyman of all has finally been killed. Not that I believe this horseshit (the man has in all likelihood been dead for years) and that it would lead the Monday news cycle is a tried and true propaganda technique it should for the first time in years give jobless, foreclosed and beaten to a pulp with fear Americans something to feel good about. Despite my skepticism, this certainly is a political boon for Obama and it’s gong to be fun watching exactly how the Koch Industries funded Tea Party is going to try to spin this to use it against the hated BLACK man in the WHITE House. The day after the evisceration of the turd Donald Trump at the White House Correspondent’s dinner and less than a week after the release of the long form birth certificate the ‘death’ of the monstrous bin Laden has to really drive the neocons batshit.
So, rather than to further comment on the big news story I would think that the more important matters of discussion would be anything that includes dismantling the fascist imperialist state that was constructed with the use of the American Reichstag Fire, 9/11 as justification.
– End the wars
– Bring the troops back home.
– Take the naked body scanners out of airports and destroy them.
– Dismantle the TSA.
– Break the Department of Homeland Security into a million pieces and scatter it to the winds.
– Drastically cut military spending and use the money to put Americans back to work by redirecting it towards desperately needed infrastructure reconstruction.
– Redirect the majority of counter-terrorism resources into a relentless effort to take out the real terrorists, the treasonous looters on Wall Street. No amount of money should be spared in breaking up their criminal finance cartels and jailing the crime bosses.
– I was going to suggest finally closing Gitmo but now I would say to keep it open as a penal colony for the Wall Street banksters.
Anyway, I’ll chime in more on this very interesting development later.
Just my two cents over the morning cup o’ joe
The unit processed about half a dozen suicides. The suicide notes, she said, almost always cited hazing. Women, she said, were constantly harassed, especially sexually, but it often did not match the systematic punishment and humiliation meted out to men who were deemed to be inadequate Marines. She said that Marines who were overweight or unable to do the physical training were subjected to withering verbal and physical abuse. They were called “fat nasties” and “shit bags.” The harassed Marines would be assigned to other individual Marines and become their slaves. They would be sent on punishing runs in which many of them vomited. They would be forced to bear-crawl—walk on all fours—the length of a football field and back. This would be followed by sets of monkey fuckers—bending down, grabbing the ankles, crouching down like a baseball catcher and then standing up again—followed by a series of other exercises that went on until the Marines collapsed.
“They make these Marines do what they call ‘bitch’ work,” Goodell said. “They are assigned to be someone else’s ‘bitch’ for the day. We had a guy in our platoon, not in Iraq but in California, and he was overweight. He was on remedial PT, which meant he went to extra physical training. When he came to work he was rotated. One day he was with this corporal or this sergeant. One day he was sent to me. I had him for an hour. I remember sending him outside and making him carry things. It was very common for them to dig a hole and fill it back up with sand or carry sand bags up to the top of a hill and then carry them down again.”The unit was sent to collect the bodies of the Marines who killed themselves, usually by putting rifles under their chins and pulling the trigger.“We had a Marine who was in a port-a-john when he blew his face off,” she said. “We had another Marine who shot himself through the neck. Often they would do it in the corner of a bunker or an abandoned building. We had a couple that did it in port-a-johns. We had to go in and peel and pull off chunks of flesh and brain tissue that had sprayed the walls. Those were the most frustrating bodies to get. On those bodies we were also on cleanup crew. It was gross. We sent the suicide notes home with the bodies.”—“One of the first convoys we went to was one where the Army had been traveling over a bridge and an IED had exploded,” she said. “It had literally shot a seven-ton truck over the side and down into a ravine. Marines were already going down into the ravine. We were just getting out of our vehicles. We were putting on our gloves and putting coverings over our boots. I was with a Marine named Pineda. I was coming around the Humvee and there was a spot on the ground that was a circle. I looked at it and thought something must have exploded here or near here. I went over to look at it. I looked in and saw a boot. Then I noticed the boot had a foot in it. I almost lost my lunch.”“In the seven-ton truck the [body of the] assistant driver, who was in the passenger seat, was trapped in the vehicle,” she said. “All of his body was in the vehicle. We had to crawl in there to get it out. It was charred. Pineda and I pulled the burnt upper torso from the truck. Then we removed a leg. Some of the remains had to be scooped up by putting out hands together as though we were cupping water. That was very common. A lot of the deaths were from IEDs or explosions. You might have an upper torso but you need to scoop the rest of the remains into a body bag. It was very common to have body bags that when you picked them up they would sink in the middle because they were filled with flesh. The contents did not resemble a human body.”The members of the mortuary unit were shunned by the other Marines. The stench of dead flesh clung to their uniforms, hair, skin and fingers. Two members of the mortuary unit began to disintegrate psychologically. One began to take a box of Nyquil tablets every day and drink large quantities of cold medicine. He was eventually medevaced out of Iraq.“Our cammies would be stained with blood or with brains,” she said. “When you scoop up the meat it often would get on the cuffs of our shirts. You could smell it, even after you took off your gloves. We weren’t washing our cammies everyday. Your cuff comes to your face when you eat. Physically we were stained with remains. We had a constant smell like rotten meat, which I guess is what it was since often the bodies had been in the sun and the heat for a long time. The flesh had gone bad. The skin on a body in the hot sun slides off. The skin detaches itself from the layer beneath and slides around on itself.”
—Her unit once had to recover two Marines who had drowned in a lake. It appeared one had leapt in to save the other. The bodies, which were recovered after a couple of days by Navy divers, were grotesquely swollen. One of the Marines was so bloated and misshapened that the body was difficult to carry on a litter.“His neck was as wide as his bloated head, and his stomach jutted out like a barrel,” she writes in the book. “His testicles were the size of cantaloupes. His face was white and puffy and thick. Not fat, but thick. It was unreal. He looked like a movie prop, with thick, gray, waxy skin and the thick purple lips. We couldn’t stop looking at these bodies because they were so out of proportion and so disfigured and because, still, they looked like us.”It was hardest to look into the faces of the dead. She and the other members of the mortuary unit swiftly covered the faces when they worked on the bodies. They avoided looking at the eyes of the corpses.Once, the unit had to process seven Marines killed in an explosion. Seven or eight body bags were delivered to the bunker.“We had clean body bags set up so we could sort the flesh,” she said. “Sometimes things come in with nametags. Or sometimes one is Hispanic and you could tell who was Hispanic and who was the white guy. We tried separating flesh. It was ridiculous. We would open a body bag and there was nothing but vaporized flesh. There were not four hands or a whole leg in a bag. We tried to distribute the mush evenly throughout the bags. We were trying to do the best we could sorting it out. We had the last body bag come in. We opened up the body bag and it was filled with the heads. I looked at four before looking away. Not only did we have to look at them, we had to pick them up and figure out who it belonged to. The eyes were looking back at us. We got used to a lot of it. But the heads worked the other way. They affected us more strongly as time passed. We saw on the heads the expressions of fright and horror. It made us wonder what we were doing here.”She processed one Marine whose face was twisted at the moment of death by rage. The face of this Marine began to haunt her.“I had this feeling that something awful had occurred,” she said. “The way he had come in and stiffened he had this look to his face that made my stomach curl. It looked angry. Often expressions on bodies would look fearful and hurt. The faces looked as though they had received death. But this face looked like he had given death.”
She and the other members of the unit became convinced they could feel and hear the souls of the dead Marines they had processed and housed in their reefers.
To borrow from the Marine Corps vernacular referenced in the Hedges’ piece one could accurately peg the majority of Americans as “shit bags”, “fat nasties”, “money fuckers” and “slaves” so worthless and pathetic they have been during the rise of the fascist state. More of the lemmings here in God’s chosen land of plenty pour our their emotions in acts of lunacy like mourning the death of multi-millionaire movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, a woman who lived the good life and through her the inhabitants of idiot nation lived vicariously, just as they do when it comes to all of the false idols that they sanctimoniously deify while the wallow in the shame, cowardice and willful ignorance that passes for their pitiful little lives. I remember back in the days after the prior vainglorious Emperor George W. Bush unleashed the full fury of the Military Industrial Congressional Complex on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq back in 2003, at that time gas was still cheap, the grand fraud of the Wall Street housing bubble was years from reaching critical mass and piggish and still traumatized by the ‘terrorist’ attacks on 9/11 were braying for blood. The roads were filled with mega-sizes SUV’s and goddammit if there wasn’t one of those idiotic fucking yellow ribbon magnets on the ass end of each one. It was futile trying to convince the average American dumbass that their over-consumption of the precious black gold was what our heroic military ‘heroes’ were being sent into the meat-grinder to kill, be maimed for life or die for. Back in that day those who dared to question were shouted down as “traitors”, “terrorist-appeasers”, “enemies of the state” and the worst of all pejoratives…”unpatriotic” back when it was scary to dissent against Bush’s maniac crusades for neocon doctrine. Those were disturbing times for those of us who were only starting to come to the realization (as with me) that it was all bullshit, before the early internet insurgents….after years of relative ‘peace’ it was a total war of civilizations. Eventually though the truth became to seep out, the internet gave many of us a place to organize and educate ourselves and the always greed-crazed corporate carnivores latched onto the wars as another marketing tool.
The wars have not only not been televised to Americans but are now shamelessly used by corporations who equate patriotic fervor with profits. The participation of national restaurant chains like Outback Steakhouse in Operation Homefront are cynically used to sell steaks and blooming onions to blooming idiots (I wonder how that meat would taste if Chris Hedges’ piece were slipped into the menus), Wal-Marts are festooned in the red-white and blue despite an inventory of poorly constructed garbage made in China and “support the troops” has become a guaranteed money maker to lure consumers. The worst offenders of course is FOX and nothing is more indicative of their cheerleading for murder than the NFL coverage, take for example the use of Veterans Day weekend in 2009 to promote the ‘patriotism’ of the foreign pig Rupert Murdoch. FOX’s pregame show was held on a set in Afghanistan (see Militarist Masturbation) where ex jocks and grinning shit salesmen like Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw immersed the FOX brand in the sort of glorification of the war machine that would do Leni Riefenstahl proud. There is no important football game that doesn’t feature a tax dollar wasting flyover and this year’s Super Bowl in Jerry Jone’s gauche Texas temple of avarice was vomit inducing so soaked in red-meat flag waving and war worshipping hyperbole was it. It goes over real well with those who in the true modern American way love to park their fat asses on their couches in front of their big screen televisions and cheer for others to die just as long as they don’t have to do the fighting.
I will close with this excerpt from the classic antiwar book by Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun:
You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. They’re plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That’s their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously. They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.Hmmmm..But what do the dead say?Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad I died to make the world safe for democracy? Did they say that I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it’s good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I’m dead but I died for decency and that’s better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am I’ve been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it’s wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I’m happy see how I sing even though my mouth is choked with worms?Nobody but the dead know whether all these things people talk about are worth dying for or not. And the dead can’t talk. So the words about noble deaths and sacred blood and honor and such are all put into dead lips by grave robbers and fakes who have no right to speak for the dead. If a man says death before dishonor he is either a fool or a liar because he doesn’t know what death is. He isn’t able to judge. He only knows about living. He doesn’t know anything about dying. If he is a fool and believes in death before dishonor let him go ahead and die.
The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.
Just my two cents
By Chris Hedges
Aleksandr Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease.” All resistance must recognize that the body politic and global capitalism are dead. We should stop wasting energy trying to reform or appeal to it. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance. It means turning our energies toward building sustainable communities to weather the coming crisis, since we will be unable to survive and resist without a cooperative effort.
These communities, if they retreat into a pure survivalist mode without linking themselves to the concentric circles of the wider community, the state and the planet, will become as morally and spiritually bankrupt as the corporate forces arrayed against us. All infrastructures we build, like the monasteries in the Middle Ages, should seek to keep alive the intellectual and artistic traditions that make a civil society, humanism and the common good possible. Access to parcels of agricultural land will be paramount. We will have to grasp, as the medieval monks did, that we cannot alter the larger culture around us, at least in the short term, but we may be able to retain the moral codes and culture for generations beyond ours. Resistance will be reduced to small, often imperceptible acts of defiance, as those who retained their integrity discovered in the long night of 20th-century fascism and communism.
We stand on the cusp of one of the bleakest periods in human history when the bright lights of a civilization blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity. The elites have successfully convinced us that we no longer have the capacity to understand the revealed truths presented before us or to fight back against the chaos caused by economic and environmental catastrophe. As long as the mass of bewildered and frightened people, fed images that permit them to perpetually hallucinate, exist in this state of barbarism, they may periodically strike out with a blind fury against increased state repression, widespread poverty and food shortages. But they will lack the ability and self-confidence to challenge in big and small ways the structures of control. The fantasy of widespread popular revolts and mass movements breaking the hegemony of the corporate state is just that – a fantasy.
My analysis comes close to the analysis of many anarchists. But there is a crucial difference. The anarchists do not understand the nature of violence. They grasp the extent of the rot in our cultural and political institutions, they know they must sever the tentacles of consumerism, but they naïvely believe that it can be countered with physical forms of resistance and acts of violence. There are debates within the anarchist movement – such as those on the destruction of property – but once you start using plastic explosives, innocent people get killed. And when anarchic violence begins to disrupt the mechanisms of governance, the power elite will use these acts, however minor, as an excuse to employ disproportionate and ruthless amounts of force against real and suspected agitators, only fueling the rage of the dispossessed.
I am not a pacifist. I know there are times, and even concede that this may eventually be one of them, when human beings are forced to respond to mounting repression with violence. I was in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia. We knew precisely what the Serbian forces ringing the city would do to us if they broke through the defenses and trench system around the besieged city. We had the examples of the Drina Valley or the city of Vukovar, where about a third of the Muslim inhabitants had been killed and the rest herded into refugee or displacement camps. There are times when the only choice left is to pick up a weapon to defend your family, neighborhood and city. But those who proved most adept at defending Sarajevo invariably came from the criminal class. When they were not shooting at Serbian soldiers they were looting the apartments of ethnic Serbs in Sarajevo and often executing them, as well as terrorizing their fellow Muslims. When you ingest the poison of violence, even in a just cause, it corrupts, deforms and perverts you. Violence is a drug, indeed it is the most potent narcotic known to humankind. Those most addicted to violence are those who have access to weapons and a penchant for force. And these killers rise to the surface of any armed movement and contaminate it with the intoxicating and seductive power that comes with the ability to destroy. I have seen it in war after war. When you go down that road you end up pitting your monsters against their monsters. And the sensitive, the humane and the gentle, those who have a propensity to nurture and protect life, are marginalized and often killed. The romantic vision of war and violence is as prevalent among anarchists and the hard left as it is in the mainstream culture. Those who resist with force will not defeat the corporate state or sustain the cultural values that must be sustained if we are to have a future worth living. From my many years as a war correspondent in El Salvador, Guatemala, Gaza and Bosnia, I have seen that armed resistance movements are always mutations of the violence that spawned them. I am not naïve enough to think I could have avoided these armed movements had I been a landless Salvadoran or Guatemalan peasant, a Palestinian in Gaza or a Muslim in Sarajevo, but this violent response to repression is and always will be tragic. It must be avoided, although not at the expense of our own survival.
Democracy, a system ideally designed to challenge the status quo, has been corrupted and tamed to slavishly serve the status quo. We have undergone, as John Ralston Saul writes, a coup d’état in slow motion. And the coup is over. They won. We lost. The abject failure of activists to push corporate, industrialized states toward serious environmental reform, to thwart imperial adventurism or to build a humane policy toward the masses of the world’s poor stems from an inability to recognize the new realities of power. The paradigm of power has irrevocably altered and so must the paradigm of resistance alter.
Too many resistance movements continue to buy into the facade of electoral politics, parliaments, constitutions, bills of rights, lobbying and the appearance of a rational economy. The levers of power have become so contaminated that the needs and voices of citizens have become irrelevant. The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.
We live in a culture characterized by what Benjamin DeMott called “junk politics.” Junk politics does not demand justice or the reparation of rights. It always personalizes issues rather than clarifying them. It eschews real debate for manufactured scandals, celebrity gossip and spectacles. It trumpets eternal optimism, endlessly praises our moral strength and character, and communicates in a feel-your-pain language. The result of junk politics is that nothing changes, “meaning zero interruption in the processes and practices that strengthen existing, interlocking systems of socioeconomic advantage.”
The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as “negative.” This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned. To question, to engage in criticism of the corporate collective, is to be obstructive and negative. And it has perverted the way we view ourselves, our nation and the natural world. The new paradigm of power, coupled with its bizarre ideology of limitless progress and impossible happiness, has turned whole nations, including the United States, into monsters.
We can march in Copenhagen. We can join Bill McKibben’s worldwide day of climate protests. We can compost in our backyards and hang our laundry out to dry. We can write letters to our elected officials and vote for Barack Obama, but the power elite is impervious to the charade of democratic participation. Power is in the hands of moral and intellectual trolls who are ruthlessly creating a system of neo-feudalism and killing the ecosystem that sustains the human species. And appealing to their better nature, or seeking to influence the internal levers of power, will no longer work.
We will not, especially in the United States, avoid our Götterdämmerung. Obama, like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the other heads of the industrialized nations, has proven as craven a tool of the corporate state as George W. Bush. Our democratic system has been transformed into what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin labels inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, a free press, parliamentary systems and constitutions while manipulating and corrupting internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens but are ruled by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington, Ottawa or other state capitals who author the legislation and get the legislators to pass it. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion. Mass culture, owned and disseminated by corporations, diverts us with trivia, spectacles and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. “Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics – and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.”
Inverted totalitarianism wields total power without resorting to cruder forms of control such as gulags, concentration camps or mass terror. It harnesses science and technology for its dark ends. It enforces ideological uniformity by using mass communication systems to instill profligate consumption as an inner compulsion and to substitute our illusions of ourselves for reality. It does not forcibly suppress dissidents, as long as those dissidents remain ineffectual. And as it diverts us it dismantles manufacturing bases, devastates communities, unleashes waves of human misery and ships jobs to countries where fascists and communists know how to keep workers in line. It does all this while waving the flag and mouthing patriotic slogans. “The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed,” Wolin writes.
The practice and psychology of advertising, the rule of “market forces” in many arenas other than markets, the continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the saturation by mass media and propaganda of every household and the takeover of the universities have rendered most of us hostages. The rot of imperialism, which is always incompatible with democracy, has seen the military and arms manufacturers monopolize $1 trillion a year in defense-related spending in the United States even as the nation faces economic collapse. Imperialism always militarizes domestic politics. And this militarization, as Wolin notes, combines with the cultural fantasies of hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility to sever huge segments of the population from reality. Those who control the images control us. And while we have been entranced by the celluloid shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave, these corporate forces, extolling the benefits of privatization, have effectively dismantled the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services and public housing) and rolled back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. The proponents of globalization and unregulated capitalism do not waste time analyzing other ideologies. They have an ideology, or rather a plan of action that is defended by an ideology, and slavishly follow it. We on the left have dozens of analyses of competing ideologies without any coherent plan of our own. This has left us floundering while corporate forces ruthlessly dismantle civil society.
We are living through one of civilization’s great seismic reversals. The ideology of globalization, like all “inevitable” utopian visions, is being exposed as a fraud. The power elite, perplexed and confused, clings to the disastrous principles of globalization and its outdated language to mask the looming political and economic vacuum. The absurd idea that the marketplace alone should determine economic and political constructs led industrial nations to sacrifice other areas of human importance – from working conditions, to taxation, to child labor, to hunger, to health and pollution – on the altar of free trade. It left the world’s poor worse off and the United States with the largest deficits – which can never be repaid – in human history. The massive bailouts, stimulus packages, giveaways and short-term debt, along with imperial wars we can no longer afford, will leave the United States struggling to finance nearly $5 trillion in debt this year. This will require Washington to auction off about $96 billion in debt a week. Once China and the oil-rich states walk away from our debt, which one day has to happen, the Federal Reserve will become the buyer of last resort. The Fed has printed perhaps as much as two trillion new dollars in the last two years, and buying this much new debt will see it, in effect, print trillions more. This is when inflation, and most likely hyperinflation, will turn the dollar into junk. And at that point the entire system breaks down.
All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators walk away with millions. The elite will retreat, as Naomi Klein has written in The Shock Doctrine, into gated communities where they will have access to services, food, amenities and security denied to the rest of us. We will begin a period in human history when there will be only masters and serfs. The corporate forces, which will seek to make an alliance with the radical Christian right and other extremists, will use fear, chaos, the rage at the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to ruthlessly extinguish opposition movements. And while they do it, they will be waving the American flag, chanting patriotic slogans, promising law and order and clutching the Christian cross. Totalitarianism, George Orwell pointed out, is not so much an age of faith but an age of schizophrenia. “A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial,” Orwell wrote. “That is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” Our elites have used fraud. Force is all they have left.
Our mediocre and bankrupt elite is desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved. More importantly, they are trying to save themselves. All attempts to work within this decayed system and this class of power brokers will prove useless. And resistance must respond to the harsh new reality of a global, capitalist order that will cling to power through ever-mounting forms of brutal and overt repression. Once credit dries up for the average citizen, once massive joblessness creates a permanent and enraged underclass and the cheap manufactured goods that are the opiates of our commodity culture vanish, we will probably evolve into a system that more closely resembles classical totalitarianism. Cruder, more violent forms of repression will have to be employed as the softer mechanisms of control favored by inverted totalitarianism break down.
It is not accidental that the economic crisis will converge with the environmental crisis. In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi laid out the devastating consequences – the depressions, wars and totalitarianism – that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.” He warned that a financial system always devolves, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism – and a Mafia political system – which is a good description of our financial and political structure. A self-regulating market, Polanyi wrote, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The free market’s assumption that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market allows each to be exploited for profit until exhaustion or collapse. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing.
If we build self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can weather the coming collapse. This task will be accomplished through the existence of small, physical enclaves that have access to sustainable agriculture, are able to sever themselves as much as possible from commercial culture and can be largely self-sufficient. These communities will have to build walls against electronic propaganda and fear that will be pumped out over the airwaves. Canada will probably be a more hospitable place to do this than the United States, given America’s strong undercurrent of violence. But in any country, those who survive will need isolated areas of land as well as distance from urban areas, which will see the food deserts in the inner cities, as well as savage violence, leach out across the urban landscape as produce and goods become prohibitively expensive and state repression becomes harsher and harsher.
The increasingly overt uses of force by the elites to maintain control should not end acts of resistance. Acts of resistance are moral acts. They begin because people of conscience understand the moral imperative to challenge systems of abuse and despotism. They should be carried out not because they are effective but because they are right. Those who begin these acts are always few in number and dismissed by those who hide their cowardice behind their cynicism. But resistance, however marginal, continues to affirm life in a world awash in death. It is the supreme act of faith, the highest form of spirituality and alone makes hope possible. Those who carried out great acts of resistance often sacrificed their security and comfort, often spent time in jail and in some cases were killed. They understood that to live in the fullest sense of the word, to exist as free and independent human beings, even under the darkest night of state repression, meant to defy injustice.
When the dissident Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell in a Nazi prison to the gallows, his last words were: “This is for me the end, but also the beginning.” Bonhoeffer knew that most of the citizens in his nation were complicit through their silence in a vast enterprise of death. But however hopeless it appeared in the moment, he affirmed what we all must affirm. He did not avoid death. He did not, as a distinct individual, survive. But he understood that his resistance and even his death were acts of love. He fought and died for the sanctity of life. He gave, even to those who did not join him, another narrative, and his defiance ultimately condemned his executioners.
We must continue to resist, but do so now with the discomforting realization that significant change will probably never occur in our lifetime. This makes resistance harder. It shifts resistance from the tangible and the immediate to the amorphous and the indeterminate. But to give up acts of resistance is spiritual and intellectual death. It is to surrender to the dehumanizing ideology of totalitarian capitalism. Acts of resistance keep alive another narrative, sustain our integrity and empower others, who we may never meet, to stand up and carry the flame we pass to them. No act of resistance is useless, whether it is refusing to pay taxes, fighting for a Tobin tax, working to shift the neoclassical economics paradigm, revoking a corporate charter, holding global internet votes or using Twitter to catalyze a chain reaction of refusal against the neoliberal order. But we will have to resist and then find the faith that resistance is worthwhile, for we will not immediately alter the awful configuration of power. And in this long, long war a community to sustain us, emotionally and materially, will be the key to a life of defiance.
The philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote that the exclusive preoccupation with personal concerns and indifference to the suffering of others beyond the self-identified group is what ultimately made fascism and the Holocaust possible: “The inability to identify with others was unquestionably the most important psychological condition for the fact that something like Auschwitz could have occurred in the midst of more or less civilized and innocent people.”
The indifference to the plight of others and the supreme elevation of the self is what the corporate state seeks to instill in us. It uses fear, as well as hedonism, to thwart human compassion. We will have to continue to battle the mechanisms of the dominant culture, if for no other reason than to preserve through small, even tiny acts, our common humanity. We will have to resist the temptation to fold in on ourselves and to ignore the cruelty outside our door. Hope endures in these often imperceptible acts of defiance. This defiance, this capacity to say no, is what the psychopathic forces in control of our power systems seek to eradicate. As long as we are willing to defy these forces we have a chance, if not for ourselves, then at least for those who follow. As long as we defy these forces we remain alive. And for now this is the only victory possible.
We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions of the World
The brief interregnum is now over. The naive belief that things were gonna be different can now be shelved along with last year’s Christmas decorations and the change that was supposedly on the way was just another cynical ploy to keep the suckers in check. Last night, before one of the George W. Bush style military prop audiences at West Point the new emperor shed his sheep’s clothing and announced that yes indeed, America was back, bad to the bone and ready to whup some ass on those fucking sand niggas who attacked us on GAG – September 11, 2001. Now the Pope of Hope wasn’t strutting across the deck of an awesome war toy like the USS Abraham Lincoln in a flight suit and a bulging codpiece but it was vintage Bush nonetheless, dig this little line from the long awaited speech. “It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak”. And so once again we find more imperialism, murder and atrocity being predicated on the Hitlerian big lie of 9/11. As the old saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same and in this diseased and nearly dead year of 2009 in the land of crushed hopes and broken dreams, after those filthy scum Wall Street bankers had rolled back the clock to the good ole days of big bonuses and endless casino gambling so has the establishment rolled back the clock to 2003. Bush Lite Obama and his dirty recycled Clinton rat cabal have put their seal of approval on a never ending crusade and will use the full power of the state to shakedown an already impoverished nation of subjects to fund it.
Of course the cruise missile liberals who are nothing other than apologists for this criminal rat bastard administration will spin the promised three year withdrawal as yet another masterplan by the Michael Jordan of politics who is just setting up that one big play…still. In reality though, the three year withdrawal is the equivalent of “baby, I promise to pull it out before I come” and in three years the military presence will be greater, the investment in blood and treasure will be used as yet more justification to continue escalation – like a degenerate gambler who continues to double down even after the mortgage payment has long been pissed away the answer will of course be to feed more human chattel into the meatgrinder. Hell, that’s just the way it is, it has ALWAYS been this way and Gen. Smedley D. Butler was goddamned right when he dared to utter the ultimate American blasphemy that “war is a racket”. And not only is war a racket but any goddamned fool who tries to say that the Democratic party is less hellbent on imperialism and war than the more overtly fascist Republicans is a know-nothing, chattering ass, a lemming in a land that has already been overrun by the insipid things and deserves nothing less than to be denounced and mocked. Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, FDR was a Democrat and LBJ was a Democrat and they all three presided over monstrous wars. Bill Clinton missed out on the big one that would give him the necessary body count to burnish his credentials as a member of the fraternity of war criminals but he sure bombed the shit out of Belgrade and presided over the crushing economic sanctions that led to the misery of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children just because Saddam had the temerity to piss off Poppy Bush.
The point is that as a Marxist acquaintance once told me is that both capitalist parties are killers, only one is better at pretending not to be than the other. It’s like comparing Hitler and Stalin and just because the Russians were WW II allies sure as shit didn’t mean that the butcher Stalin was a good guy. Barack Obama is just another charlatan, a cynical whore of a calculating politician and we were all played for fools for believing anything different (and I apologize to those who tried to tell me so), I should have voted for Nader or McKinney, not that it would have made any difference in the end though, the escalation would still be happening because this country is flat out fucking addicted to war. I have yet to see the response from the neo Nazi Republicans today, I am sure that the escalation won’t be enough, I did catch the imbecile McCain pontificating on the television again after the speech but turned it off. Why that filthy son of a bitch who is solely responsible for the plague that is Palinism is given ANY credibility by the corporate media is a testament to just how deep the rot runs. John Sidney McCain III cut his teeth making anti American propaganda videos for the Communist Vietnamese, he has certainly honed his skills as a longtime shill for the real empire of evil that is the Military Industrial Compex captured United States government.
I am sure that the caterwauling on the right will be loud today, we are now back in the morass of national insanity, fear and loathing that rolled out of 9/11 like the putrid cloud of rotting flesh and politically expedient lies belched forth by the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil. The Beckers and the Palinazis will be like rabid starved dogs pouncing on a chunk of maggoty meat over Obama’s horseshit withdrawal flim-flammery and FOX will be blazing with bunting draped, faux patriotic warmongering. That much is assured, the diseased dogs of the Republican mass movement ‘conservatism’ will be howling and howling for the emperor’s head on a pike for not giving the blessed General McChrystal all the little green army men that he asked for. Barack Obama will be denounced for letting Osama bin Laden escape, after all, he has always been a secret Muslim who wasn’t even born in the US of A. I can hear it all now, in fact it’s starting to scare me because I know what the fuckers are thinking even before they do, it’s like a serial killer profiler and the lunatics are in my head. Too goddamned much for so early this morning.
I can say one thing however, whatever the Palinazis, Beckers and teabaggers throw at Obama over his lukewarm response to the war on terror that requires nothing less than total genocide he will deserve for it is he who is now invoking the terror talisman to justify his own depraved political agenda. Let the man be hoisted upon his own petard.
Just my two cents over the mornin’ cup o’ joe
Today is Veteran’s Day, a day of war worship in an immoral and rotting empire fueled by more wars. There will be plenty of sanctimonious asses posturing and pontificating patriotism, politics and ‘glory’ on the usual right-wing vomitories like FOX. Hell, FOX even got into it all early this year with Sunday’s travesty NFL pregame show where privileged phonies like Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and the other moron ex-jocks dressed up like toy soldiers to shill for the black ops assassin General Stan McChrystal’s bloodlust in overrunning Afghanistan with more American troops, cannon fodder that will not be treated with the reverence of the green Army cadavers of Ft. Hood. I mean who would have given a tin shit if the hallowed Ft. Hood 13 had been blown to smithereens by a mortar round ten seconds after they stepped off the plane to Afghanistan? It suits the neverending war agenda to paint the poor saps as victims you see, and it fuels the fires of both intellectually and economically impoverished Americans to blame it all on the horrible Muslim man who according to the usual anonymous sources is affiliated with al CIAda and if the terrursts [sic] are already carrying out nefarious plots on our military bases well Sally Soccer Mom, just how long will it be before they are blowing up your children in our shopping malls? All rank horseshit, exploited by traitors and cowards to send others to die in the wars that they are too gutless to serve in. Today a military veteran I want all of the right wing war lovers to line up in a single file line and come and kiss my big fat ass….oh, and don’t forget to salute me first you filthy chickenhawks.
Veteran’s Day Storytime: From Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun
Of course a lot of guys were ashamed. Somebody said let’s go out and fight for liberty and so they went and got killed without ever once thinking about liberty. And what kind of liberty were they fighting for anyway? How much liberty and whose idea of liberty? Were they fighting for the liberty of eating free ice cream cones all their lives or for the liberty of robbing anybody they pleased whenever they wanted to or what? You tell a man he can’t rob and you take away some of his liberty. You’ve got to. What the hell does liberty mean anyhow? It’s just a word like house or table or any other word. Only it’s a special kind of word. A guy says house and he can point to a house to prove it. But a guy says come on let’s fight for liberty and he can’t show you liberty. He can’t prove the thing he’s talking about so how in the hell can he be telling you to fight for it?
No sir anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddamn fool and the guy who got him there was a liar. Next time anybody came gabbling to him about liberty- what did he mean next time? There wasn’t going to be any next time for him. But the hell with that. If there could be a next time and somebody said let’s fight for liberty he would say mister my life is important. I’m not a fool and when I swap my life for liberty I’ve got to know in advance what liberty is and whose idea of liberty we’re talking about and just how much of that liberty we’re going to have. And what’s more mister are you as much interested in liberty as you want me to be? And maybe too much liberty will be as bad as too little liberty and I think you’re a goddamn fourflusher talking through your hat and I’ve already decided that I like the liberty I’ve got right here the liberty to walk and see and hear and talk and eat and sleep with my girt I think I like that liberty better than fighting for a lot of things we won’t get and ending up without any liberty at all. Ending up dead and rotting before my life is even begun good or ending up like a side of beef. Thank you mister. You fight for liberty. Me I don’t care for some.
Hell’s fire guys had always been fighting for liberty. America fought a war for liberty in 1776. Lots of guys died. And in the end does America have any more liberty than Canada or Australia who didn’t fight at all? Maybe so I’m not arguing I’m just asking. Can you look at a guy and say he’s an American who fought for his liberty and anybody can see he’s a very different guy from a Canadian who didn’t? No by god you can’t and that’s that. So maybe a lot of guys with wives and kids died in 1776 when they didn’t need to die at all. They’re dead now anyway. Sure but that doesn’t do any good. A guy can think of being dead a hundred years from now and he doesn’t mind it. But to think of being dead tomorrow morning and to be dead forever to be nothing but dust and stink in the earth is that liberty?
They were always fighting for something the bastards and if anyone dared say the hell with fighting it’s all the same each war is like the other and nobody gets any good out of it why they hollered coward. If they weren’t fighting for liberty they were fighting for independence or democracy or freedom or decency or honor or their native land or something else that didn’t mean anything. The war was to make the world safe for democracy for the little countries for everybody. If the war was over now then the world must be all safe for democracy. Was it? And what kind of democracy? And how much? And whose?
Then there was this freedom the little guys were always getting killed for. Was it freedom from another country? Freedom from work or disease or death? Freedom from your mother-in-law? Please mister give us a bill of sale on this freedom before we go out and get killed. Give us a bill of sale drawn up plainly so we know in advance what we’re getting killed for and give us also a first mortgage on something as security so we can be sure after we’ve won your war that we’ve got the same kind of freedom we bargained for.
And take decency. Everybody said America was fighting a war for the triumph of decency. But whose idea of decency? And decency for who? Speak up and tell us what decency is. Tell us how much better a decent dead man feels that an indecent live one. Make a comparison there in facts like houses and tables. Make it in words we can understand. And don’t talk about honor. The honor of a Chinese or an Englishman or an African negro or an American or a Mexican? Please all you guys who want to fight to preserve our honor let us know what the hell honor is. Is it American honor for the whole world we’re fighting for? Maybe the world doesn’t like it. Maybe the South Sea Islanders like their honor better.
For Christ sake give us things to fight for we can see and feel and pin down and understand. No more highfalutin words that mean nothing like native land. Motherland fatherland homeland native land. It’s all the same. What the hell good to you is your native land after you’re dead? Whose native land is it after you’re dead? If you get killed fighting for your native land you’ve bought a pig in a poke. You’ve paid for something you’ll never collect.
And when they couldn’t hook the little guys into fighting for liberty or freedom or democracy or independence or decency or honor they tried the women. Look at the dirty Huns they would say look at them how they rape the beautiful French and Belgian girls. Somebody’s got to stop all that raping. So come on little au’ join the army and save the beautiful French and Belgian girls. So the little guy got bewildered and he signed up and in a little while a shell hit him and his life spattered out of him in red meat pulp and ho was dead. Dead for another word and all the fierce old bats of the D.A.R. get out and hurrah themselves hoarse over his grave because he died for womanhood.
Now it might be that a guy would risk getting killed if his women were being raped. But if he did why he was only striking a bargain. He was simply saying that according to the way he felt at the time the safety of his women was worth more than his own life. But there wasn’t anything particularly noble or heroic about it. It was a straight deal his life for something he valued more. It was more or less like any other deal a man might make. But when you change your women to all the women in the world why you begin to defend women in the bulk. To do that you have to fight in the bulk. And by that time you’re fighting for a word again.
When armies begin to move and flags wave and slogans pop up watch out little guy because it’s somebody else’s chestnuts in the fire not yours. It’s words you’re fighting for and you’re not making an honest deal your life for something better. You’re being noble and after you’re killed the thing you traded your life for won’t do you any good and chances are it won’t do anybody else any good either.
Maybe that’s a bad way to think. There are lots of idealists around who will say have we got so low that nothing is more precious than life? Surely there are ideals worth fighting for even dying for. If not then we are worse than the beasts of the field and have sunk into barbarity. Then you say that’s all right let’s be barbarous just so long as we don’t have war. You keep your ideals just as long as they don’t cost me my life. And they say but surely life isn’t as important as principle. Then you say oh no? Maybe not yours but mine is. What the hell is principle? Name it and you can have it.
You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. They’re plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That’s their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously.
They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.
But what do the dead say?
Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad I died to make the world safe for democracy] Did they say I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it’s good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I’m dead but I died for decency and that’s better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am and I’ve been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it’s wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I’m happy see how I sing even though my mouth choked with worms?
Nobody but the dead know whether all these things people talk a;bout are worth dying for or not. And the dead can’t talk. So the words about noble deaths and sacred blood and honor and such are all put into dead lips by grave robbers and fakes who have no right to speak for the dead. If a man says death before dishonor he is either a fool or a liar because he doesn’t know what death is. He isn’t able to judge. He only knows about living. He doesn’t know anything about dying. If he is a fool and believes in death before dishonor let him go ahead and die. But all the little guys who are too busy to fight should be left alone. And all the guys who say death before dishonor is pure bull the important thing is life before death they should be left alone too. Because the guys who say life isn’t worth living without some principle so important you’re willing to die for it they are all nuts. And the guys who say you’ll see there’ll come a time you can’t escape you’re going to have to fight and die because it’ll mean your very life why they are also nuts. They are talking like fools. They are saying that two and two make nothing. They are saying that a man will have to die in order to protect his life. If you agree to fight you agree to die. Now if you die to protect your life you aren’t alive anyhow so how is there any sense in a thing like that? A man doesn’t say I will starve myself to death to keep from starving. He doesn’t say I will spend all my money in order to save my money. He doesn’t say I will burn my house down in order to keep it from burning. Why then should he be willing to die for the privilege of living There ought to be at least as much common sense about living and dying as there is about going to the grocery store and buying a loaf of bread.
And all the guys who died all the five million or seven million or ten million who went out and died to make the world safe for democracy to make the world safe for words without meaning how did they feel about it just before they died? How did they feel as they watched their blood pump out into the mud? How did they feel when the gas hit their lungs and began eating them all away? How did they feel as they lay crazed in hospitals and looked death straight in the face and saw him come and take them? I! the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives. That stood to reason. Life is awfully important so if you’ve given it away you’d ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever?
You’re goddamn right they didn’t.
They died crying in their minds like little babies. They forgot the thing they were fighting for the things they were dying for. They thought about things a man can understand. They died yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother a father a wife a child They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They knew what was important They knew that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in the* minds and that was I want to live I want to live I want to live.