by Justin Raimondo
The theme for today is defeat. But don't get your hopes up. The interventionists don't seriously mean to say that the Serbian David has felled the American Goliath. They are now arguing that because Serbia is not on its knees after a week of merciless bombing, the campaign is a failure, and not only that, but America has been defeated -- unless, of course, we send in the ground troops. At the root of this manic logic is an arrogance so imperious that it goes beyond overweening pride and enters the realm of pathology. It is a type of megalomania, a Napoleonic complex that in any ordinary person would be considered a sure sign of mental illness, and which among our elites is considered the mark of sophistication. Just as a psychotic in the grip of a full-blown delusional system cannot endure even the mildest challenge to his hallucinations, and often reacts violently, so any act of defiance or resistance to American omnipotence is intolerable, in their eyes, and must be punished. As we take the lead in the gang rape of Serbia, it is only fitting that our President and Commander-in-chief is a known rapist and sociopath. The last refuge of Clinton's supporters was to make a distinction between Clinton the man and the policy maker. This war gives new meaning to the old phrase "the personal is the political."
BULLETIN FROM THE HOME FRONT
While brave Belgrade bares it breast and concertgoers wear t-shirts and buttons printed with targets, here in the imperial megalopolis we try to do our part. Naturally, there is no comparing the stakes involved: the Serbs are risking their very lives, while I am merely risking my sanity. For the effect of watching the interventionist propaganda machine in action, of enduring a continuous barrage of rapid-fire lies uttered in a tone of self-righteous (and self-conscious) solemnity, is to induce a kind of stupor, and a feeling of utter helplessness as in the face of a natural catastrophe. One can only wait for the earth to stop shaking. But on occasion the mind rebels, if only out of sheer boredom at the mind-numbing unanimity, and on Day 6 I must have snapped, for I found myself picking up the phone and dialing the number of my local television station, which had just run a one-sided panel discussion of the Kosovo crisis featuring two advocates of intervention.
"How is it possible to have a debate about this war if only one side is heard?"
Julie, the assistant producer who answered my call had great difficulty answering this question, and after a while she gave up trying. Instead, she started to apologize -- and then I knew I had her. "Well, listen," I said, in my reasonable tone of voice, "if you need anyone from the noninterventionist side, I have a lot of contacts." She explained that she wasn't sure when they'd be doing a show on the war again, but she took my number and said she would be in touch. Two days later, she called back: they were doing the war again, and did I have any suggestions? I had plenty. The show is tomorrow at 8 PM, on Bay TV, an hour-long live debate pitting me against some as-yet-to-be-determined representative of the War Party. I even made a few helpful suggestions as to what organizations she might contact in searching for someone to make the case for intervention; she, after all, has a job to do, as do I. She wants a good show, and I want to make space for a dissenting voice: with any luck, tomorrow we will both be happy.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
The U.S. war machine is running low on cruise missiles. After a year of carelessly lobbing these multi-million-dollar projectiles at every tinpot terrorist and dime-store despot within reach, there are just over 100 left. Crisis! Panic! Consternation! What is the World's Last and Only Superpower to do? The Pentagon has started conserving their missiles, although it naturally never occurred to them that the best missile conservation program is peace.
WE NEVER CLOSE
As if to underscore their fear that the delusion of American invincibility was exploded when that Stealth bomber was downed by the Serbs, the United States has announced a new bombing schedule: instead of hiding under cover of darkness, American planes will now be bombing around the clock, twenty-four hours a day. Maddened by a victim that is far from supine and emboldened by bloodlust, has there ever been an empire as vain and vindictive as the American?
The laptop bombardiers of the talking heads set, led today by Richard Haas of Brookings and Evo Daalko, both former members of the National Security Council, dominated today's talk shows. From dawn to dusk, through Larry King Live and Nightline with Ted Koppel, they haunted the airwaves with their apologias for mass murder. Daalko: "We have two timelines. The bombing timeline and the timeline of the ethnic cleansing. So we have to go in on the ground now. We're in a war, one that we're losing." If truth is the first casualty of war, then the second is the integrity of the language. The vocabulary of this conflict is filled with words like "timeline" and "endgame" and "collateral damage" -- bureaucratic code words that might just as easily describe a campaign to introduce a new brand of toothpaste.
CALIGULA'S CREDIBILITY GAP
The polls show that support for this military adventure is shaky at best, and the hawks blame Clinton. All he has to do is "make the case" to the American people, says David Gergen, the ex-Republican who defected to become a Clinton advisor. Only Clinton can convince the nation. The other talking heads sagely nodded in agreement. What world are these people living in? With the President's moral status and credibility somewhere between that of Nero and Caligula, either these Beltway sophisticates are really naive -- or else they counting on the possibility that the people are as corrupt as the man they elected to the White House.
FROM 'FALSEHOOD IN WARTIME'
From Arthur Posonby's classic book, Falsehood in Wartime (1928):
"A Government which has decided on embarking on the hazardous and terrible enterprise of war must at the outset present a one-sided case in justification of its action, and cannot afford to admit in any particular whatever the smallest degree of right or reason on the part of the people it has made up its mind to fight. Facts must be distorted, relevant circumstances concealed, and a picture presented which by its crude coloring will persuade the ignorant people that their Government is blameless, their cause is righteous, and that the indisputable wickedness of the enemy is beyond question. A moment's reflection would tell any reasonable person that such obvious bias cannot possibly represent the truth. But the moment's reflection is not allowed; lies are circulated with great rapidity. The unthinking mass accept them and by their excitement sway the rest. The amount of rubbish and humbug that pass under the name of patriotism in wartime in all countries is sufficient to make decent people blush when they are subsequently disillusioned."
The great problem is that the lesson of each disillusionment is so easily forgotten. Posonby's book details the story of how the Belgian babies had their hands cut off by invading German soldiers during in World War I -- a myth that came to be widely accepted as fact. Posonby exposes the truth about the Lusitania, which was carrying 4,200 cases of Springfield cartridges consigned to the British government -- and yet when Senator Robert LaFollette mentioned this fact in a speech on the Senate floor, there was a motion to expel him from that august body. The rationales for all the other wars of modern times have been similarly exposed as fraudulent: no one now denies that FDR was lying when he solemnly averred his dedication to keeping us out of World War II -- they merely say he was lying to us for our own good. The war against Communism was portrayed as a crusade against a nearly invincible power of Satanic evil: the propagandists of the Cold War era even convinced themselves -- and so were caught completely off guard when Communism collapsed from the sheer weight of its own accumulated corruption. Remember the testimony of those Kuwaiti "nurses" who supposedly witnessed Iraqi soldiers tearing babies out of their incubators -- and who turned out to be members of the Kuwaiti ambassador's family, who had made up their story out of whole cloth? Remember the Sudanese "poison gas" factory that turned out to be engaged in the manufacture of nothing more lethal than aspirin? The great advantage of the War Party is that their lies are disseminated with such rapidity in the modern world. Their great weakness, however, is that war propaganda, like science fiction, requires a willing suspension of disbelief -- and there is every indication that, this time around, the public is far less willing.