Practice to Deceive

This article was written by Joshua Micah Marshall and published in the Washington Monthly in April 2003 -- just a month after we invaded Iraq. I didn't read it until tonight -- nearly 20 months later. What Marshall had to say about the "neocon hawks" behind the war in Iraq following 9/11 is very disturbing. And it seems to be inexorably playing itself out. Check out this little prediction:

To begin with, this whole endeavor is supposed to be about reducing the long-term threat of terrorism, particularly terrorism that employs weapons of mass destruction. But, to date, every time a Western or non-Muslim country has put troops into Arab lands to stamp out violence and terror, it has awakened entire new terrorist organizations and a generation of recruits. Placing U.S. troops in Riyadh after the Gulf War (to protect Saudi Arabia and its oilfields from Saddam) gave Osama bin Laden a cause around which he built al Qaeda. Israel took the West Bank in a war of self-defense, but once there its occupation helped give rise to Hamas. Israel's incursion into southern Lebanon (justified at the time, but transformed into a permanent occupation) led to the rise of Hezbollah. Why do we imagine that our invasion and occupation of Iraq, or whatever countries come next, will turn out any differently?

Seen any news from Fallujah lately?

The article is a fascinating, disturbing and very astute observation of the neocons' modus operandi, which basically consists of pursuing an extreme, radical agenda while misleading the public about what their agenda is.

How do they mislead?

Taxes? Bush says: "tax relief." Reality: Tax cuts for the very rich; national sales or "value added" tax shifts tax burden to poor and middle class.

Social Security? Bush says: "reform and allow private investment." Reality: Change will benefit employers and corporations in the short term, but ultimately bankrupt the system, leaving millions of non-rich Americans in poverty. The neocon goal is to destroy social security, as they see it as a socialist and anti-capitalist crutch, and a drag on the economy. But they won't tell you that, because if they did, you'd vote them the hell out.

Education and social programs? Bankrupt. If you're worthy, you can afford to pay for your own education. If not, fuck off.

Universal health care? Die, unproductive scum.

Civil rights? Meet John Ashcroft.

Religious freedom? We'll brand the Ten Commandments into your flesh (and display them in your courthouse).

Corporate power and greed? Woo hoo!!!

Drilling in Alaska for my Enron/Halliburton pals? Fuck yes! Will your family be poisoned? Who cares?

The Neocon (and Bush Administration) Bottom Line: You have no money or power, either for yourself or to give to us. What do we care what happens to you? We'll sell your jobs to China and get rich selling them! Then we'll start insane wars in the Middle East and use you as cannon fodder. We'll get even richer from the oil and "reconstruction" contracts we give our pals. Then we'll tax the fuck out of you and eliminate any social benefits you might have had. Plus, we'll take away your civil rights! Got a problem with that? Then why did you vote for us, beloved Red States? Why??!!

To paraphrase Dick Cheney's campaign schtick: Be afraid. Be very afraid.