Fool Me Twice

Photograph Source: Mark Taylor – CC BY 2.0

Yogi Berra experienced “deja vu, all over again”. Marx revised Hegel, saying history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. Bush the Lesser, riffing on who to blame for being fooled, got lost in his trope. Now unctuous, obtuse Pompeo is selling war on Iran, bringing all three to mind.

You’d heard the one about the Gulf of Tonkin LBJ pitched?  And the one about Iraqi WMD Step’nfetchit Powell sold, ominously shaking a vial of foot powder?  And Obama’s somber rap about “Assad gassing his own people”?

The question now is whether the American Public will do Charlie Brown to Lucy’s football trick again?  Sophisticated tech makes it harder for psychos in power to just lie. They need plausible visuals to back their bullshit but, used to relying on lies alone, they’re not clear on the concept.

In the silly video of Iran’s alleged tanker sabotage, a blurred, ghostly boat bears men said to be removing a dud mine from a tanker.  Did they place it, try to set it off, fail, and hurry back?  The tanker crew–drugged or dead?–didn’t hear them coming?  At work..?  A stealth boat, eh?

The story is so patently phony it sinks itself. It would be comic if our Imperial Bozos were not fixated on provoking war with a country that, should an attack come, is able and sworn to inflict grievous damage on its attacker. Pompeo and Bolton are not concerned. The War Machine needs them and what they do because it needs its wars.

America, under geopolitically obtuse presidents, has done economic and military violence to many poor, vulnerable nations. Profitability has solidified this as its only tactic, and even defeats–Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria–are gagged down without altering it. The reason is plain: America is not a country in the sense of a polity organized to benefit a people; it’s a vast War Machine built to gorge itself on the bounty of its citizenry.  Outcomes be damned: all that matters is the continuity of its outrageous profit.

This fact–impossible for most Americans to accept–makes them secondary victims of Empire’s depredations.  What is be done?  Nothing will induce a fuddled people to unplug from the vast propaganda web of entertainment, “news”, and social media to which they’re addicted, so they will continue to be rendered confused, inert, lost, indefinitely.

Captivated and sedated, they are not in a substantially different state than animals raised to be eaten.  There is no satisfaction in saying this, only sadness.  To watch an entire society of ordinarily good, decent people being traduced and betrayed by the government they’ve been schooled by pious rot to trust is beyond appalling.

It may be a fact of evolution that all species have only a certain limited capacity for adaptation and that, when that limit is reached, failure and extinction must follow.  Have we humans reached our limit?  Are we done?

Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: