Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The political class has failed us. At every level, they have failed us. Republican and Democrat, they have failed us. Liberal, conservative and centrist, they have failed us. They have lived on lies, and lived by lies, for so long that they no longer know how to comprehend the truth, much less communicate it or – God forbid – act on it. And so they plow on deeper into the darkness, in zombified pursuit of pointless goals, heedless of the signposts warning of danger, like some demented wagon train dragging a load of dead mules toward the edge of a cliff.
Political failure is nothing new, of course. Deliberate deceit – and egregious self-delusion – are nothing new. Misrule and evil on the part of elites are nothing new. But the great churning engines of the American Empire – especially its war machine – are infinitely more vast and powerful than anything seen on earth before. Its inextricably entwined economic and military forces permeate the globe. Nowhere on earth can you completely escape the tourbillions of these forces.
I am, I suppose, what most people would call a cynic. I don't see how anyone who has followed American politics for as long as I have – some 40 years now – could be anything else. I expect to be lied to. I expect to hear horseshit and fairytales wrapped up in threadbare pieties and Orwellian doublespeak. I expect power and money and militarism to carry the day. Even so, I must admit my guts lurched with queasy dread last week when Barack Obama announced, with a flourish of falsehoods and fearmongering, his grand plans to escalate the "Af-Pak" War.
Not that I was surprised by any of it: both the truth-abusing rhetoric and the war-expanding intentions have been hallmarks of Team Obama's Afghanistan policies since the early days of his presidential campaign.
Even so, to see the expansion of the Af-Pak War finally, formally promulgated, and to realize what this really means, not in terms of the ludicrous political theater of Washington and the media, not in the war-game fantasies of think-tankers and armchair warriors, but in the actual costs -- the death and suffering of thousands of innocent people, the ruinous chaos and the violent hatred engendered, the massive financial corruption and gargantuan debt added to our already corrupt and bankrupt system, the further coarsening and brutalization and militarization of our society, and again, because it bears repeating, the physical and emotional destruction of countless human beings whose only crime was to be born in a region targeted by the Great Gamesters of the world, the warlords in turbans and those in Brooks Brothers suits, the gangsters in the alleys and in the corridors of power -- this is a bitter and sickening thing. And no amount of foreknowledge or cynicism makes it any easier to bear. The day it gets easier, the day your cynicism makes you shrug off the horror -- "So what else is new?" -- is the day your soul dies.
Posted by theo at 6:52 PM