Monday, December 6, 2010

Take Pity on Goliath

“Oh, it is excellent to have a Giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.” 

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, II:2

How does one simultaneously swagger and simper? Is it possible for someone to beat his chest even as his lip quivers in self-pity? Apparently so, given the evidence provided in Charles Krauthammer’s December 3 column.

Krauthammer is a conservative of the post-George W. Bush variety — that is, an unreconstructed totalitarian nationalist. In an essay calling for the execution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (after a show trial, if possible, but by extra-judicial means if necessary), Herr Krauthammer blusters about the majesty of the Imperial State even as he whines about the besetting dangers it faces and the consummate injustice that has been done in exposing a handful of its criminal secrets. 

Exhibit “a” in the column is the disclosure, by way of WikiLeaks, that Washington allowed its Yemeni puppet regime to take the blame for a hideous atrocitythe December 2009 cruise missile massacre of dozens of civilians, including 21 children.

“The Yemeni president and deputy prime minister are quoted as saying that they’re letting the United States bomb al-Qaeda in their country, while claiming that the bombing is the government’s doing,” Krauthammer complains in a Goebbels-worthy misrepresentation of the matter.  “Well, that cover is pretty well blown. And given the unpopularity of the Sanaa government’s tenuous cooperation with us in the war against al-Qaeda, this will undoubtedly limit our freedom of action against its Yemeni branch, identified by the CIA as the most urgent terrorist threat to U.S. security.”

Perhaps we are to believe that the 21 Yemeni children slaughtered via remote control belonged to an al-Qaeda youth auxiliary.  Then again, for a militarist like Krauthammer the operative principle in dealing with Muslim children appears to be “nits make lice.” 

The point here, I suppose, is that those children are simply invisible to Krauthammer. Their deaths should play no role in the calculations of imperial power, and the real scandal is not that they were annihilated but rather that the crime and attempted cover-up were publicly disclosed. 

The course of boldness and valor for the Regime in Washington, Krauthammer apparently believes, is to cower behind a tiny, embattled Arab puppet government that is expected to take the blame when the CIA slaughters innocents.

Appropriately, Krauthammer is featured in a new book entitled Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power. The book is a manifesto of sorts (Unser Kampf, perhaps?) for the Beltway-controlled “Tea Party Patriots” group. It was written by Michael Prell, a neo-con PR whore who has been employed by the likes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Prell’s book peddles the conceit that “America” — meaning the Regime in Washington — is the victim of those who resent its power. The author complains that “some people’s natural love for the underdog has warped into an automatic, blind, irrational hatred for those who have more power.” That  “hatred” is supposedly manifest every time someone complains about the innocent people killed, maimed, or tortured as a result of State policy, or — in the case of WikiLeaks — when whistle-blowers expose a handful of the Empire’s crimes.

In his contribution to the book, Krauthammer condemns Barack Obama’s purported desire to “curtail the power” of the American State. Given that Obama has escalated the Afghan war, expanded the use of Death Drones, claims the power to order the summary execution of American citizens suspected of terrorism, and has dramatically enhanced the domestic police state, one is led to wonder where he has curtailed government power in any way. 

It’s also worth wondering why Krauthammer wouldn’t want to curtail the power of someone he considers an ideological enemy. But of course, the real problem for Krauthammer and his ilk isn’t the accumulation of dictatorial power in the presidency, it’s that the power currently resides in the “wrong” hands. As Lenin would put it, the only relevant question to them is “who does what to whom.”

 Back in the 1980s, when Krauthammer was George F. Will’s understudy in the role of the conservative punditocracy’s pedant-in-chief, he would occasionally recite from the wisdom of 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke. In a 1793 address, Burke expressed the sentiments of an authentic patriot who understood that loving one’s country does not mean celebrating the unlimited power of the government ruling it.

“Among precautions against ambition, it may not be amiss to take one against our own,” warned Burke. “I must fairly say I dread our own power and our own ambition. I dread our being too much dreaded… Sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin.”

About a century and a half later, American patriot Garet Garrett updated that admonition and applied it to the emerging American empire. “Is it security you want?” asked Garrett of the architects of the national security state and those who supported that monstrosity. “There is no security at the top of the world.” 

Krauthammer, who celebrates the might of the Imperial State even as he insists that it faces a dire — nay, existential — threat from a handful of Yemeni rebels, unwittingly embodies the paradox Garrett described. To be a pundit in the imperial power structure one must be willing to play Grover Dill to the Regime's Scut Farkus -- that is, to be the vicious little punk who orbits the neighborhood bully, taunting and threatening his victims and whining piteously when someone dares to strike back. Few have played that role more convincingly than Charles Krauthammer.

“Nobody roots for Goliath,” observed Wilt Chamberlain, who spoke from experience. Krauthammer and others who peddle the toxic amalgam of bullying jingoism and collectivist self-pity -- more than a few of whom profess to be Bible-believing Christians -- insist that Goliath is the virtuous victim. 

Author's note: The horribly mutilated child in the photo above was a victim of the Regime's humanitarian venture in Iraq. That youngster was not among the dozens who were murdered and mangled in the more recent drone strikes in Yemen. My point in using that photo was to illustrate the human cost of the imperial politics so callously promoted by the likes of Charles Krauthammer. I regret causing some confusion on that matter.

(An earlier version of this essay was published at Lew Rockwell's blog.)

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Dum spiro, pugno!


Mimi said...

Oh, Mr. Grigg, where did you get that picture of the ravaged child? It makes me sick with shame. The horror of such cruelty to children should make everybody sick. Why isn't it carried in every newspaper in the country and on the T.V. "news," sir? Well, to ask that question is to answer it.
I don't comment often, but I want you to know I read your blog faithfully. Thank you for your good words and your good work, which I believe to be speaking truth to power.

Saladin said...

Mimi, the answer to your question as to why these images are not carried in the MSM is simple, the owners of the media are also the ravagers of the children. I have 6 long years of research into the powers behind the never ending wars in the Middle East, the movers and shakers of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve and the Corporate MSM Complex, and they are all under control of the same beast, one dare not mention. I've seen that photo before while sifting through literally hundreds of pictures for my video compilation of the daily lives of the people of Palestine. Believe me, that is not the worst of it. I believe, as tax payers, everyone should be forced to see what we are getting for our hard earned money. If you care to view my admittedly amateur production you may see it at my blog here. Keep in mind this is the first video I ever made.

9th Company said...

If Americans could transport themselves from their antiseptic world to the other side of the planet where brown people inhabit, and see the misery and broken dreams, there would be a call to end foreign conflict for a generation, until we forgot about it.

But hey, they are brown people and must not be as human as we.

Our programming however must not contain images contrary towards our common enemy of Oceania.

MoT said...

I knew that Mike Huckabee was a duplicitous liar in sheep's clothing but the following sealed it for me. So much for the paper thin veneer of Christian piety.

"Former presidential candidate, the Republican Mike Huckabee called for the execution of Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old US army intelligence analyst who is in custody at a military base in Virginia, facing trial for downloading the files while on duty in Iraq."

liberranter said...

I knew that Mike Huckabee was a duplicitous liar in sheep's clothing but the following sealed it for me. So much for the paper thin veneer of Christian piety.

Oh, you must mean BIBLICAL Christian piety, of the sort limned in the Four Gospels. If that's the case, then no, Hucksterbee isn't "duplicitous" at all. You see, Hucksterbee, like most Amerikan "clergy" has never made any serious public claims to being a minister of the Gospel. Rather, he is a minister of the Church of State, which is committed to painting a thin veneer of Christianity on the face of Moloch (just enough to create a facade thick enough to cover the idol's face to make it palatable, but never, EVER thick enough to really impart the full flavor of the Gospel coating).

Hucksterbee, like most of his "evangelical" cohorts, is a peerless expert at cherry-picking little morsels from the Christian Bible that support his bellicose, state-worshiping agenda, preferably morsels out of the Old Testament and Revelation, and ignoring or disposing of the rest of the Bible that puts those cherry-picked morsels into their proper context. (By the way, there are schools called "seminaries" staffed by people with doctorates in subjects that teach creatures like the Hucksterbee how to do this cherry-picking expertly). Hucksterbee knows that the majority of the Amoricon population is both genetically belligerent and xenophobic AND are biblical (as well as functional) illiterates. For this reason he knows he doesn't have to keep up a pretext of either knowing or caring about what the Gospels have to say about such trifling matters as loving one's enemies, treating the least among us as we would treat Jesus Christ Himself, and recognizing all mankind as children of God. To people with either low-wattage cerebra or who have been rendered quadriplegic by intellectual or spiritual laziness (or both), such things are unwelcome distractions. The Church of State reinforces THEIR view of how the world should be (that being Amerika as the New Millennium's Kingdom of Israel), centers around a war god crafted from raw hatred in THEIR OWN IMAGE, and espouses a "private-public partnership" (they don't know enough to recognize it as "fascism") that lets them enslave themselves to the temporal state-corporate-political machine while pretending that God is in charge.

So, in this sense, Hucksterbee is the "real deal." Let's just see how biblically, economically, and politically illiterate people continue to be once the status quo implodes. That will be a true measure of Hucksterbee's relevance.

kirk said...

Assange threatens the power elite with his revelations of their conceit, corruption and outright lawlessness.

Assange threatens the power elite shills by threatening those upon whom the shills depend.

It is for these (non)reasons (to the rational) that govt and its shills so vehemently attack one who is telling all.

Those who speak truth to power have ALWAYS been treated as Assange is being treated currently. He is, sadly, only the latest in a very long line of humans who have been accorded such "special" treatment.

The death throes of empire are, indeed, a very ugly sight, as the pics attest to. To support empire is to support evil.

Welcome to the amerikan empire...
it smells as bad as its results are ugly.

kirk said...

P. S. Ran across this excellent quote by one of my favorites AFTER posting my earlier note:

"The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth."
-H.L. Mencken

From the grave Mencken speaks more clearly than most living amerikans.

MoT said...

Liberanter, thanks for the added info. How sadly true. I've found out that Assange, while doing the things with his johnson I'd have advised him not to, has been nabbed in London based on spurious charges from known feminist idealogues in Sweden. That was his mistake: getting involved with anyone on a physical level while this mess plays out. The Empire loves to dig into peoples private lives in order to destroy them. So don't give them the opportunity! Still, the absurdity that the Empire hustles double-time in the wake of documents coming out but drags its heels everywhere else comes as no small surprise.

liberranter said...

Speaking of Assange, the whole breaking news Arrest-in-London scenario just doesn't pass the smell test. Two key questions screamed themselves into my mind right off the bat:

1. Why on earth would Assange travel to a country that he knows to be Washington's stooge, knowing that his arrest would be a foregone conclusion?

2. What would have prompted him to travel at all at time when the the fury over Wikileaks' latest release is at fever pitch, and with the "world's only superpower" pulling out all the stops to hunt him down like a wild animal? Again, this defies common sense or simple logic.

I think I've made my skepticism about Wikileaks' authenticity clear, here and elsewhere, as have other regular contributors to this forum. I was ALMOST willing to give Assange and his site the benefit of the doubt over the last week, but now I just can't do it.

My current take on this, given what I now see unfolding: Assange is playing a well-acted role in a carefully scripted drama written in some windowless room at Langley. What will follow his "arrest" remains to be seen, but I'm counting on any future "leaks" to contain nothing more than the gossipy tripe that has just been released (i.e., entertaining, but ultimately irrelevant BS that has nothing to do with exposing the truly criminal inner workings of the welfare-warfare state and the machinations of its Zionist-OWG handlers). If that's the case, we'll have, I believe, all the proof we need that the whole thing was Regime-orchestrated theater (Emmanuel Goldstein and the Brotherhood, remember, were creations of the Party designed to root out Enemies of the State).

dixiedog said...

This is merely yet another false flag operation, but potentially even more nefarious than faux alarmist terr' attacks.

I personally think this entire drama has been meticulously planned by organs within Leviathan. IMHO, it is a CIA-orchestrated operation (with manifest cooperation from foreign intelligence agencies, no doubt) - to utilize clueless ideologues such as Manning, Assange, et al, to release docs of various "embarrassing" cables for the primary purpose of making regulation and control of the Internet palatable to the now enraged and always fearful mass mundanes. I haven't had time to peruse the info myself, but according to what I've heard from others the details of the documents in question are not trivial, mind you, but nothing even close to earth-shattering.

Sure, it provides a lightweight glimpse on how conniving, cunning, deceptive, and vile these Leviathan apparatchiks really are about each other in general, but WHO with a damned working brain didn't already know these trivial "revelations?"

All speculation on my part, of course, but that's just how cynical I am these days.

As is clear -- from the reliably statist utterances and writings of loyal Praetorian guards of Amerika's Leviathan such as Krauthammer and statist media marionettes like Barbara Simpleton (sic), who serve merely to rally the damned mundanes into an enraged chorus -- the mundanes don't even care about the WHAT (nuggets of fact therein, the "message") was released, only about the WHO it was that released it. Damn the "message," shoot the messenger. This commoner mindset unfortunately trumps all others....nothing new under the sun.

I would even venture to say that even though individuals, e.g. unsere Außenministerin (surprise? not!), mentioned in the docs potentially harbor a "murderous" character, some of the more "juicy" data is likely half-truths and/or fictitious.

As a comedic side note, this security "breach" may have dashed Hitlery's 2012 Führer run. Big deal, Palin might be the perfect populist candidate, sanctioned by the elitists naturally, for the other faction's ticket instead...sigh. She's also a narcissist as I'd always suspected...yawn.

Again, I think the real purpose of these engineered leaks is to irrationally anger (trivial to do these days...sigh) the hapless peons and attempt to smother out once and for all the only remaining healthy alternative communication medium to the easily-controlled and monitored corporatist trash TV and corporatist websites. Although the "cloud" concept, naturally controlled and nurtured to prominence by select multinational corporations, has already been making headway for some time in moving forward with mass data centralization -- this kind of purposeful drama is what can propel centralization and control in a hurry to the amusement and joy of command and control nazis.

Lastly, I don't think much of Julian Assange, the person, who's probably a narcissist and fame-seeker himself, and Bradley Manning, a troubled flame-seeker and one that the government knew all about before ensconcing him in a sensitive position. It had to be the right candidate for the job after all.

Nevertheless, the big picture is what's most important here, IMNSHO.

"The Turtle" said...

I'd like to hammer his Kraut with my fists.

dixiedog said...

PS: I have to take frequent hiatuses from observing over time the spiritual, moral, and financial decay and destruction of America in painful slow-mo, although picking up steam as of late, to safeguard my blood pressure. Thus, my absence. It must be our country's manifest destiny by Providence to be brought down low, way low, apparently in these last days. IMHO, nothing else explains the delirium and attendant depravity increasingly prevalent in today's government much moreso than in days of yore, as well as the Ami culture at large.

Anyway, I hope things are OK and content with you and yours, Will, all things considered.

MoT said...

Liberanter and DixieDog... I am myself beginning to doubt what is going on. It's indeed like looking through a glass darkly. Too many unanswered questions. Color me cynical.

William N. Grigg said...

It's interesting to see that most of the Wiki-disclosures deal with snotty gossip, dirty tricks, and confirmation of crimes already known to the attentive (the example I cite above involving Yemen was discussed in detail months ago by human rights activists on the scene).

I'm not convinced that Assange is a Langley asset, but the people involved in the Swedish "honey trap" have CIA connections. That is also of great interest.

If this is a controlled operation, I think the right model is either a Nixonian "modified limited hang-out" or perhaps an exercise in selective, self-serving elite disclosure along the lines of Kruschev's speech denouncing Stalin's "excesses" of the 1930s. That is, the nomenklatura is willing to admit to things everybody already knows in order to conceal their larger and more important crimes and entrench themselves even more deeply.

Anonymous said...

liberranter: nice rant at 10:24 _except_ that I'm having a bit of difficulty in parsing the phrase "genetically belligerent". Care to elaborate?

Also, I join Will in my lack of conviction that Assange is an aware mercantilist pawn. An attention whore he may well be (I lack enough information to conclude) but that characteristic might be a legitimate asset to someone in his position.

Regarding the cables themselves, what would you expect? While those communications are not intended for general public consumption, clearly the official circulation is somewhat indiscriminate. The absolute, naked "truth" might also be expected to be absent. I wouldn't expect to find anything approaching an "eyes only" CIA or NSA matter to be openly discussed, and I would fully expect those cables to reflect the petty arrogance, crass stupidity, and low regard for truth evinced by their authors, the "diplomatic class".

Finally, the cables did inspire me to conceive of a possible motivation for US foreign policy that would be a revelation (at least for this naive messenger) if it proved true. The ruling class in Saudi Arabia appears to be one of the most corrupt and decadent communities ever to exist on this planet. At the same time, their country harbors a large group of violent zealots, the Wahabbi, who are the arch enemies of that kind of personal conduct, whatever their other faults. If the Wahabbi focused their attention on the Saudi ruling class, there could possibly be large scale revolution and bloodshed, and possibly a class extermination. So what prevents this from happening? Well, in this situation, it is always useful to have a lightning rod to attract all of the violent attention of your enemy. For violent Islamic fundamentalists such as the Wahabbi, Israel and the Zionists constitute such a lightning rod. What if the US support of Israel by the political class is not some philosophical mandate that we must struggle to understand, but a practical necessity orchestrated by the diligently applied influence (extortion) of Saudi money and oil? The Saudis would clearly appear to have both motive and means. For me, it would explain much.

dixiedog said...

I'm not convinced that Assange is a Langley asset...

I never thought of Assange as a genuine asset, but rather a street thug utilized . In my view, a "Mafia" hierarchical type of analogy, in which every participant knows he's a cell (asset) within a larger organism or say self-aware that he's a cog in a larger machine, is not correct. I'm sorry I didn't make that clear in the first post, but I will now.

It's rather more like the 1992 murder-for-hire in Atlanta where Fred Tokars (CIA) has at his beck and call his "trusted" subordinate ally in various schemes they've already engaged in, Eddie Lawrence (the asset you mention). Lawrence, of course, knows the big picture and that he's a cog.

However Lawrence convinces or persuades Curtis Rowen (Assange, Manning, et al), a mundane street thug who's only interest is satisfying his own crack addiction (fame addiction, narcissism) and some easy cash (easy procurement of what he believes is earth-shattering intelligence from the utterances of various state apparatchiks, particularly U.S. apparatchiks), to do the hit. Rowen (Assange) is the "useful idiot" (clueless ideologue) in this scenario.

IOW, Assange and Manning likely are consumed with their own nefarious, albeit petty in the big scheme of things, agendas without regard to the potential costs to be born by every other mundane who utilize the Internet heavily and the big picture. Thus, they are unwittingly providing Leviathans (ours and others) with ammo to slam the door on the nominal freedom we enjoy of Internet interactive communication and information exchange.

On that note, look at the mounting "crackerfest" in progress. Now, speaking of the "crackerfest" this cyberwar could be either "mere" mundane "hacktivists" angered at the multi-pronged attack upon Wikileaks and its founder OR it also could be cracker assets of the various national government intelligence agancies performing the cracks/hacks that are progressing. Most of the cracks/hacks so far are to businesses that had dealt with Wikileaks, etc. but after this became a media circus cut him off.

It doesn't freakin' matter whether it's mundane hacktivists or government assets doing the cracking and hacking, the probable result will be laws and regulation - above and beyond what corporatist gatekeepers of the Internet already have in place.

Like I said, we currently have nominal "freeeeeeeeeedom!"on the 'net, but this Wikileaks media drama and the subsequent ongoing cracker attacks being perpetrated against businesses -- which BTW can potentially adversely affect mundane folk who have accounts with these businesses who ain't part of this Wikileaks nonsense -- will be what might just smother out the nominal Internet freedom we do manage to enjoy. As with Assange and his disclosures, these "cyber warriors" are not doin' anyone any favors, other than Leviathan itself, by their cyber attacks.

dixiedog said...

Liberanter and DixieDog... I am myself beginning to doubt what is going on. It's indeed like looking through a glass darkly. Too many unanswered questions. Color me cynical.

Agreed. Ya see, MoT, I simply don't buy the tired and illogical mantra that folk who happen to work for government at high levels (not talkin' about "the expendables" [i.e. Manning, et al] at the bottom rung of the ladder) are bumblin' idiots and morons who don't have a clue what they're doing in terms of a big picture, as Schiff claims when the "doing" in question concerns the economy. He and others like him never seem to want to say they're doing whatever actions based on it having exactly the result he thinks is mere foible or "idiocy."

I mean, heck, the folk at these high levels of Leviathan are not from the hills of West Virginia, but are instead Ivy League alumni, the crème de la crème. If a GED-wielding, non-degreed peon like myself can see how they scheme and that multinational corporations do not represent genuine capitalism and free markets, etc., etc., certainly a UC Berkeley alumnus like Schiff can see how the folk in high places can and DO scheme deliberately and operate in the dark for a nefarious reason that will seem illogical and likely IS illogical if you believe their intent is good to begin with, but it's completely logical if one suspects the true end(s) is an evil.

I think the folk who can't fathom such thoughts are the very folk who believe folk are basically "good." I hear that mantra too many times and it feeds into other erroneous thinking.