Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Last Full Measure ... Of Murderous Opportunism

An armored vehicle patrols "liberated" Fallujah.

"If the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it...."

John Kreisel of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota lost both of his legs in Fallujah last December. A roadside bomb detonated beneath his Humvee, killing two of Kreisel's buddies, Spc. Bryan McDonough, and Spc. Corey Rystad. Kreisel is a man in his mid-20s; he has a lovely wife, Katie, and two disarmingly cute sons, Elijah and Broden. A foundation has been established to help Sgt. Kreisel's family, which will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a handicapped-accessible home.

Thanks to a newly inaugurated ad campaign, Sgt. Kreisel will soon become a national celebrity of sorts. A Republican front group calling itself Freedom's Watch has created a campaign featuring Kreisel -- along with other wounded Iraq veterans, and relatives of troops lost in Iraq -- intended to fortify support for continuing the war.

The ads will not be directed at the unpersuaded public: Most of them will run on Fox "News" and national radio programs that already retail the White House line -- such as Sean Hannity's daily three-hour "You're A Great American" circle-jerk. The purpose of the campaign is to pressure wavering Republicans in Congress to resist any effort to end the occupation of Iraq.

At the end of the ads viewers and listeners are provided with a toll-free number (1-877-222-8001). When I called it, I heard the following recorded message: "Thank you for calling Freedom's Watch. Our operators are currently helping Americans call Congress in support of our war on terror. We will get to you as soon as possible."

An activist who actually contacted a live operator has reported that once this happens "you're expected to take part in a survey before she puts you through to Congress. But there's a catch. The question asked goes something like this: Do you believe the Iraq war is important to the war on terror?... If you say no, the operator immediately thanks you but doesn't connect you to Congress."

The "Freedom's Watch" campaign is fronted by former White House spokesliar Ari Fleischer and funded by, among others, Mel Sembler (a major Republican fundraiser who headed the Scooter Libby Defense Fund and also founded a chain of "drug rehab" clinics that specialized in child torture). It is being conducted as a counterpoint to the anticipated release of the report documenting the "success" of the "surge," which will be presented by the Military Messiah du jour, David Petraeus -- even though it is being composed by the White House propaganda directorate.

It is a reflection of George W. Bush's omnivorous sense of entitlement, and the depraved ingenuity of the War Party's propagandists, that this campaign's first advertisement features Sgt. Kreisel, who displays the same misplaced devotion to Bush that Nicolas Chauvin purportedly demonstrated toward Bonaparte. By using Kreisel and others who have suffered in this needless war, Bush and his handlers are neatly inverting the warning from Henry V: The cause must be good, precisely because men have lost their limbs, minds, and lives in its service.

It wasn't enough that these corrupt, craven creatures -- none of whom has ever sacrificed anything on behalf of anybody -- staged an unnecessary, immoral war that deprived Kreisel of his legs, thereby leaving his young sons with an invalid father. Now they wish to extract from Kreisel's tragedy the last full measure of political advantage by using him to reinforce the prejudices of the Dear Leader's dwindling cohort of cult followers:

This squalid exercise perfectly encapsulates "Freedom" as defined by the Bushcisti:

Freedom consists in adhering to the Dear Leader's will in all things -- at whatever cost to you and your family; and since only those who echo the Dear Leader's voice are truly free, they alone should be allowed to participate. The purpose of the legislature is to ratify the Leader's decisions, and to appropriate money to carry them out.

Every totalitarian movement -- and by now it is clear to any honest and rational person that Bush-era "conservatism" deserves that description -- depends on the eager and energetic participation of the willfully ignorant; as the doxology of Orwell's dystopia recognized, "Ignorance is strength." The invincibly ignorant people who compose Bush's core constituency will have no difficulty swallowing and regurgitating the refrain "They attacked us" as a rationale for continuing the war on a country that had no connection whatsoever with 9-11. The only connection between Iraq and 9-11 is the outrage provoked in the Arab world as that country absorbed ten years of war (including criminal attacks on civilian infrastructure), bombing campaigns, and murderous sanctions dealt out by Washington.

As Orwell -- who understood the difference between patriotism and nationalism -- pointed out: "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

Because of the White House agitprop campaign, millions of people who already support the Dear Leader's war will "know" that Sgt. Kreisel lost his legs in a "terrorist" attack in Fallujah. Not one in ten thousand of them will know, or care about, the thousands of families living in that city who have been killed by American weapons since February 1991.

Hey, cheer up, kid -- you're being liberated!

An Iraqi child, oddly ungrateful for America's generosity and sacrifice, laments the death of his friends from a U.S. airstrike against Fallujah.

For such people, outrage over the roadside bomb that mangled Kreisel and killed two of his friends cannot co-exist with disapproval of the indiscriminate killing of Fallujans in 2004 in a campaign to "pacify" the city. That act of "liberation" included the use of White Phosphorus as what an official Defense Department essay called "a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents...."

White Phosphorus is a hideous high-yield chemical weapon: A WP munition can create a kill zone as much as a quarter of a mile wide, within which victims are burned and suffocated. A U.S. soldier who witnessed the use of that weapon in Fallujah recounted: "It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs.... Burned bodies. Burned children. Burned women. White Phosphorus kills indiscriminately."

They made a desert and called it "liberation":

Fallujah, as seen from space, shortly after "Freedom" arrived in the form of White Phosphorus bombs and other high-performance explosives.

In the Bu'ushist lexicon, it is "terrorism" to employ improvised weapons against occupation troops in Fallujah, while the use of high-yield chemical weapons by occupation forces against the city's civilians is "liberation." Just before commencing the "liberation" of the city, Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, a Marine commander in Fallujah, explained the matter with admirable concision: "What is coming is the destruction of anti-coalition forces in Fallujah. They have two choices: Submit or die."

It is in the service of that vision of "freedom" that Sgt. Kreisel lost his legs.

(My thanks to Eric Larsen for providing me with the indispensable term "Bushcisti.")

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dixiedog said...

This sentence...

For such people, outrage over the roadside bomb that mangled Kreisel and killed two of his friends cannot co-exist with disapproval of the indiscriminate killing of Fallujans in 2004 in a campaign to "pacify" the city.

...and this one...

In the Bu'ushist lexicon, it is "terrorism" to employ improvised weapons against occupation troops in Fallujah, while the use of high-yield chemical weapons by occupation forces against the city's civilians is "liberation."

...say it all, IMO. It's the "dichotomy of our time" if you will. This kind of conundrum stems from we the [ignorant] people believing government is "holy" when 'our guy' happens to be the Dear Leader, that is. Don't think for a minute that many of the anti-Busheviks you read and hear about would be any damn different if a Clintler, an Edwards, a Pelosi, et al happened to be the "Glorious Leader." It's the "Tweedledee" and "Tweedledum" syndrome still at work as usual, except this time, as during the Vietnam era, many kids are coming back mangled from a foreign imperial mission.

If we assume Bush as "Tweedledum," we'll soon enough bear witness to the other factional leader, "Tweedledee," coronated in January 2009 and many, if not most, of the anti-Busheviks will fall silent. After all, they were "anti-Busheviks," first and foremost, in the first place! See, that's the problem with declaring oneself loudly an "anti-Bu'ushist" activist or "anti-Bush" activist or whatever other colorful meaningless label an activist proudly wears, rather than, say, "pro-constitution," "anti-führerprinzip," "pro-Republic," or other label that would hopefully prompt the ignorant (from ALL sides) to THINK for once. The "pro-Bush" camp certainly couldn't resort to merely sayin', "You are a Demublican and hate freedom and liberty!" and the other "anti-Bush" faction sayin', "You are Republicrat and hate freedom and liberty!"

So, when some weenie comes along shouting "anti-Bush" rhetoric in the blogosphere, over the airwaves, on the HD booby crystal display, and elsewhere, they will be ignored or looked upon as part of the "other side" and therefore, in essence, as aiding and abetting the terrorists. Keep in mind that, in most cases, the louder, more overt "anti-Bush" folk are just as IGNORANT about the constitution, führerprinzip, the critical difference between a republic and democracy as is the "conservative" pro-Bush camp. Hell, both sides are IGNORANT of the fact that the country has already long crossed the Rubicon into small-scale localized tyrannies and overall cultural decay as it is, nevemind the added "cherry on top" of this imperial war. It's only helping to consummate the concept of Dear Leader in the commoners' collective mindset. The question to them is then only that they have "their man (or woman)" enthroned in the Imperial Castle.

This is why I say we're wasting our time playin' this STUPID game of "Glorious Leader/Dear Leader" nonsense. Your Leader has done this/is doing that, our Leader had done this/did this, etc., ad nauseam. All it succeeds in accomplishing is providing the STILL IGNORANT masses to simply select the other factional candidate as the new "Glorious Leader" who will somehow propel us in a new direction. Arrrgh! If folk think the executive - whether he/she is characterized as Dear Leader, Glorious Leader, or merely President - should be propelling US in a new direction, no wonder we're freakin' hopeless!

What are the folks, especially those who are screaming about Bush specifically, doing about enlightening the freeway travelers and others about their respective congressional slug?? Are they screaming about their congressional representative having all but abdicated their CONSTITUTIONAL mandate to this "Dear Leader"!? I think NOT!

In any event, get ready for Clintler II in January 2009. I'm all but certain she'll be Amerika's first Queen...uh...[cough]...female president. I can see it now. A 100 years hence, the historians will be bewailin' the tyrannical rule of Queen Hillary. Even that name is ominous...ugh!

Anonymous said...

Great post, but worrying about the puny efforts of these politicians puts aside the real problems coming our way, let them do their damndest, it won't matter. Hell this government is merely an annoyance, once the real events start to appear government will be inconsequential and basically ignored. They don't seem to be able to do much of anything other than steal from the treasury and pocket the proceeds. Seen them do anything else, even in their own service? That is what you get when you get supporters that have no talent other than boot licking. Nope I don't fear any of these jerks, just let them do their thing, incompetence and ineffectiveness is their hallmark. Just wait, new lifestyle coming your way, and you won't like this one much either.

Anonymous said...

There is hope for America:


Google Ron Paul today!

Anonymous said...

The word "freedom" is quickly becoming another stolen concept. Rather than referring to the absence of coercion, particularly government coercion, it has now come to mean almost the opposite - the blind acceptance of any and all blood soaked imperial agendas abroad and a growing police state at home, usually cloaked in the imagery of patriotism, security, and the allegedly altruistic goal of establishing democracy in distant lands lacking that form of rule. The meaning of the word "liberal" was similarly turned on its head in the 1930's by the Roosevelt administration.

The Sea Dreamer said...

Very, very well done on the quote from Henry V. May I add one from Goethe, for the Bushcistis?

"There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance."

Anonymous said...

"There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance."

That's exactly how I, too feel about Ron Paul.
Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

The Sea Dreamer said...

Mooser - very well done, also. Perhaps Goethe is a scatter-gun, to be fired in all directions at once.

As a non-American, I will withdraw from any discussion of your Presidential candidates.

Anonymous said...

Look, you can have your opinion..that's fine. There are alot of things that I disagree with my government on as well..however, don't drag John into your argument. That is dispicable, in my opinion. John is a friend of mine. We served together in Iraq. I was on one of the reaction teams on Dec 2, 2006 that went to the scene when he was wounded and Bryan and Corey were killed. You are making him out to be a victim. A helpless pitifull victim, that everyone should feel sorry for because the evil George Bush took his legs away. He is none of that. Talking about his kids and their "invalid" father...what the hell is wrong with you? What you are talking about is the complete opposite of the friend that we know and respect. John is an intelligent, friendly, positive individual who is way more active the fat lazy slobs that make up the majority of the US population...even without his legs. As well as being a completely loving and capable husband and father to his wife and kids. So take that "feel sorry for poor John the invalid" crap and stick it where the sun don't shine. The difference between you guys and the organisation you accuse of taking advantage of the wounded veterans, is that John, and the others, gave their informed approval to those organizations to use thier opinions in those commercials. Yes, that is actually what they believe. Expressing their honest opinion in a commercial for an organation that they support and gave their expressed permission to use, is not being taken advantage of. On the other hand, the writer of this article did not get Kreisel's informed consent, he is using Kreisel in way that is inconsistant with his beliefs, and is portraying him in a manner that is inconsistant with reality in order to generate sympathy for the writer's argument without even having the courtesy allowing John to make a counter statement on his own behalf. So, who is taking advantage of who again? Get real.