“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, June 23, 2006

where did you go, Rambo? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you

The War on Terrorism and the War on Drugs are, of course, not wars at all. They are declared illegally, pursued intermittently to both scourge a potentially rebellious population and to score public relations points, and tend inevitably to the government’s oldest trick: inducing citizens to commit crimes, then clapping them in irons.

So, the Bush administration, in its infinite wisdom, has said, let a thousand little Reichstag fires burn – and it has come up with sad things like the arrest of those boys in Miami, yesterday. Clearly, this was a case of talking shit. Even the Washington Post, ever willing to the administration’s cat’s paw, can’t turn this ridiculous administration concoction into the kind of threat to leave us householder’s trembling in our beds.

In reality, these young men were enacting one of the perennial phenomena of urban streetlife, from Jerusalem in 1 A.D. to James Baldwin’s Harlem in the 40s – the incubation of a religious cult:

“Residents living near the warehouse said the men taken into custody described themselves as Muslims and had tried to recruit young people to join their group. Tashawn Rose, 29, said they tried to recruit her younger brother and nephew for a karate class.

She said she talked to one of the men about a month ago. "They seemed brainwashed," she said. "They said they had given their lives to Allah."
Residents said FBI agents spent several hours in the neighborhood showing photos of the suspects and seeking information. They said the men had lived in the area for about a year.

Benjamin Williams, 17, said the group sometimes had young children with them. At times, he added, the men "would cover their faces. Sometimes they would wear things on their heads, like turbans.”

Things on their heads like turbans… Wow. The problem with the current Bush culture is that it is a scary clown culture. It is both funny and terrifying at the same time – as though the S.S. had been issued rubber red noses to wear before they went out and did their raiding. Although these cornpone authoritarians have made up this terrorist shit before – in Detroit, in Ohio, etc., etc. - this time out the fraudulent nature of the enterprise is hard to disguise even in the first flush of the scoop. The oldest gesture encoded in the genes of the secret police is to protect us from crimes that it first makes up. But when the secret police are so contemptuous of the public that they deliver shoddy goods like this for our consumption, you know something has gone awry, culturally. Is it that the U.S. population will put up with anything? Is it that, unlike the heroic culture that resisted the invading Soviets in many a Reagan era film, in reality, we are composed of surrenderers, dickerers, halfwits and dupes? Will no Rambo arise among us, muscular and oiled, to save us from the Bushist beast?

“The person they believed to be an al-Qaida representative gave Batiste a digital video camera, which Batiste said he would use to record pictures of the North Miami Beach FBI building, the indictment said. At a March 26 meeting, it went on, Batiste and Burson Augustin provided the "al-Qaida representative" with photographs of the FBI building, as well as video footage of other Miami government buildings, and discussed the plot to bomb the FBI building.

But on May 24, the indictment said, Batiste told the "al-Qaida representative" that he was experiencing delays "because of various problems within his organization." Batiste said he wanted to continue his mission and his relationship with al-Qaida nonetheless, the document said.”

Discussed his plot to bomb the FBI building? What kind of comic book language is that?

Oh well. This is proof, once again, that Conrad’s The Secret Agent should be made part of the high school curriculum, in order to inoculate Americans from a disease that has been carefully nurtured in them by fifty some years of tv: their love for a man in a uniform.

PS – there is another wapo article readers should check out. I still heard it said, all of the time, that the U.S. has a moral obligation to stay in Iraq. I hear this said even by anti-war people. While that sounds fine, in reality, as long as the U.S. is in Iraq, there will be no serious negotiation between the government and the various insurgents. Of course there should be amnesty for insurgents who have fought Americans – otherwise, we are talking about a decade long war to the death. But that can’t happen as long as Americans are holding the strings and making the puppets dance. Except that old fusty metaphor isn't exactly right -- the Americans can pull strings, but they don't really know what the puppets are doing. They didn't in South Vietnam, and they don't here.

Americans – this is the point – are prolonging the war in Iraq. Not limiting it.

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