Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Note: All of the words below were written by Norman Mailer.

Yes, our guilt for a great part of those bodies remains a large subtext and Saddam was creating mass graves all through the 1970s and 1980s. He killed Communists en masse in the 1970s, which didn't bother us a bit. Then he slaughtered tens of thousands of Iraqis during the war with Iran—a time when we supported him. A horde of those newly discovered graves go back to that period. Of course, real killers never look back.

The administration, however, was concerned only with how best to expedite the war. They hastened to look for many a justifiable reason. The Iraqis were a nuclear threat; they were teeming with weapons of mass destruction; they were working closely with al-Qaeda; they had even been the dirty geniuses behind 9/11. The reasons offered to the American public proved skimpy, unverifiable, and void of the realpolitik of our need to get a choke-hold on the Middle East for many a reason more than Israel- Palestine. We had to sell the war on false pretenses.

When Osama bin Laden failed to be captured by the posses we sent to Afghanistan, Bush was thrust back to ongoing domestic problems that did not give any immediate suggestion that they could prove solution-friendly. The economy was sinking, the market was down, and some classic bastions of American faith (corporate integrity, the FBI, and the Catholic Church—to cite but three) had each suffered a separate and grievous loss of face. Increasing joblessness was undermining national morale. Since our administration was conceivably not ready to tackle any one of the serious problems looming before them that did not involve enriching the top, it was natural for the administration to feel an impulse to move into larger ventures, thrusts into the empyrean—war! We could say we went to war because we very much needed a successful war as a species of psychic rejuvenation. Any major excuse would do—nuclear threat, terrorist nests, weapons of mass destruction —we could always make the final claim that we were liberating the Iraqis. Who could argue with that? One could not. One could only ask: What will the cost be to our democracy?

So we went ahead against all obstacles—of which the UN was the first. Wantonly, shamelessly, proudly, exuberantly, at least one half of our prodigiously divided America could hardly wait for the new war. We understood that our television was going to be terrific. And it was. Sanitized but terrific —which is, after all, exactly what network and good cable television are supposed to be.

And Iran, watch it, we have eyes for you. You could be a real meal. Because when we fight, we feel good, we are ready to go, and then go some more. We have had a taste. Why, there's a basketful of billions to be made in the Middle East just so long as we can stay ahead of the trillions of debts that are coming after us back home.

Can leaders who lie as a way of life protect any way of life?

Let us hope that our democracy will survive these nonstop foulings of the nest.

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