Joseph Lieberman, a bronchial mush-mouth of a man, the sort of power-mad mediocrity who can make an old bar Mitzvah like myself pull down the moldy copy of The Protocols and think, "Hey, maybe there's something to this," has once again self-plagiarized in the pages of The Wall Street Tattler, penning another self-same article asking for more patience, more national reticence, and a few more liters of Iraqi blood to bake into the national matzoh. But seriously. No, that was seriously.
Glenn Greenwald, almost as predictable in his dry outrage as Joeseph Free-Man in his mild-mannered death cultism, is on the case. Comme d'habitude, his analysis is meticulous, well-structured, cogent, responsible, researched, and wrong. At some length:
Many Americans believed before that we did have an effective strategy designed to preserve security in Iraq and that this strategy was working because people like Joe Lieberman assured them that this was true. Yet now he is claiming that everything has changed in Iraq because, for the first time, we have a strategy for preserving security. The logical conclusion from assembling his own statements is that the assurances he gave in the past were simple lies.To bump into these paragraphs after the dull exposition devoted to Liebraman's recycled prose is to experience in some slight way the feeling of waking up from anesthesia with the surgeon still jiggling your heart in his hand. Here is my question:
It's one thing for people like Joe Lieberman to have spent almost a full year prior to the invasion spewing one falsehood after the next about the state of Iraq's military capabilities, its relationship to Al-Qaeda, and the likely effects of our invasion. But the absolute deceit of the American people by the Joe Liebermans in this country extends -- in both duration and substance -- far beyond merely those pre-war claims.
George Bush was re-elected, and Americans tolerated the occupation of Iraq long after it was clear that things had gone terribly awry, because the Joe Liebermans in our country continuously lied about what was taking place there, falsely assuring Americans that things were going well, that we were on the precipice of success, that the press accounts of the violence and chaos there were fiction and were merely the by-product of a politically biased media seeking to embarrass the President by concealing the great progress we were making -- progress which Lieberman insisted he witnessed himself during his visit.
What is the source of this bottomless confidence in the essential goodness of "Americans" or "many Americans," or "the American people"; on what basis do we arrive at this claim that but for the lies told to them by their less-than-noble, less-than-honest patriarchs, these American people would rise up in recognition of their current transgressions and past sins, retreat, and resolve not to repeat the shameful crimes of empire, forever and ever, on earth as it is in heaven, hallelujah, amen?
Because it is not at all obvious to me that Americans, such as they are, give one good goddamn or one high-flying fuck about a "strategy designed to preserve security in Iraq." "Security in Iraq" is not their concern. "Security in America" is their concern--that's why they acquiesce with nary a whimper to every security-vs.-liberty argument put forward by their governors (to Greenwald's eternal chagrin and confusion), and that is why they support wars to kill the wogs who killed the World Trade Center. That there are many varieites of wogs, and that none of the wogs currently involved in our conflict participated in "the events of 9/11," and that within worldwide woggery there is currently a vast, vicious religious war--none of these things occur to "many Americans." Many Americans reelected George W. Bush and "tolerated the occupation of Iraq" because it accorded with their narrow, slack-jawed, country-music ideology of "let's roll." For good measure, George W. Bush indulged them in their fears of faggots, niggers, and spics. That is why he was elected. For the same reason every crass, pseudo-bumpkin autocrat gets himself elected: by recognizing that nativism, resentment, fear, and racism are the roots of politics; by governing with a program designed to deepen the rot and cause such resentments to fester.
If tomorrow or the next day, George W. Bush decides to begin a campaign against Iran, and it seems icreasingly near and certainly inevitable, then the cable news networks will go back to Crisis:Iran subtitles, the generals will come back on to babble about strategy, the yellow-ribbon magnets will reassert themselves, the nominal opposition will fall back in line, the "failure" in Iraq will fade from the front of our collective consciousness, and however much the libbloggers cry that the dauphin's poll ratings remain mired below 40%, not one person who matters will pay them no nevermind. If Israel, Dog help us, gets involved, then the libbloggers will simply remain conspicuously (or inconspicuously) silent.
I have been asked a number of times why it is that I don't use what meager skills I have to propose a positive program to rectify our national shames and shortcomings. Why don't I offer some way "to change it?" Why don't I "do something?" Why aren't I "productive?" I've given plenty of answers, some truer than others. But here is a more honest answer, the most honest I can give: I'm not especially convinced that Americans, many Americans, the American people, or America deserve anything other than what they're about to get. To put it another way: I'm not an evangelist about anything, and I'm not of the opinion than everyone can or should be saved.