Thursday, September 04, 2008
Grace Nearing links to Arthur Silber, a respected and sincere political blogger who, like the rest of us, eschews print and money and pursues this labor of love strictly on the internets, that mysterious and arcane series of tubes which puzzles Republican employees such as Ted Stevens and John McCain.
Arthur Silber, who writes passionately and eloquently, seems to have sunk into despair, and claims that both John McCain and Barack Obama are war criminals, McCain because he took an active part in launching the Iraq War; Obama because he is unwilling to assent to the steps necessary to put an end to it. Obama, Silber correctly perceives, is too busy accommodating himself to "political realities" to think about, say, impeachment.
Silber pointedly quotes Principle VII from the Principles of the Nuremburg Tribunal: "Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law." And Principle VI makes clear that an unprovoked attack, such as the one launched against Iraq by the U.S. in 2003, is just such a crime.
Then he quotes Barack Obama: "I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction. We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus."
Silber concludes, "We have witnessed an ongoing series of monstrous war crimes, a genocide, countless lives destroyed forever -- but to hold even one person responsible would be to engage in 'a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus.' In his speech tonight (the night he accepted his party's nomination), Barack Obama said not a word about holding anyone responsible for these crimes. But as noted above, how could he? He would have to hold himself responsible, too."
Yeah, well, you know the rules, Arthur. And the rules for Inner Party members state that you can say anything you want, and "view with alarm" the administration's "irresponsible" conduct of the war, whichever war it is the Empire is engaged in at the moment, but don't you dare take any concrete steps that might challenge the policy of permanent war.
Any Inner Party member who does that will be disappeared out of the Inner Party faster than you can say "Empire of the Pentagon, Inc."
Maybe I'm too old or maybe too jaded, but my first impulse is to write to Silber and ask, "So what else is new?" Maybe it's because I'm experiencing personal despair at the moment and don't have time or energy left to despair over the sorrows of empire. But I would like to say to Arthur, "Take it easy, man, and don't take it to heart so much. It's nothing new if you were around for Vietnam (and I was), and anyway, it was foretold by the prophet."
Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, Sarah Palin -- two of them are long-time Inner-Party old hands, and two have just recently broken into that charmed circle. But all are functionaries of the Inner Party, which has conveniently been divided into halves so the Outer Party functionaries and the proles can pretend there's a contest, sort of like a horse race. And we call them Chief Justice So-and-So, or President Thisandthat, or Senator What'shisface, but maybe we should just call them what they are -- employees -- and leave it at that.
What Arthur Silber fails to understand is that none of these employees is responsible for this war. Employee Bush was victimized by bad intelligence. Employee McCain was likewise proceeding on the basis of faulty information. Employee Obama disdains a "tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, non-stop circus." Nobody causes war in the Empire of the Pentagon; war happens. Arthur, 99-point-five percent of your fellow citizens understand this; why can't you?
Orwell wrote: "Even the humblest party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war."
Nobody's responsible. No human power can deal with these problems, because they are not the result of human activity. Some of us have known since the late sixties that what we're dealing with here is a machine, and it's totally out of control.
Members of the Inner Party like to pretend they have control of it. In fact, they actually believe they have control of it. At the same time, they're acutely aware of the fact that they exert no influence over it whatsoever. Orwell called this "doublethink."