On this date exactly 10 years ago the heinous George W. Bush administration plunged this nation into a vicious and blatantly imperialist war in Iraq via one of the most despicable public campaigns of sheer arrogance, maniacal hubris and relentless demagogic manipulation of Reality ever conceived and executed. In other words: Endless Lies and venal confidence game bullshit masquerading as 'truth' and 'national patriotism.' The tragic consequences of this nearly decade long governmental criminality has resulted in the deaths of well over a hundred thousand human beings from both Iraq and the United States (and an even higher number of seriously injured survivors) and the insane expenditure of well over three trillion dollars. That the notorious Bushwhackers: George W., Dick 'Mob Boss' Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, and Colin Powell have never been charged and convicted for war crimes by the international court at the Hague is the final insult in this ongoing tragedy and the horrific fallout of the U.S. invasion and the ensuing mass chaos and endless carnage that envelops Iraq to this day.
In recognition of the madness that these maniacs created the following piece was written in the late evening of March 20, 2003 in a whiteheat fever of disgust and manic-depressive dread following the virtual explosion of media coverage--or rather blatant PROPAGANDA--in the United States at the very beginning of the war in the capital city of Bagdad. The following day Ishmael Reed published my lament in his online zine KONCH. On this truly somber occasion ten years later here it is once again:
Baghdad, The Ratings War
I've been sitting here tonight (March 20, 2003) watching the endless news reports on the war and becoming increasingly disgusted by the gleeful, smug, and highly arrogant tone of anchors and their field reporters "on the frontlines in Baghdad" describing, as though it was a gigantic cinema event or videogame, U.S. military actions and maneuvers, plans, strategies et al "live" on camera as we watch soldiers, tanks, and highly lethal military equipment roll by on screen as people describe their chemical and biological weapons suits, flak jackets, and other protective apparel that they are wearing as they speak to us "just in case." Listening to the endless, dunderheaded speculations about whether Hussein and two of his sons were killed or not. Watching CIA agents, flacks, "experts", and security analysts talking with bizarrely upbeat precision about Saddam's "psychology" and "probable behavior patterns" ad infinitum, ad nausea. The whole fucking media scenario is beyond surreal--it's in some Mad Hatter's SciFi universe that is far beyond anything we might even THINK of as Real. The news programs and pundit talkinghead shows like Charlie Rose, and even David Letterman and a pre-empted Jay Leno are questioning stupid showbiz guests about "what they think our eventual victory in Iraq will mean" and laughing nervously the whole time they openly speculate about actual murder and chaos as though it was just a sitcom skit and not actual carnage and destruction taking place. It's beyond "sick" or "disturbing." As I write this even Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" who I always assumed had a real brain and was capable of using it is making insipid, innocuous, asinine, and absurdly feeble "jokes" about Saddam, Islam, infidels, and "heroic American power" as if he had suddenly mutated and actually BECOME his inferiors (e.g. David Letterman, Jay Leno et al) zombie-style. All of this pervasively fearful and public Orwellian bandwagon kiss-ass behavior is truly unsettling. We, as "citizens", are now being imprisoned in a clinically psychotic cultural zone that defies description or even rational analysis. The critical commentary and endless protests that have been occuring around-the-clock here and throughout the country (and the rest of the world) are being reported on as though they were documentary reruns from some strange alternative Universe TV LAND. No matter what anyone says or does it's being reported as if it were merely a mildly entertaining adjunct to the "real fighting" (read: narrative) going on elsewhere. People are being openly censored and intimidated everywhere and it's actually being reported and commented upon all over the news on TV, radio, the Internet, and in the streets but it's paradoxically all being met by a collective fatalistic shrug as though NONE of it "means anything." I've never seen the country so obviously braindead, stupidly cynical, aggressively indifferent, and moving mechanically around in a banalized state of such paralyzed FEAR & DREAD as it is now. Not even at the height/nadir of the Vietnam War and the violent rightwing opposition to the endless mass protests, demonstrations, and intense, even frenzied political activity of my high school and college days when radical Civil Rights, Black Power, Feminist, and Anti-War activity were at their peak and literally MILLIONS of Americans were fighting (or supporting) the government FOR REAL (circa 1963-1973) have I seen anything like the almost stupefyingly casual callousness and lockstep thought/ behavior that I'm witnessing today. While walking down Telegraph Avenue tonight watching students getting arrested and brutally routed by hundreds of heavily armed cops in Sproul Plaza, I also hear and see many young white panhandlers across the street loudly asking for money for Iraqui refugees as a JOKE while scores of other Cal students (again all white and predominately male) are laughing and cheering very loudly and calling for Iraq to be bombed into hell by the good ole USA and yelling FUCK THE CAMEL JOCKEYS and KILL THE SAND NIGGERS. I swear the effect was like a hyperactive drug scene out of a highly stylized Baudrillard text circa 1988, only slowed WAY down with, and accompanied by, an ominous laughtrack underneath that was one part hysterical, and one part RESIGNED as though some scary apocalyptic end was actually near and no one really gave a fuck. Then later tonight I watched Charlie Rose and listened to Senator Gary Hart. Hart was laying out some truly horrifying, and in his view, highly probable scenarios about the grave military and terrorist consequences of U.S. war in Iraq as it affects Americans here "at home." Everything he talked about were direct echoes of the many worse-case scenarios I've been pondering and talking your ear off about since the Bushwhacker stole the Presidency in 2000. I won't go into the ugly details of his remarks here, but what he said and how he said it really disturbed me because I know deep in my heart and gut that he is absolutely right because I and of course many others have been thinking exactly what he was talking about tonight, and because we know how the Bushwhacker and his psychotic administration have not "prepared" us to know and understand the full range and scope of retaliatory measures that are almost certain to take place under the present circumstances...
Well I'll end on that disturbing note. I feel exhausted by what has already transpired and I fully realize as if in a waking dream of my own how far over the line of "No Return" this insane country has finally crossed. No good of any kind can or will come of this war--whatever happens to the current Iraqui regime. Pandora's box has really been opened wide this time and I know the U.S. will not escape. The worst, I truly regret to say, is yet to come... One last quote from the late James Baldwin is appropriate here: "In the end all the facades, lies, and delusions will be stripped away and America will have nothing left but raw, naked power and it won't be able to save us."
Peace & Justice,