What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: soldiersmediacenter
It looks like I am not the only one who decided to spring an April Fool’s joke on others a few days ago. John McCain and a few Congressional cohorts decided to jump in on the chicanery.
From the New York Times:
A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.
“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”
What type of security “precautions” were taken, you might ask? The article continues:
The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.
“They paralyzed the market when they came,” Mr. Faiyad said during an interview in his shop on Monday. “This was only for the media.”
Mr. Faiyad’s assessment is far more accurate than perhaps he is aware. This blatant falsification of events is further evidenced by a comment made by one of the cohorts, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who remarked that the marketplace they were visiting was “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime”.
I’ve never been to Indiana myself, but I highly doubt that their marketplaces feature such militaristic protection and intervention.
McCain’s commentary? “Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today.” Well, duh. It’s not every day that one is escorted by such an array of firepower.
Who elects these type of people, anyways?
Glenn Greenwald’s post on the subject (which I highly recommend reading in its entirety) makes note of Pence and others like him who continue to lie and mislead in order to achieve political objectives completely antithetical to what Americans at large agree upon.
These Surge cheerleaders — the ones assuring us that things are finally now working and that we are compelled to let it work — are the same exact people who have been telling Americans ever since the invasion began that things are going great, that we are winning, that claims to the contrary are simply the inventions of the lying, America-hating media, that they strolled through markets in Basra and met with grateful Iraqis in Baghdad who kissed their hands and assured them that everything was so, so very great now that Americans are Winning.
They have repeatedly proven themselves to be the most craven and dishonest propagandists, people completely unburdened by reality and truth. Virtually everything they have said about Iraq over the four years of our occupation (never mind prior to it) has been blatantly and knowingly false — just look at what Pence has been saying. And this behavior has been as destructive as it is morally deranged — we stayed in Iraq, continuing on our disastrous course, and even re-elected the War President precisely because the Mike Pence’s constantly lied to the country by insisting that we were winning, that reports of violence and chaos were media lies, and that Glorious Victory was just around the corner.
And they’re still doing exactly the same thing, while continuing to reside in the core of our country’s political power, treated as though they are respectable and credible figures. Even though it’s not some new realization, it is nonetheless just staggering every time one goes and looks at their actual history — what they have done and said — and ingests the extent to which our government is run by such blatantly dishonest and amoral buffoons exactly like Mike Pence. And they continue to get quoted on the front page of The Washington Post as someone whose assessment of the Great Progress in Iraq is worth hearing.
I’m still waiting for Congressmen McCain and Pence to produce a pithy press release announcing that the whole thing was one big April Fool’s ruse.
As John McManus concludes,
None of the Baghdad merchants knew that in America, April 1st is the day when Americans play jokes on each other. Had any been aware of that traditional practice, they might have figured out that they had been made unwilling victims of a disgustingly sick joke.
Disgustingly sick is a gentle way of putting it.