If one believes the “official” versions of modern-day history, it is disquieting to learn of the remarkable number of “coincidences” that have served to lead humanity down the pathways of warfare and destruction.
A few months ago an article in PRAVDA proclaimed that Satan was living in the United States of America, specifically in the State of New Jersey. I remember thinking, tongue only slightly-in-cheek, that while this article may have accurately pinpointed the correct country, it missed the exact locale. Almost everyone in the world (outside of the United States of course) knows that Satan has, for the past few years, lived in opulent luxury in Washington D.C., personified by the avaricious, hypocritical, corrupt, deceitful, bloodthirsty, thieving, warmongering dictatorship of George W. Bush and his minions.
But, after some reflection, I realized that the influence of evil in shaping human destiny, and its capacity to inflict human suffering, is not so humorous after all. If one believes the “official” versions of modern-day history, it is disquieting to learn of the remarkable number of “coincidences” that have served to lead humanity down the pathways of warfare and destruction.
The First World War, for example, and the millions of lives it took, began as the result of a series of extraordinary “coincidences”. A failed assassination attempt against Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand mysteriously turned into a successful one after Ferdinand's driver took a wrong turn, placing the Archduke within the sights of one of the assassins, who was brooding in a nearby cafe over the failure of the earlier attempt. This particular assassin also happened to be the best marksman in his group of conspirators, and easily shot both Ferdinand and his wife to death. This, in turn, ignited a series of “entangling alliances” that ultimately erupted into World War One.
A little over a decade later, and just as mysteriously, a struggling, embittered and homeless artist named Adolph Hitler arose to a position of ultimate power in Germany that was still embittered by its defeat in World War One.
In 1947, largely through the non-violent philosophy and efforts of Mohandas Gandhi, two centuries of British rule ended in India. Yet religious conflicts and tensions also saw the partitioning of that nation into India and Pakistan, and ultimately led to the assassination of Gandhi. The tensions between these two nuclear powers still persist today, frequently fueled by events in the disputed region of Kashmir.
Assassinations also played a disturbing role in America during the Vietnam-era of the mid-1960s and early-70s. Many historians believe that former President John F. Kennedy was planning on ending American involvement in Vietnam during his administration. But, before that occurred, a disgruntled, former marine found himself working in the Texas School Book Depository, a building that made an ideal sniper’s nest on November 22, 1963. The assassinated Kennedy was replaced by Lyndon Johnson, who subsequently escalated the war against Vietnam.
In 1968 two other anti-war voices, those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were also silenced, King's allegedly by a fugitive from a Missouri prison who somehow acquired the resources to travel overseas, where he was eventually caught at Heathrow airport in London, and Kennedy's while he was walking through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The result was the election of “law-and-order” president Richard Nixon, and the ultimate suppression of the anti-war movement, coupled with the harassment, censoring, imprisonment and murder of activists through the FBI's COINTELPRO operation. Yet Nixon's alleged “respect” for “law-and-order” certainly did not prevent him from engaging in criminal activities, nor compel him to refuse a pardon from his hand-picked successor Gerald Ford after these activities became known.
So, during the coup of 2000, when I watched an almost rabid Katherine Harris salivating to “certify” Bush’s electoral theft in Florida, a state controlled by his brother Jeb, and when I learned that the United States Supreme Court, comprised of some of the most unethical “justices” in United States history, appointed Bush the dictator of the United States, I knew there were forces at work more sinister than simply a cabal of corrupt oligarchs usurping democracy. The sensations I felt as I watched these events unfold were so overwhelming and so haunting that it seemed like Satan had indeed touched the United States. And I knew from the lessons of the past that, no matter what the political milieu was, war was inevitable.
I did not write about these feelings in previous PRAVDA editorials because I know that whenever a writer discusses personal feelings, he or she risks losing or isolating readers who have not experienced such feelings themselves. I also knew that the historical evidence I relied upon in interpreting these feelings could easily be attacked by those asserting that “bad” people have also been assassinated and “good” people have prevented wars.
But when this historical evidence was coupled with the sociopathic nature of Bush and those in his dictatorship, the prediction about war's inevitability became more absolute. In law school we called individuals like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and others of their ilk “people without souls,” because they have no sense of decency, no sense of humanity, no sense of justice, and no concept of “right and wrong,” save for the ideology that whatever aggrandizes or satiates their selfish interests or ambitions is “right,” and whatever does not is “wrong.”
Perhaps nothing in recent times has demonstrated the callous and sadistic evil of George W. Bush more than his “joke” about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans have been killed, and are still being killed, and billions of dollars have been spent, and are still being spent, because of the Bush dictatorship’s premeditated lies about Iraq possessing WMDs that posed an imminent threat both to America and the world. Now that the lies have been exposed, the result is not a trial before a war crimes tribunal, but instead an ill-conceived “joke.” I wonder how many families who lost loved ones in Iraq are laughing?
Of course supporters of the Bush dictatorship allege that this joke was simply “self-deprecating” humor. But Bill Clinton's lies about his affair with a White House intern did not result in jokes, but an impeachment hearing, even though nobody was killed as a result of his dishonesty. And Trent Lott's joke about the segregationist past of former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond correctly compelled him to resign as leader of the United States Senate. It is disturbing that lies about war, death and destruction do not inspire the same contempt in the collective American psyche.
But what is even more frightening than the presence of evil is how easily decent, well-meaning people are manipulated by it. During the Iraqi war America was a very repressive place, the type of environment where injustices flourish and hypocrisy abounds. Anti-war voices were censored, anti-war reporters were fired, voices of reason were discredited, legitimate questions were silenced and derision was directed at dissenters who were exercising the very freedoms the pro-war voices claimed American troops were fighting for.
The corporate-controlled media basically became a jingoistic cheerleader for the lies of the Bush dictatorship. News programs were inundated with military “experts” pushing little pieces of plastic around a map of Iraq, treating the war like a children's game or sporting event while remaining conspicuously unconcerned or silent about the veracity of the alleged “reasons” behind it.
This atmosphere was echoed at pro-war rallies and events, where signs like “Kick A** America” displaced rational discourse. Monopolistic media outlets frequently sponsored these rallies while ignoring anti-war ones. And one could not walk into a place of business without seeing a “Support the Troops” sign. Yet, I often wondered how many of these signs reflected genuine support and how many simply reflected the business owner’s fear of losing customers if such signs were not prominently displayed.
A common misconception in capitalist theory is that competition invariably results in the development of superior products or services. Far too often the opposite is true. Businesses acting with ethics and integrity often find themselves needing to relax their standards in order to compete with similar businesses that are not constrained by ethical considerations. This ultimately results in a plethora of businesses diminishing to “the lowest common denominator.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in America's corporate-controlled media. Suddenly “news” is not what Americans need to hear, but what the corporate-controlled media believe Americans want to hear. Celebrity gossip, pundits incessantly interrupting or shouting at each other, superficial answers to complex questions, news coverage of trials of the rich and famous, and “infotainment” have all but destroyed responsible and honest journalism.
Lost in this destruction were legitimate questions that should have been answered before the war against Iraq even began: “Why the rush to war?; What evidence is there that inspections are not working?; Won't the war divert much needed resources from the war on terrorism?; Won’t the war actually increase terrorism by causing bitterness and instability?; Won't nationalism and outrage over occupation become a problem?; Won't the war create ethnic tensions?; What plans are there for winning the peace?” All of these questions and many others were being asked prior to the Iraqi war. Unfortunately far too many Americans did not demand answers. Now the continuing violence in Iraq, the terrorist attacks in Spain and the regrouping of Al-Qaeda are belatedly providing such answers.
As I stated in previous PRAVDA articles, this destruction of responsible journalism has also provided fertile ground for the use of Hitler's “great lie” theory. As Hitler pointed out, ordinary people will recognize when politicians tell “little” lies, because they often hear or tell such lies themselves. But there is an innate, perhaps naive, belief that politicians will not lie about events of great magnitude. So while skepticism greets a President denying an extramarital affair, it does not greet a corruptly-appointed dictator who lies about WMDs, or who even jokes about
Since May 1, 2003, the day the once AWOL, draft-dodging Bush proclaimed an end to “major combat” in Iraq, more American soldiers have been killed than during the major combat itself. Yet there are few “Support the Troops” rallies nowadays. The signs and bumper stickers have faded or been removed, and the largest private co-conspirator in instigating the Iraqi war-the corporate-controlled media-are now, in their typical fashion, either ignoring the ongoing conflict or pretending that they knew Bush was lying all along.
And, in a tribute to the adage that lies only spawn more lies, the venal, draft-dodging Dick Cheney recently told “an audience of cheering military personnel” that the war against Iraq was connected to the “war on terrorism,” even though no links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda have been found. I wonder how many of these “cheering military personnel” will benefit from the financial windfall Cheney is going to enjoy through the lucrative “rebuilding” contracts he helped award to his political cronies.
There are some who refer to dinosaurs as history's biggest losers. But, at the risk of sounding misanthropic, the path currently being taken in today's world and the evil it consistently embraces presage the reality that humans may be the first species to bring about their own extinction, through an artificially manufactured virus or chemical agent, or through nuclear warfare or a yet-to-be-invented means. What the Bush dictatorship has demonstrated to many Americans, and to the world, is that waging war does not require truth, only incessantly repeated lies, effective propaganda, and appeals to people's most primitive instincts. For through such lies, appeals and propaganda, people will undoubtedly support Satan himself.
Perhaps they already have.
David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of PRAVDA