Sunday, February 15, 2009

the prince of flies writes for the NYT Mag

The great lie machine during the era of the Great Fly worked on several registers. One of its cleverest registers was substituting terms in opaque contexts. This is where the lie becomes as multilayered as baklava – and just as sweet! One can gorge oneself on such lies until a sudden stroke brings you down, and death puts its hook in your nostrils.

I was pleased as a hook-laden demon, then, to see the NYT Mag story about Bush’s policy in North Africa, which comes to slyly praise it – the neocons in revisionist mode – start out with one of those Baklava lies:

“IN THE MONTHS AFTER 9/11, American forces in Afghanistan bombed the Taliban and, in vain, hunted for Osama bin Laden…”

This is exceedingly beaufiful. American forces did not bomb the Taliban, but bombed Afghanistan’s villages and cities. Whether one approves of the war or not, this is what the war consists of. But the beauty of this lie is almost surpassed by the next phrase, about hunting Osama bin Laden. They didn’t hunt Osama bin Laden in vain – rather, an intentionally small force of American marines, a handful of special forces men, and Northern Alliance allies successfully cornerd Osama bin Laden in a complex at Tora Bora. Then they let him get away. “Let” is the operative word, full of wonderful deniability. Just as the Americans oversaw the Pakistan airlift from Kunduz that took the Taliban leaders Americans were “bombing” and swept them away to sanctuary in Pakistan, so, too, American “forces” knew very well that fires were being lit on the trail wending its way through the mountains from the back of Tora Bora to the Pakistan border. They bombed, with quite a number of civilian casualties, the area in front of Tora Bora. They refused to bomb any of the trails in back of Tora Bora. The only explanation emitted by the liars in the Bush administration, and the one that will go down into the cheesy American history books, so rife with Just so stories and suburban myths, is that they were afraid of killing shepherds. Shepherds supposedly watching their flocks at 10 000 feet in midwinter. Lighting those campfires.

Iraq is something we all have to forget, because it showed, on every level, the establishment clockwork – the Baklava lies, the cruder lies, the manipulation of slogans that make no sense, the posturing, the dealmaking, and the everypresent goal – to expand the power and reach of the kleptocracy. It was a model event. The current rush to spend any amount of money to rescue the falling financial sector is built along the same lines.

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