It's Time to End the Reign of Terror
by Robert Gaiek
And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered or driven to its knees
But it’s all right, it’s all right
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong
-- Paul Simon, American Tune, 1973
For a short while you could bet on terrorist attacks, assassinations, or other disasters at the Pentagon "futures" web site. The actual site was quickly deleted after an outcry from a few of the remaining sane individuals in America — land of the free and home of the brave. The madness in this administration has reached epidemic proportions. The inmates are running the asylum. It is time for all of us to recognize that we are being battered and our dreams are being shattered. It is time to remember where we were as a nation in 1973, before the neo-conservatives came to power, striving to bring chaos throughout the world to remake it in their own image. It is time to end the reign of terror that comes from within.
In an interview with Chris Hedges, the author of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, we gain some valuable insight about the period after our last guerilla war.
"After the Vietnam War, we asked questions about ourselves and our nation. It made us a better people. We were forced to step outside ourselves. We were forced to accept our own capacity for evil, for atrocity. We struggled, perhaps for the first time in a long time, to see ourselves as the outsider saw us. I think this was Eros. I think Eros was ascendant at the end of the Vietnam War."
He credits Reagan with breaking the spell and bringing back that "love of power and that glorification, that myth of war…" The culmination was in Gulf Slaughter I, "where war became not only respectable but enjoyable—war as entertainment." And "Thanatos or death" has been in the ascendant ever since. Gulf Slaughter II, with its "acceptable level of casualties," is judged to be a just war and a noble enterprise.
The fire that rained down on 9/11/01 provided enough fuel for a thousand wars, needing only a leader in the mold of Joshua in the Old Testament. The rescue workers chanted: "USA, USA, USA…" They wanted revenge! Soon, the whole of the nation wanted action, revenge; they yearned for a leader to soothe fear and eliminate anxiety. A father figure was needed, an alpha male—anyone would do, really. It happened to be a man "that cannot think properly," as Nelson Mandela observed before the invasion of Iraq. The people wanted a tough talking hombre with balls of steel. From the bowels of the White House, a wartime president appeared, ready to stoke the fire to keep the flames burning brightly. The Bush doctrine emerged. First, never forget (I will never let you). Second, all that are not with us are against us. Third, we will strike all weak enemies before they can strike us. Fourth, vote for me because I will protect you.
The decision was announced to declare a never-ending war on terrorism, and the people rejoiced. Osama bin Laden rejoiced. His objective, according to Eric Margolis, is to "draw us into many small wars and bleed us white." An obsession was instilled in us to seek out "evil" around the world to cast out demons, and to shop till we drop.
George Monbiot, in an article with a telling title at DissidentVoice.org, sounds an ominous note: "America is a Religion: There is no More Dangerous Notion/Than that of America the Divine."
"The United States of America no longer needs to call upon God; it is God, and those who go abroad to spread the light do so in the name of a celestial domain. The flag has become as sacred as the Bible; the name of the nation as holy as the name of God. The presidency is turning into a priesthood."
A call went out to the musicians for some tunes to really stoke up the nationalistic, hysterical patriotism. No songs from those awful ‘70s and, please, no Dixie Chicks, and no Kate Smith retreads. Bring on the cowboys, Toby Keith, and Daryl Worley, to inspire us with some real primordial fighting words. Sing with me now: "Have you forgotten?" as you endlessly replay, in your mind, the Fox News footage of the crumbling twin towers. Get really psyched with "The Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." Dream of death raining down on the targets of our wrath. God is on our freaking side. Worshippers hand little flags to Bush and he signs them with a sharpie, oblivious to his act of desecration. Be not dismayed. He is the CEO of U.S.A, Inc.
All nations feel battered in the wake of the GW Bush brand of foreign policy, except Israel and Britain. All ye expressing dissent shall be beaten down and crushed. We are on the path of righteousness, so beat your ploughshares into swords and join the fight against evil. Praise be to the greatest military force the world has ever known.
Terror versus Terror (Spy vs. Spy)
Ariel Sharon, a real warrior with blood on his hands, was recently invited to the White House for the 9th time. This is a match made in heaven (hell). Bush, the Sky Pilot, and Sharon the war criminal pitted against the world, with Tony Blair tagging along as the coherent spokesman—the three amigos. Add Vladimir Putin to the mix and we’re talking the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Mahmoud Abbas was summoned to D.C. in the hope that Bush could charm him into going home to totally disarm all Palestinian resistance. Disarm and then we’ll talk—trust me with the details. But hurry up, because an election campaign is coming up after the month long vacation at the ranch. I am sending the CIA in to watch over the money I am sending you to clean up that filthy place you live in.
While Sharon was bonding with Sky Pilot Bush, Christian Zionist Tom DeLay took a break from harassing wayward Democrats with calls for police and homeland security intervention. He headed to the Mideast to protect the right flank and to do his best to insure that the peace process was truly a "road map to destruction."
The U.S. corporate media have allowed Sharon to conduct his brand of terrorism against the Palestinians with barely a whisper. The murder of Rachel Corrie was a test case--for the media and Sharon and Bush. Almost a month after Rachel's death, on March 16, 2003, and the shooting of another American, Brian Avery, a reporter asked Ari Fleischer if Bush was supporting House Resolution 111 to investigate. The reply was: "The President was already in touch through high officials with the State Department about this matter. I think the President spoke directly with Prime Minister Sharon about it, too, and expressed our concerns about this. And they are being looked into."
Bush had cleared an assassination of suspected terrorists riding in a vehicle in Yemen, several months prior. U.S. citizen, Ahmed Hijazi, was one of the passengers in the targeted vehicle, with the CIA using a drone and five-foot long hellfire missiles. The story was "leaked" to the Washington Post for front-page coverage to test the waters. The victim was just another "Ahmed," so no one of consequence complained. Naomi Klein, in "Saving Private Lynch, Forgetting Rachel Corrie," explores the mystery of why some American lives are more worth saving than others. Dennis Prager, writing in Townhall.com, savages Corrie, because she "went to America's enemies to burn her country's flag."
Our soldiers in Iraq are being attacked several times each day; sometime they respond by killing innocent civilians. The situation is very much like the early days of Vietnam; it is a quagmire; and it is an unwanted occupation by a military stretched so thin that there is no relief for those who are "weary to the bone, and just need some rest." We tune in each day for another episode of Mad TV's Spy versus Spy." Both sides, all over the world, seek out new and inventive ways to blow each other up, or to avoid it. But unlike Vietnam, without a body count it is difficult to determine who is winning the Super Bowl of terrorism. Jargon about high value targets and targeted killing is propaganda aimed at forcing us to take our eyes off the ball.
When Bush proudly announces that "we are winning the war on terror," what he really means is that all the lies and deceptions spun out by his administration have worked to make it a great victory for George Bush's political aims. The rest of us are just victims in this deadly drama, including the members of his loyal political base--they just haven't figured it out yet.
In Stanley Karnow's, Vietnam: a History, he recounts a discussion between Colonel Harry G. Summers and a North Vietnamese colonel after the war. "' You know, Summers told the colonel, 'you never defeated us on the battlefield.'To which the Communist counterpart replied, 'That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.'" Winning is just another way of saying we have nothing left to lose.
I still dream about Vietnam, and one night, "I dreamed I was dying," and "I dreamed I was flying/And high up above, my eyes could clearly see/The Statue of Liberty/ Sailing away to sea/ And I dreamed I was flying." (American Tune)
The reign of terror is over for me. It was simple: I just turned off the sound. Just ask yourself one probing question: which political party truly represents Big Government?
Robert Gaiek is a former Army Infantry Captain, earning a Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf, and two Air Medals in Vietnam. He owns his own video production business and is weary to the bone. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org