Eastasia or Bust

At the time I wondered why I felt so emotional; why, just because Bush was going to start the second war of his tenure amid unanimous media cheerleading and the flimsiest of rationales for it, I felt as though a line had been crossed.  War had become the new national pastime, and all the king’s horses could no longer stop it.  It was as though Americans, frustrated by decades of ridiculously high taxes that paid for no tangible benefit to themselves, finally decided that they wanted to be, at long last, shown their money in the form of blowing some shit up, and now.

Of course, it wasn’t ordinary Americans that came up with this genius idea, unless you consider Tom Friedman ordinary; all along we’d been taught that our “defense” dollars went toward preventing violent confrontation, as the deceptive name for them implied.  Of course, it turned out that our defense dollars really did nothing except to create violence, and peskily, not always the kind we like, as we found out on Sept. 11, 2001.  But as is often the case, failure created opportunity, which was pretty necessary at the time because all evidence pointed to the glaringly obvious notion that our lavish military spending was clearly to blame for that disaster, so those whose lifestyles couldn’t be maintained without the most extravagant military spending on earth had to swing into action.  The people, benighted pansies that they were, needed war to become glamorous again, and this time the media wasn’t going to be asking any impertinent questions that might sully that goal. (Given the fact that the our media outlets have since lost whatever vestigial credibility, not to mention viability, they retained before this decision, you have to wonder whether they’re all owned by defense contractors and/or cult leaders….)

In short, the eager acquiescence of the media and the gradual but effective brainwashing of the citizenry came home to roost seven long years ago, when George Bush, the dumbest and least trustworthy President the country has ever had, could go on TV and announce a second war and everybody thought it was a great idea, although its goals were as phony and its end just as predictably disastrous as the last.  Bush was a terrible president in many ways, but as far as selling suicidal wars, he will go down in history as a champ….  Not only isn’t he blamed for his idiocy, but he is exalted for it, as Obama’s embrace of said idiocy shows.

What Bush did back then was worse than legitimizing war; what he did was de-legitimize peace, and although a lot of people will undoubtedly get rich off that change, democracy died in that awful winter of 2002-2003, as Obama’s shameful capitulation yesterday made all too clear.

War is all we have left, but thank heaven that old “Vietnam Syndrome’ has been well and truly vanquished.  Otherwise people would get unpleasantly uppity.

19 Comments

  1. timothy3 says:

    What Bush did back then was worse than legitimizing war; what he did was de-legitimize peace

    That’s a keeper of a quote, CH.
    On another, yet similar, note (and thoroughly, sadly laughable), did you happen to see this?

    Erik Prince quitting Blackwater to teach high school history and economics.”

  2. cocktailhag says:

    I saw that about ol’ Erik…. To teach his philosophy, however, he might have to start earlier. You have to be carefully taught, and all. In my lifetime, as a Gulf of Tonkin baby, I have only experienced peace as a blip here and there, but I was naive enough to think we might settle back to it. What a maroon I was.
    Peace is for chumps in the new America.

  3. mikeinportc says:

    “Vietnam Syndrome” is what (usually) teaches kids not to touch a hot stove burner (again), or antagonize the cat, ( or adolescent cocktailhag wannabes not to drink half a bottle of tequilla with their 10 beers?) . Apparently, that’s a bad thing for countries. :(

    2002-2003? That’s just when we found out. ( & it almost never applied to anybody outside the country)

    I meant to post the following (You’re too fast, CH ;) ), but it’s pertinent here too. The Sibel Edmonds interview( & nobody has disproved her statements, as far as I know) in American Conservative has been mentioned in a few places ( by me at least once, somewhere. Here? GG’s? *shrug*) , but the following seems to have been mostly overlooked :

    GIRALDI: So they were doing favors for other reasons. Both Feith and Perle were lobbyists for Turkey and also were involved with Israel on defense contracts, including some for Northrop Grumman, which Feith represented in Israel.

    EDMONDS: They had arrangements with various companies, some of them members of the American Turkish Council. They had arrangements with Kissinger’s group, with Northrop Grumman, with former secretary of state James Baker’s group, and also with former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.

    The monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

    Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

    Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

    That’s MAY 2001 !!!! , where they were not only talking about invading Iraq,among themselves, but already negotiating for it.

    http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00006/

    • cocktailhag says:

      Smedley Butler must be rolling over in his grave…. Ditto Dwight Eisenhower. The business of America, such as it still is, is the war business. Without that bloody feather in our cap, we’re Zimbabwe, and Obama just admitted it.

    • rmp says:

      Thanks for that link Mike. Every day I seem to learn more details of how unbelievably corrupt our government is and yet all our M$M does is tell us about other corrupt governments. I’m not sure that corruption is the way to describe things in Afghanistan. What we call corruption, they call how business is done.

      Once again Arrogant Americans judge others by their standards instead of the standards of the culture at this place in time. In Afghanistan, payoffs are just a normal way to supplement a salary. However, when the brother of the president steals millions and the people suffer and the “enemy is aided, that is what we call corruption.

  4. mikeinportc says:

    I have only experienced peace as a blip here and there, but I was naive enough to think we might settle back to it.

    I can remember discussions in the early 70′s ,among 7-10 year-olds(!) , about what we were going to do when it was our turn. We didn’t know anything of life without war. Once in awhile that idea might get mentioned, but it seemed an incomprehensible fantasy, and was soon forgotten. That might be one of the worst parts of it. What it does to kids’ minds.? I don’t know, not having experience otherwise, until ~ 25. ( Rememember, even when we didn’t have any “hot” wars going, there was talk of it . Nicaraugua, for example) Might be worth a study. ?

    • cocktailhag says:

      A client of mine expressed it quite well. She said of her son, “He’s never known peace, so it’s hard to explain it to him.” A whole generation is being raised like that.

    • rmp says:

      There’s a Georgia professor who makes a very good case for how our war course was set near the end of WWI because of how we and our allies treated Germany. It’s been almost a 100 years and we are no where near finding any peace. Very Sad.

    • timothy3 says:

      I, too, remember all too clearly conversations with my teenage friends about what part of the world we did not want to be killed in. I told them I’d prefer getting killed in the desert rather than the jungle, not caring much for spiders, bugs and snakes. This was the time of Reagan and heavy US involvement in Central American. And you had the usual Israel stuff going on as well.
      My friend’s mother, overhearing us, said to me, “Why would you want to die anywhere?” I told her I didn’t want to die but that it didn’t look as if I’d have much choice in the matter.
      Our entire lives have been clouded by war (hot and cold) or the threat of it, day in a day out. Sickening, disgraceful and tragic. And that’s speaking as an American. I cannot even imagine being on the receiving end of our several glorious planet-wide assaults.

      • cocktailhag says:

        At least on the receiving end, there’s no bill. Getting killed remains a relative bargain, especially when you consider the interest, compared to killing. Unfortunately, amid all the bloodthirsty gloating, the check has yet to arrive. Can’t complain about a bill you haven’t seen…..

        • retzilian says:

          I don’t remember anyone in our neighborhood playing army, shooting with sticks, or thinking about war at all. We played sports, boys stole beer out of garages and sometimes got hurt when drunk. We knew no one who went to Viet Nam. It wasn’t until I was in high school that anyone even spoke of the war and then it was still in an abstract way. I only had one cousin in the Marines who served in Nam and he only went because he flunked out of college.

          My generation and socio-economic culture was virtually untouched by Viet Nam. However, we sure as hell aren’t going to let our sons die for oil or pipelines or some b.s. ideology. I don’t know a single person in my peer group between ages 45-55 who would send their kids to Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan for any reason other than an actual armed invasion of Pleasantville.

  5. At the rate things are going, I’d say that we have as good a chance of being killed here as anywhere. If we’re right, and the glory of the New American Century continues unabated, the war will very likely have to be brought home. When it is, guess who’s most likely to be chosen for the role of domestic enemies in the phrase, all enemies, foreign and domestic?

    Our police are already equipped with virtually everything in an infantry division’s arsenal, with the possible exception of things like predator drones and hellfire missiles, and still the paranoia over possible civil disruptions continues at a fever pitch among all the usual suspects. None of these serious folk seem to think that we have enough contingency plans, oppressive laws, or cop equipment to cover all the possibilities. They want more — a lot more.

    If we’re lucky, they may refrain from bombing our wedding parties, but I can definitely see them opening fire on protestors, or throwing them into dungeons resembling Bagram.

    As for hope and change, I would say that they’ve already served the purpose which they were intended to serve, and that we’ll be appraised of the new, improved realities as soon as the Newspeak translations are ready.

    • cocktailhag says:

      So do you think, WT, that next time nobody will even bother with trotting out “hope and change” again, since they seem almost too confiningly specific for the post-democracy era? Will “Morning in America” have to be brought out of mothballs?
      Surely Newspeak will have to wallpaper over such hoary truisms as “bait and switch” by then, clearing the way for Palin 2012, but then what?
      War-wise, running to Obama’s right would surely mean falling off the edge of the (flat, 6000 year old) earth.
      Maybe this is eleven dimensional chess at its finest.

      • The shortest of short answers: they simply can’t help themselves. In one of my own pieces, I described our present management as part uncontrollable dynamo, and part house of cards. That’s about the size of it.

        There’s absolutely no fucking way that these folks won’t get what they’ve been asking for for forty years. Even if they developed a sudden case of terminal boredom at this point, the momentum — the sheer inertia — of what they’ve created would carry us over the cliff.

        It doesn’t actually matter what they call it. The only reason I take the trouble to call it by its right name is that I’ve long been afflicted with that liberal fastidiousness which they despise so much that it actually gives them apoplexy. That, and the fact that I’m just to old to hopeandchange.

  6. retzilian says:

    As is often the case, I had a visceral reaction to the familiarity of your feeling in 2002, Hag. I wasn’t even paying any attention to the tee-bee and I had just begun to discover blogs in the fall of 2002, but I remember sometime late in 2002 and early 2003 listening to NPR and the BBC every day on the radio, reading a recent book by former CIA-agent Baer (which, even with some redactions was eye-opening) and then one day hearing Tony Blair make a speech about some sort of manifesto and I started screaming at the radio about what a fraud was being perpetrated on the world, that there were NO WMDs, that it was all a lie, that anyone with a firing brain cell could tell this was all BS, and my boss and good friend (luckily a good friend, otherwise I suppose I could have been fired from that job) just looked up at me with arched eyebrows and began laughing and shaking his head. We knew it was BS back then.

    Speaking of which, everyone in the much maligned “truther” movement has known about Sibel Edmonds for years and nobody ever paid any attention to her. She has some very interesting stories. Maybe some day the MSM will even get around to project Able Danger, or the fascinating Florida flight school where Atta and pals took “lessons”, or, gosh, 8,347 other interesting stories about the year 2001.

    I did laugh literally out loud reading about Erik Prince, self-styled Spook, “Full Asset” of the CIA. It’s probably true.