by Mike Booth
What If We Got It All Backwards?
The most illustrious, most powerful men and women of the U.S. political classes have always been fond of telling us who the Bad Guys were. According to them we’re surrounded by them, have been for a long time. In the 50’s and 60’s it was the Russians. Remember them? They had recently contributed 20 million dead to help us win the Second World War, but we immediately felt we had to be their enemies. Churchill, who was miffed for being sidelined by Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, actually advocated “neutralizing” the Russians as soon as the war was over.
The Russian Communists were our pretext for a lot of vile and truculent shenanigans in the name of national security: the cold war, the McCarthy witch hunt, the nuclear arms race, and the tragic destruction of a minuscule South Asian country which was about to push over the first piece in a series of deadly “dominoes” which would take the Red Menace to the American heartland via the port of San Francisco. The Russians were such handy fall guys that now they’re being recycled. Surrounded in Europe by newly-fabricated NATO members armed with American “anti-missile missiles” they are once again at the top of the Bad Guys list. They’re even guilty of meddling in American elections (talk about the frying pan calling the kettle black!), though nobody has produced any actual evidence to that effect.
It’s clear to us now that all of these allegations were either false or grossly overstated. Never mind, they became part of American popular mythology and served to take our eye off the ball. In the fifties, while patriotic Americans were busy digging shelters in the backyard against imminent atomic attacks, our own politicians, in league with our testosterone-rich and endlessly greedy military-industrial complex—were pursuing their deadly agenda of corruption and coercion all around the world. (See John Perkins‘s cogent, fact-filled books on the subject.)
One of the goals of this blog is to tell you a lot of shocking things about your beloved country and its most illustrious people, things that you should have noticed on your own. We’ve been waiting what seems like forever for you to do that. But since you haven’t, we’re going to set them down here, as succinctly and plainly as we can.
At first these commentaries will seem impertinent. But we hope you’ll hang on long enough to understand our point of view. It’s not complicated. Almost nothing is as complicated as they would have you believe. “They” are your country’s most illustrious and powerful leaders and their big industrial and institutional handlers. They have to keep things complicated so as to keep their citizens confused. They need them confused because it’s midst the smoke and mirrors of confusion where they can best peddle the profitable lies which are their stock in trade.
Perhaps you thought that the most profitable products your country produced were arms and oil. These are certainly money spinners, but not nearly so much as the product flogged by your most illustrious people: lies in all their many guises:
- Big Lies (The United States is a beacon of justice and democracy in a dangerous and depraved world…)
- Little lies (Santa Claus is a jolly and benevolent old gentleman who loves children and lives at the North Pole surrounded by celibate dwarves…)
- Half-Truths (We’re surrounded by enemies… True enough, but most of those enemies we made ourselves by being greedy, unfair and heavy-handed.)
- Innuendo (As he’s a socialist he must want to bring down the United States…)
- Rumors (Barak Obama was born at the North Pole…)
- Non-Sequiturs (New York and Washington have just been attacked by Saudi terrorists; let’s invade Iraq…)
- Inversions (War is peace; permanent war is permanent peace…)
- Resounding Irrelevancies (All news of the intricacies and activities of the orifices of mindless boys and girls who appear in magazines sold in supermarkets…)
This list of lies is not definitive. You can invent some more categories if you like. It’s fun and easy. Look:
- Theological lies (Jesus will heal you if you put some money in an envelope and send it to me…)
- Military lies (Just give us 30,000 more high-tech troops and we will defeat those little brown peasants and their lousy old AK-47’s…)
- Financial-sector lies (Our bank will give you a guaranteed 11.5% interest for investments over half a million dollars…)
- Election-campaign lies (We will save the country by lowering taxes for the rich…)
- More election-campaign lies (We will save the country by raising taxes…)
- Sweet, intimate little lies (Trust me…)
- Big hairy political lies (Trust me…)
- Faith-based lies (God is on our side…)
- Utterly ridiculous lies (Anything beginning with “When I am elected…”)
While the American government and mass media were spinning that dense smokescreen of mendacity the malevolent Pentagon dwarves were busily reducing country after country around the world to ashes and cadavers. Anywhere they detected an opportunity for profit or position they would brandish some grotesque excuse or another to intervene. They were fighting against “arms of mass destruction,” “communism,” “dictatorships” (as if they weren’t themselves masters of mounting dictatorships on a whim), or “strategic threats.” The best pretext takes surrealism to its outer limits: They were “exporting democracy.”
To sum up, once they can get you to believe their lies they can get you to believe anything. Once they get you believing a lot of poppycock, they will soon have you under their control. Abraham Lincoln said, “You can deceive some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t deceive all the people all the time.” That is certainly true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. Lincoln forgot the most important question: Can you deceive enough of the people enough of the time to control their lives and thoughts and ultimately the fate of the nation? The answer to that question, as we have seen over the past century and a half since Lincoln’s time–and particularly in the past 50 years–is a resounding yes.
So, who are the bad guys?