January 09, 2005

The Baseness that Lies Deep in the Hearts of All Men

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." --Marcus Tullius Cicero 42B.C

Sometimes it is good to remember that what we see today in our body politic is nothing new. Although the Republicans once were engaged in a war of ideas, they have been taken over by those who only want power and are willing to appeal to "the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men". It is using our fears and hatred for the other that make it possible for us to have "reasonable conversations" about why torture is okay or whether the way to win in Iraq is by using death squads.

Shahwani also said that the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

The Republican party is now directed by people like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, and John Negroponte who believe that using lies, ugly smears, torture and even death squads are justifiable because winning is all that counts. And that, my friend, is the siren song of evil.

Via this Steve Guillard comment thread.

Posted by Mary at January 9, 2005 04:35 PM | Philosophy | Technorati links |