War doesn’t just boil.

Isn’t there something weird, something downright suspicious and alarming, about the steady pace of violence savaging Iraq at this moment? War is not a steady state of civic chaos. Skirmishes are either random scrapes or probes for battle. Maybe revolutionaries and spies use sabotage as a strategy, but for generals, sabotage is only a softening tactic. Do we desperately believe that our enemy has no generals, then? Is this “war” all fuse and no charge? Can we deliberate over tea while the enemy sits in the waiting room? Is the enemy for real, or is it now the mission of the United States military to kindle world-wide hell at our leisure?

Who is this enemy that has no generals but cannot be vanquished by the greatest killing power ever assembled?
It is whatever enemy the President pleases.

It is an enemy that justifies the protracted expansion of Executive emergency power.

It is an enemy so imminent that provisions for Continuity of Government are the administration’s only preparations for emergency.

It is an enemy that requires America to furnish arms and treasure to a candle-lit bazaar of warlords and mercenaries and princes and pirates and adventurers and spies.

It is an enemy that cannot be met on the battlefield of budgetary reporting, and so requires massive shipments of cash in the dark.

It is an enemy that exists wherever the President says it exists, so it is never necessary to re-aim or to read intelligence reports. It is an enemy that proves the commander-in-chief was right when he said “stay the course.”

It is an enemy that redeems every mistake of blind militarism by the American right.

It is an enemy that can be located on any vacant plot of land not currently used by a country engaged in the larger international market whose sea-lanes we protect and whose primary currency is the U.S. dollar.

It is an enemy that hides out in the most vulnerable and isolated countries, easy pickings for chicken hawks.

It is the enemy that is rescripted every few news cycles with abstractions like “terrorism” or “Islamofascism” or “insurgency”, because realities like “weapons of mass destruction” or “Saddam Hussein” or “Teheran” are too easily caught. On camera. Like lies.

It is an enemy that provides trophy heads and household servants for the world’s condescending elites.

It is an enemy that reawakens America to the divine right of dynasties and the burdens of empire and the self-government of markets and the inferiority of commoners and the august philanthropy which sometimes suffers the survival of the poor.

It is an enemy that feeds the lusts of racism.

It is an enemy so demonic it can be met only by unchaining our own depravities, trespassing upon the central nervous systems of human beings and taking liberties with live human bodies and sanctioning dungeons from which no scream can escape.

It is an enemy so explosive it fuses the terms nuclear and tactical.

It is an enemy so infectious and virulent that only the summary confinement of citizens can save those of us not yet confined.

It is an enemy so clever with its deadly alchemy that it can convert lies into gold and gold into truth.  

It is the dragon of a weak and resentful boy’s fantasy, a dragon forever backing away from his manly flame-thrower of righteous anger.  

A solipsist with the outlook of a flame-thrower commands our troops.

The world that is burning is not some other world. It is our world.

George Bush has invented this enemy, and yet this enemy is beating us.

It is beating us because George Bush creates enemies and keeps them going.

The Enemy is beating us because the world outside the incestuous propaganda of the Five-Alarm Presidency really exists, and for all his climb to power, the real world has never been impressed with George Bush or his band of virgin conquistadors, and knows a sucker when he prances before them in freshly-pressed regalia and starts throwing money around just to impress.

Vladimir Putin has restored the position of Czar to a level of personal power that only the original Julius Caesar ever exercised, but now with an air force, nuclear arms, and control of vital pipelines. Meanwhile, the nomenclatura of China have developed a commercial-grade Communism that beats Imperial Corporatism at its own game. The humans in the Middle East are trapped between the Soldiers of Heaven and the Underground Reserves. The development of an international order based on mutual defense, human rights, social justice, and enlightenment for its own sake has been splintered into faraway peninsulas like Europe and India.

Has any expedition in history burnt bridges on such a scale before? We are creating and mobilizing our own enemy, and it is no joke. Every day come miserable reports of small-scale massacres, no witnesses, just truckloads of cadavers with hatred drilled into their bones. Two thousand years may be too soon for peace for their families; they’re only twelve hundred years into the current feud, and now they start over.

Our defense forces earnestly arm and train an ungovernable Iraqi force that continuously fractures into two elements: feckless allies and opportunistic guerillas. Which of these two products of decomposition is the greater threat to our soldiers? The official Iraqi armed forces are saturated with half-hearted salarymen, one bad day away from desertion, foot soldiers who may lack rooftop helicopters, but who possess a keen fear of shifting political hazards and who owe foremost loyalty to their extended and besieged families. The guerillas, on the other hand, hold day-jobs as ordinary  Iraqi civilians. Of the unreliable Iraqi soldier and the “insurgent”, which is the greater danger?

The operations underway in Iraq today are not planned by Americans. United States military squadrons report daily for randomly distributed punishment by improvised explosives. Everyday our unnameable enemy makes progress, weakening the United States, cementing international hatred, and blowing a military smoke screen over the Petroleum Gulf. Meanwhile, American leadership drifts in escapist posturing, as if the life-and-death confusion of the surrendering Iraqis and of the hopscotching American grunts were but an issue for political finesse and not an uncontained horror that imperils everything, a horror barely escaped on our side of the Atlantic in two world wars so far.

Congress must cease temporizing in the false comfort of a War Against [To Be Announced]. The dangers faced by the nation today will never be reported by the White House. The dangers that the White House will report will be pathetically transparent fantasies.

The White House is owed no decorum on this. But let’s give the President the honor of the office, and call him a sane liar rather than a deranged fantasist. The President is creating security threats for the purpose of strengthening his hand as a war President, suppressing constitutional constraints on his power. It is well past time we had to pretend to see the enemies the President claims to see. He lied. He failed to respond to blaring alarms prior to the attack on national symbols in 2001, and lied about it. He then lied to launch a sustained adventure in the Middle East that ferociously undermined the moral and military prestige that was before his election the greatest deterrent to attack any country in history has ever built. He does not discuss national security. He just lies to get more power. The enemy we face is an enemy of his creation.

This is an emergency. The White House is occupied by a President who has lied to Congress to acquire war powers, has launched wars for the sole purpose of expanding his powers, and will continue to play that game at increasing peril to the nation and to the world. He will continue to enlarge the emergency, to order up more killing and suspend more of our rights and lie about matters of national security just to punish reality for not changing when he tells it to.

The enemies we are making are more than just the enemies this President wants us to believe in. The world looks in horror at the flame-thrower in the White House, and reorganizes its defenses. And dusts off a few larger plans that seemed impractical when there was no room in the world for more empires.

Congress must not fool itself into believing the state of conflict today will hold while they shuffle ownership of this war. What war? It is a chaotic conflagration ignited unilaterally by the Unitary Executive of the United States acting under authority acquired under false pretenses. Put it out.

(previously test-posted in orange)

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