Proponents of the Iraq war escalation were talking the same old shinola on the last round of Sunday political talk shows.  The “same old” sounds lamer with each iteration.  
On Meet the Press Senator John McCain (R-AZ) trotted out the “if we withdraw, they will follow us home” duck call, as if we’re all still dumb enough to be fooled by it (though, lamentably, some of us still are).  They–whoever the hell “they” are–don’t have a navy or an air force to follow us with.  Al-Qaeda, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the other militias in Iraq can’t execute an assault on Los Angeles or San Diego.  It’s too far to swim or jump from there to here.  They could, I suppose, hide themselves in our troops’ luggage, but I’d like to think that even our feckless Homeland Security apparatus is competent enough to keep them from sneaking into America that way.  As to honest to goodness terrorists drib-drabbing their way through our borders, nothing we’re doing in Iraq will keep (or has kept) that from happening.  

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) re-re-re-re-re-played the standard false analogy canard on Late Edition about how we should be patient with the Iraqi government because look how long it took the United States to form a constitutional federation after we revolted against the British.  Graham and others who pull this cheap trick never bother to point out that, oh, yeah, we didn’t ask the British to stick around for a decade so we could blow them and each other to kingdom come while we worked out how to organize ourselves.  

On the same program, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) talked so much Rovewellian trash you could almost see the sweat dripping from his hands onto Wolf Blitzer’s glass table.  

In all, the right wing idiocracy revealed itself–once again–for what it really is: a feather-blowing machine that’s running out of bulls to pluck.  

Tongues on Fire

In all, the GOP Sunday punchers came off like a herd of J.D. Hayworth class Bush-kebobs, determined to stick to their rhetoric even though it makes less sense than the conversation in a Lewis Carroll tea party.  

In Sunday’s New York Times (TimesSelect password protected), Frank Rich wrote…

Those who forget history may be doomed to repeat it, but who could imagine we’d already be in danger of replaying that rotten year 2003?

…This White House gang is so practiced in lying with a straight face that it never thinks twice about recycling its greatest hits…

… The most important lies to watch for now are the new ones being reiterated daily by the administration’s top brass, from Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney on down. You know fiasco awaits America when everyone in the White House is reading in unison from the same fictional script, as they did back in the day when “mushroom clouds” and “uranium from Africa” were the daily drumbeat…

…The latest lies are custom-made to prop up the new “way forward” that is anything but…

…Facing the truth is the only way forward in Iraq.

The truth is that there is no “victory” to be had in Iraq, or for that matter, in the Middle East, and the only “way forward” is the way out.  

Tell the Truth?

The war rhetoric of the Bush administration and its echo chamberlains is so disingenuous that to label it “criminal” would be a punch-pulling piece of understatement.  How do their consciences allow them to practice such extraordinary disassemblage and how do they continue to get away with it for so long after reality has proven their assertions so false?”  

Yale University professor emeritus and moral philospher Harry Frankfurt provides the likely explanation in his famous extended essay now published as a stand alone volume titled On Bullshit.

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted…

Bullshit “artists,” Frankfurt points out, differ from liars to the extent that liars know they’re denying reality and they’re deceiving their audience.  Bullshitters don’t recognize any reality other than the one they manufacture.  

The audience that time after time after time eats up this “perception is reality” fertilizer is the lemming-like segment of the population I call the “autistic right.”  They’ve been conditioned by talk radio and Fox News and The 700 Club and on an on and on to accept things unsupported by the slightest hint of factual information as the “truth,” and have been trained to regard anything resembling doubt or skepticism as unpatriotic, heretical or worse.  They’ve come to accept shouting contests and schoolyard insult exchanges as genuine debate.  

In his seminal novel of dystopia 1984, George Orwell describes this process as “reality control,” a condition achieved through a tecnique called “doublethink.”

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated…the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.

Thus it is that meme maestros like Bush, McCain, Graham and others can speak so forcefully and–to some–convincingly about their patently insane policy and strategy positions.

They really and truly believe their own bullshit.

And as I’m fond of saying, you can only call bullshit chocolate ice cream for so long before people start noticing that it doesn’t taste or smell like chocolate ice cream is supposed to.

At least, I hope that’s the case.    

But maybe I’m ignoring reality.  


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.