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General News    H2'ed 3/25/11

The World As A Theater of the Absurd: Interests or Idiocy?

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THE WORLD AS A THEATER OF THE ABSURD: Interests or Idiocy?

By Danny Schechter, Author of The Crime Of Our Time.

It's been a long time since I sat in a college literature class and learned about the theater of the absurd, the work of great writers like Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Camus, among others. Their writing was their way of reacting to a world that seemed out of control and maybe out of its mind.

Wikipedia tells us "It expressed the belief that, in a Godless universe, human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence."

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Significantly, the word theater is used for places putting on plays and countries conducting wars. The Battlefield is as much a "theater" as Broadway.

Without waxing philosophically and commenting on the many unknowns that so obsessed Donald Rumsfeld, our modern day philosopher king of the Pentagonian School, one has to abandon logic and rationality to try to make sense out of what is happening in front of our eyes.

The great leader who led the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and who expected that war to be a "cakewalk," now calls the latest US attack "worrisome." Rummy may be right this time.

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Worrisome perhaps, that the media that has been having a ball making fun of Gaddafi's fears about Al Qaeda and hasn't looked at intelligence reports that suggest he may be right: that Benghazi has been one of Bin Laden's favorite recruiting areas.

Then there was this inconvenient fact in the Washington Post: Six days into the allied bombardment of Libyan military targets, it is clear that Moammar Gaddafi can count on the fierce loyalties of at least a significant portion of the population."   (Don't the Pentagon planners know that when you bomb a country, the people unite against the aggressor. For more on this, see the history books.)

As Alexander Cockburn puts it, "The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812."

It's one thing to oppose a policy that seems to have a rational logic behind it, however disguised, deceptive, and misguided. It's another to find policies built around a politician's desire to deflect criticism, look good or act for the sake of acting. That's the essence of absurd.

We would like to think that our "leaders" know what they are doing and behave within some calculus of civilized norms. More often they act in a rushed manner on bad intelligence, or no intelligence at all, defending what they do with folksy aphorisms and unverified or unverifiable claims.

  George W. Bush was a master of non-sensical faith-based explanations that he no doubt believed even when they made no sense. He viewed facts with disdain.

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Western nations, wracked it seems by guilt and hidden motives about sweet oil booty, start bombing Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians who perish in the bombings. Their action was uncoordinated, their mission,   imprecise, and its impact uncertain. They are aligned with a phantom group called "The Rebels" (Sounds like a football team, one of whose members told NBC News that he is fighting Gadaffi because he is Jewish.)

The cost of this exercise is now over a billion dollars and rising -- and rising; so much for the money we are saving to retire the deficit. So much for the hopes of economic recovery.

As Tom Dispatch noted, "it could be the first intervention that actually escalated before it even began.   It went from no-fly-zone to no-fly-no-drive-zone before a U.S. cruise missile was launched or a French jet took off. Within two days, it seemed to be escalating even further into a half-baked, regime-change(ish)-style operation.   (162 Tomahawk cruise missiles had already been sent Libya-wards, most of them from American vessels, at more than $1 million a pop.)"

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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