MONTEBANKS & USEFUL IDIOTS (clockwise from top left): Bill Kristol, right-wing dunce and shill for the U.S. armaments industry; Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the disastrous (first) Iraq war and creepy personal hygienist; Paul Bremer, clueless envoy to Baghdad in 2003; ex-Vice President Dick ‘Shooter’ Cheney, famous for firing buckshot into a hunting companion’s face; Fox TV harridan and gubernatorial quitter Sarah Palin; a posse of ‘ammo-sexuals’ on the march in Texas, with sweethearts slung over their shoulders; bumbling cocktail lounge habitué and Republican Tea Party headman John Boehner.
‘Descent into Madness’
War pimps, Fox television & ammo-sexuals
By Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2014 — Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
As history informs, nations take leave of their senses from time to time. Occasionally, an entire continent jumps into the snake pit—à la the “Great War” of 1914-18, when European states acceded to festering desires for military invasion of one another.
National craziness is a painter’s palette of farce, arrogance, stupidity, bellicosity, and greed. Colors range from vanilla amusement to black barbarity. Think of naked, pasty-faced English lords caught in flagrante delicto with chubby chambermaids versus Pol Pot’s Kampuchea of the 1970s, when Khmer Rouge sadists water-boarded detainees and charred their genitalia with electrodes—à la American sadists on duty in the torture chambers of Afghanistan and Iraq some three decades later.
Everything old, even modestly so, becomes new again. It was ever so. We may all cry for our beloved countries.
Here in the United States, now come the old warmongers of the ruling class yelping about Iraq (again) and hemorrhoid sufferers incited by Fox Television “news” howling about impeaching the president (again) and posses of ammo-sexuals roaming the streets—these being men who favor cowboy drag and coitus with gun barrels over hanky-panky with women; these being the most visibly belligerent acolytes of the American church of violence.
Such is evidence of America’s “descent into madness,” as New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman recently described the Zeitgeist.
At the amusing extreme of our national madness is a demand by most in the Republican Tea Party for President Barack Obama’s impeachment, the first of two legislative steps by which the Congress might oust a White House tenant. However, the Teapublican headman in the lower house of Congress, the noted barfly John Boehner, says a lawsuit will suffice in alleging the president’s violations of the U.S. Constitution—no big-deal violations, Mr. Boehner begrudgingly revealed, but enough to call out the legal dogs.
According to a July survey conducted by the British-based polling firm YouGov.com, sixty-three percent of the Teapublican faithful support the impeachment route—none more vociferously than Sarah Palin, the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2008. Ms. Palin—self-ousted after her half-term as governor of Alaska, in the greater interest of earning millions of dollars screeching right-wing inanities over the Fox television network—chided Mr. Boehner for his own half-measure.
“You don’t bring a lawsuit to a gun fight,” Ms. Palin curiously said, inspiring the usual chorus of huzzahs among her legion of admiring dullards.
The sentiments of Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, a fan of Ms. Palin’s who is widely considered the dumbest biped in Washington, constitute a catechism of the political pathology diagnosed as Obama Derangement Syndrome, or O.D.S. A lawyer and former judge, astonishingly even for Texas, Mr. Gohmert sells himself as the first Teapublican to call for impeachment—back in 2011, three years into Mr. Obama’s first term in office. In numerous speeches, before groups of his co-religionists and on the floor of Congress, Mr. Gohmert has said Mr. Obama “wants to create a dictatorship,” and compared the president to Adolf Hitler.
Alternately, Mr. Gohmert, Ms. Palin, and fellow O.D.S. victims define Mr. Obama’s political philosophy as socialist or communist; personally, many of them see the president as a Kenya-born Muslim and secret homosexual. The misnomered Fox TV News provides a nightly platform to the O.D.S.-afflicted—chief among them ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, whose surgically implanted pacemaker substitutes for his loss of a human pulse.
In early 2006, Mr. Cheney shot a 78-year-old lawyer during a quail hunt at a private game preserve in Texas, which occasioned the facially wounded Harry Whittington to publicly apologize for inconveniencing the vice president. It was an accident, after all. Mr. Cheney missed splattering a quail helplessly clamped to a bush—field hunting is ever so much easier this way—he had targeted in the crosshairs of the vice-presidential shotgun. Mr. Whittington took it in the face.
Looking back eight years, the accident could be seen as a metaphoric hint of what would come: the darkest side of America’s current seizure of senselessness, as “Shooter” Cheney and his troops brush up their embouchures to once more blow the bugles of pointless, albeit profitable war. (War wimps, we should properly call them, as none have known the stink and the screams and the bowel-shriveling battlefield terror they assign to others.) One media institution above all others advanced their callous cause, to wit:
• Friends in Germany who have witnessed broadcasts via Fox TV, owned by the odious Rupert Murdoch, tell me they cause Joseph Goebbels to blush in his grave. Fox offerings are called news “shows,” even by their hosts, absent a syllable of irony. As a division of Mr. Murdoch’s empire, Fox News is the most watched TV news platform in the U.S. It is the brainchild of a one-time henchman for the late, disgraced President Richard Nixon—Roger Ailes. In a May 2011 investigative report in Rolling Stone magazine, Mr. Ailes’ handiwork was found to be “the most profitable propaganda machine in history.”
• The aforementioned ammo-sexuals are a coast-to-coast fraternity of bigots and tetchy fools, concentrated in the state of Texas and engaged in an endless orgy of misplaced masculinity that redounds to the Republican Tea Party efforts to influence and/or intimidate national and local politicians. They are the sine qua non of America’s swaggering gun culture, a civilian version of the nation’s essential foreign policy: perpetual shooting war—any time, any place, whatever the casus belli.
As with the quail-hunting mishap, ammo-sexuality can provide a stage for Schadenfreude. Affirming my theory that ammo-sexual men are under-endowed, so to speak, consider the case of a gunslinger in the state of Georgia who shot himself in the groin in June—unaware of injury until he noticed bloodstains on his pants on arrival at a friend’s home.
News accounts said the man had holstered a .45 caliber revolver while in the front seat of his car when his finger slipped and he fired off a round. On finally noticed the blood, some fifteen minutes later, he dropped his trousers and to discover he’d “shot himself in the penis” and that the bullet “exited out of his buttocks,” according to a report on the WMAZ-TV website.
The spent bullet rolled out from a pants leg to the floor, the report said. Due to the pudendal shortcomings, the man’s wounds were eminently treatable.
The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq commenced in March 2003 with Operation Shock and Awe, the bombardment of Baghdad. It was a murderous fraud perpetrated by President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney and their staff hey-boys, along with oil company executives and grandees of the armaments industry.
They were not alone. Among those who should have known better was Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. senator from New York who cast a vote in favor of granting President George W. Bush authority to kill people on the basis of lies. As an obvious candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2016, Ms. Clinton recently said she “takes responsibility” for what she countenanced in 2003.
In a June 19 essay for the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “The war claimed 4,500 American lives and, according to a mortality study published in a peer-reviewed [university] journal, 500,000 Iraqi lives. Linda Bilmes, a Harvard expert in public finance, tells me that her latest estimate is that the total cost [to the U.S. treasury] will be $4 trillion (€2.94 trillion).”
Parsing such an aggregate, Mr. Kristoff added, “That’s a $35,000 tax on the average American household (€26,000). The total would be enough to ensure that all children could attend preschool in the United States, that most people with AIDS worldwide could receive treatment, and that every child worldwide could attend school—for the next eight-three years. Instead, we financed a futile war that was like a Mobius strip, bringing us right back to an echo of where we started.”
On Fox TV and elsewhere, the spectral Dick Cheney said he would make the same decisions about Iraq today—“in a heartbeat.” On July 14, he took to Fox with advice to Congress to stop spending federal funds on frivolous items such as nutritional support for hungry women and children and repairing the American transportation system. Instead, he counseled, every last dollar must be spent on a second war in Iraq—never mind that that country is undergoing yet another episode of thousand-year-old Sunni-Shi’ite-Kurdish tribalism in which the U.S. has no legitimate business, let alone historical perspective.
And never mind that Mr. Cheney is a millionaire many times over, thanks to his service as chief executive of Halliburton Corporation immediately prior to his stint as vice president. Halliburton, the single biggest supplier of military equipment during the Iraq War, was given a billion-dollar, no-bid contract for supplies at the onset of invasion in ’03. The company’s equipment was notoriously shoddy; soldiers died from electrocution in portable Halliburton shower stalls.
Further presenters of well-oiled lies for the Fox viewing audience are Mr. Cheney’s comrades in fraud—Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense; Paul Bremer, the Bush-Cheney administration’s envoy to Iraq; and Bill Kristol, editor of the right-wing Weekly Standard newspaper and the man who persuaded the Teapublican establishment to choose Sarah Palin as 2008 running mate to the party’s presidential nominee in 2008, a liver-spotted foozle by the name of John McCain.
Prior to television interviews, it is Mr. Wolfowitz’s peculiar custom to lick a pocket comb with which to puff up his thinning hair with collected spittle. He presumably did so in the minutes before a mid-June interview on Fox, at which time he discussed the advance toward Baghdad by forces of I.S.I.S. (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). “This is a real threat—believe me,” he said. “They pose a global threat. We need to stop the jihadists…[these] people in black flags and black costumes. We’re trying to save what’s left of Iraq. If these guys capture you, you’re going to be beheaded.”
—FLASHBACK to Mr. Wolfowitz in 2003, speaking via Fox days before Shock and Awe: “There’s a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money…[I]t starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…We’ll be welcomed as liberators.”
Paul Bremer, the prevaricating lightweight who presided over a Bush-Cheney puppet government in Iraqi, riddled as it was with graft and corruption, blamed President Obama for the I.S.I.S. crisis. “The problem is [Obama’s] decision to withdraw American forces from Iraq in 2011,” said Mr. Bremer in a recent Fox appearance. “[He] basically pulled out.”
—FACT: The U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement of 2008, a treaty signed by President Bush in 2008 and hailed by Mr. Cheney as marvelous statecraft, ordered troop withdrawal by 31 December 2011. Mr. Obama was legally bound to honor the treaty.
An exuberant supporter of the Bush-Cheney fraud, Bill Kristol is now an exuberant supporter of additional fraud. “I’m not apologizing for something that I think was not wrong,” he said in a televised debate with former Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein. “The war to remove Saddam was the right thing and the necessary thing to do.”
To which Mr. Bernstein said, “Apologies should be in order for [those] who banged the war drums so disastrously.”
“Hogwash!” Mr. Kristol replied.
Sad to say, Mr. Obama has begun what may eventually become America’s next quagmire. In early June—in a manner that echoes the disastrous Vietnam War of the 1960s and ‘70s—he ordered two hundred and seventy-five “military advisors” to “train” forces under the command of the disreputable Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki. He also pledged to send absolutely no combat troops to Iraq this time.
The Vietnam War began with seventy-five so-called advisors, a force that ballooned to almost six hundred thousand U.S. combat troops and, according to the Vietnamese government, more than three million deaths of soldiers and innocents.
In mid-June, Mr. Obama deployed an additional three hundred “advisors.” This was followed by another three hundred deployments in late June, said to be critical for securing the sprawling U.S. Embassy in Baghdad—the world’s largest diplomatic installation, by far.
Advisors and troops, it should be noted, are similarly capable. As a deadpan Al-Jazeera report explained, “President Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. But he says advisors will be equipped for combat.”
Manpower investment for incipient war is augmented by an unknown number of American combat helicopters, predator drones, and battle-ready warships Mr. Obama has on stand-by in the Iraq region.
But should Mr. Cheney, et al., be disappointed by the possibility of no Shock and Awe reprise, there are always alternative venues for plunder and profit: perhaps Syria, or Ukraine, or intervention in the hostilities between Israel and Gaza.
No matter the theatre of American warfare, former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges comes to a sorrowful conclusion. In an essay for Truthdig, the Los Angeles-based online magazine, Mr. Hedges wrote:
We will leave behind, after our defeats, wreckage and death, the contagion of violence and hatred, unending grief, and millions of children brutalized and robbed of their childhood. Americans who did not suffer will forget. People maimed physically or psychologically…will never escape. Time and memory will play their usual tricks. Those who endured war will begin to wonder, years from now, what was real and what was not. And those who did not taste of war’s noxious poison will stop wondering at all.
Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag