Hitler knew he ruled a nation of cowards, and knew he had to spend the money to make the new war something cowards could fight and win. He decorated his troops with regalia to make them proud of themselves, further trapping them in their self-image. Hitler copied the parade regalia of ancient Rome, to remind the Germans of the defeat of the legions at the Tuetenberg Forest. Talismans were added from orthodox religions and the occult to fill the soldiers with delusions of mystical strengths and an afterlife if they fell in battle. Finally, knowing that it takes courage to kill the enemy face to face, Hitler spent vast sums of money on his wonder weapons, airplanes, submarines, ultra-long range artillery, the world’s first cruise missile and the world’s first guided missile, weapons that could be used to kill at a distance, so that those doing the killing need not have to face the reality of what they were doing.
A sound analysis except for the insistance that Hitler staged the Reichstag fire and Bush staged 9-11. What happened, in both cases, was that an external element committed an act on a massive scale. Instead of limiting it to the parties involved (BTW, where is Osama Bin Laden?), the two tyrants exploded them into more than they actually were. Incompetence explains the World Trade Center well enough. We have yet to have a fair investigation into the 9-11 affair. I doubt, however, that we will discover any Administration complicity: there’s plenty of evidence for excessive obsession with the War on Drugs and knee-jerk rejection of any suggestion Clinton made to his office-purloining successor to explain why the sons of Reagan were caught sleeping.
We should always question our anger, take time before we react which is precisely what the American people did not do after 9-11. I told chat room friends “Don’t give Bush a blank check.” And they did.
The only reason why we appear to be stuck is that we are addicted to Glory. We salivate for the flags, the boys and girls in uniform, the belief that we are saving the world despite all evidences to the contrary. Bigger, better, faster — deadlier. More remove from our victims. Glory isn’t glory when you kill innocent civilians, torture POWs, and lie to get a war. Now that the horror returns home, the so-called liberal media waves the flag harder than ever before, trying to blame it all on a few young soldiers who were stupid enough to photograph their sanguinary antics in Abu Ghraib prison. It feels like we failed, but we don’t have the guts to march on Washington and tell our largely unelected power brokers that enough is enough.
Greg Palast said that contrary to media reports, the objective of the Iraq War was achieved:
Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you’ve forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher’s original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,
O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to “OIF” — Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn’t sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq’s OIF.
Operation Iraqi Freedom. The majesty of unchaining a country that was oppressed despite having the highest per capita rate of firearm ownership in the world eggs us on. Now that the reports of returning soldiers indicate that we are oppressors,too, we stall. “Well, we didn’t know better then”, which is the excuse many a parent makes to her/his adult survivor of childhood abuse. We know better now. The past is no excuse for action in the present.
I disagree with theories that hold that Americans were docile lambs led to slaughterhouses made of shrapnel and spent uranium. Americans did know — at least if they were reading the Internet. People like me tried to warn them and — well, we weren’t “official sources”, so even applications of common sense were rejected.
We’re still talking and Americans still ignore us. We don’t realize our individual and collective power to change this scenario. Back in the 17th century, a jury voted to acquit a young man accused of “preaching a tumultuous sermon”. The judge did not like the verdict and imprisoned them when they would not deliver the one he desired. “Do not give up your franchise!” cried one of the defendants as the jury filed off. Eventually the jurors were freed by a higher court and the principle of power grounded in the People was recovered, for a time.
We should remember that in these times of arrogant, quasi-dictatorship. “Do not give up your franchise” — your power to make the government obey your will. If you make a stand for your right, the tumultuous William Penn might tip his hat the next time you visit Philadelphia.