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October 31, 2003

Everyday Is Halloween


When Evil Masquerades as Virtue

by Anthony Gancarski

Happy Halloween. I type this knowing that I don't have a costume for tonight. But that doesn't matter so much. After all, in the United States every day is an occasion for costuming and obscuring the truth behind the public fictions.

Costuming of a sort allowed Washington to frame its invasion of Iraq as "liberation" for so many months that the ignorant and the delusional bought into it out of utter exhaustion. Costuming allowed Ahmed Chalabi's reputation to be remade from that of an embezzler to that of a Jeffersonian figure who is willing to Speak Uncomfortable Truths, as if occasional press conference confrontations with American foreign policy will grant him legitimacy in America's newest protectorate. Pundits across the spectrum refer to our President as "unschooled," but that is a ridiculous tag to put on a man with a B.A. from Yale and a Harvard M.B.A. Exactly how much more schooling does a man need?

I bring this up because the idea ["meme"] that Dubya is a dunderhead is the biggest sucker trap in American politics presently. I very much doubt that Bush's "cowboy rhetoric" is anything but a calculated attempt to swerve the genuinely unschooled masses, who will believe anything. Is it realistic, for example, to believe the US invaded Iraq because some Saddamite put a hit on Poppy last decade? Or to liberate the women of Iraq? As Jonah Goldberg posted a while back on NRO, Iraq was chosen because it was easy and because there was just cause [however fraudulent it might have been].

Everyone loves a winner. But indications in Iraq and Afghanistan are that the U.S. will lose both wars in the end. This despite Washington's no-strings-attached allocation of an $87.5 billion aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan. Failure might not "be an option," as every hawkish commentator has said since the beginning of this century's wars, but it looms imminent nonetheless. However, Failure, costumed just right, can be spun to look like Success – or at least a holding pattern of grim attrition.

In the seven days leading up to October 30, Arab News reports that there were 233 attacks on US positions. This level of intensity has not been seen during the occupation of Iraq. Nothing even close to that level has been seen, in fact. Meanwhile, our Coalition Partners from the Ukraine found seven of their boys wounded in an unprecedented attack on Ukrainian soldiers on Iraqi soil. How ridiculous is it that some goofball from the Ukraine took fire for the "liberation" of Iraq? What goes through someone's mind when he acts as a mercenary for a government that sees him, alternatively, as cannon fodder and a great PR symbol? Why don't questions like that get asked in the US media?

Exactly. Because they are costumers, day-glow painted fakers who seriously believe that the American Way can and should be exported everywhere in the world that longs for freedom. The rhetoric of the flag pin crowd is soulless; this is illustrated best by the way folks like Fred "Big-Government Conservatism Rules!" Barnes recite canned talking points even when challenged in the most tepid manner on talk show panels. They deal in clichés, hoping they've passed on by the time "cascading defaults" expose the shell game that is the American economy.

Of course, we're not there yet. Some American companies are doing booming business, even as civilization crumbles all around us. Take those plucky kids from DynCorp, for example. According to the Observer, they've managed to score some contracts in Iraq. Good for them! It's hard for most firms to persevere after being implicated in child sex scandals [which do usually get a little messy]. As the London newspaper put it, "the involvement of DynCorp has caused concern as it has been involved in a series of recent high-profile scandals involving personnel in sensitive missions overseas. DynCorp personnel contracted to the United Nations police service in Bosnia were implicated in buying and selling prostitutes, including a girl as young as 12. Several DynCorp employees were also accused of videotaping the rape of one of the women."

As the truism goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And the picture I get from Iraq and Afghanistan is that American forces are not wanted there by anyone but western cronies and the men they pay off. The men of Iraq and Afghanistan certainly don't see Americans as liberators, but as heavily-armed interlopers who can't even speak the vernacular language of the country they occupy. The women and children of both countries likely cringe when they see their family patriarchs bowing and scraping to a jacked-up punk with an automatic weapon and a hair-trigger temper.

However, as bad as this upcoming winter looks for and in our newest de facto protectorates, the current crisis will seem like something from the carefree good old days in the next couple of years. These are desperate times, and those are desperate, venal men who expect to be treated like humanitarians because they sit on their ample asses in talk show studios, advocating lunatic garbage like bombing Mecca or nuking Foggy Bottom. These mouthpieces of horror had better repent and make peace with their creator, because there is no way on earth for them to atone for the carnage they so coolly advocate.

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Anthony Gancarski, the author of Unfortunate Incidents, writes for The American Conservative, CounterPunch, and LewRockwell.com. His web journalism was recognized by Utne Reader Online as "Best of the Web." A writer for the local Folio Weekly, he lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

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