The era we live in requires that we leave politeness at home when talking about the political reality dictated by the sole super-imperial power. At times such as these, advice to remain polite usually means, “Don’t rock the boat!” So, please forgive the rudeness while we speak about the tyrants who are planning to subjugate us to further pain and humiliation.
Let us begin with Condi “the bitter queen” of foreign so-called policy, and Gonzales “the legal goon” manning the door to the torture chambers. Statements made by these two in their Confirmation Hearings, have now made it absolutely clear that:
1. The CIA is somehow (nobody has explained how) exempt from normal law and can legally engage in torture.
2. It is OK to torture “terrorists”, whoever they may be determined to be by the US government.
How convenient! Yet despite the clarity of their positions on torture, both will be confirmed to head key positions in the Executive Branch and allowed to carry out their plans. Senator Kerry gave his blessings even before his questions to Condi, forgoing the pretences required of a charade! In a just society both nominees would long ago have been tried and sent to jail, as they should be, for crimes against humanity.
We can conclude without any controversy that it is now the US government’s official position that it is OK to torture. Period! Once it is established that an exception can be made, the principle of “No Torture” has ceased to be operative; a case can be made for applying the “terrorism” label to any behavior (example, reading certain books), no matter how innocent, legitimate, necessary and justified the behavior is.
And as ghastly as that is, it still pales.
Official functionaries who serve tyrannies, and Condi and Gonzales are such, are expected to defend their aggressive and murderous plans and positions unashamedly. Not a single tyrant has ever made a confession or felt any guilt. They have all died proud. Far worse is the fact that the US corporate media no longer even questions invasions; without any discussions having taken place, the policy of invading other nations is treated as not only normal but productive; ethically, politically, and even economic-rationally.
Why indeed fuss about torture when we murder innocents as a matter of daily routine, in order not to save ourselves from weapons of mass destruction that we knew did not exist; but to take possession of another country’s natural and national resources.
Some, without the slightest intended irony, point to the violent chaos in Iraq and say, “At least now they have democracy!” Well, excuse me for not taking leave of my sanity just that quickly!
This new kind of so-called democracy is very strange. Never mind that the fabrication is hurriedly thrown together after the fact; the shame lies in that it was fabricated after murdering, initially, half a million people (by the most conservative estimates) through the economic sanctions, and, after the full invasion in March 2001 and since, the vicious taking of one hundred thousand lives by bombs and bullets. The true absurdity of the label is that the “cost” of this “democracy” has been very casually determined, if need be, as in Fallujah, to include the criminal destruction of an entire city, home to three hundred thousand people. Such fantastical labels can only be fabrications dreamed up by a person delirious on crack cocaine.
In the midst of all this, torture does not find its true significance in questions such as, “Are ‘terrorists’ humans?” or “How effective is torture in ‘information gathering’?” Such reasoning is only for the consumption of the US citizens, hence the supreme racism that is (not so) implicit in them. Anybody who even considers such sado-legalisms seriously is either willingly a fool, simply unaware, or a collaborator in this murderous plan of Bush and his clan.
Torture is there to rub our noses in. It is a fundamental part of the psychological warfare to spread terror in our hearts. Most of the commentary regarding torture manifestly misses this point. We, however, who are subjected to warmongering and grow up with the threat of torture present in our midst cannot but get the point.
The Gate to Hell’s Inner-chambers
If, as betrayed by the announced plans of the fanatics dreaming up Another American Century, Afghanistan and Iraq are the antechambers of hell on earth in the Middle East, the “Iranian Campaign” would constitute the inner-chambers.
Weapons of Mass Destruction present or not, speedily coming up next on the agenda for another century of barbarity: when (not if) and how to militarily attack Iran, a nation at peace with its neighbors, and most of the rest of the world. No apologies for belaboring the point that Iran is also a nation that has already been subjugated to premeditated US aggression, in a 1953 CIA-conducted coup that overthrew our democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh; an aggression that completely changed the course of our modern history, for the worse. More, the invasion of our country by Iraq in 1980 was completely and actively supported militarily, financially and logistically by the successive Carter and Reagan administrations. And now the Americans are back for more mass murder and mayhem in our country.
Times are strange indeed. There are some Iranian weasels among us, who would like to lend a hand to the invading rapists. Such Iranians both inside and outside Iran are rubbing their miserable and well-manicured hands together, salivating over the prospects of the rewards for being a US poodle dog. These Iranians are happy now. Count in this group Reza Pahlavi and his monarchist allies, who are well known to be (and this can be studied and documented -- eager PhD students of cognitive sciences, start writing proposals) among the most mentally retarded sections of Iranian society.
There are other types of Iranians, too, some of whom we can safely and accurately call fools, who think that the US will fire a few shots allowing them to storm the streets and overthrow the tyrannical regime, and once the Iranian tyrants are overthrown, the US tyrants too will go back home, only to send postcards from afar with X marks signifying kisses next to the goodbyes. These Iranian fools are nervous these days, yet impatiently excited and yearning for action. Count in this group some (not all) sections of the student movement inside Iran, as well as the Mojahedin-e Khalq-e Iran parked in Iraq and their friends scattered around the globe.
Then there are, of course, those Iranians inside and outside Iran who constitute the business classes, and they are nervous too. But only to a degree. They are mostly busy counting these days. Counting their assets, for one, to see how much is liquid and how much solid, and how quickly the solids can be liquefied. They are also counting the possibilities and counting the costs of each possibility. And, lastly, they are counting the ways to avoid each and every possible cost in the event of each and every possible outcome.
And, not the least, there are the Iranian tyrants running the state apparatuses, who are very nervous right now. They know that their particular political leaning, religious orientation, or actual plans of possible actions are not at issue, and that is why they are very nervous.
They know that Mossadegh was a secular, liberal, anti-communist, law-abiding citizen who defended the Iranian constitution and was elected by the people’s parliament to be the Prime Minister in a constitutional monarchy, much like England. He became an enemy of the US administration not because he was planning to cross the oceans and militarily attack the United States. No. He became an enemy of the US and the UK because he wanted to reclaim Iran’s resources for Iran, while upholding bourgeois liberal democracy. So, the mullahs in Tehran know fully well that, although their garb and ideological speech patterns render them into more easily hated targets, it is in fact their independence and lack of kissing American and Israeli ass that has made them an enemy of the Bush administration and their handy ideologues, the so-called neo-conservatives. The mullahs know this particular enemy particularly well.
Yet, in all their nervousness, the tyrants are uplifted as well. Partly because they can once again puff up their chests, brandish their armor, get the public to tighten up their lips and shut the f*#k up, and sing macho songs of war in defense of Dear Islam. Back in 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, Khomeini is well known to have called it a blessing, for it provided the perfect opportunity for the good Ommat-e Islam to march all the way to Basra, Najaf, Karbala, and beyond to Baghdad, to bring about a bigger, more powerful Islamic Republic (he may yet achieve this posthumously thanks to the Yanks). Internationalism was writ large into the spirit of Khomeini’s designs, and here was a genuine chance for actual international gains. In the cause of heavens what matter that people die in unimaginable numbers?
Does this not sound like the “moral” calculations espoused by the Bush administration? The two are made for each other, and are in fact from the same cloth. And both are taking all of us for a vicious ride.
The other reason for the more frequent smiles on the mullahs’ faces these days is more sinister, and involves, again, the same calculative morality that gives Bush and his gangster fellows their biggest hard-on. Some of the more adventurous indeed calculate:
About 70 million people live in Iran. Most people simply wish to be left alone and not harassed, therefore a politically unknown factor. We do know, however, that about 15-20% of the population is solidly with the regime; as in their status, privileges, petty-powers and income -- hence physical and social survival -- depends on this theocratic state apparatus. A further 10-15% may also be bought or coerced into cooperation through a carefully designed regime of carrots and sticks.
So, what does that come to? Well, it comes to at least 10 million people whose lives physically and literally depend on the existence of this regime; no mere conscripts. And then, there is also the regular army. So, as pertains to the mere quantitative side of things, on top of all the military equipment, the Iranian regime can count on at least a few million hardcore supporters to cushion the blows dealt by Uncle Sam. For the mullahs therefore the question is very crude yet basic: How many millions of its citizens is Uncle Sam willing to stake on this bet?
And it will be a bet, with no guarantees whatsoever.
The Iranian mullahs may look even gleefully upon American soldiers in Iraq trembling at the thought of another patrol, another foray into the chaotic hell that they themselves (at the order of their superiors) have created. They see the American soldiers already fatigued. Some look upon the American soldiers breaking down at the mere thought of going back to Iraq for another tour of duty, or even for another day, and think, “Bring it on then! We’ll make things into such a hell that they will wish they had never left their mama’s home!”
And the scary thing is the US administration of George Bush and his gang of high-stake rapists counts on this kind of thinking. Hence the open talk of attacks on Iran. And hence the handy leaks for Seymour Hersh’s article, “The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon Can Now Do in Secret,” in The New Yorker (Jan 24, 2005), which constituted the opening salvo in the psychological phase of the “Iranian campaign.”
So, do expect an attack on Iran, either directly by the US or, as Vice President Dick “Slaughter” Cheney recently remarked, “Israelis might well decide to act first and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.” Or is the US trying to convince Pakistan to start a war with Iran, “inviting” the Americans to fight along with them?
The possibilities, and their cost-benefit studies, must be delectable to consider and mull over!
New Opportunists on the Hill
And hence, also, the opening for all manner of upstarts in the Congress to prove their politeness toward the Israeli lobby, and to engage in overt discourse regarding “surgical” strikes on Iran; discourse that makes for vomit-inducing thoughts, especially when told that the speakers of such foulness call themselves “‘progressives”, “liberals”, and “new stars of Democratic Party USA.”
Yes, such trash is now spewed up by the likes of the dishonorable Barack Obama (see “Democrats Support Bush’s Iran Policy,” by Joshua Frank). Does the Congressional Black Caucus too now endorse “surgical” attacks against Iran? Is the entire official political class as represented in US Congress now openly endorsing an attack on Iran? Are we now merely going through the legal-formal motions? Is the American nation suddenly, and without even a pretense of a discussion, unified over this?
Would Mr. Obama discuss so openly the bombing of poor black neighborhoods in the inner cities? Well, why not? In terms of politico-economic relations that his advocacy of bombing of Iran reproduces, he is reinforcing a very particular social contract that requires random destruction of innocent communities everywhere, including the inner-urban areas of the metropolises of the USA.
How would Mr. Obama feel to find that he could tune into any number of radio stations, or choose any number of TV programs in numerous countries around the globe, and hear pundits, experts, journalists, doctorate of philosophy holders in various academic departments, volunteer workers from various fields, and countless regular citizens being interviewed -- all freely discussing the next (as in, it has already become normal) military campaign to invade poor black neighborhoods “riddled with gangs and fanatics” who refuse to “play by the rules”? He would doubtless not only consider such talk or behavior prejudiced to put it mildly, he would call it racist in the least. More to the point, he would recognize it as full slavery for those affected black communities when their lives are treated with such utter disregard for their humanity.
After all, what is slavery? It surely must include seeing legally distributed notices for your own auction posted up openly in the daily papers, advertised abundantly on the evening news, and discussed shamelessly and with no embarrassment in the officially recorded Congressional proceedings.
What is slavery, if not being told that because some people do not like the officials of your community, they will simply destroy your communities and continue to do so for as long as they deem necessary, and subject you to infinite destitution for as long as they like and can get away with? Slavery is alive and doing very well! It has achieved normalization, if the Western media is any indication.
Hell Abroad and at Home
For those who dislike old paradigms we need go back only a few months to remind us that it is on the streets that matters are settled. Any leftist who does not understand this is viciously fooling him or herself. Just for one item: how was a semblance of democracy fought for in Ukraine just very recently? By bodies on the streets; by bodies that occupied and stayed on the streets, and refused to allow business-as-usual to proceed! By contrast, how was the US presidential election of 2000 stolen? By lack of bodies on the streets; by the active and historically enforced designs of the US ruling class to keep people off the streets and glued to their TVs.
Here is an easy number to remember: 1 billion a week.
$1 billion a week is the price of true “caring and compassion” for those running the US state. That is how much they are spending on “fighting terrorism.” So you see, in areas that truly matter for furthering their interests, they lavish plentifully and generously from the tax funds entrusted them by the suckered population in the US.
But, knowing the price of true caring, the suckered citizens can confront their government with demands for accountability. How many billions of dollars a week does the US government spend on keeping its citizens healthy, educated, clothed, housed, and fed?
Look upon your communities! If you see wreckage among your neighborhoods, it has the same root-cause as the ash-heaps of Fallujah. And the ruinous state of the educational and health facilities serving your children in the inner urban areas of the US shares grounds with Caterpillar-bulldozed classrooms and hospitals of Jenin and Ramallah in the Occupied Palestine.
If there is injustice, murder, and brutality reigning in one corner of this globalized village, it is because murder, pillage and mayhem have beset other corners of the village as well. And if you find yourself in tiny pockets of shrinking islands of “security”, know that you are living with increasing amounts of denial, and denial is an exhausting affair to carry for long.
Rosa Faiz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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