Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

Time to bang my Harper's drum again. The newest editions are in mailboxes now (but not, I think, on newsstands), and so this is a sneak peek into Lewis Lapham's latest cracking good essay:

"The first week of the invasion proved every assertion false. In place of Hitler or Stalin, the American armies found the remnants of a dictator more accurately compared to a psychotic prison warden, a brutal but almost comic figure, so enslaved to the dream of his omnipotence that he apparently had trusted the defense of his kingdom to histrionic press releases and gigantic portraits of himself armed with a shotgun and a porkpie hat.

"No Iraqi shock troops appeared in the field against the American infantry divisions; no Iraqi aircraft presumed to leave the ground; no allied combat unit met with, much less knew where to find, the fabled weapons of mass destruction. The desultory shows of resistance at the river crossings constituted ragged skirmish lines of young men for the most part barefoot and lightly armed, so many of them out of uniform that it wasn’t worth the trouble to distinguish between the civilian and the military dead.

"The weakness of the Iraqi target made ridiculous Washington’s propaganda poster of Saddam as the second coming of Adolf Hitler, and the useful lesson to be learned presented itself on April Fool’s Day. Here was the American army in the sinister landscape of Iraq, equipped to fight the Battle of Normandy or El-Alamein but conducting a police action in the manner of Israeli assassination teams hunting down Palestinian terrorists in the rubble of the Gaza Strip. Would it be possible to hide in plain sight the false pretext of Operation Iraqi Freedom? The Bush Administration answered the question with its customary mendacious aplomb, simply by changing the mission statement. The American army had not come to Iraq to remove the totalitarian menace threatening all of Western civilization--absolutely not; the American army had come briefly eastward out of Eden to “liberate” the long-suffering Iraqi people from the misery inflicted upon them by and evil-doer with the habit of cutting out tongues. One excuse for war as good as any other."

That's merely the section on "The moral splendor of American empire can be made to stand on a pedestal of lies." Additional gems can be found in "The American news media can be relied upon to sell the spectacle and leave the story to the government" and "Package the imperialist agenda as instructive entertainment, and the American public will come to know and love the product."

It's not online, but well worth the buck you'll spend each month if you get a subscription.

posted by Jeff | 1:03 PM |
Blogroll and Links