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Persistence is Futile

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I was in Washington, D.C. that fateful November of 2000.  I was on Connecticut Avenue in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton enjoying the returns as they came in.  California, although we knew it would go for Gore, came in and we cheered for twenty minutes and danced and broke into "Happy Days."  The next morning we awoke to the icy news of Florida and a week later we were all at our respective homes waiting for the slow motion disaster to disappear like any good nightmare would have the courtesy to do.  But it did not go away.  It has not gone away.  We are here, years later, scarred by the flying shards of our illusions, bandaged by theories of pathologies and Oedipus complexes and dry drunkenness and twelveteen kinds of bombastic bravado. Our wounds are not healed, but they will in time.  No wound heals well when it is constantly and daily abraded.  The problem is not our wounds, although they are real and sore.  The problem is our bandages, our crutches, and our balms and ointments.  They are all in the way now.  Now is the moment of our peril, for the madness of those people now threatens the real security of our nation.

Each one of us came to terms with the Presidency of George Bush.  All of us liberals and progressives said to ourselves that this too shall pass and we girded our loins for the wait and the water torture of daily humiliation.  We explained it to ourselves as his madness, his drug and alcohol dependency, his dry drunkenness, his mother, his father and grandfather, his lack of mental acumen, his followership of Cheney and Rumsfeld, his "Brain" Karl Rove.  A hundred or more very convincing analyses of why George is George.  But each of them blinds us to the living truth of his work.

It really does not matter what is wrong with George.  We cannot do anything about those background things.  We can no more convince him that God does not speak to him than we could convince Billy Graham of the same thing, or Pope Benedict XVI or the Archbishop of Canterbury or Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

The only way to deal with a person like George is to find a way to predict what he might do and then head him off at the pass.  You can never change a person's "attitude," but you can change their behavior ... in increments and with patience.  We have done as poorly at our job as he has at his.

The only thing that makes sense is to look at what George officially does, his incremental stabs at the body politic and at international relations and try to figure it out.  If you watch Olbermann Wednesday or Thursday evening you heard his litany of what Bush has done in Iraq.  If you clear your mind and say to yourself, what does that all add up to ... remembering to forget all your bandages and wounds, please ... you will come to the same conclusion that I came to about a year ago.  You will come to understand that none (or almost none) of what has happened is an accident or a mistake.  No, it is a shrewdly conceived scheme to make History.

I have said again and again that they stood there flatfooted and told us they would be making history.  A few days ago I reprinted the quotation.  Here it is again, and listen this time, please.

"that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality? We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

So, study it.  What has happened?  Tax breaks for the rich, no bid contracts for corporations, destruction of the regulatory system, an assault on Social Security, criminal negligence in the wake of hurricane Katrina, stuffing the courts with rightwing reactionary ideologues, domestic spying, torture, suspension of habeas corpus and on and on.  It is a revolution! 

It is going to take decades to recover from all this, and while your eyes have been bandaged because you did not want to see, they have been carrying this out as if it were their right to do so, and you said, well, they won at the polls.

In the middle east the PNAC mission was stated way back in the nineties, but because of your bandages and pains you read it and then ignored it, because it felt better to believe they would never try to do something like remake the middle east against their will and without actually telling the American public.  Well, boy, they did tell you, and then they told you they told you.  How stupid and self-absorbed can you be?  I don't know, I was there too—self-absorbed and in pain, blind to the simple reality of it all.

Keith Olbermann's litany of "mistakes" and "incompetence" in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is really a list of their accomplishments.  These people have been deliberately stirring up the pot in Iraq, knowing that sooner or later the issues would inflame the whole region and ignite the long-standing schisms and animosities and hatreds that fester there and make of the middle east a hell hole for human existence.  Their intent is to make history and remake it. 

Yes, of course, it is outrageous.

I challenge anyone to come up with a theory of these past six years that makes more sense, that accounts for more of the actual facts of our recent history, that satisfies the need to understand, rather than the need to be anesthetized from it all.

Once you understand that this has been brigandage and that your country has been deliberately highjacked to purposes that are clearly madness, you have to understand that none of it was a mistake or incompetence; it was purposeful, deliberate, and without regard for any other ideal or purpose than they thought they could get away with it by bullying and mendacity.

Your choices are now clear, of course, you cannot permit this charade of democratic republican government to go on.  Dick Cheney and George Bush must be removed from office immediately, by the best and swiftest means available.  We can sort out our response to the Iraqis with another administration.  The fact is that we cannot do that with this administration.  That's how successful they have been!


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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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