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Bush is afraid to hold press conferences, lest some innocent reporter asks a question for which only Dick Cheney knows the answer. Interviews include questions, too. That makes them subversive to a President with so much to hide.

Wednesday, October 02 2002 @ 02:08 PM GMT

By Gabriel Ash

(YellowTimes.org) - On September 11, 2002, the New York Times allowed George W. Bush to present his Orwellian "War is Peace" vision in an Op-Ed. One wonders what brought the Times editors to become an official government mouthpiece. Do they believe the President lacks opportunities to communicate his "ideas"? Do they worry that nobody attends press conferences with the President of the United States?

Bush is afraid to hold press conferences, lest some innocent reporter asks a question for which only Dick Cheney knows the answer. Interviews include questions, too. That makes them subversive to a President with so much to hide.

Thank God the Times gave Bush an opportunity to speak without having to fear even the timid questions American journalists ask. That's a patriotic press!

Faith in the Leader

Some time ago, a hoax traveled the Internet promising a Spielberg version of the Intifada. That, of course, couldn't happen. As far as the U.S. elite is concerned, cute robots will be granted human rights long before Palestinians.

Just in case the natives got their heads confused with the wrong ideas, Spielberg, together with Tom Cruise, came out in support for Bush's war against Iraq, according to the BBC.

Spielberg supports Bush because he believes that Bush "has reliable information on the fact that Saddam Hussein is making weapons of mass destruction." It doesn't matter that no such "reliable information" has ever been presented. The tale spinner is at home with the Disinformation Chief.

Tom Cruise added the profound wisdom that Hussein "committed many crimes against humanity and his own people." That is true. It is also true that the U.S. government aided and abetted Hussein in committing these crimes, but that's, like, too complicated.

I suspect for some Hollywood stars, who believe their own cant, Bush is their man, a President whose world is as morally uncomplicated as the latest nondescript action movie they made: there are the good guys and the bad guys; the good guys have shiny toys, which they use to smash the bad guys with, and the dying is done by extras and bit players with names such as "Soldier two" and "Peasant Woman five."

Yet I'd still prefer Spielberg producing "The Empire strikes at Iraq," starring Tom Cruise as a Special Forces lieutenant with a thing for red motorcycles and green-eyed Arab princesses. It would be grandiose, silly, misleading, over the top, condescending, etc., but it would still be a thousand times better than what George W. Bush is producing.

In the opening credits, Spielberg could even assure us that "No real Iraqis were harmed during the making of this film."

Learning Disability

The War on Iraq is already taking place even as Congress and the official media debate whether Bush did or did not make "a convincing case" for attacking another country and killing thousands of civilians. In an outburst of honesty, Bush's Chief of Staff Andrew Card revealed that, for the White House, a public discussion of Iraq is merely an issue of marketing: "launching a new product." Obligingly, the only question the media asks is about the effectiveness of the campaign to sell us a new war as if it were a new car.

Yet some naive souls are hoping that the U.S. will bring freedom to Iraq.

Does anyone remember Laura Bush's impassioned call to support the oppressed women of Afghanistan? To justify the war against the Taliban, the plight of Afghan women was useful. But what is Laura Bush's interest in Afghanistan today? Once the bombs penetrated the caves, this White House lost interest in feminism and human rights faster than a barfly beating a retreat after a one night stand.

The U.S. army is so much engaged in "humanitarian" work that international aid workers are afraid to be seen talking to American soldiers. The U.S. has undermined European attempts to protect civilian life from the rampant warlordism unleashed by the invasion.

Laura Bush merely continued a hallowed tradition of false advertising of U.S. foreign policy. In 1947, President Truman asked Congress for money to support democracy in Greece and Turkey. It was a memorable speech. Truman did not mention, however, that the money would go to help former Nazi collaborators crush and murder former anti-Nazi Partisans.

Since Truman announced his duplicitous "Truman Doctrine," whenever an American president speaks about spreading democracy and freedom abroad, whether in Latin America, Asia, or the Middle-East, we can be sure of one thing only: It's going to be a good year for undertakers.

The naive souls never learn. They keep falling for the same marketing ploy year after year, as if they wanted to be deceived.

Maybe a focused advertising campaign could overcome this manifest learning disability.

Since both cars and wars are marketed in the U.S. with the same bogus promise of freedom, and since oil and money is what usually drives them both, why not advertise wars and cars together?

Here are some ideas for advertisements:

"Dodge Devastation: wouldn't you kill (a few thousand Iraqis) to own one?"

"Ford Pulverizer: worth a regional war."

"Toyota Dislocator: the freedom to terminate states."

"Ye Who Enter Here, Abandon all Hope"
By some coincidence, America's latest former-faithful-vassal-turned-demon, Saddam Hussein, happens to rule over a rather unique geographic spot. Modern Iraq includes the area the Bible describes as the Garden of Eden. Between its two great rivers, some of the oldest civilizations on earth flourished.

Later on, Baghdad was the first great cultural center of Islam. It was also the place where post-biblical Talmudic Judaism took shape. Medieval Baghdad was the center of cultural openness, exchange and transmission of knowledge across languages, religions and cultures. It was the place where Arab philosophers began transforming and developing Greek science, making it available later to the Latin speaking Christian West.

Imagine the U.S. attacks Baghdad. Is it not beyond "the Great Game," beyond oil, beyond avenging the honor of Bush Sr., beyond welfare for defense contractors, beyond wagging the dog, beyond fellating Ariel Sharon; is it not a grand symbol of the time?

A boorish, know-nothing Emperor, leading his nation to war against humanity, against workers and peasants, against children and seniors, against food, water and air, against forests and oceans, against the future and the past, burns down what remains of the Garden of Eden.

Strange Bedfellows

Visiting Israel, Martha Nussbaum found herself "relaxed" by the singing of "Hatikva," a poem that explains in no uncertain terms that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation, and not, by implication, to the unlucky people who were merely born there. In a recent reply to criticism in The Nation, Nussbaum explained that she understands Zionism "as a moral commitment."

As a distinguished professor of Ethics, Nussbaum surely has a grasp of "moral commitments." Her grasp of Zionism is, however, open to questions. For example, in her above mentioned reply, she stated she never heard of Ilan Pappe, whose book, "The Making of the Arab-Israeli conflict, 1947-1951," is a major contribution to the history of Zionism.

In the October 10th issue of the New York Review of Books, Alma Guillermopierto reviewed a startling autobiographical book by Carlos Castano. Castano is the Colombian mass murderer who founded the right wing paramilitary death squad, the AUC. In addition to cold descriptions of murder, Castano reveals that he received training in Israel (where else would a Latin American terrorist train?), a country he admires greatly, and that Golda Meir is his idol.

In addition to "Targeted Assassinations 101," Castano was apparently given a course in Zionist rhetoric. For example, he describes his death squads as "a stage in the search for our essence, the discovery of our destiny." He also feels no guilt for his many crimes because his bloody career resulted from the kidnapping and murder of his father by the FARC guerillas. Indeed, the hands are the hands of Castano, but the voice is the voice of Israel.

Castano, obviously, has a poor grasp of morality and moral commitments. On the other hand, his understanding of Zionism is instinctive.

The New Humanism

In Israel, life imitates art.

A weird political debate took place recently in interviews in Ha'aretz, a battle over the national soul that threatens to shake absolutely nothing.

The State of Israel, as it is plain to see, is sick. Two mighty physicians locked horns over the diagnosis. According to General Ya'alom, recently appointed Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army and a self-described "humanist," the Palestinians are a cancer that threatens Israeli existence. "No," insists Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister and Chief of Staff, whose hobbies include classical music and assassinations, "the Palestinians are not a cancer, they are more like a virus."

The comical vehemence with which Israel's killing experts insist on donning the symbols of cultural sophistication, even as they spew their racist, Mein-Kampfish metaphors, reads like a parody of some of the most memorable characters of literature and cinema: from Alex in "the Clockwork Orange," who shares both Barak's passion for classical music and his difficulty grasping the existence of others, to Joseph Conrad's Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness," the demented figure of Western imperialism *censored* high culture.

The two cultural titans, Barak and Ya'alom, fail to notice that the sick patient, like Gregor Samsa in Kafka's "metamorphosis," has been already transformed into something else, something slightly disgusting and painful to describe.

Gabriel Ash was born in Romania and grew up in Israel. He is an unabashed "opssimist." He writes his columns because the pen is sometimes mightier than the sword - and sometimes not. He encourages your comments:  gash@YellowTimes.org

pic 03.Oct.2002 22:55



synergy ? 08.Oct.2002 21:16

devil's advocate

first, we should remember the fact, that Spielberg studios (or Lucas, or any..) can produce a video having a Bin Laden talk about anything the producer would pay for, in any language.
any "evidence" shown in TV has to be viewed with such conscience.

second, it becomes more and more complicated to keep all the compilations of "truth" in a meaningful order. so the members of government need a lot of studying and must prepare their memories before they speak in public. not all might have a rich capacity to do so.

but here we have a great hint about what the movies to be produced next could be about:
"Skull and Bones: The Racist Nightmare at Yale"
and this is a very complicated story plot, leaving good opportunity for breathtaking special effects...

btw, it is just one of a bunch of possibilities, how the British elites can come back into popular fame !

some more threads of history for the upcoming hollywood boom:
please look out for the historical pages in these huge sites.