Morning conversations around the copy machine used to be more relaxed, if not more civilized. These days it may turn out as randomly violent as a trip to the corner shop may, in the Occupied Gaza Strip. Around the copy machine, of course, the violence is only discursive and not physical.
A liberal American colleague, who once mistakenly ventured to advise what was good for me, by invoking credibility in voting for Kerry based on his ‘economic plan’, just the other day was about to commit another folly. “So, Powell’s out …” Huge flashes of lib-talk rapidly fast-forwarded in my head, giving my stomach a piercing jab of pain, in a split second, since I knew only too well what was to come next.
It seems that for most American liberals, much like for my colleague at the copy machine, Powell is the “only voice of moderation” in Bush’s cabinet; without him all wheels will come off and all hell will break loose; Powell held the last line of sanity; now that he’s gone, things are really gonna get f*#ked up; and so, sane people must get together and pray that he sticks around and not disappear completely, since God knows what else these guys have coming down the pipes!
As ridiculous as it may appear, this is actually a perfect full-proof mindset for somebody who is ultimately comfortable with the way things are. Only a person from a luxurious position can be so relaxed, politically speaking, as to muster the insight necessary to discern the differences between two or three leaves on a tree in the jungle that’s engulfing us, and forever avoid seeing the forest. For to see and to acknowledge the forest is to have to do something, and that is painfully clear to the liberal mind; that forever lazy and guilt-ridden mind whose every move is filled with indecisiveness, obfuscation and contradictions, and brimming with a desire for stasis.
Liberals refuse to own up (since that would give the game away) that organizational division of labor dictates different personnel at different junctures for any political maneuvering with strategic goals. Just for one item, it is too easily forgotten that Powell was an integral part of the machinery of flatly lying to the UN Security Council (due to his false credibility as a ‘moderate’) in order to get legal cover for the illegal invasion they had planned for Iraq from the first days of the Bush regime. As it turned out, the Security Council simply refused to act blind, since, taking one to know one, ‘Old Europe’ knew fully well that this was a calculated strategic move on the part of the US, and refused to budge in the Security Council.
When, failing to secure a legal cover, open piracy was inaugurated, Powell was integral again in showcasing a conveniently thrown together group of the ‘coalition of the willing’, as if to present the invasion as legal by the mere participation of many. Some logic of moderation there!
Another one of our morning conversations by the copy machine concerned France’s liberal stance, according to my colleague; meaning their moderation and sensibility in recognizing the insanity of invading Iraq and trying to ‘talk some sense to the US before the invasion’. Observe France’s cooperation with Uncle Sam (along with the shameful participation of Lula’s armies from Brazil) in Haiti, in a most vicious act of openly decimating an entire democratic movement, an act just as vicious as what the US and the UK are doing in Iraq. This Haiti mass murder, illegal coup, and the open rule of death squad leaders sponsored by the US, Canada and France, again, under the watchful eyes of Monsignor Powell, one of the best servants of empire, if there ever was one.
And let us not forget too quickly that he has been a crucial part of the policy of allowing Sharon a completely open field of maneuver in his reign of terror unleashed on the captive Palestinian population, committing innumerable war crimes in the process, all of which any law-abiding (forget party affiliation, or degree and severity of moderation) Secretary of State would be under obligation to not only expose, but actively oppose and organize international sanctions against them.
In all these instances of human catastrophes desperately crying out for displays of moderation, a true moderate Secretary of Sate, who by definition must uphold international law, may have at least made a show of not supporting a total junking of Geneva Conventions. Not this moderate.
In fact, Powell has paved the way so smoothly that now that an open sycophant is scheduled to take over, things are in full swing already. All Condi has to do is do what she does best: Bullshit and lie openly, act and speak belligerently, and all the while look pissed off. And that will be remarked upon as statesmanship.
The fact that in the mind of a liberal, for whom legality and human rights are supreme, the nation’s top diplomat may actively break international law and support every murderous act of the American and Israeli governments, and still be a moderate is proof enough that a liberal mind is simply incapable of explaining reality. What difference did the presence of this so-called moderate make? The differences were entirely to the benefit of the Bush administration’s policies. Were the other ‘Bushist’ crazies going to nuke the people and Powell stopped them, or something? [Even here, well, er … in using uranium-enriched munitions (an egregious international illegality), they have been nuking people daily in Afghanistan and Iraq with Powell around.]
Is it ignorance alone that blinds the US liberal supporters of the Democratic Party, or is it something to do with a degree of comfort? Not comfort in a positive sense, but in the sense of lack of agony. As in, “If I really follow my conclusions, I will experience pain.” So, one backs off from one’s conclusions preemptively, so that radical actions may not need to be pursued. So … “Let’s just hope that the situation simply goes away all by itself. Let’s hope those crazy Bushists will find sanity. Let’s hope they’ll see the light. Let’s pray for that day to come sooner. Let’s pray for our Party. And in the meantime, let’s also join the moral majority.”
Here is a point that most (if not all) liberals simply do not comprehend. When President Bush announced, for example, that world’s nations had a simple choice of either being, “With us, or with the terrorists,” he was not offering an analysis of the geo-political situation ‘according to his point of view’, such as would be presented by a social scientist, nor describing the political reality in what has fashionably (and erroneously) come to be talked about as a kind of Manichean mode of thinking. No, that’s not his style. His discursive capital is mostly invested in performatives; utterances that perform an action and determine a new reality as they are being uttered; such as a bride’s or groom’s, “I do!” which determines and dictates a new reality.
Bush and his cronies do determine history. Our choice is either to make our own counter reality/history, or let them make ours in their own image. They are clearly doing all they can to determine and shape the facts on the ground to their own liking. Such is their style. Naked aggression. Nothing unclear about it.
The sheer and amazing ability of the liberal in conjuring fog where the picture is so clear is stunning indeed.
Let’s pose a different question for the liberal. Are we to go on describing and chronicling the atrocities with archival and observational mindsets, or are we to be ceaselessly organizing mass disobedience with the outrage of a wronged people? Put differently, if a group of people breaks into your house and starts kicking your family around while bagging your jewelry and savings, and raping your sisters while at it, would you take out your pen and your notebook and take notes, or would you defend yourself (i.e. intervene in the situation)?
A liberal may well suggest a good note taking first. From all the evidence, in the very least he seems to advocate to the victims that they should consider it as an option.
It cannot be repeated enough that the people running the executive branch of capital in the US do have sanity. They do see the light. They are carrying out a very well practiced, time-honored rational activity of helping themselves to other people’s goods (rational, in the sense that it can be carried out systematically and is rule-driven). Which part of ‘foreign occupation’ is unclear to liberals?
And besides, the Bush administration has consistently announced clearly what else is coming down the pipe. They announce it routinely on TV. They give out the schedules. Much like they did as they escalated their rape of Vietnam, they may soon discuss in Congressional Committees the tonnage to be dropped. Sooner after that, they will establish quotas for such tonnage, so as to further rationalize the profits of the bomb makers, and assure their five-yearly plans for evading business cycles and incurring income explosions. Many a scientists and engineers will cram their resumes with their contributions to ever increasing lethality of the weaponry of mass killing, and will receive scientific and humanitarian awards and prizes for services rendered to the sciences and even peace.
For those living outside the Gated USA, and especially for those paying with their families, communities and cities so that the oil guzzling US-ordained urban planning can continue its sprawl, the mentality is painfully familiar. It is the same mentality that advertised the Anybody But Bush, which meant that all that was heard during the dreadfully long months of elections campaign, were the echoes of racist pissing fights, if you will, and the most atrocious macho talk back and forth between two figures heads promising their respective constituents that they can better bring the neo-colonies under submission.
From this perspective, it was sad indeed that a majority of the US peace ‘movement’ opted for one of those candidates, as opposed to loudly rejecting both and boycotting the elections in a disciplined and effective fashion, and thus gaining more respect and gathering more steam. But, as movements go, since this one was not all that well-formed to begin with, little was lost and likely it was lost for the better. Hopefully what was lost will turn out to have been the illusions that needed serious shedding.
But, one person we can safely predict to come out strongly against shedding illusions is our persistent liberal friend by the copy machine, and millions upon millions of his ranks in the Homeland. Kerry’s corpse-like and heavy-footed oratory having sent all the necessary voters to sleep, as opposed to the polls, we now have to endure, ad nauseum, irrationalities that do not cease to amaze: like self-absorbed brats who refuse to see the problem in the mirror (even as they fall increasingly in love with the mirror) they point the finger at all manner of things from rigged voting technology, to rigged voters, to ignorant masses, to Christian jihadists, and the ‘moral values’ gap, whatever that turns out to be by the next farce in 2008. Anything But the Truth does it for the liberal.
One advantage of being born and raised in a modern day, so-called Third World dictatorship such as Iran is that you lose your illusions about all states; you discern clearly the commonality that all states share with organized crime gangs and organizations. When it comes to voting in elections, we know the game is rigged any which way you go about it. Whether entrance into the officially available political machinery as, say, a candidate is controlled by money and private property, or ideologically determined by some state run institution (be it located inside or outside the government per se; the ideological state apparatuses), or a combination of these in varying measures, the game is rigged against the interests of a majority of any and all national populations. The variations in political systems are determined mainly by the degree of force and overt violence needed to reinforce the hegemony or outright brute rule of the ruling classes in different nations.
And since all functionaries of all states are equally aware of this universal fact, it is easy for the more brutal states to develop obvious chips on their shoulders. There are, for example, a great many things that truly piss off the butchers of Tehran, those Un-Goldly representatives who are taking care that our good, supposedly super-Muslim nation may not go astray, and who in the process have drained all morality from our social fabric. But the one thing that most surely must piss them off is no doubt the success of the US government in blindsiding the US public so effectively, and with such ease.
The seeming ease, however, is deceptive. One qualitative difference between the two countries, besides the giant abyss separating their GNPs and other assorted statistics that can be arrayed against Iran, is the sheer number of layers of the organic intellectuals that form the cushion, the buffer zone, between the people and the state in the United States; one among many luxuries available in the bosom of the empire.
To the rude displeasure of the liberal, the comforts available (at a cost) in the bosom of the empire must by definition be denied the ordinary citizen of Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul, and Baghdad. In Fallujah, empire spoke nakedly, just as in Jenin, and Ramllah, and all the slums from Brazzaville to Port au Prince, empire has been speaking only too loudly and for far too long.
The deepest reasons for the liberal being so weary of right wing aggression is the anguishing thoughts of all the cushioning, and all the explaining away that it demands of the liberal. Hence the liberal’s deepest desire for stasis. Endowed with only a pessimistic imagination, the liberal is easily capable of fathoming that any change will only mean a change for worse. Oh, the dreaded woes of rationalizing yet another barbarity! It must indeed get tiring being a liberal since by iron law of political nature a liberal must not do anything to intervene, but merely observe, analyze, take notes, and whitewash. Neurosis extended indefinitely can be a very exhausting, if not dangerous, thing.
But, when it comes to politics, it ultimately boils down to force. Nothing Maoistic or Kissingerian about it. This is a far too ancient a disease to easily lend itself to being copyrighted by modernity. As Marx observed, we still do live in our prehistory.
Which gets us back to Bush’s performatives. He means it literally when he declares you as either with his gang or as (eventual if not present) problem, because his (and his gang’s) plans are of such a nature as to create problems and enemies at a great rate. He and his gang will make it so that sooner or later, you will have to make a clear choice.
Since the ‘Iranians’ are getting increasing news coverage, and we can clearly see the rapid rise in the acreage given to their ‘nuclear issue’ by all the too-respectable-to-make-a-mistake media, let’s see how a liberal mind may distract us. Bet anything on hearing them talking more about the European angle and less about the Israeli angle.
The ‘European angle’ meaning: The European Three (Germany, France, Britain) have just concluded a deal with Iran, and we must likewise pursue the route of dialogue and engagement. Entice them with trade deals, bring them into the fold. We cannot manage the region without the help of the region’s most populous and biggest country, and it is much more productive to have a cooperative Iran, than an obstructive one. The Mullahs in Tehran would of course nod in agreement to that.
The ‘Israeli angle’ being the reality angle. As in, since their good friends, their bestest big buddy friends with the biggest guns on earth are in the neighborhood, so they are sure as hell NOT going to just sit by, when they can use this historical moment and achieve some serious strategic parity like they would never, ever, EVER get under any other circumstances, come hell or come hell fire.
And, in case the butchers of Tehran are breathing a sigh of relief at having made it around another corner of yet another turn of nuclear events with their provisional deal worked out with the European-3 powers, they may serve themselves well by reading repeatedly the warnings by the Americans to none other than the Europeans regarding the global satellite system that Europe is launching (to rival the US’s Global Satellite Positioning System) to the effect that, should the rival global satellite system come under the control of the terrorists or a hostile state, they will not hesitate in shooting down the entire system.
In other words, considering the ease with which pretext-production is privatized and outsourced these days, the Americans will not spare anybody.
Unfortunately for the trapped people of Iran, with or without an invasion by the US armed forces, our liberation remains ultimately in our own hands, and remains equally an international effort, just as the liberation of Iraq remains an international project, since they must coincide with at least a partial liberation in the Homeland.
But since the news from the fronts in the Homeland is grim, we can only keep sighing deeply and daily for lack of breathing space and relief.
But, our time too will come.
When for the post of the, let’s face it, other nations’ boss, we lose Powell and get Condi we know that the project (for another American century) must be deemed well on course, and ready for certain acceleration. So, Good-fucking Bye to the ‘voice of moderation’ within the Bush’s murderous administration; Powell’s moderating charms covered up tracks so preemptively well and did his hard sell brand of lying and cheating and performing any required intellectual slut dance for Uncle Sam so astutely and so marvelously, we can only jeer as he exits!
We can safely assume that Hitler too must have had numerous advisors and functionaries in his ranks, who may have been a few shades less power crazy. All is relative, of course, but it is easy to miss a most significant element in all fascistic formations. It takes an army of little tyrants to make a baboon look like a ‘Great Dictator’. It is due to this dynamic that all dictators are fantastic comical caricatures.
Here is a comical moment I may have to bring to the attention of my liberal colleague next time we meet at the copy machine. ‘Hey, did you see Condi Vice, finishing her acceptance speech, and getting a pat on her back and told, “Good job!” by Bush, and blushing?” But, you see, I fear that my American liberal colleague may heartily laugh at that, exactly because Condi, being a colonized subject at the same time as making millions of dollars being so, is more easily prone to being subjected to racist and misogynistic attitudes.
If we have learned anything from Frantz Fanon, it is that the colonized subject behaves exactly like the colonial master, be that colonized subject’s skin black or white. And so, it is only expected for Condi to reciprocate the racism onto others, the ones that are the current niggers, the Afghans, the Arabs, and if signs are true, upcoming soon the Iranians. Which would merely extend the number of doors open to Hell.
Whatever the case, however, we can rely on our liberal friends to stay consistent and not get the point, whatever the point may be. That, and ceaselessly sound like Thomas Friedman, and pass his articles around.
Rosa Faiz may be reached at