political observer from
Tralfamadore would probably conclude that for much of Planet Earth the
purpose of government is to insulate capital from popular democracy. This
extra-terrestrial would likely see the US political elite as today's
equivalent to Pharaonic scribes and priests, those maintained for the
purpose of devising the necessary illusions for the management of the
Since John Murtha's call on
17 November from the floor of the House of Representatives for a
de-occupation of Iraq by US troops (1), it has been
obvious to all that the illusions needed to proceed with the Iraq War have
completely evaporated. (2)
Now, the political elite is very nervous because it has the delicate task
of devising a new illusion that moves the public mind through
an unavoidable policy transition in a controlled way. In doing this
our elite politicians risk inadvertently jolting the public mind into
an inconveniently clear awareness of other little-noticed mechanisms
of political and economic control, and they also risk undoing their
own political careers.
The problem is severe: the military campaign is lost, it only
produces death, destruction, dishonor and long-term resentment without
useful political consequences (3); the corporate world
(Pharaoh, if you will) finds the war to be an expense, a liability and an
impediment (4); rhetoric that was commonplace among the
throngs marching in protest on 15 and 16 February 2003 is now splashed
across the pages of the New York Times (5); and
politicians are withdrawing their support from the Bush Administration and
breaking party ranks in their individual scrambles to find safe positions
-- as yet illusory -- melding the requirements of their patrons with their
own career goals and a favorable image to their constituents.
With the public, the
military, the corporate establishment, the punditry, and the political
elite openly revolting against the Iraq War, why does it still continue?
There is really no physical or logistical impediment to a complete
and rapid withdrawal of US troops and camp-following corporate
entities. However, there is a psychological impediment: no political
faction and economic interest wants to "take the fall" or "take a loss"
that might result from a drastic and immediate change of policy. Once
an arrangement can be reached on this issue then some "bipartisan"
grand illusion will be projected to direct, divert and distract
public attention as needed. Obviously, the necessary illusion cannot
be produced quickly enough.
Party politics runs deeper than national patriotism. The Republican Party
will not use its control of the US Congress to implement any of the four
actions demanded by law, conscience and circumstances: investigate,
impeach, indict and imprison (where guilt is proved by trial) all members
of the Bush Administration who foisted this false war on the country.
Vigorous action along these lines would quickly bring control of the Iraq
War into hands capable of terminating it.
Party politicians have greater concern to protect the network of
subsidy and patronage they are a part of. (7) Ralph Nader
can well ask "what do the Democrats stand for?" after only three of them
in the House would break ranks to vote in favor of a rapid troop
withdrawal, despite the fact that the actual resolution House Republicans
allowed for a vote was a debilitating distortion of Murtha's proposal. For
the House Democrats, maintaining an aloof solidarity from a clearly dirty
Republican trick was more important than having the balls to go public
with a unanimous, pure, full-throated blast of "hell yes, out now!"
(8) One must conclude that the Democrats did not have
authorization from their sponsors (whose commissars headquarter at the
DLC) to actually challenge the operation of existing policy.
And this brings us to the necessary illusion. It must guide the
American public mind through a transition of a US military withdrawal from
Iraq, ending the occupation, and a return to diplomacy in dealing with
Syria, Iran and the Middle East, without sparking the public's curiosity
as to why the exact same solution cannot be applied for the exact same
reasons in Palestine, with an end to the Israeli military occupation.
The illusion will have to be a very good one to mask something so obvious.
Successfully devising such an illusion could make a political career, say
of a President Hillary Clinton in 2009.
This all presumes that the continuation of the present US policy regarding
Israel (to the detriment of Palestine) does not also fall victim in the
re-think of mutual interests by the major centers of US power.
(9) Once the US power elites reach a consensus to pull
out of the Iraq (and Afghanistan) debacle, then why not start fresh all
over the Middle East, and pull Israel out of Palestine as well? A
politician who could shape a winning public illusion to sell such a dual
withdrawal plan might prevail -- perhaps a President John McCain in 2009?
-- with the reasoning that such a plan would: end terrorism by ending
its motivation (revenge against military occupiers), drastically
reduce government spending and debt (no spiraling war costs, and
reduced liability to the national currency), and assure reliable access
to Middle East oil because of the combination of US buying power
(big consumer) and restored goodwill.
If it is true that the Iraq War was orchestrated “for the benefit
of Israel” by President George W. Bush, who is "wrapped around the
little finger" of Ariel Sharon (in the words of General Brent
Scowcroft, national security adviser to the first President Bush) then it
is inevitable that the American public mind will focus a very critical
eye on its previously unthinking support of Israel, after it has
recovered from the humiliating realizations harvested from the Iraq War.
And so, the questions twisting knots in the guts of our
ambitious political elitists are: "what will Big Capital decide are really
its interests in the Middle East?; how will it target its funding streams
to signal “get out of Iraq now”?; and what illusion do I fabricate to
guide the public mind through this as-yet undetermined change, both for
the benefit of my sponsor and me?"
García, Jr. is a
working physicist and amateur poet. He can be reached at:
Other Articles by Manuel
Iraq: To End
The Occupation, End The Civil War
Industrialized Greed Produces Pandemics
Conservation And Sustainable Mobility
 John P. Murtha, Congressman (D, Pennsylvania), "War
in Iraq,” November 17, 2005.
 Eric Margolis, "Americans
Are Running Out Of Patience With Their 'War President',” 14 November
 Cynthia McKinney, Congresswoman (D, Georgia), summarizes the military
and political futility succinctly in
her remarks on the 18 November debate over the "Murtha" withdrawal
resolution. Jean-Pierre Perrin, "There's
Already Civil War in Iraq!," Libération, 15 November 2005.
 Mark Engler, "Will
Big Business Turn on Bush?" 5 November 2005.
 Frank Rich, "Dishonest,
Reprehensible, Corrupt ...,” New York Times, 27 November 2005.
 Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman, "Senate
Presses for Concrete Steps toward Troop Withdrawal from Iraq,”
Washington Post, 16 November 2005. Glenn Kessler, "Hagel
Defends Criticisms of Iraq Policy," Washington Post, 16
 Ralph Nader, "What
Do The Democrats Stand For?," CounterPunch, 22 November 2005.
 Alexander Cockburn, "How
the Democrats Undercut John Murtha," CounterPunch, 26
 Michael Neumann, "The
Palestinians and the Party Line," CounterPunch, 18