Friday, December 30, 2005

How did we get here?

I thought of a great Talking Heads song today, it's called Once in a Lifetime.
Sort of existential rock & roll:

And you may find yourself living in a shot gun shack.
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

I'd like to suggest a parody for the Neocons of this adminstration:

And you may find yourself lying to Americans about weapons of mass destruction.
And you may find yourself neck deep in Iraq.
And you may find yourself trapped behind the wheel of a large Bradley fighting vehicle.
And you may find yourself locked in an endless battle with insurgents.
And you may ask yourself - Well...How did I get here?

Want to know how they got us here? There's an interesting article in the London Guardian
written by Dr. Richard Drayton, a senior lecturer in history at Cambridge University that details how the neocons conned us into this war.
And it's more diabolical than I ever dreamed of. Here are some excerpts:

Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance - a key strategic document published in 1996 - aimed to understand how to destroy the "will to resist before, during and after battle". For Harlan Ullman of the National Defence University, its main author, the perfect example was the atom bomb at Hiroshima. But with or without such a weapon, one could create an illusion of unending strength and ruthlessness. Or one could deprive an enemy of the ability to communicate, observe and interact - a macro version of the sensory deprivation used on individuals - so as to create a "feeling of impotence". And one must always inflict brutal reprisals against those who resist. An alternative was the "decay and default" model, whereby a nation's will to resist collapsed through the "imposition of social breakdown".

All of this came to be applied in Iraq in 2003, and not merely in the March bombardment called "shock and awe". It has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning. But the evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier's supervision. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in May 2003, US troops broke the locks of museums, ministries and universities and told looters: "Go in Ali Baba, it's all yours!

For the American imperial strategists invested deeply in the belief that through spreading terror they could take power. Neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the recently indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby, learned from Leo Strauss that a strong and wise minority of humans had to rule over the weak majority through deception and fear, rather than persuasion or compromise. They read Le Bon and Freud on the relationship of crowds to authority. But most of all they loved Hobbes's Leviathan. While Hobbes saw authority as free men's chosen solution to the imperfections of anarchy, his 21st century heirs seek to create the fear that led to submission. And technology would make it possible and beautiful.

Being a superpower, however, doesn't always make you super successful:
One small nation can tie down a superpower. Air and space supremacy do not give command on the ground. People can't be terrorised into identification with America. The US has proved able to destroy massively - but not create, or even control. Afghanistan and Iraq lie in ruins, yet the occupiers cower behind concrete mountains.

Proof once more that hubris, agression and arrogance create a mighty stupefying cocktail. I say it's time we cut off this administration and had them sober up.
My New Year's resolution is to fight the lying bastards even harder this year.

Be good and let's hope next year is damn site better than this one...


Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I have met Harlan Ullman on more than one occasion. My mother is Godmother to his niece. A close friend of mine has sat on panel discussions with him, and dined at his house.

Both have told me the same thing: that he is outraged at the way his 'shock and awe' strategy was perverted for use in this war.

Interesting bedfellows, this war is making...


9:12 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Peter the Parrot Worrier said...

Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.

9:40 AM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger boni said...

Amen Pete

12:02 PM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Boni: great post.
BP: great previous post. love to hear more on Ullman, it's so easy to paint everyone as caricatures, I didn't know he was outraged.

5:03 PM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger James said...

Great Talking Heads parody. Isn't there a line in there about 'Into the blue again/After the money's gone." ? Kind of fits right in.

2:30 PM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger boni said...

This particular Talking Heads song was made for The Iraq War. Even the lyric:

And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

3:38 PM, January 03, 2006  

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