Saturday, March 19, 2005
THE GREAT DECEPTION
"Even when it is an accomplished fact evil keeps the character of unreality; this perhaps explains the simplicity of criminals; everything is simple in dreams. This simplicity corresponds to that of the highest virtue." --Simone WeilThe Great Deception has always been about misdirection and sleight of hand. It is a Machiavellian tactic. A storyboard was put up after September 11th; and elements of narrative that didn't belong to one another were pasted together, al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Hussein and the fundamentalists were conflated, glued, one upon the other over the empty space in South Manhattan, where the fires still smoldered.
Veteran reporter, Seymour Hersh, recounts from one of his many interviews:
"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the former high-level intelligence officer told me. "Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war on the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy."
"The former Marine [Ritter] also said that the Jan. 30 elections, which George W. Bush has called "a turning point in the history of Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom", were not so free after all. Ritter said that U.S. authorities in Iraq had manipulated the results in order to reduce the percentage of the vote received by the United Iraqi Alliance from 56% to 48%." (Jensen)
"[Answering a journalist's question], Ritter said an official involved in the manipulation was the source." (Jensen)Neoconservative ends justify any means, any unreality. But "evil keeps the character of unreality" and "everything is simple in dreams". And the simplicity of the Bush Juggernaut, a criminal's simplicity, "corresponds to that of the highest virtue".
The vast majority of Europeans are not deceived by George W. Bush. And those who are at the business end of his violence, especially the innocent, are not susceptible to this Great Deception. But the process of deception, in this American context, requires an accommodation on the part of the deceived, a willingness to be seduced by illusions, and a horror of rejecting those same illusions.
"IN AUGUST 2003"..."As Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the military police commander in Iraq, later recalled it, [Major General Geoffrey] Miller's bottom line was blunt: Abu Ghraib should be "Gitmo-ized" --Iraqi detainees should be exposed to the same aggressive techniques being used to extract information from prisoners in Guantanamo."
" "You have to be in full control," Karpinski quoted Miller as saying. "there can be no mistake about who's in charge. You have to treat these detainees like dogs"."
"The latest Pentagon report on the abuse of captives, delivered to Congress last week by Vice Admiral Albert Church III, doesn't point a finger of blame at Miller or any other high-ranking official."
"But surely, Church was asked at a congressional hearing, someone should be held accountable for the scores of abuses that even the government admits to? "Not in my charter", the admiral replied." (Jeff Jacoby, "Where's the outrage on torture?", Boston Globe, 3/17/05.)Sitting in committee, even the Republican senators looked somewhat thunderstruck and disbelieving, when the navy investigator testified to his findings about prisoner abuse; saying that only one-tenth of one-percent of prisoners in custody were affected.
The Great Deception works as a filter for those Americans who voted their fear, when they cast their lot with Bush. They are not mindful of Simone Weil's words, that "evil keeps the character of unreality" as they watch the President chuckle and shrug off each scandal, when they hear accounts of a Bush spokesman who said that we have sent some prisoners to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which practice the medieval arts of torture, because it was a cheaper means of dealing with those men. If Bush supporters were forced to part with their illusions, which this deception has so carefully cultivated, they would be forced to see Bush's "criminal simplicity" and that bravado in him that "corresponds to that of the highest virtue" for what it is, in fact.
And nothing else this President has done, no other evil keeps the character of unreality, more than his collective punishments, his series of wars, waged on nation states and whole populations, which he calls "war on terror".