"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles Mackay
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Time of Madness: Time of Whores
There comes a time in the life of a nation when lines are crossed, and, once crossed, may never be re-crossed again.

In that root of all things Western that was Rome, it was Caesar crossing the river Rubicon. In this New Rome, it is the path to war on a whim; on a lark; on a lie.

It is a kind of imperial fever -- the fatal petulance of kings, for war is the sport of kings.

It matters not why. The "reasons" announced to the world have faded like old photographs in the summer sun; and we learn, years later, that reasons *weren’t* reasons. They weren’t even good justifications, yet they sufficed. They stoked emotions, fueled our ignorance, and ignited the war machine -- the US *Wehrmacht* -- and unleashed the dogs of war.

Regimes have been changed; countries bombed; civilians slaughtered for naught; and things are worse than ever; hatreds are deeper than ever. Oh sure; puppets have been installed; even an occasional constitution has been ghost-written. But if you think this is a portent of peace, just remember the so-called 'president' of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, who is protected today by a palace guard of armed Americans, so fearful is he of his own countrymen.

While it’s true that this mad war was forced upon the nation by a narrow neoconservative cabal, it’s also true that it couldn’t have happened without the connivance and subservience of the press.

They performed like cheerleaders and water boys of a big game, rather than tribunes or truth-tellers.

And few have been as condemnatory as Robert Fisk, the intrepid journalist writing for *The Independent* (London), who, in his recent book, *The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East* (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), acidly noted:

"And all the while, the American media continued their servile support for the Bush Administration. As I reported in my own paper on 26 January, we were now being deluged with yet more threats from Washington about 'states that sponsor terror.'

"Take Eric Schmitt in *The New York Times* a week ago. He wrote a story about America's decision to 'confront countries that sponsor terrorism.' And his sources? 'Senior defence officials,' 'administration officials,' 'some American intelligence officials,' 'the officials,' 'officials,' 'military officials,' 'terrorist experts' and 'defence officials.' Why not, I asked, 'just let the Pentagon write its own reports in *The New York Times?'" [ p. 927, fn]

Fisk's tone, throughout the book, is a vast and deep rage, at despots, tyrannies, unbridled power, and ignorance. He writes scathingly of the dictatorships both installed by the West, and those imperial powers that predated them. *The Great War for Civilisation* is, above all, an intense work of history, which uses the expensive lessons of the past, to illustrate the follies of the present. He quotes from the Proclamation posted by the military commander of the Spring 1917 invasion of Iraq. Lieutenant General Stanley Maude's words to Baghdad have a cynical and hollow echo in our present ears:

"...Our military operations have as their object the defeat of the enemy and the driving of him from these territories. In order to complete this task I am charged with absolute and supreme control of all regions in which British troops operate; *but our armies do not come into your cities as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators....*" [pp. 140-1]

Sound familiar?

And now, war, like a hungry leech, eats the nation's wealth, consumes a constitution, and deadens the soul. It militarizes millions, appealing to the blind, dumb instinct of obedience.

But also, as people learn of the lies that leads to war, it deepens cynicism, and spreads the seeds of distrust far and wide.

War awakens us, and awakening can be the seedlings of a new social movement that says no to war, and yes to reason, and Life.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
posted by R J Noriega at 8:59 PM | Permalink |


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