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Zeitgeist Zone: Another Day in the Terrordome
Monday, 13 August 2007 21:39

by Edward Strong

You Can't Be Anti-War AND "Support the Troops"
Fear, Terror, War & Propaganda: A Toxic Mix
American Machismo: A Hyper-Masculine Culture
Hillary Clinton: With Democrats Like Her, Who Needs Republicans?

You Can't Be Anti-War AND "Support the Troops"

If one person says he supports the troops, you just know a second person is will say she supports the troops even more. A third will say that the first pair's support of the troops ranks them as mere "support the troops" hangers-on compared with him.

Because it would imply that today's troops are, in volunteering to serve, either stupid or misguided or both, the war's critics are severely constrained as to just how vigorously they can question the war's ever-changing rationalizations.

Since the current troops' sacrifice means you can't question the mission for which they are sacrificing, the previous deaths of more than 3,600 US troops must have had some purpose, if only for the reason that America's troops suffered them.

Would an anti-war Democrat dare stand up and state:

"I'm Against the War. Therefore I'm unable to support the troops"?

It's not enough to support the troops anymore; you now must support every aspect of the troops now, their actions, their sentiments and, especially, their mission.

The troops now seem to ennoble and sanctify everything associated with them, especially the war itself.

Out in Middle America, the war's supporters in and out of the Republican Party have found this to be a highly effective way to deflect the vaguely formed amorphous anti-war sentiment the public reports to the public-opinion pollsters; really to support the troops, you must support their war.

Although most Americans would now be hard-pressed to identify specifically some current cause now being achieved in Iraq worthy enough to have sacrificed the fallen, and then to sacrifice more in the future, you can't follow that reasoning through to the next logical step and say that their deaths are in vain.

In February, Obama was roundly criticized for violating the canon when he said:

"We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and to which we have now spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,500 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

That last line, about "young Americans wasted", raised a hornets' nest of controversy from the canon's defenders.

He quickly backtracked, and his response at the YouTube debate proves he knows what you can and cannot say about the war in contemporaneous America.

It is the acceptance and internalization of the bastardized tautology of the canon - if the troops are pure then so is their cause, and if their cause is noble it would be wrong to stop doing it - that has prevented any significant or effective anti-war movement from emerging in the US Congress or general population.

Fear, Terror, War & Propaganda: A Toxic Mix

The Bush Regime's propaganda has been a blinding success. Characterizing today's war as a "fight against terrorists and states that support them" is generally accepted, rarely scrutinized, and virtually unchallenged, even by opponents of the war.

9/11 was a violent expression of anger by 19 radicals armed with box cutters.

The physical security of America was simply not at stake.

The comparison with Pearl Harbor was specious, a deliberate fraud. But it set the propaganda process in motion. The dust had barely settled before the “War on Terror” was born.

It would prove to be an exquisite smokescreen.

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The So-Called War on Terror: A Masterpiece of Propaganda

From its first days in office in January of 2001 the Administration of George W. Bush meant to launch military attacks against both Afghanistan and Iraq. The reasons had nothing to do with terrorism.

This is beyond dispute. The mainstream press has either ignored the story or missed it completely, but the Administration’s congenital belligerence is fully documented elsewhere.

Attacking a sovereign nation unprovoked, however, directly violates the charter of the United Nations. It is an international crime. The Bush Administration would need credible justification to proceed with its plans.

The terrorist violence of September 11, 2001 provided a spectacular opportunity.

In the cacophony of outrage and confusion, the Administration could conceal its intentions, disguise the true nature of its premeditated wars, and launch them. The opportunity was exploited in a heartbeat.

Within hours of the attacks, President Bush declared the U.S. “...would take the fight directly to the terrorists,” and “...he announced to the world the United States would make no distinction between the terrorists and the states that harbor them.” Thus the “War on Terror” was born.

The “War on Terror” is patently fraudulent, but the essence of successful propaganda is repetition, and the Bush Administration has repeated its mantra endlessly:
The War on Terror was launched in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It is intended to enhance our national security at home, and to spread democracy in the Middle East.

This is the struggle of our lifetime; we are defending our way of life from an enemy intent on destroying our freedoms. We must fight the enemy in the Middle East, or we will fight him in our cities.
The Bush Regime’s campaign of propaganda has been a notable success. The characterization of today’s war as a “fight against terrorists and states that support them” is generally accepted, rarely scrutinized, and virtually unchallenged, even by opponents of the war.

The Regime played its hand brilliantly. It compared the terrorist attacks immediately to Pearl Harbor, and in the smoke and dust and shock and rage of 9/11 the comparison was superficially plausible.

But Pearl Harbor was the violent expression of hostile intent by a formidably armed nation, and it introduced four years of full scale warfare.

9/11 was a violent expression of anger by 19 radicals armed with box cutters: the physical security of America was simply not at stake.

Though the comparison was specious, a deliberate fraud, the “War on Terror” was born. It would prove to be an exquisite smokescreen.

But labeling the preplanned incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq as a “War on Terror” was the mega-lie, dwarfing all the untruths that followed.

The mega-lie would be the centerpiece of a masterful propaganda blitz that continues to this day.

American Machismo: A Hyper-Masculine Culture

Doesn’t all this machismo and locker-room homophobia protest a little too much? “Thank you, Lord, for our testosterone!”

The trouble with manhood, American-style, is that it’s maintained by frantically repressing every man’s feminine side.

Bush's bring-it-on machismo is the hallmark of a pathological masculinity which confuses diplomacy with weakness and arrogant rigidity with strength.

He will go to the grave insisting on battering-ram stiffness (stay the course! don’t pull out!) as the truest mark of manhood.

Bush's swagger isn’t courage. Tough talk isn’t courage. Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun.

There seems to be this fear of weakness stalking Bush.

It's the anxiety of the schoolyard bully who has to keep beating up smaller kids to prove his manhood.

Lyndon Johnson felt he had to escalate the Vietnam War or people would think he "lacked Kennedy's balls." "Acting presidential" has come to be media jargon for acting macho.

And the constant phallic phraseology--"Standing up to" other nations, "being firm", "standing tall", etc., may explain why the United States is so far behind the rest of the world in electing female political leaders.

It's considered 'presidential' to be incapable of learning from experience or profiting from one's mistakes.

This insistence on bullheaded machismo as the most important qualification for the presidency has produced several decades of disastrous military adventures, a refusal to cooperate to solve international crises, an inability to adapt to changing conditions.

American foreign policy has for decades been trapped in infantile behavior that mature men are supposed to outgrow once they get past adolescence.

Hillary Clinton: With Democrats Like Her, Who Needs Republicans?

Why did Hillary Clinton vote in favor of the Iraq war? Could she claim to be a hapless victim of the hype and was hypnotized by the neocon war drums so what was she to do? Get on her hind legs and take a stand against the irresistible zeitgeist?

Only in America: 'Liberal' Means 'Left'

In Getting Iraq Wrong, which was published last week in the NY Times Magazine, Michael Ignatieff, as with Hillary Clinton, makes one ask the inevitable question: With liberals like this, who needs Republicans?

And, for that matter, who needs intellectuals when we have upholstered human hyenas such as George Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney?

When he isn’t beating us over the head with all the pitfalls to which all intellectuals are heir, Michael Ignatieff, now an MP in the Canadian parliament, tells us in “Getting Iraq Wrong” that his judgment was faulty because:

“In the real world, bad public policy can often turn out to be very popular politics indeed. Resisting the popular isn’t easy, because resisting the popular isn’t always wise.”

Shorter Ignatieff: “I was a hapless victim of the hype and was hypnotized by the neocon war drums so what was I to do? Get on my hind legs and take a stand against the irresistible zeitgeist?”

Exactly the same could be said of Hillary Clinton. Her basic conservatism wouldn't allow her to go against the flow. She was too scared [as were almost all Democrats] to appear an appeaser and not a fully paid-up member of the patriot class.

However, To accuse a Democratic politician of excessive calculation is a little like blaming an ice skater for too much balance.

It is intrinsic to the profession. But the best politicians, like the best skaters, make you forget about the calculation and watch the show.

Hillary Clinton learnt the hard way what it is to be a Democrat in a Republican era.

Every time you open your mouth, you fear your opponents will corner you into the lefty liberal stereotype.

So you play relentlessly against type, and hedge yourself aggressively against critics, and aim for the golden center ground where people will no longer even think of you as they once thought of your immediate predecessors.

Clinton is haunted by the specter of Jimmy Carter, of liberalism, of the old left that became so stigmatized in the 1980s and was used to devastate the Clintons in the early 1990s. She still won’t call herself “liberal” in public.

Ed Strong
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