It is hard to take in that the first assault on Fallujah was over a year and a half ago.  A piece of collective punishment (and hence a violation of the Geneva Convention, not to mention human decency) on the part of the US executive in revenge for the dramatically advertized slaying of four US mercenaries (one of them a death-squader from the old South-African apartheid days), it was a turning point:  America wooed disaster–beyond fate (as the ancient Greeks would say)–and the suit was accepted.  

What was decided then?  At least this:  American failure in Iraq, and its end as a superpower.  In the year and a half since, we have been watching the consequence of choice played out.  Now everybody but a handful of psychopaths in the administration understands that Iraq is lost–however that might be defined.  

Yet Fallujah was only a small thing.  Since then there have been two further assaults on Fallujah, each a confirmation of the original choice, with a deepening of the original consequences.  And these too have been partly only a symbol of a large-scale commitment to wrong-headed policy that has been exemplified in countless ways–Condoleeza Rice’s recent useless tour of Europe being only one of many.  The web of disasters that America has been embracing is in some ways like a set of nested boxes–some small, some large, each contained in another.  Just today, here on this blog, Ghandi has posted a very nice description of the choice now facing the permanent government of America–what he calls the Establishment–to use its power to get rid of the Bush regime, or accept being ruled by them and submit to what they well know would be totalitarian dictatorship.  

There is little understanding of, nor taste for, democracy in America today.  A minority protests and complains, but most Americans are too busy and too satisfied being consumers to participate as citizens in democratic life.  Thus, as Ghandi says, it is really in the hands of the Powers That Be.  

I rejoice in the growing indicators that Bush and his cronies will indeed be removed.  Sweet, sweet days!  But I take no deep comfort, for it will be accomplished by the Permanent Government, not by the citizenry, and the new government will be theirs, not ours.  For several reasons, that means that the fate we have chosen will not be altered.  

I have been alluding to–it being impossible to summarize–the scope of recent events that form the present of our situation–as a way of giving context to the two questions that obsess me:  How did we get here? and what possibilities have and have not been pruned from the tree of the future the Fates have planted.  

I am thinking to write a series on this, and to post it each Thursday–A daunting idea for me, really.  When I was in high school I once had the assignment of writing an essay a week.  It nearly overwhelmed me.  More than once I wondered if I had anything to say.  But it was also the best writing experience of my life.  

Some two years ago, when I first discovered the world of blogs, I found myself writing extensively, and was even invited onto the main page of a blog.  But then I found I could not write at all–somehow the presidential selection of 2004 made words superfluous.  Since then I have not been able to write more than a few short, snippy comments.  

What is changing that for me now?  I don’t know.  Oldman’s death, (Loan Nguyen), who I never knew as more than a string of ASCII characters, has upset me in ways I don’t understand.  And then again, go back and look at what I wrote a year ago.  It has taken a year for what I wrote and knew then to sink in:  We are destroyed.  I have spent the year since watching that destruction precede on schedule.  I suppose I doubted myself–but no longer.  

Yet, what comes next?  Oldman once described being thrown off an upper floor of a construction project into the rebar below.  A metaphor for our time–only it really happened.  

Do we want to know?  Yesterday a friend of mine said he would rather die than face what we suspect is coming.  Sadly, he really meant it–at least to the extent that he knows his own mind.  

How well do I know my own mind?  More than once I have regretted surviving but so far that has not kept me from doing it.  We shall see.  

So this was by way of introduction.  I promise to write more next week–may it be to better effect.

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