News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: September 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Dead Will Laugh George Bush to Hell: The Historian Reviews the Lie that Is Bush's Iraq

Martin van Creveld likes to tell it like it is. He said Bush's invasion of Iraq was the worst military decision in 2,000 years and now he says the US and the world can live with a nuclear Iran. As pinpointed repeatedly thruout this blog, this view only echoes expert assessments that a nuclear Iran threatening world peace is a nightmare propagated by people who want Iranian oil fields. The US Army war College itself has written extensively about this issue.

Creveld--an Israeli military historian whom some consider the greatest war historian alive--echoes these views when he writes:

Since 1945 hardly one year has gone by in which some voices — mainly American ones concerned about preserving Washington’s monopoly over nuclear weapons to the greatest extent possible — did not decry the terrible consequences that would follow if additional countries went nuclear. So far, not one of those warnings has come true. To the contrary: in every place where nuclear weapons were introduced, large-scale wars between their owners have disappeared.

General John Abizaid, the former commander of United States Central Command, is only the latest in a long list of experts to argue that the world can live with a nuclear Iran. Their views deserve to be carefully considered, lest Ahmadinejad’s fear-driven posturing cause anybody to do something stupid.
But like everything else in this environment of PR and propaganda, such informed and rational views may go unheeded until it is too late.

There's a tinge in Creveld's opposition to the Israel/US position vis a vis Iran. They come out in a statement like the following:
And behind Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stands President Bush — the same President Bush who four years ago needed no reason at all to take on Iran’s neighbor to the west and demolish it to the point where it may never rise again.
For a historian who knows the way words can deceive, such a statement is a big deal coming from such an eminent historian.

Creveld's comments should be seen as a commentary on the following description provided by journalist Nir Rosen concerning the true reality of post-Bush Iraq:
What will happen to Iraq? Think Mogadishu, small warlords controlling various neighborhoods, militias preying on those left behind, more powerful warlords controlling areas with resources, such as oil fields, ports, and lucrative pilgrimage routes and shrines. Irredentist Sunni militias will attempt to retake their lost land, but they will be pushed into the Anbar Province, Jordan, and Syria, where they may link up with local Islamist militants to destabilize Amman and Damascus. Some will look to fight elsewhere; unable to continue the jihad in Iraq they will find common cause with Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and others alienated from their societies and hateful of Shias. The new rump Shia statelet, including Baghdad and the South, will be quarantined by the Sunni states in the region and pushed inexorably into Iranian hands whether Shia Iraqis want this or not. It will be isolated and radicalized, and Shia militias loyal to Muqtada al Sadr, Abdul Aziz al Hakim, Muhamad al Yaqubi, and others will battle for power.

There is no “surge.” At best it can be called an ooze, a slow increase of American occupying forces by a mere 15 percent, consisting of few new soldiers and many whose terms of service have been merely extended. Yet the U.S. has doubled the size of its mission, announcing it will also take on the Shia militias as well as the Sunni ones. On the ground, that means American soldiers secure areas and then hand them over to Iraqi security forces who impose a reign of terror on the inhabitants. In the Iraqi civil war the army and police are not the solution; they are combatants, fighting on behalf of Shia-sectarian Islamist parties. The vaunted efforts to train Iraqi security forces have merely trained better death squads. The Americans continue to imprison thousands of Iraqis, and kill many others. Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations that would normally demand that the United States comply with international law and hand over imprisoned Iraqis to the “sovereign” Iraqi government are not doing so, knowing that their treatment at the hands of the government would be far worse than anything they would endure while in American captivity. The occupation is not benign. It is profoundly painful, humiliating, and lethal.
All hail Rex Judas. All hail hell and the poor souls George Bush will hear laughing at him on his way to hell.

UpdateWar and Piece recently noted that HaAretz reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Livni writes:
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel, Haaretz magazine reveals in an article on Livni to be published Friday.

Livni also criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears. Last week, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said similar things about Iran.

The article also reveals for the first time a document Livni prepared and sent to Olmert a few months after the Second Lebanon War proposing a new division of labor between the two. "Enclosed is a proposal for work procedures between us, with the aim of providing an answer to Israel's strategic needs and facilitating early planning and the formulation of coordinated Israeli positions ... within the framework of cooperative relations, full transparency and continuous mutual updates," wrote Livni. ...
Explain to me again why the US press does not report these things. Read more!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Workers Stand Up to Big Biz (for a day)

That's bad enough. But what's worse is the idiocy of the so-called Left press and blogosphere--ie, Raw Story, I Cite, Weblog, An und Fur Sich, Larval Subjects (the prize in my eye when it comes leftism)--who have nary a one-zero about the UAW strike against GM.

Not one...

Leave it to Lenin, a freakin Limey, to at least look and sound like a Leftist.

You wankers and screaming kitten petters (or whatever it is that limeys call female wanking). Read more!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dear Mr. President

I really like this. Takes the edge off of some of my comments though. But it's time we started looking at each other--in one last ditch effort--as humans.

Read more!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Other Words

Much of what has been said in the Rex Judas study is echoed in statements voiced by Paddy Ashdown (via Empire Burlesque):

"Our problem is that we have chosen the wrong mindset, the wrong battlefield, the wrong weapons and the wrong strategies to win this campaign. We have chosen to fight an idea, primarily with force," Ashdown said, in remarks that were released before the speech.

As the Guardian reports, Ashdown "suggest[ed] that the threat has been exaggerated if compared with 19th-century anarchism or the bombing campaign of Irish republicanism in the 70s, two threats that had not led to the current erosion of civil liberties. Lord Ashdown is currently jointly chairing a committee of inquiry into terrorism with the former defence secretary Lord Robertson."

"The west seeks to control territory; they seek to capture minds," Ashdown declared. "We have chosen language and means which unite the moderates in Islam with the fanatics, when we should be uniting with the moderates in Islam against a common enemy. We have adopted methods, or connived at their adoption, which undermine the moral force of our ideas and strengthen the prejudices of our opponents.

"We are seeking to win a battle of values by sacrificing our most precious and most potent value, our freedoms and our civil liberties. We concentrate almost all our efforts on the short-term struggle to prevent the next outrage, and almost none on the long-term task of winning the hearts and minds of moderate Islam."
While these comments reflect my own, as documented in numerous posts on thsi blog, I now think that they don't go far enough. They do not evince or begin to describe the evil nature of the actions undertaken by the US plutocracy and its technocratic machinery.

It's noteworthy that Empire Burlesque points to Ashdown's "moderate" political credentials. He juztaposes this with those with "critics of the Texas Twerp as wild-eyed radicals suffering from "Bush Derangement Syndrome." "

Perhaps my study of Bush as Rex Judas fits that bill. I have attempted to give the man every possible mitigating consideration. I held off expressing everything except mild skepticism when he decided to invade Iraq. I tried to believe that he might be right, that Hussein had WMD. But over the ensuing months, the travesty of that decision became and more apparent. And as it did, my own skepticism turned to irony as the human devastation visted on Iraq grew.

Perhaps I am an extremist in my views. I believe that those who support this war and this President intend imposing extremist forms of ethos and practices that will not build a better future for my children or anyone else's chiuldren except perhaps their own.

In opposing an illusion and a fraud, it is often important to take Martin Luther King's words seriously, when he says in his Letter from Birmingham Jail:
But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that an men are created equal ..." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we viii be. We we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime---the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jeans Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
The notion of being an extremist has its temptations. To remain wary of these is important. Yet staying clear-eyed about the true nature of evil is more important than worrying about what the herd might think or say. Read more!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Excursus: Original Sin and Politics

In response to the following comments by Dr. Sinthome@Larval Subjects,

All of this, of course, is a variant of the theory of original sin. There are certainly secular and theological variants of such a position. Social conservatives will often remind us that man fell as a result of pesky woman (personally I like it when women try to get me to do things I’m not supposed to do, but that’s me), and that for this reason it is sheer arrogance or pride (sin of sins!) to imagine that we could improve this world. Tend your garden, be devout, and wait for the next. Secular variants might make some appeal to human nature or innate biology as that which renders us intrinsically inimical to such arrangements. Nevermind what ethnography might show about alternative economies and social arrangements. “Nonsense!” screams the self-assured biosociologist. Of course, those bio- psychologists and sociologists never bother much with ethnography or anthropology– After all, humans are biologically identical regardless of when and where they live, demonstrating that human nature is the same in all possible universes.

The rhetorical dimension of these arguments are clear enough. By appealing to a fundamentally flawed nature, we bar any attempt to transform society a priori. All social transformation is necessarily doomed to failure and horror because humans are necessarily flawed and horrible. Often I’m inclined to agree. Between what I’ve heard from my patients– you do learn a thing or two about people in analysis –and what I’ve observed, we’re a pretty vile lot. Nonetheless, I am not convinced by claims that such social transformations are doomed to horror. I do, however, find myself wondering whether psychoanalytic political theory does not end up unwittingly repeating this narrative of human nature. Is not the psychoanalyst saying precisely the same thing when he claims that there’s an irreducible real, that there’s always the swerve of drive, that we’re always duped by the unconscious? As a result, is not psychoanalysis an inherently conservative ideology? The question isn’t rhetorical.
I wrote: As to your comments on original sin, drive, and the political: a Kierkegaardian religious understanding of this would suggest that you can’t have a free and just society until there’s equality. Given sinfulness, though, and human finitude, that is impossible. Only God has the ability to see each in an equal way, without socio-cultural accretions occluding one’s view.

On the other hand, through an awareness and continuing awareness of sinfulness and the attempt to stay on guard vis a vis that sinfulness, one can begin to follow the commandment to love neighbor and enemy. This only occurs, of course, when one realizes that given other circumstances and contingencies I would or could indeed be in the same situation as that other. Yet, it’s only with an awareness of something that provides a transcendent horizon, where nothing is ever final and ultimate in this life except death that I can find the motivation to realize the ethical and moral imperatives of that awareness.

Death is the horizon within which all things in some way gain a proper perspective. Kierkegaard doesn’t so much see death as a drive, as he does as a shirking of responsibility in one regard, an easy way out in another. This lines up with one aspect of despair, but only the passive despair that despairs of ever being oneself. Because we can’t be who we are, especially who we think we should be, then we want to die.

Westphal in his book on God, Guilt and Death, marshals Freud and Kierkegaard, throwing in Heidegger to boot, to examine the relationship between the transcendent desire to be who I am–eg, a good person, a fulfilled person–and the facing of death. In face of that, there’s a form of resentment that forms and humans begin to take out their resentment on themselves and others. Using this framework, Westphal analyzes Freud’s atheism in terms of his father’s sheepish responses to antisemitism.

Westphal has noted in another work that Kierkegaard’s political attitude begins from within the notion that all is questionable and nothing is absolute. He calls it Religiousness C, which is a form of ideology critique that takes to task any ideology that might set itself up as absolute and beyond question. At the same time, the motivation behind such critique is the awareness of sinfulness and that this brings with it an identification with the persecuted other.

Others have taken the Kierkegaardian insights in secular directions: early Marcuse, Heidegger, Sartre, Habermas, and Matustik. Most demythologize sinfulness and replace it with supposed secularized cognates. Matustik is the most consistent and most Kierkegaardian.

In her analysis of how Heidegger (mis)appropriated Kierkegaard, Patricia Huntington notes that Heidegger de-ethicizes Kierkegaard’s category of authenticity. He turns it into an ontological category, eschewing the ontic, and by doing so identifies the authentic self with an ethical substrate borne by culture and social institutions, as well as wayward ontologies. In doing this, Huntington, argues, Heidegger abstracts authentic being and thereby identifies coming to know myself as who i truly am with fate. In this regard, only some are born to be great and true selves, while others are minions of the great They.

Kierkegaard does not ontologize authenticity in this way, aware as he is that sinfulness is an individual event of personal history. The task of regaining a true self is never identified with that realm of historical sin which he recognizes as original sin and which, it seems, Heidegger inappropriately identified as a form of necessary historical unfolding.

I would suggest that the Xtian Right makes the same category mistake that Heidegger did. That is, they ontologize original sin, thereby making the problem of modernity a problem of ethos. Therefore, you want to change what’s wrong with America or the world, you must change the ethos. They do not follow, obviously, Heidegger’s route of destruktion, but instead do so via various strands of natural theology, whether Thomistic or Calvinist/Lutheran.


Unlike thinkers before or after him, Kierkegaard understood the compelling nature of thinking through problems about what it means to be a human being. He also understood the passion that is faith and how it can bring peace and understanding in a world where all values and traditions have become empty.

For Kierkegaard, sinfulness is a state in which we are prone or motivated to sin. This state psychological in the sense that sinfulness occurs when we relate ourselves to others and the world through thoughts, desires, and behavior. The way we desire something determines how we think about others and what we do in the world to accomplish those things that will bring us happiness.

In Christian theology, the main source of human unhappiness is original sin. According to this way of thinking, the reason we can't be happy is because we are prone to sin; this means that we ultimately short-circuit all those things that might bring us happiness. Supposedly, this goes back to the original man, Adam, and his mate Eve. When they ate of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, which God said not to do, they sinned and were kicked out of Eden, or Paradise.

It is this original sin that some theologians say stains our personalities from birth. We are born in original sin. We are genetically engineered, so to speak, to sin, according to this view. There's some type of psycho-genetic disposition hardwired into us to do evil.

Kierkegaard disagrees with this theological understanding of sin. The origins of sin begin and end with each person. We are not hardwired to do evil. We are, though, born into a world of sin. This is the result of sins by people that have accumulated over time and in history.

For Kierkegaard, the springboard for individual sin occurs when people are afraid to face and oppose this world of sin. The world as we know it conditions who we are. While genetics plays a large part in who we are, so does the influence of society, culture, family and so on. But there is something built into the human spirit that can see the deception and hypocrisy, the evil in the world. This is what Kierkegaard calls the Nothing.

The Nothing is where we see our freedom to be who we are. It is the "possibility of possibility." We see an infinite world of possibility and we are dizzied by the things we see and could be. The world, ourselves, and those around us change and become either larger or smaller in comparison to this great world that could either be or not be. That it will be--for us at least--depends on our letting it be in one way or another.

In crises such as adolescence and other significant stages in personal growth, we realize that we have the freedom to either accept or refuse to accept society's rules and customs. We are not predetermined in the whole-sale way that some scientists might say we are. We are not simply biological cyborgs with "wet computers" as brains.

We have the natural capacity to form a distance from our environments and societies. We do not need to be what society or family or friends say we have to be. Indeed, we can to a very large extent shape and mold the very material conditions that life has thrown our way. Biology and genetics are materials to be used in fashioning a self that exhibits independence and joy.

But there is an inherent anxiety that accompanies this process. It's a risky endeavor fashioning a self from nothing. It takes courage and hard work. It takes standing up to people whom you love and respect and perhaps telling them that their way of looking at the world is either not your way or perhaps even wrong.

This creates anxiety, because people find support and safety in the rules and restrictions imposed by their societies. But by not thinking about whether these rules and customs are right or wrong, I simply join the crowd like everyone else. I do not form any relationship to the world except one that everyone else agrees with. They are not mine. Potentially I can wander aimlessly through life, never facing life's problems honestly and authentically. Life's problem is no problem as I let what others think provide the answers.

For Kierkegaard, this is an abuse of the freedom we have to choose responsibly. This type of choice is important, because if I don't do this then I am not acting ethically; I am not using the freedom to be who I am responsibly. In doing this, I also cannot be the type of human being who knows what it means to live as an individual. I only know how to live in a crowd. But crowds are notoriously amoral entities.

An ethical and moral environment is one wherein people associate with each other as individuals. For it is only as individuals who have understood themselves separately from the sinful world that they can come together to address the injustices created by that sinfulness.

The demonic arises when you reject the freedom to act in a free and responsible way, ethically, to the situations that life throws your way. The freedom to choose makes you anxious because there are no textbook answers to the way that you should respond to events. There's no recipe book on how to act ethically. If you have not cultivated the individual awareness that not only are you motivated at times by self-deceit and unconscious desires and motives, you will take the easy way out and run away from the problem.

This outlandish, if not absurd, claim comes in Kierkegaard's book on original sin, sinfulness, and the demonic. The work is a psychological look at how people gain an awareness of themselves as individuals. In doing so, they must face their freedom to be who and what they are.

As I have argued (following Kierkegaard) a main form of despair is the person who is aware they have an eternal side to them but who want to reject it and instead make something out of themselves that spites God. This person is in defiance against God because they are not happy with their place in life or with their

The reason that many who make the argument for the President's courage and going against public opinion sometimes invoke Kierkegaard's name is because he seems to assert something of the same kind. That is, the individual, one who really believes in what they are doing because they know it is right and true, will do everything in their power to accomplish that. Yet, as Kierkegaard noted, it is only within the confines of religious belief and the relationship that someone has with God that this view makes sense.

Following what either others tell you to do or giving in to self-deceit. The Christian way of life, according to Kierkegaard, is to recognize this sinful disposition and to inculcate a way of encountering the world that is ethical because responsible. Responsible because self-critical, self-critical because I have identified the freedom that comes from critical awareness of the socio-cultural norms that breed injustices and inequality.

Back to Index Read more!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Texas George Rex Judas (4c)

I ended the preceding section on the idea that humans do not act in a vacuum; that all human actions and self-understandings are done in terms of social conventions and structures that have determined us from the time we come from the womb. The Great Man theory, however--one supported by Pres. Bush and his followers--supposes that we do indeed act as separate entities, as though our individualness is somehow isolatable from a socio-cultural environment.

I have argued that not only is this impossible but that it is dishonest and can lead in some instances to a form anti-ethical action that Kierkegaard describes as "demonic." The problem with most theories of individualism is that they isolate some essence that seems to be private and independent of others. Kierkegaard is sometimes interpreted this way, as I noted above. But what Kierkegaard discusses is not an isolated individual essence but rather a psychological state that critically assesses the values and customs of any socio-cultural matrix.

There is nothing like a soul or ineffable substance that does this. Instead, we as psycho-biological entities develop the capacity to critically understand our environments in a way that shows both inter-dependence and independence. As this shows, my own independence comes from interdependence just as my interdependence relies on my independence.

The soul is one aspect of the duality that we as bodied entities are. When I formulate who I am in terms of possibility and necessity, imagination and genetics, I take an attitude towards these two poles of my (past and future) history. This way of seeing or understanding the world is a third element whose nature is neither body nor soul. Its existence exists to evaluate how the two other elements interact and how one balances them. It does so by way of various actions and linguistic formulations that bring cognitive awareness as much as they do behavioral alignment. That is, through a process of formulating in words what it is I want to be and how I will accomplish that, I undertake to do what it is that I have formulated linguistically.

This way of putting the situation is obviously inadequate. It only gives a simplistic skeletal description of the way that we as humans act and think. Yet it points up several important dimensions for understanding what the nature of the Bush "revolution" is about. That is, these considerations show that like Genet and others, Bush et al. attempt to define their missions and actions in terms of isolated entities whose overall perspective is destructive of community.

This is so, because individuals are not isolated in this way, and when they act as though they are, they become ghosts and wraiths of real selves. Consequently, any society built around such actions and understandings will eat at the very foundations of any viable community.

Kierkegaard tries to outline a mode of facing life with courage and self-knowledge that short-circuits the this demonic way of seeing or understanding life means. As I noted in the previous section, one way of denying one's responsibility that Kierkegaard was keen on combating is to put the onus of responsible choice onto history.

This means that I say that I had no choice, that history and circumstances forced me to do such and such. This type of rationalization will go so far as to say that the choices I make are somehow substantiated by history to be; that history will somehow bear me out, that I will be vindicated by historical events.

In this context, Kierkegaard pointed to the politician who appeals to history to defend his or her decision. Kierkegaard writes:

When a headstrong person is battling with his contemporaries and endures it all but also shouts, "posterity, history will surely make manifest that Is poke the truth, then people believe that he is inspired. Alas, no, he just a bit smarter than the utterly obtuse people. he does not choose money and the prettiest girl or the like; he chooses world-historical importance--yes, he knows very well what he is choosing. But in relation to God and the ethical, he is a deceitful lover; he is also one of those for whom Judas became a guide (Acts 1:16)--he, too, is selling his relationship with God, though not for money. And although he perhaps reforms an entire age through his zeal and teaching, he confounds pro virili [to the very extent of his powers], because his own form of existence is not adequate to his teaching, because by excepting himself he establishes a teleology that renders existence meaningless. (Kierkegaard, Postscript, trns. Hong, pp 136-137)
It is this notion that one is only responsible to some abstraction like "history" that displays Bush's ultimate Judas self-perception. The impending chaos and meaninglessness of human life implied in such statements and view have become apparent, I think, in the destruction and human suffering currently visited upon Iraq by this man's actions. But these considerations--in the light of Kierkegaard's comment call for further analysis, which I take up in the next section.

Back to Index Read more!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Texas George Rex Judas (Table of Contents)

This provides a serialized listing of the posts on Texas George Rex Youda.

Index of Postings on Texas George Rex Judas

These postings explore not only the phenomenon that is George Bush the man but also the state of mind of those who might identify with him and his theocratic agenda. While the postings are heavy in irony and humor, they do so from a viewpoint that strives to invest malaise with significance, chaos with a structure that does not violate its integrity.

There's a lot of Kierkegaardian background to this analysis. I have tried to keep the jargon to a minimum. Yet, the background noise of so much of modern life requires a reworking and attunnement to things that one might otherwise miss. Kierkegaard is a good dissolvent for what I once heard someone call "cognitive dissonance."

Just as a side-note: It's interesting how a person can become a phenomenon. Bush as a person is probably a minuscule thing. As President, he becomes an amorphous thing that can be pulled and tugged into all kinds of silly-putty configurations (consider 1 and 2). For example, at Pat Lang's blog, I gave the following analysis:
One of my favorite scenes in Lawrence of Arabia is when the commanding field surgeon enters the Damascus "hospital" housing dead and dying Turks. The conditions are so horrendous he berates 'awrence, shouting at him "Outrageous! Outrageous." Then the nurses and others move in to clean up the crap and mess left by 'awrence's nostalgic trip to being Alexander.

I just wish Petraeus and others (perhaps even a Senator or 2) would act in this way towards the crap-house Bush has created in Iraq. While I admire a guy like Petraeus who's willing to clean out the latrines as part of his duty, I am hoping that at the same time he's pointing out to Der Deciderer what a real f*-up he is.

Following on the attempt to psychoanalyze Bush in a previous post, I'd note that Narcissism from a Freudian analysis occurs at the same time as potty training. The Narcissist is pathologically fascinated by his/her own bodily functions and by-products. In a strange way, they see it as somehow themselves. (Need I mention the rumored predilection of Bush for flatulence jokes?)

One wonders how much Mama Bush changed baby Bush's nappies. As he went along in life Der Deciderer could certainly count on Mama and Papa Bush to clean up his messes. Then he met up with Rove, another person willing to clean up the mess--or at least smear it in ways that made Der Deciderer look like he was a prom queen and not Carrie.

Anyway, part of the message to Bush and others are things that Petraeus and Gates have left out of their quantitative analysis of Res-Iraq: over 2 million refugees; the lie that is falling body count; the ethnic cleansing.

And yes, the fact that nature indeed does hate a vacuum, and the vacuum of Iraq is sucking in all the ill-winds that the modern nation-state and colonialism tried to bottle up.
And who's the REAL Bush? That is indeed the question. Why it matters should really only be of importance to himself. That it concerns all of us at this time is unfortunate. As I say, the meat of these postings is not so much an attempt to get at the real George Bush as it is to identify a state of mind that afflicts many more than Bush himself. The scary thought, of course, is that might not be a REAL George Bush.

Update: I Cite points to an article at truthout that captures the tenor of the betrayal discussed in this series of posts. While the writer seems shaken by an impending sense of catastrophe, I think that he's on to something that must be stated much more clearly I suggest below that what has taken place is a betrayal of the very principles that make community possible. This can be seen as a form of soft fascism, as Richard Sennett sees it; but it is something more fundamental at work, something that ranges from seemingly innocuous things like more mistrust among people towards strangers to a cynical manipulation of public perception via distorted news stories about what's really happening.

William Rivers Pitt writes:
The joke: people say Bush and his people want to raze the core nature of the country itself by wrecking the Constitution, and they're correct. People say Bush and his people are enriching their friends beyond dreams of avarice at our actual expense, by way of war-inflated oil prices; war-captured Iraqi oil infrastructure; the orgiastic plunder of Treasury money through calamitously unsound tax cuts for Bush's pals; and through an Iraq war profiteering scam so unutterably corrupt that it bends the very light. That, and more besides, is what people say, and they're correct.

But all that, along with everything else the Bush crew has done, just isn't enough for them. What Bush and his people really seek, at bottom, is to destroy the basic definition and literal existence of reality itself. They want to destroy reality, rebuild it according to their own blueprint, so the sum and substance of this new reality will accept as axiomatic the idea that lying, stealing and wholesale carnage are badges of integrity and moral clarity. In other words, our comprehensively understood reality today would be replaced by whatever madcap anti-reality currently exists within the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
JDean at I Cite adds her very academic and perhaps over-intellectualized take on what Pitt is talking about. I try to take a more pragmatic approach, using concepts and language that still hold meaning for people, though that meaning itself may be indefinable. By providing ana analysis using this mythology one can perhaps gain an insight into phenomea that are profpund just because they are so obvious. Obvious and yet insidious because they threaten unravel a social fabric and pit people against each other in fratricidal warfare.

Update: (via Born @ the Crest of the Empire) -- From AP
Just over half of the white evangelicals who attend church at least weekly said the war was the right decision and the extra troops were helping, while about four in 10 said the war is a success — well more than Catholics and Protestants measured in the survey.

Slight majorities of conservatives saw success in Iraq, a troop increase that is working and a war that was the right choice, a third of them or more answered each question negatively.

Related Links Read more!