January 09, 2005

The Tyrant and the Neocon

You can still find people in Washington State that call themselves 'Jackson Democrats,' by which they mean that they are now Republicans. The former Democratic senator was a formidable power player, and according to an article about Henry "Scoop" Jackson in the P-I, snidely known by colleagues as the "Senator from Boeing." He was also one of the people we have to thank for the rise of two of the most vile perineal perforations of our modern era; Saddam Hussein and Richard Perle:

...It was then, 40 years ago, that Jackson began to be linked directly, if furtively, to some of the uglier and little-known origins of the war on Iraq in 2003. Overseeing the CIA's "black budget" for covert operations and interventions from a subcommittee of Armed Services, he was one of a handful of senators who gave a nod to two U.S.-backed coups in Iraq, one in 1963 and again in 1968. Those plots brought Saddam Hussein to power amid bloodbaths in which the CIA, exacting the price for its support, handed Saddam and his Baath Party cohorts lists of supposed anti-U.S. Iraqis to be killed.

The result was the systematic murder of several hundred and as many as several thousand people, in which Saddam himself participated. Whatever the toll, accounts agree that CIA killing lists comprised much of Iraq's young educated elite -- doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as military officers and political figures -- Iraqis who would not be there to oppose Saddam's growing tyranny over ensuing years or to help rebuild or govern Iraq, as the United States now hopes to do, after the current war.

...As Jackson grew nationally prominent, he attracted the inevitable ambitious staffers and partisans boarding his coattails to advance both their own hawkish views and themselves. Among them was a recent graduate of the University of Southern California who was fanatic about amassing and projecting U.S. power, especially on behalf of Israel, and not least about his own strategic genius. The young New Yorker named Richard Perle became Jackson's chief assistant from 1969 to 1980.

...On the way up, Perle gathered his own disciples -- Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and others who would go on themselves in similar fashion to become key officials in the current administration. Like Perle, who was appointed to chair the administration's influential Defense Policy Board, they're all longtime advocates, years before the Sept. 11 attacks, of pre-emptive American military invasions in Iraq and elsewhere and of implicit, if not open, support for the expansionist and repressive policies of their right-wing counterparts in Israel. By all accounts, their concerted influence was decisive in going to war in Iraq.

Grown wealthy in the revolving door between government and corporate plunder, Perle has drawn notoriety lately not only for his intimate ties to Israel but also for his connections to companies standing to profit obscenely from the war he's mongered. When Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. and Sen. Carl Levin began to prod Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about the disreputable dealings, Perle angrily resigned March 27 from the chairmanship of the board, though he continues to sit as a full-fledged member of the pivotal body. Token resignation aside, it all reeks of the seedy conflict-of-interest "Scoop" once would have prosecuted in Snohomish County. But in the rest of their martial provincialism, Perle and his minions are Jackson's offspring. ...

Thanks for the link to a commenter in a dKos diary about the current discussion in the halls of power to institute El Salvadorean-style death squads in Iraq.

All of this brings to mind, you may think perversely, the suggestion made in several purported paths to enlightenment that a person shouldn't allow themselves to have negative emotions. The first time I heard someone seriously suggest it, I immediately thought back to the latest atrocity I'd read about at the time, and I was offended by the idea. I mean, some things are clearly bad, how could I not be infuriated by them?

Lately, though, the value seems clear. I'm just tired of being angry and outraged. When you're done being shocked about, say, troops getting sent to Iraq with insufficient armor, there's always the president's willingness to appoint a guy who wrote a defense for torture to the post of top law enforcement official in the US. There's always something else, some new horror piled on top of the last one.

This just isn't a drama that a person can stand to keep watching, or even seriously think about changing, without keeping that calm. I started writing this blog as a way to keep myself from yelling at the news, but if I'm going to be able to continue doing it, I'm going to have to teach myself not to want to yell at the news in the first place.

Posted by natasha at January 9, 2005 01:14 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |

Hang in there Natasha. I've been watching this since the 60's, and just as soon as I think outrage is no longer an option, something new, or something old just uncovered, rears its ugly head.

I've never learned to not watch, although I have learned to remove myself from the day-to-day repetition of outrage. And here, in 2004, 38 years after my political awakening, amerika elected the shrub. Go figure.

Keep up your positive message. It's enjoyed by many.


Posted by: bruce in oz at January 9, 2005 04:30 AM

Ah, but the yelling indicates that 1) you are alive and 2) that you have morals/ethics/standards. And those are not put off easily, if at all.

Sure, we are all exhausted by the amount of corruption this administration has manged to present as SOP. I have high hopes that, like Nixon's foray into spying, one of them will break open and break the Bushies.

Maybe someone will release the rest of the Abu Ghraib material. That might do it.

Posted by: Scorpio at January 9, 2005 10:19 AM

i am one of those who see the slide into the empire picking up speed and strenght-to the point now that the outrageous has no counter, but for a few who yell. the slide is that of nazi and hitler....torture is an option, suspending laws unilaterally is an option, the commander in chief is next to god.....we know what is coming and must keep yelling.....always remember that at least 48% of voters said no bush...in spite of fraud in elections...we are not isolates and need to yell, to shout, to talk, to remain in solidarity.....peace

Posted by: chris at January 9, 2005 01:46 PM