Sometimes it takes a direct impact to awaken people to reality and begin the arduous and resisted process of restoring clarity to consciousness. The huge marches in Los Angeles and throughout the country on immigrant rights resonated in the heads of all the pundits and politicians who had spent the season mouthing platitudes. When the draconian mentality of far-right legislators rigged up a plan to make felons out of 12 million undocumented but hard-working people, marchers representing those 12 million, and perhaps double or triple that number in relatives and friends, expressed themselves directly.
Suddenly, the punitive platitudes – the whole dialogue of attack and counterattack so favored by cable news – were revealed as impractical to the actual situation on the street. The big talkers, all intelligent and glib, were also obviously completely capable of missing reality.
So much more the blow for the jingoism of eternal war that the neo-con wave of thinkers has dictated for America. This is the core group of political ideologues who realized their own fantasies of controlling a superpower with so much military might that it could take command of history itself. (For a brief group profile, see “All in the Neocon Family,” by Jim Lobe, www.alternet.org/story/15481.) They would, with the backing of super-preachers from a cultish version of Christianity, steer the world toward the final chapter of humanity’s spiritual evolution on the planet. It was the neo-cons – or “new conservative” movement headsmen – who guided the hand of America’s commander in chief to invade and occupy a whole country in the heart of the Muslim world – Iraq, where oil would flow copiously and fragrant flowers would greet liberators.
The illumination of fiercely resisted revelation, nevertheless, is turning on in many fronts.
There was the fantasy of a ready and able federal response to major crises, until Hurricane Katrina burst the dikes along with the fantasy of a robust homeland security.
There was the notion that Latin America was following in the footsteps of American leadership – a tidy backyard too timid to challenge a major economic power. Then came Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile and China, all moving to take more control over the economies in their regions.
There is the myth of a growing economy raising all boats while trickled-down scraps feed the hungry, but in reality industrial jobs are disappearing along with the middle class. All this is compounded by the gulping realization of a huge national debt that bodes darkly for the dollar.
There is the criminal pretending that global warming and its obvious impacts of severe hurricanes, drought and melting polar caps is not yet scientifically determined. This lie permeates the neo-con movement internationally and its proponents on the national level, and it portends the highest level of sorrow for humanity as a whole. This is a crisis issue that is coming to a world near ... all of us.
But, today, the dragging occupation of Iraq by American forces is king of the whoppers. This lie of a war, decided wantonly under false pretenses and executed by incompetent strategic leadership, is unfolding in a reality all its own. Americans have died by the thousands, and have killed by the tens of thousands, in an unnecessary and contorted war that has unleashed a spiral of violence and mayhem that has no good end in sight. The reality of a world that can beget huge and implacable violence, where military might is not enough to control whole peoples, is setting in.
In the face of the violent deterioration of their favored fantasy project, the neo-con thinkers completely surrounding President Bush are in a serious quandary. Major voices among arch-conservatives, some sincerely (William Buckley) and others in more slithery form (Francis Fukuyama), now acknowledge the tragic reality of a major miscalculation by American strategists and see “the Iraq War” as lost. The unity of purpose to declare an American empire is as quagmired as the war. Watch now for the neo-cons to attack each other with as much relish as they once ganged up on lonesome critics of their awful decision-making on a practical level. Watch now as they abandon a sinking ship they once launched with guns blazing.
Such is the case with Fukuyama, the much-heralded and self-proclaimed “thought leader” who declared the “end of history” back in 1992 (the American model was to become the system for all the world for all time) and who later promoted the invasion of Iraq along with the several dozen other neo-con pundit heads. Fukuyama is now all over the media, backtracking on how the idea was great but poorly executed; and yes, he was a little wrong back then and oh, by the way, he was mostly misinterpreted.
It is good, of course, that reality sets in; sadly, it does so after tens of thousands human beings have been killed and maimed and a whole region super-polluted with radiation from depleted uranium bombs – or what Fukuyama calls the “unintended consequences” of utopian visions.
Writes Fukuyama now: “The so-called Bush Doctrine that set the framework for the administration’s first term is now in shambles ... it is very hard to see how these developments in themselves justify the blood and treasure that the United States has spent on the project to this point.” (“America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy,” Yale University Press, 2006.)
Fukuyama is keen to point out the real results of the Bush doctrine, which has isolated the United States and led to power shifts much the worse for peace in the Middle East, even following democratic elections, which have been counterproductive to American goals in the region. He declares the “good intentions” of the neo-cons in the Bush administration while bemoaning the many major mistakes that have produced the horrible reality of a major, U.S.-created war gone awry.
Fukuyama’s tired retraction is good, but way after the fact. It may lead the neo-con discussion, but it’s old news to most of the world. He and many others are now seeing the folly of invading Iraq and the degrading position in which deployment as an occupying force has put America’s soldiers. Cleverly, Fukuyama now realizes how the American model of economic hope and personal freedom has given way to an image of a power-hungry, self-serving giant bent on total military control of the world. He no longer agrees.
The putsch by the neo-con movement has been depressingly successful in an uncertain time for America. But the intellectual opportunities of these highly trained thinkers, who were propelled by grandly financed media power, gave way to blinding arrogance. They wished for a war, not to destroy the actual bases of terrorist power so much as to assert America’s complete military superiority in the most conflictive region of the world. They, and Fukuyama, waved the flag of empire with this most tragic school of thought, really thinking it was simply a matter of toppling an aging dictator and then the millenary peoples and religious bases of the region would succumb to he who could take war into its center.
As the American people finally reflect more deeply upon that nearly ruined country and the alarmingly tense world that the Bush administration is leaving behind, we hope the lessons and faces of this dreadful time can be continually remembered. The neo-con core group of self-organized thinkers that invaded American public life – their big-mouthed personalities, ideas and impacts – should always be challenged to confront the “unintended consequences” and “collateral damage” of their decisions. So many lives unnecessarily lost. So many human beings unnecessarily maimed. So much hatred, anger and ignorance stoked.
The “eternal war” option was the wrong response for the world’s major superpower to give at such a chaotic and fearful moment in history. It is devoid of inspiration. We said so before the Iraq War began and continue to claim: “The world needs America to lead for peace.”