Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fair and Nuts: Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

“Power,” said Mr. World. He scratched his chin. “And food. A combination of the two. You see, the outcome of the battle is unimportant. What matters is the chaos, and the slaughter.”

--American Gods, Neil Gaiman

It’s always annoying and tempting at the same time when I see the media cover for the tyrants and death merchants who pass themselves off as national leaders. How sadly they shake their heads as they direct the missiles and bombs at dirt-poor villagers on the other side of the globe. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. And goodness me, nobody wants to torture. Such a messy business, after all. Still, when it comes to protecting America it is so important to see the bigger picture rather than the human detritus left behind, mere details in the greater scheme of things, don’t you know?

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty the name of the game is power, and torture is part and parcel with the chaos and slaughter that feeds power, makes it grow, for those with guts enough to seize it. At least in their own dead eyes. And what a rare treat it is, according to the Guardian, to see two veritable titans of our times duke it out over the closing of Gitmo. In the Guardian’s own words…


“The Obama and Cheney speeches offered a glimpse of the kind of foreign policy debate that the US has seldom had since 9/11.”

I think that’s pretty generous to say the least as I’m not sure there has been any foreign policy debate since 9/11 with a few minor exceptions which were quickly forgotten, offered up as sacrifices to the American gods of war and plunder. Since the closing of Guantanamo would be nothing more than a gesture to mollify our sense of propriety while the torture continues elsewhere one wonders how one can have a debate over something no more substantial than a piece of fluff floating on the wind? Or as old Willy would say, “Much ado about nothing.” The whole premise of the article, that a serious debate occurred, is based on a lie, that the U.S. no longer tortures under Obama the Magnificent (may he live forever) and the closing of one hellish prison is held up as proof.

God, democracy in action. It sends chills up and down my spine. Just as Mr. World said, the outcome doesn’t matter, so the outcome of this “debate” matters naught, as long as people believe that democracy is being enacted the chaos and slaughter can continue while we congratulate ourselves on our wonderfulness.


At May 23, 2009 3:40 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

You said a mouthful, Rob. The idea--so happily received by the populace so they can get back to their twittering--that we've ever had a "debate" on war, torture, and exceptionalism, is incredible.
It is to laugh--except it's not funny.

At May 23, 2009 8:45 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Welcome back Rob--
obviously just closing Guantanamo makes no real difference as long as the US continues a policy of rendition to far-off outsourced gulags in Poland or Jordan and various other places.

If anything, I suspect that if the US kept Guantanamo open and discontinuing rendition the net effect, though still undesirable, would be modestly better insofar as international humanitarian NGOs would have more oversight, But as you pointed out many prefer symbolism to real world progress.

At May 23, 2009 4:50 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


Yes, it’s pretty hard to debate topics that nobody in the MSM wishes to discuss much less our politicos. “Twittering” is a great word, describes things perfectly.


Well, yes, that’s a point to consider that there might be more oversight, unfortunately we are headed back to the status quo which is we pretend we don’t do bad things since we are the good guys.


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