Thursday, September 29, 2005

Absurdities & Atrocities

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities- Voltaire

By John S. Hatch

09/28/05 "ICH"
-- -- Absurdities and atrocities have come to largely define America in the new millennium. Who would have thought that the United States of America would embrace the practice of torture as a matter of policy? Torture, with all its grim, sadistic, soul destroying, screaming implications. The President endorses torture. The Attorney General made it possible. President Karimov of Uzbekistan boils enemies alive. ‘Blowtorch Bob’ D’Aubisson of El Salvador loved to burn people. Ronnie Reagan had nuns raped. It was called ‘fighting for freedom’. George is a freedom fighter right up there with the best of them. The shah was a freedom fighter. General Noriega, to a point. Pinochet. Enemies of the US hate it for its ‘freedom’. Damn right. Freedom from the rule of law. America recently advanced ‘freedom’ by sodomizing young boys at Abu Grahaib, where they torture children to manipulate their parents. Did you hear that? Americans torture innocent children in front of their parents to intimidate them. Is that possible? Now certain ‘leaders’ are hoping that the tape of that advancement doesn’t get out. Too much freedom can be a bad thing after all.

To date, none of America’s religious leaders have spoken out against the use of torture, or the wanton abrogation of civil liberties in America or Guantanamo. Okay, maybe a few Lutherans whispered something, and good for them. But where’s Jerry Falwell? Franklin Graham? (He thinks Islam is evil.) Pat Robertson? (He wants to assassinate Hugo Chavez.) Where are the Catholic bishops? We know the pope has diplomatic immunity, so he can’t be held accountable for covering up sex crimes against children, but where are the priests? The ministers? The good people? If organized religion can’t or won’t stand up to the kind of immorality that is so patently being practiced by the Bush Administration—do you suppose that Jesus would endorse torture? If Christianity has no problem with torture or for that matter the wholesale slaughter of innocents in Iraq—if Christianity has no issue with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, rape and murder, then perhaps that religion does not have very much to offer in terms of moral values or teaching. Its silence has been louder than any prayer or hymn.

Maybe George is a little hard of hearing and God is actually telling him to fuck off.

Indeed, an America that tortures and murders while preaching ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ is a nation that lives in a make-believe world, a bully world. America has always been good at the superficial, empty slogan. ‘Land of the Free’ ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’ ‘Jesus Loves You’. Repeat after me: ‘We’re Number One! We’re Number One!” Why is no one saying that a nation that would deploy depleted uranium weapons or snipers positioned on rooftops to shoot civilians and even ambulances, or a brand new version of napalm, or cluster bombs, a nation that through ineffective sanctions extinguished the lives of five hundred thousand Iraqi babies (and whose former Secretary of State declared it ‘worth it’. Perhaps even Hitler was not quite so cold), is anyone saying that such a nation is committing evil, that its leaders are committing acts of vile terrorism that shame all humanity and must not go unpunished?

Remember, there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. None. There were inspections. Bush put a stop to them. Colin Powell lied. Condoleezza Rice lied. The mushroom cloud was only in her brain. Dick Cheney lied. Bush, of course, lied and lied and lied. As has been so often the case, America encouraged a bully, armed a bully, even gave him poison gas. When Saddam used it against the Iranians (‘I only wish both sides could lose’—Kissinger) that was fine. When he used it against the Kurds, that was still fine, until it became convenient years later to call it a crime, which of course it was. You’d think that boiling people alive would be disapproved of also, but it didn’t prevent President Karimov from being feted at the White house by his good friend. I don’t know if Karimov is a Christian (maybe not) but George certainly claims to be. It’s funny how easily Christianity seems to accommodate killing. Anyway, yesterday’s friend is tomorrow’s terrist a la Saddam, I guess. Clever to charge him with capital crimes that have nothing to do with America. He can be quietly dispatched to Allah or wherever without disturbing implications. Will his good friend Donald Rumsfeld pray for him?

So, no WMD, no mushroom clouds (except in Dr. Condi’s fetid mind), no missiles raining down on ‘Merica, no nothing. But before he even stole office, Bush wanted to invade Iraq. His people were hoping for, his people needed a new Pearl Harbor event as they called it, something pretty big, shock ‘n awe to mobilize the American people, to soften ‘em up to George’s way of thinking. In one fell swoop of Shock ‘n Awe he’d show Poppy a thing or two, and become an instant Middle East muscleman. He just needed a darned event, that’s all. Well, he got his wish.

Such is the advanced state of aviation in the USA that if a jet strays off course, or if a transponder is switched off for some reason, those facts are immediately known on the ground. Should a catastrophic event such as sudden deadly decompression occur, or a hijacking, fighter jets can be scrambled and on the scene to investigate within minutes. None of this happened on the eleventh of September 2001. Contrary to normal protocol, aircraft were allowed to fly unimpeded into their targets at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. They could have been stopped. On orders from the highest levels in the White House, they were not. Bush needed a new Pearl Harbor. He got it. If the administration had foreknowledge of the desired PH event, it would not be without precedent. Remember Operation Northwoods? During the Kennedy administration the entire contingent of Joint Chiefs of Staff, led by demented right-wing wacko General Lyman Lemnitzer endorsed a plan to kill a large number of American citizens and make it look like the work of Fidel Castro, thus softening up the public for an invasion of Cuba. Does it sound unconscionable? Straussian? Of course. So is sodomizing little boys at Abu Grahaib. These brave military men were willing to sacrifice innocent American lives (not their own of course) to the presumably greater good of getting rid of Castro and restoring Cuba to the Mafia, perhaps, just like in the goods old days. So was 9-11 a merely fortuitous occurrence from Bush’s point of view? Or did someone help it happen? The absence of military intervention sure looks suspicious, as did the way the buildings came down, so reminiscent of controlled demolition. Even as a result of much hotter fires, no buildings in the world have ever collapsed in that manner. Pearl Harbor indeed.

One of the most astonishing aspects of the Bush-Cheney putsch (and that’s exactly what it was) is that it gave the lie to so much that Americans believed about themselves. Free. Proud. Strong. Live free or die. So much talk about freedom and democracy and goodness and the American Way. All nonsense. All swept away like so much dust. And all it took was a befuddled, deluded ex-drunk christian cowboy wannabe and a few evil handlers. Given the ‘freedom rhetoric’, one would have expected another civil war in the defense of the nation, but there was barely a whimper as America expired under the weight of the Patriot Act, the suspension of civil rights, habeas corpus and the rule of law, under the weight of crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed in the name of every single American citizen. The American dream was just a vacuous stupor. Now it’s become a nightmare, perhaps one without end.

John S. Hatch is a Vancouver writer and film-maker. He can be reached at


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