Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Crooked cobwebs of mental moonshine

Jose says [comment on previous post ‘Hear, Hear!’]: “It's hard for me to understand how it is possible that man having been able to land on the moon isn't able to seek the terrorist heads out and do away with the problem?”

This mystifies me, too. With all the stupendous surveillance technology at our disposal, why are we – the West – unable to pinpoint and eliminate our ideological enemies?

It is now 5½ years since the Twin Towers outrage of 9/11. Yet Osama bin Laden and his leading henchmen have still not been apprehended, and their whereabouts are apparently unknown to US and British intelligence.

Frankly, I find this quite incomprehensible, and indeed unbelievable. I vividly remember the somewhat ludicrous spectacle of President Bush – when he had regained his speech after being struck dumb while reading ‘My Pet Goat’ – donning his metaphorical Stetson, cocking his best six-shooter wild west rhetoric, and histrionically proclaiming that “They can run, but they can’t hide. We’ll smoke ‘em out, track ‘em down, cut off their financial bases” – or words to that effect.

And has any of this happened? Not a smidgeon. Despite all the space satellite technology, the lavish international on-the-ground intelligence resources, the boasted “pinpoint weaponry” – which in action on the ground in Iraq seems as scatter-prone as an 18th century blunderbuss – bin Laden and Co. remain unearthed from their presumably quite comfortable, if not luxurious, hideaways “somewhere on the Pakistan/Afghan border” [why is this assumed? Aren’t they more likely to be hiding out in Riyadh, Cairo or Brick Lane?] and reputed to be richer than ever.

I find this extremely odd. And not only odd – positively sinister. For what have we – the US and UK citizenry – been landed with as a consequence? The absurdly mis-named ‘war on terror’, with all its paraphernalia of illegal, mismanaged and futile foreign wars, repulsive obscenities such as what Naomi Wolf accurately dubs “Bush’s gulag” at Guantanamo Bay, constantly drummed-up fears of domestic acts of terrorism – which on the few occasions when they do occur appear to be the work of a handful of deranged and inadequate misfits – and the wholesale binning of our centuries-old civil liberties so cherished and hard-fought for by previous generations [including mine who grew up through World War Two] but seemingly meaningless to the young people of the Bush/Blair years, obsessed as they are with cosy consumerism and unnecessarily elaborate fancy gadgets such as i-pods.

Those of us who are appalled by the unconscionable and incompetent behaviour of our rulers in defence of what they choose to term our “free” way of life can grumble away as much as we like on the internet – for now, anyway: I wonder whether we shall be allowed that old-fashioned luxury for very much longer, the way things are going? [See Naomi Wolf again.] But in political terms, our complaints fall on deaf ears. In Britain, mainstream politics has been in the doldrums since our Dear Leader turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to over a million people marching against the illegal invasion of Iraq and his rentamob of spineless “New Labour” MPs failed to call him to account for his contempt of the people’s loudly articulated will. From then on, a sense of electoral impotence has grown, first as a feeling of resigned helplessness, then sullen acquiescence, and now dangerously verging on futile despair. This feeling of impotence is a big component, in my view, of the pervasive depression that is nowadays so widespread.

When will the tide turn? A new politics of mass protest and active democracy is overdue in both Britain and the United States, if we in the West are to regain our political health and spiritual integrity as the standard bearers of true freedom and moral front-runners for humanity in this so far nightmarish century.


trousers said...

When will the tide turn? This is the big question for me. Will it take more stripping away of people's liberties? How far will people be pushed before they feel that passivity is no longer an option?

The only certainty in my mind is that its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. More voices are audibly singing from the same hymn sheet as yours anticant (sorry for the awkward metaphor!), but my feeling is that it will take time (and more provocation, curtailments and the like) before the tide begins to turn.

Ok what I'm saying isn't exactly rocket science, but there you go.

anticant said...

Not MUCH worse, I hope, trousers - political tides can turn quite quickly, and I'm heartened by what's now happening in America. I think there's a growing chance they may impeach Cheney, and make life very uncomfortable for Bush before his term ends.

As for here, a lot depends upon people waking up from the multiculturalist fantasy, and realising that some situations ARE better than others, whatever the mindlessly relativist 'postmodernists' say. Tolerance versus intolerance, for instance. Principled tolerance does not tolerate intolerance, and people who wish to live here need to understand that and adjust themselves accordingly.

This governement, of course, is scared to tell them that. Instead, they blather on about all these dreadful terrorist threats.

ranger said...

Thought provoking posts Anti.

Of course the "war on terror" and "hunt" for elusive "cells of anarchists" (this is the term Bush used last night on Charlie Rose to describe Al Qaeda and others) is a front or cover for the neo-cons to shroud their true objectives - global dominance, reining in of civil liberties and total control of the world's natural resources.
Their is no actual 'war on terror' any more than there is a 'war on drugs' it is an abstract to distract.

As you offered in an earlier post.. our freedoms and rights
/are/ secure, secure as they've ever been. They cannot be taken away from us by some radical religious fanatics running around in caves on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan or even in the royal halls of Riyadh and government buildings in Cairo. These freedoms cannot be taken from us by the neo-con administrations of Bush and Blair.
They will by lost on our own account, WE will give them away. WE are giving them away right now.

It took at least 10 years for the United States and the world to stand up united against Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon's secret war agendas and abuses of power. It took a draft and the unwilling sacrifice of the 'best and brightest', it took our a government's gestapo style tactics against its own citizens, e.g. Kent State-Ohio and police riots at anti-war demonstrations, and it took blatant political deception, political assassinations and the uncovering of criminal activities of the President of the United States to awaken and change the flow of public consciousness. We're just not there yet, or maybe we are, perhaps we've past all this already, but are too dim or drunk on materialism and consumerism to realize it.

Where are all those goddamned activists of the 50's, 60's and 70's that I've heard so much about? Did they curl up and die when they lost Clinton/Gore to the neo-cons? They're sure as hell not doing a very good job in Congress. Kerry and Pelosi can kiss my ass. They aren't speaking for me, that's for sure. Were those enlightened hippies just posing activists stoned on too much good weed? My generation needs them now more than ever to encourage us to demonstrate and inspire us to change the system as they once did, or at least tried so hard to do.

The situation is dire at the moment, but is it more dire than than at the end of the 60's? I think unequivocally, it is. The Hawk's agenda went underground when Carter was elected and it has resurfaced today with a smarter face, one that is able to cloak its true agenda behind secretive policies and a ghost war of delusions and lies. If we as a society don't quickly snap out of the apathy and acquiescence that you speak of in your two latest posts the democratic work and goodwill of the last three hundred years will be lost and forgotten in the blink of an eye.

The pendulum cannot swing the other way soon enough.

anticant said...

Have you read Orwell's "1984", ranger? It's all predicted there - and he wrote it almost 60 years ago. A remarkable man.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Have you read Orwell's "Statement on 1984' (June 1949), written after the book was published in the States (the American media chose to misunderstood the whole meaning of his last work - and this caused him much distress).

Orwell died 7 month later, aged 46.

A remarkable book and, indeed, a remarkable man.

ranger said...

You know Anti, embarrassingly enough, I have not read the magnum opus ( is it that obvious in my rantings? ) yet, in its entirety, only bits at different times..
Ironically, I downloaded it last week to my computer and it is sitting there waiting ,in line, to be read. It is one of those books that I've always wanted to read, and heard so much about.
Now is the time.

anticant said...

Yes, now's the time. ranger! If you haven't read any Orwell before, you will find that he is a master of English prose and a delight to read, even when you don't agree with him. I hope "1984" will lead you on to some of his classic essays and other books. He was, of course, bitterly anti-Stalinist - hence "Animal Farm" and "1984" - because of his first-hand experience of Communist duplicity at the Spanish Civil War front line.

Reverting to neoCons, Blairites, and their ilk, we must keep in mind that they are not all sinister Macchiavellian plotters, deliberately working to stifle democracy. Many of them - and most of their rank and file followers - honestly believe in their fantasy world and the ubiquitous terrorist threat. They remind me of "The Goon Show" - which, alas, you won't remember. One of the characters was a nervous old lady, Minnie Crun, who was always saying in a quavering voice "We shall all be murdered in our beds".

Sheer cowardice and ignorance is at a bottom of a lot of neoCon support and, as Emmett says, STUPIDITY.

Jose said...

I've been very busy these two last days, and haven't been able to read carefully your last two posts, Anticant. At first sight they seem worthy of a deep consideration, as happens with all your written thoughts.

Will come back later in the day or tomorrow, God willing.

Jose said...

I'm afraid those Neo Cons in America and the Neo Labour in Britain and the Neo whatever in Europe are playing the tune convenient to the old premises stated by Leo Strauss, the Jewish-American philosopher of the Noble Lie, the politics of deception.

Using prerogatives imperative when national security is at risk a government peeps into the privacy of its citizens Big Brother-like.

A way to keep citizens in the "fold", in sum a dictatorship in its purest style.

Richard W. Symonds said...

So what about Pelosi's decision tonight ?

Jose said...

I haven't see it yet, Richard.