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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/27/11

'Theater of the Absurd' Comes to Life

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Message Danny Schechter
From Consortium News

Editor's Note: A telling moment in George W. Bush's administration came when a White House aide mocked author Ron Suskind for being part of "the reality-based community." These days it seems that less and less is reality-based.

The various sides of the political/media wars deploy PR smokescreens to deceive the public and blast propaganda themes at their ideological foes, creating a world of menacing to mundane madness, as Danny Schechter notes in this guest essay:

Their writing was their way of reacting to a world that seemed out of control and maybe out of its mind.

Wikipedia tells us, the theater of the absurd "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."

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

Without waxing philosophical 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 U.S. attack "worrisome," Rummy may be right this time.

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 zones.

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 nonsensical faith-based explanations that he no doubt believed even when they made no sense. He viewed facts with disdain.

Western nations, wracked it seems by guilt and hidden motives about oil booty, start bombing Libya, ostensibly to protect the lives of civilians although other civilians perished in the bombings.

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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 See
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