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<nettime> Re: Fascism in the USA?
Brian Holmes on Thu, 12 Jun 2003 11:53:30 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Fascism in the USA?

This nettime thread has run exactly parallel to the real-time 
politics and its multiple echoes, which anyway shows how integrated 
we all are. I'm sure people have noticed a stream of relevant things 
in the expanded media, including all the links I received:

- a failure to even begin thinking about the subject in the article 
"Weimar Whiners" at 
which Geert sent.

- an excellent response to that on an obscure blog, at 
http://www.thesentimentalist.com/archives/000105.html, which John 
Mass sent

- a thread on the nettime debate in discordia.us

- two Krugman articles in the NYTimes with exactly my position, one 
passed on by Nadia Tazi which I send the text below, since NYT 
charges for the weblink and the key paragraph is the last

- Continual stories about he absence of intense debate in America, as 
compared to Britain. Is that true, Americans? All you living in the 
home of the free and the brave?

- articles in the Asia Times about the US position in North Korea, 
with the anouncement of plans to withdraw troops from the DMZ, and 
Wolfowitz explaining that it was so the US could respond to a Korean 
attack "in an hour." Translation: mini-nukes. The guy is deeply 
insane. [in general, the Asia Times has a fascinating perspective, 
worth reading].

- today in London: despite the massive call for investigations, Blair 
refuses to go directly before a Parliament committee on the question 
of the WMD intellince. In other words: all the democratic agitation 
in the media comes to nothing. 

today in USA: from my brother in Boston I received a petition calling 
for a Congressional investigation: 
www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/729869895: "Bush: reveal 
pre-invasion 'evidence' of Iraqi WMD."
BREAKING NEWS! Last Thursday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced 
a Resolution of Inquiry, demanding the Administration turn over 
intelligence to back its pre-war claims about Iraq. It is a 
privileged resolution and must be voted on in Committee within 14 
legislative days of being introduced. For more info, go to 
<http://www.kucinich.us/>http://www.kucinich.us/, and scroll down to 
Please ask your Congressperson to support Kucinich's Resolution of 
Inquiry; contact info for legislators can be found at 

My personal opinion on all this: the United States is being ruled by 
madmen who perfectly express the capitalist system by grabing empire. 
The British want to supply expertise. They'll run the whole world 
like a soldier business. And they want to go so far, that there's no 
turning back: by using the sovereign power of nuclear weapons. But 
they can still be thrown out of the US government, Britain too. The 
time is now to discredit them in every way.


June 3, 2003
       Standard Operating Procedure

       The mystery of Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction has 
become a lot less mysterious. Recent reports in major British 
newspapers and three major American news magazines, based on leaks 
from angry intelligence officials, back up the sources who told my 
colleague Nicholas Kristof that the Bush administration "grossly 
manipulated intelligence" about W.M.D.'s.

       And anyone who talks about an "intelligence failure" is missing 
the point. The problem lay not with intelligence professionals, but 
with the Bush and Blair administrations. They wanted a war, so they 
demanded reports supporting their case, while dismissing contrary 

       In Britain, the news media have not been shy about drawing the 
obvious implications, and the outrage has not been limited to war 
opponents. The Times of London was ardently pro-war; nonetheless, it 
ran an analysis under the headline "Lie Another Day." The paper drew 
parallels between the selling of the war and other misleading claims: 
"The government is seen as having `spun' the threat from Saddam's 
weapons just as it spins everything else."

       Yet few have made the same argument in this country, even 
though "spin" is far too mild a word for what the Bush administration 
does, all the time. Suggestions that the public was manipulated into 
supporting an Iraq war gain credibility from the fact that 
misrepresentation and deception are standard operating procedure for 
this administration, which - to an extent never before seen in U.S. 
history - systematically and brazenly distorts the facts.

       Am I exaggerating? Even as George Bush stunned reporters by 
declaring that we have "found the weapons of mass destruction," the 
Republican National Committee declared that the latest tax cut 
benefits "everyone who pays taxes." That is simply a lie. You've 
heard about those eight million children denied any tax break by a 
last-minute switcheroo. In total, 50 million American households - 
including a majority of those with members over 65 - get nothing; 
another 20 million receive less than $100 each. And a great majority 
of those left behind do pay taxes.

       And the bald-faced misrepresentation of an elitist tax cut 
offering little or nothing to most Americans is only the latest in a 
long string of blatant misstatements. Misleading the public has been 
a consistent strategy for the Bush team on issues ranging from tax 
policy and Social Security reform to energy and the environment. So 
why should we give the administration the benefit of the doubt on 
foreign policy?

       It's long past time for this administration to be held 
accountable. Over the last two years we've become accustomed to the 
pattern. Each time the administration comes up with another whopper, 
partisan supporters - a group that includes a large segment of the 
news media - obediently insist that black is white and up is down. 
Meanwhile the "liberal" media report only that some people say that 
black is black and up is up. And some Democratic politicians offer 
the administration invaluable cover by making excuses and playing 
down the extent of the lies.

       If this same lack of accountability extends to matters of war 
and peace, we're in very deep trouble. The British seem to understand 
this: Max Hastings, the veteran war correspondent - who supported 
Britain's participation in the war - writes that "the prime minister 
committed British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of 
a deceit, and it stinks."

       It's no answer to say that Saddam was a murderous tyrant. I 
could point out that many of the neoconservatives who fomented this 
war were nonchalant, or worse, about mass murders by Central American 
death squads in the 1980's. But the important point is that this 
isn't about Saddam: it's about us. The public was told that Saddam 
posed an imminent threat. If that claim was fraudulent, the selling 
of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political 
history - worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra. Indeed, the 
idea that we were deceived into war makes many commentators so 
uncomfortable that they refuse to admit the possibility.

       But here's the thought that should make those commentators 
really uncomfortable. Suppose that this administration did con us 
into war. And suppose that it is not held accountable for its 
deceptions, so Mr. Bush can fight what Mr. Hastings calls a "khaki 
election" next year. In that case, our political system has become 
utterly, and perhaps irrevocably, corrupted.

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