Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Virtual America/Virtual Iraq - William Pfaff - The Observer

David Seaton's News Links
For those people like William Pfaff, who have a clear strategic vision and well tuned ethical framework, Iraq is like a nightmare from an Ingmar Bergman film where they try to warn the autistic and the frivolous of the error of their ways, only to find blank faces staring back at them. DS
Abstract: In America, it's as though Bush, his inner cabinet, and the neocons have been playing a video game, with fictional characters and victims, virtual death and torture. Now the disc has suddenly finished, and it's time to shut down the player. This is not just a figure of speech. American policy has been running on images rather than evidence of real nations and people doing things for real human motives. It has been populated by abstractions: Global Terrorist Conspiracies, Rogue Nations, Fanatics Who Hate Our Freedoms, Generations of Terrorism and The Global Menace of Al-Qaeda. The US, where actual people live, has been turned into an abstraction: the Sole Superpower, which everyone in the world knows is a Righteous Nation, the Mars (in the neocon Robert Kagan's formulation) defending the fragile Venus which is Europe, the Straussian (Leo Strauss, the University of Chicago philosopher) Realist unflinchingly battling in a Hobbesian universe to protect Kantian Europeans, with their illusions of global parliaments and peace, from nameless horrors.(...) Is this Orwellian? Or is it just demagogy, politicians' lies, White House spin, journalistic laziness, formulations conceived to sell books? Or could it be cynical manipulation by apprentice dictators, energy industry and weapons-maker magnates, closet fascists? It is not Orwellian in that the neocon ideologues, George Bush and Tony Blair, certainly believe all this. They are not being manipulated. It is not Orwellian because the creators of this cartoon-like conceptual world have themselves become actors in the virtual universe their ideas and actions have made. They have left reality behind - or they simply ignore it, as they did in invading Iraq. We have passed from 1984 to 2006, into a post-Orwellian condition in which Big Brother has become a part of his creation. He is now imposing it on others by acting as though it were real, at whatever expense to others. READ IT ALL

No comments: