Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Writer who Came In From Human Decency [warning, long post]

To celebrate The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler blogger Emperor Misha I’s birthday, I thought that I’d do a Fisking of John “Moral Equivalence Moron” Le Carre in his honor. I’ll forgo Misha’s usual cuss words in favor of reviving some choice old English terms which, although now almost forgotten, really get at the literary idiocy of Mr. Le Carre.
America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

Yep, I just saw Justice Hathorne out with Cotton Mather and the local constable rounding up imams to be hung. Distressed by this spectacle, I went in and turned on my TV to find George W. Bush ranting and raving about “109 Zam-Zam drinking Islamists” in the State Department and Afgani kids running down the road with their skin burned off after a napalm attack. It’s introductions like this that let us know about the sophisticated reasoning abilities of European leftist intellectual elites. Warning, his thinking gets more jumentous as we move along.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams.

Quite so, you anile old naffin, but not for the reasons (or outcomes) that either you or Osama wanted.

As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

John Le Carre, meet the Internet. Internet, say hello to noted English badling John Le Carre. Comments about the Official Secrets Act and the EU’s continual attacks on speech freedoms elided because the author was too busy laughing his fundament off.
The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place;

It’s a little thing called the Electoral College, one of those teensy features of that scrap of paper called the Constitution, O excerebrose One.


Perhaps the members of the preceding administration could fill you in on that one, along with the government of India, but I fear that you are too intellectually lubbardly to care much, John-Boy.

its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich;

The echolalia of tired old class-envy rhetoric strikes again.

its reckless disregard for the world’s poor,

Yep, the Marquis de St. Evre’monde had nothing on George W. Why, he wouldn’t even extend unemployment benefits to his own jobless. (wait a moment...)

the ecology

Le Carre must be referring to the Kyoto treaty. Well, the upper chamber of our legislature scored that one “98” for the economy, “Nil” for the idiotic and empirically unverified eructations of the environmental racketeers during Clinton‘s administration. The Boy President committed us to following its provisions via Presidential fiat, which one would expect Le Carre to oppose as an act of “unilateral” executive tyranny. (crickets chirping)

and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties.

Just the ABM Treaty, which we gave formal notice for, you pathetic glump.

They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.

Desticate all you like about 242, the Israelis are fighting for survival against bloodthirsty janiform anti-Semites such as yourself.

But bin Laden conveniently swept all that under the carpet. The Bushies are riding high. Now 88 per cent of Americans want the war, we are told. The US defence budget has been raised by another $60 billion to around $360 billion. A splendid new generation of nuclear weapons is in the pipeline, so we can all breathe easy. Quite what war 88 per cent of Americans think they are supporting is a lot less clear. A war for how long, please? At what cost in American lives? At what cost to the American taxpayer’s pocket? At what cost — because most of those 88 per cent are thoroughly decent and humane people — in Iraqi lives?

Spare us the bathetic idiocy, Johnny. The U.S. military takes pride in minimizing civilian casualties, because it’s not only moral but good war-fighting as well, “the moral is the practical.”

How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.

Mr. Hussein had a lot to do with that by coming out in favor of the Twin Tower attacks after 9/11/01. To paraphrase Dr. Johnson, “Depend upon it, sir. When a rational man sees 3,000 people incinerated in front of his eyes, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” By applauding such heinous crimes, he put himself squarely in favor of the terror axis in a way that not even the scromboid loser Arafat dared to do.

But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election.

“Shake, rattle and roll.” “The American Electorate” that I see as I walk along the street seems serene and rational. Even the street crazies are more poised and subdued than you are, Le Carre. We know that Saddam has been in power too long, and that the Iraqis might actually make a go of it if given half a chance...

Those who are not with Mr Bush are against him. Worse, they are with the enemy. Which is odd, because I’m dead against Bush, but I would love to see Saddam’s downfall — just not on Bush’s terms and not by his methods. And not under the banner of such outrageous hypocrisy.

How, pray tell, are we going to unseat Saddam, if not by Bush’s methods and on Bush’s terms? Bush is the leader of the only country in the world with both the will and the capacity to do something about Hussein. Internal subversion won’t work, it has been tried countless times before. Old age will only eventually put Uday on the top. Perhaps we can call in Richard Gere to lead a worldwide campaign to think nice thoughts about the Marsh Arabs until Hussein’s karma backs up on him and he relents. Orwell’s point about pacifism working to the advantage of fascism is completely appropriate here. It was tremendously hypocritical of Stalin to campaign against Hitler on the grounds of “anti-fascism” when he was a large, if indirect, reason for Hitler coming into power in the first place (by undermining the KPD) and an ally of Adolf for a year and a half (1939-41). I join other Fiskers of this article in noting Le Carre’s silence on that point. It seems that things get very “black and white” when it is lil’ Johnnie’s dubious moral equivalencies that are in question.
The religious cant that will send American troops into battle is perhaps the most sickening aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an arm-lock on God. And God has very particular political opinions. God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy, and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist.

Hardly, it’s just that a) Israel is the only functioning democracy in the region aside from Turkey [1/2 the time], b) the Arabs/Palestinians have continually advocated the genocidal destruction of the internationally-recognized and U.N.-created State of Israel in both worlds and deeds from the time of its creation right to the present day, c) those same Arabs idolize fascism and anti-Semitism to the point of dramatizing the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION and making Adolf Hitler a best-selling author. Thus ,d) those who support the Arabs over the Israelis deliberately uphold such values (or, equally deliberately, ignore such facts), making them backers of anti-Semitism and fascism if we take the guilt-by-association logic that Le Carre hypocritically denounces here (but employs in the paragraphs immediately below) seriously. If you lie down with mad dogs, you get up with rabies, Le Carre.

God also has pretty scary connections. In America, where all men are equal in His sight, if not in one another’s, the Bush family numbers one President, one ex-President, one ex-head of the CIA, the Governor of Florida and the ex-Governor of Texas.

*Yawn* See the Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt and Kennedy families. Political dynasties are nothing new in America. Your entheomaniac ramblings about God and politics are quite revealing, but we Americans shrug it off as being lip service to the God of the Civil Religion. If you were literate enough in American fiction to make the appropriate reference to Mark Twain’s WAR PRAYER, it might have been impressive. As it is, you’re just a typical klazomaniac enraptured with the sound of his own shouting.

Care for a few pointers? George W. Bush, 1978-84: senior executive, Arbusto Energy/Bush Exploration, an oil company; 1986-90: senior executive of the Harken oil company. Dick Cheney, 1995-2000: chief executive of the Halliburton oil company. Condoleezza Rice, 1991-2000: senior executive with the Chevron oil company, which named an oil tanker after her. And so on. But none of these trifling associations affects the integrity of God’s work.

Here’s Le Carre’s guilt-by-association hypocrisy laid bare. Quite the secular Pecksniff, eh?

In 1993, while ex-President George Bush was visiting the ever-democratic Kingdom of Kuwait to receive thanks for liberating them, somebody tried to kill him. The CIA believes that “somebody” was Saddam. Hence Bush Jr’s cry: “That man tried to kill my Daddy.” But it’s still not personal, this war. It’s still necessary. It’s still God’s work. It’s still about bringing freedom and democracy to oppressed Iraqi people. To be a member of the team you must also believe in Absolute Good and Absolute Evil, and Bush, with a lot of help from his friends, family and God, is there to tell us which is which. What Bush won’t tell us is the truth about why we’re going to war. What is at stake is not an Axis of Evil — but oil, money and people’s lives. Saddam’s misfortune is to sit on the second biggest oilfield in the world. Bush wants it, and who helps him get it will receive a piece of the cake. And who doesn’t, won’t. If Saddam didn’t have the oil, he could torture his citizens to his heart’s content. Other leaders do it every day — think Saudi Arabia, think Pakistan, think Turkey, think Syria, think Egypt.

Our resident misologist seems to forget that two of the countries above have their own oil. By his tortured logic, we should invade and subdue Saudi Arabia first.

Baghdad represents no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, if he’s still got them, will be peanuts by comparison with the stuff Israel or America could hurl at him at five minutes’ notice. What is at stake is not an imminent military or terrorist threat, but the economic imperative of US growth. What is at stake is America’s need to demonstrate its military power to all of us — to Europe and Russia and China, and poor mad little North Korea, as well as the Middle East; to show who rules America at home, and who is to be ruled by America abroad.

One would think that a putative writer of espionage thrillers would at least have a minimal understanding of the difference between conventional and unconventional means of warfare. Saddam doesn’t concern anyone now because of his overt military prowess, but because of his known potential as a third-party enabler of terrorism as a wholesaler of tailor-made diseases and poisons, plus being a potential (and if Le Carre had his way, -actual-) nuclear vendor. Notice his patronizing description of North Korea as an Ophelia suitable for Bedlam, when in fact it is the Stalinist -leadership- of the country that is driving it down. Note also that Le Carre thinks that it is preferable for North Koreans to starve on grass rather than be a part of the same political order that fashioned South Korea’s current freedom and prosperity. How rectopathic he is at the prospect for freedom and human dignity when Europeans aren‘t concerned.

The most charitable interpretation of Tony Blair’s part in all this is that he believed that, by riding the tiger, he could steer it. He can’t. Instead, he gave it a phoney legitimacy, and a smooth voice. Now I fear, the same tiger has him penned into a corner, and he can’t get out. It is utterly laughable that, at a time when Blair has talked himself against the ropes, neither of Britain’s opposition leaders can lay a glove on him.

That’s called a “strong party parliamentary democracy,” Johnny-me-boy. Once one has a clear majority, virtually anything goes. The party leader and whips have all the power, and the backbenchers get to play backseat backbiter and contemplate community service. I fail to see why I, a -Yank- of all people, have to give you a civics lesson in the workings of the British Constitution and its political ecology. The rectalgia you give your readers just keeps on increasing, Le Carre.

But that’s Britain’s tragedy, as it is America’s: as our Governments spin, lie and lose their credibility, the electorate simply shrugs and looks the other way. Blair’s best chance of personal survival must be that, at the eleventh hour, world protest and an improbably emboldened UN will force Bush to put his gun back in his holster unfired. But what happens when the world’s greatest cowboy rides back into town without a tyrant’s head to wave at the boys? Blair’s worst chance is that, with or without the UN, he will drag us into a war that, if the will to negotiate energetically had ever been there, could have been avoided; a war that has been no more democratically debated in Britain than it has in America or at the UN. By doing so, Blair will have set back our relations with Europe and the Middle East for decades to come. He will have helped to provoke unforeseeable retaliation, great domestic unrest, and regional chaos in the Middle East. Welcome to the party of the ethical foreign policy. There is a middle way, but it’s a tough one: Bush dives in without UN approval and Blair stays on the bank. Goodbye to the special relationship.
I cringe when I hear my Prime Minister lend his head prefect’s sophistries to this colonialist adventure. His very real anxieties about terror are shared by all sane men. What he can’t explain is how he reconciles a global assault on al-Qaeda with a territorial assault on Iraq. We are in this war, if it takes place, to secure the fig leaf of our special relationship, to grab our share of the oil pot, and because, after all the public hand-holding in Washington and Camp David, Blair has to show up at the altar.

Well, since Mr. Blair has undoubtedly studied British history, he is no doubt reminded of the whining that went on whenever England had to step in and take things in hand over the objections of lesser powers. You know, actions like stopping cult murders and widow-burning in India and other examples of “multicultural” wonderfulness. Aside from the shiny, happy fascism of his domestic policy, Blair knows that Saddam is a menace and one of the legs of support for Arab terrorism. It’s true that his party is fractured behind him, but they, like you, offer no sensible alternative except leftist screeching at the actual thought of opposing fascism.

“But will we win, Daddy?”
“Of course, child. It will all be over while you’re still in bed.”
“Because otherwise Mr Bush’s voters will get terribly impatient and may decide not to vote for him.”
“But will people be killed, Daddy?”
“Nobody you know, darling. Just foreign people.”
“Can I watch it on television?”
“Only if Mr Bush says you can.”
“And afterwards, will everything be normal again? Nobody will do anything horrid any more?”
“Hush child, and go to sleep.”

Once a mammothrept, always a mammothrept, I suppose. Le Carre may need for his political leaders to tell him bedtime stories, but adults can make their own judgments. Let’s see how his view really cashes out in sleepy-time dialogue:

“But why can’t we help them, Daddy?”
“Of course not child, that would be helping America, and that would be wrong.”
“Because they spread things like Western Enlightenment values and stop Uncle Saddam and other freedom-loving men from doing what they want.”
“But doesn’t he kill people?”
“Nobody you know, darling. Just foreign people.”
“Don’t foreign people have rights?”
“Of course not, they’re just sand-crawlers and wogs who think that they have some ridiculous right to human freedom and dignity.”
“Isn’t that racism, Daddy?”
“Hush child, and go to sleep.”

Last Friday a friend of mine in California drove to his local supermarket with a sticker on his car saying: “Peace is also Patriotic”. It was gone by the time he’d finished shopping.

“You know, as the acid bath is slowly dissolving my flesh off of my bones here in an Iraqi dungeon, I can’t help but count my blessings that I don’t live in a country where bumper stickers would be scraped off my automobile by random passers-by. Of course, I never got the chance to actually OWN a car, but it’s the principle of the thing that counts...”

“That’s right, Abdul. As a Coptic Christian formerly living in Egypt, I can proudly state that the bumper stickers on my car proclaiming my religious allegiance, one that predates Islam in my country by six centuries, were never removed from my car without my permission. Instead, my Islamic compatriots voiced their complaints about my theology in a mature and rational manner, namely by burning me to death -inside- my car, but, thank God, they didn’t take the stickers themselves off.”

Perhaps Le Carre can join up with the Poet Laureate of the Garden State for the first epic espionage thriller/poem, “Who scrape off da Bumpa?” It should get enough of the idiotarian trade to catapult them both back onto the bestseller list.

Johnny, call your agent.

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