So who will prevail? The overwhelming majority of the people now alive on earth, or George W. Bush?
Ken Lay’s creature, the man who was reading "Thomas the Tank Engine" when the first plane hit the World Trade Towers, stands with his finger on the nuke-yuler button. He is accompanied in his lonely madness by Bill Clinton’s creature, Tony Blair.
Standing next to each other, Bush and Blair look like a weirdly-morphed version of the twin writers played by Nicholas Cage in the film Adaptation. (One of the twins is bright and articulate, one is a successful idiot, and both end up lost in a swamp, up to their butts in alligators.)
Aligned against these protagonists, but powerless to stop them, we find France, Russia, Germany, China, the entire populations of both Old and New Europe, and the rest of the world’s people, from the pope on down.
In a bizarre, meandering sub-plot we find Nancy Pelosi and most of the Democrats, desperate to define themselves as "united behind our troops." (As opposed to defining themselves as united with the millions marching in the streets around the world.)
Ask yourself this: what are the odds of George W. "Is Our Children Learning" Bush being right, even accidentally, on anything, when virtually the whole planet disagrees with him? Would he have been proved "right" if he had managed to kill Saddam with his first wild Tomahawk?
It would be the height of naivete to wonder whether Bush and Blair ever ask themselves whether they can be right and the whole world wrong. They could care less what the world thinks. For them, public opinion is something to be defied when it cannot be manipulated. When it cannot be manipulated, that is merely a sign that "democracy" has "failed," as in the Turkish parliament.
To people like Bush and Blair, democracy "fails" if it works — i.e., if it somehow manages to reflect the will of the people. As the character played by Michael Caine explains in The Quiet American, the trouble with democracy is that you let the people vote and they elect Ho Chi Minh.
Now Bush and Blair propose to bring democracy to Iraq. Never has anything been so transparent to so many. People with no political sophistication whatever can see right through what is going on.
As a result, people everywhere are feeling indescribably frustrated and powerless. They understand exactly what is going on. They have tried every known peaceable means to stop this bone-crushing juggernaut and nothing has worked. Millions of people in the street, the United Nations, the leaders of the world’s most important countries, all have been powerless to stop Bush.
The more agitated people feel, the more ready they are to resort to desperate measures, the more surrealistic the coverage by the corporate media.
As I write these words, thousands of people are protesting in Portland, Oregon, where I live. Police are clubbing and tear-gassing some of them. Local television is describing the situation as primarily a problem for rush-hour commuters. One channel is using an ex-policeman in a helicopter for "expert commentary."
Watching the news these days, no matter what channel, is like listening to the earnest declarations of druggies. The only difference is whether they are on a bad trip or a good one. Some of them are angry and belligerent. The rest of them are visibly relieved when they get through the hard news (with all the hard words and unpronounceable foreign names) and work their way down to the "human interest" stories they are more comfortable with. Anyone with a reputation for actually reporting facts is kept as far from the action as possible.
Most of the anchors seem to have just arrived from the set of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They talk as though they actually believe they are describing nothing more than a struggle between good and evil, a battle between a "coalition of the willing" and "world-wide terrorism."
They appear to have no idea they are really describing a struggle between George W. Bush (together with everything he represents) and the people of earth.
If you can’t follow the money, follow the spotlight. Watch how the target moves. At first the enemy was Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar (remember him, anybody?). Then the enemy was Saddam. Now the enemy seems to be France or even the Dixie Chicks, anyone who grabs a microphone and vocally opposes the Will of Bush.
Count on it: Even if Saddam is killed and Osama captured in the same news cycle, not much will really change.
Even people who, long long ago, used to be naïve enough to believe that things would change if we could swap Bush for Blair can see that now.
Nothing will change until we change it.
DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a sneak peek at Vest’s new CD of scorching blues and rock ‘n roll, Way Down Here, visit: http://www.rebelangel.com
Peacekeepers at Ground Zero
The Morning After Shock and Awe
US Bombs Iran
How to Live with a Rogue Superpower
Iraq and the Death of the West
Earth vs. Bush
The Liberation of Iraq in Perspective
We Bomb, They Suffer
Website of the War
Iraq Body Count
Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Today Online!