problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line
- the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in
Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea."
- W.E.B. DuBois, The
Souls of Black Folk, February, 1903.
young William Edward Burghardt DuBois wrote those words with
some measure of hopefulness, inviting the reader to "behold
a century new for the duty and the deed." The duty was
to solve the "problem of the color-line" by decisive
deeds. One hundred years later, the nation in which DuBois
- an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled
strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body" -
is engaged in a global race war. Dubois would immediately
recognize the white supremacist character of the Bush men's
New American Century. Although only a relatively small group
of rich and venal men stand to profit from the present day
Pirates' policy of Permanent War, the project requires the
assent of an imperial-minded majority of white people, collectively
demanding their entitlement: dominion.
it was in 1898, when the "White Fleet" sailed into
the harbors of Manila and Santiago de Cuba. U.S. seizure of
Spain's Pacific and Caribbean colonies benefited urban tenement
dwellers and the rural majority of Americans not one bit.
Yet they cheered President McKinley's
aggression, romanticized the murder of a million Filipinos,
and gloried vicariously in the subjugation of Cuba. "We"
were a world power - and there was no doubt that "we"
meant white America, now equal to the whites of Europe. President
Teddy Roosevelt, owing his job to a media spectacle on San
Juan Hill, sent American warships on a worldwide tour in 1907
designed to "deter" the other major powers, principally
Japan. By now, the U.S. flotilla was called "The Great
White Fleet." More cheers from a population that was
already lagging behind Western Europeans in public sector
provisions for the general welfare - yet felt itself far better
off, high on white privilege at home and, suddenly, supremacy
in colored lands across the seas as well.
and Roosevelt both initially claimed to be on a mission to
"liberate" Filipinos, Cubans and Puerto Ricans from
Spanish tyranny. White America pretended to believe it.
bucks and Indians of the imagination
saw clearly that racism among the white masses was the political
engine that rich men commandeered for their own greedy purposes.
Yet the motives of the rich did not alter the character of
the carnage committed by the nation on the rich men's behalf:
race war. The economic aspects of the crime took place within
the larger context of "the relation of the darker to
the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and
the islands of the sea."
fought fiercely for their homeland, knowing not enough of
the Americans to be jealous of their "way of life"
and, on most of the islands, sharing a common Christianity
with the invaders. The Americans imagined that they saw "niggers"
and "injuns," the people they loved to hate, as
evidenced by letters compiled by the Anti-Imperialist League
in 1899, edited in 1995 by Jim
private in the Utah Battery wrote that "it is not surprising
that the boys should soon adopt 'no quarter' as a motto, and
fill the blacks full of lead before finding out whether or
not they are friends or enemies."
entry from Zwick's files on the Philippine-American War:
fighting blood was up and we all wanted to kill 'niggers.'
This shooting human beings is a 'hot game,' and beats rabbit
hunting all to pieces." Another wrote that "the
boys go for the enemy as if they were chasing jack-rabbits
.... I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening
rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come
into the reservation and promise to be good 'Injuns.'"
Conley, of a Kansas Regiment, was overwhelmed at the horrors
about dead indians! Why, they are lying everywhere. The trenches
are full of them .... Those not killed in the trenches were
killed when they tried to come out .... No wonder they can't
shoot, with that light thrown on them; shells bursting and
infantry pouring in lead all the time. Honest to God, I feel
sorry for them."
so it was in 2003, the centennial of DuBois' most famous work.
"The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy,"
said Corporal Ryan Dupre, a Marine at the "battle"
of Nassiriyah, Iraq. "I am starting to hate this country.
Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get
hold of one. I'll just kill him."
British journalist Mark
Franchetti violated the protocols so slavishly followed
by his embedded American colleagues - actually, a kind of
racist corporate-military conspiracy. In newly "liberated"
Iraq, Franchetti reported from Nassiriyah, the natives are
called "hajis" - a term used with exactly the same
inflection and purpose as "niggers," "injuns"
and, in another race war, "gooks."
fell to the same overwhelming firepower as Filipinos, more
than a century before. "As
the 3rd Infantry quickly advanced north along the Euphrates
and west toward the capital," the Christian
Science Monitor reported on April 11, "some soldiers
began to describe the battles as almost disturbingly unfair.
'At the Karbala Gap the Iraqis put up a good fight, but to
no avail because we had the firepower. It was way too easy,'
says Staff Sgt. Ira Mack."
more importantly, such carnage is easy for Americans at home
to countenance. This is, after all, the vantage point from
which DuBois saw the color line's global arch, the nation
where - now as then - human beings morph instantaneously into
niggers and brutes for the convenience, privilege and self-esteem
of whites; where incarceration rates, poverty, and early death
are inseparable from "the relation of the darker to the
lighter races." It is the fully wired country that shrugs
when the evening news reports that American soldiers, camped
out at a school in Karbala, have killed 15 Iraqis who wanted
them to leave, including children and neighbors sitting in
their own homes.
Black "message for the world"
American people have not profited by the slaughter - rather,
they become more debased, insecure and endangered - yet they
cheer as if empowered, just as their great grandparents did
at word of the sailing of the Great White Fleet.
is the public that sustains the Pirates in their lunge for
Americans, endowed by history with the "two-ness"
of which DuBois wrote, are thereby fortunate not to be blind
in both eyes. We overwhelmingly oppose the Pirates' adventures
because we perceive the same reality that most of the rest
of humanity sees, including the bulk of Europeans. Most Black
Americans know, or at least sense, that "American cowboy"
is not a global term of endearment. Our experience is that
cowboys and rednecks run together, and lynch people. "Shock
and Awe" has converted billions of the world's citizens
to that point of view.
age 34, W.E.B. DuBois was as consumed by turn-of-the-century
euphoria as any other American, yet with a clear vision in
his "good eye" - the one not warped by the racial
delusions that misinformed most of his white countrymen. He
saw Black Americans as a grown people, stepping into the new
century with a global stride and a unique perspective, learned
and earned in the perilous company of an oppressor who was
not a stranger. He no doubt saw himself as the very model
of a Black man "who would not bleach his Negro soul in
a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood
has a message for the world."
is the duty of clear-sighted Black Americans to contribute
our analysis to the urgent conversation that engages the entire
planet - but to which white America is largely deaf: How can
the world escape the worst consequences of Washington's mad
offensive against order, itself, and move on to complete the
great tasks of civilization?
need not project too far into the future, because the Pirate's
are undoing themselves daily, tumbling in a cascade of contradictions
that they make more acute with each flail and thrash. It is
now certain that they cannot possibly achieve their goal of
colonizing the Middle East. In fact, they cannot stay long
is, of course, the Iraqi people themselves who are steadily
making the U.S. position untenable. The Americans will be
forced to place the entire country on lockdown, or retreat
to bastions of remote operations. The farce of "liberation"
was doomed from the start, because the Americans are incapable
of recognizing and dealing with non-whites as full human beings.
Their racist delusions prevent them from undertaking the most
basic tasks necessary to construct a minimally effective Iraqi
proxy from among the human material at hand. Their returning
exiles - in whom the Bush men have invested great treasure
and a fatal prestige - were called forth by the American delusion,
hustlers who discovered the imperial weakness for fawning
behavior and gratulatory information, and sought to profit
Americans are hobbled by a political culture that renders
them unfit for the hegemonic mission, which requires more
than mere military superiority, but also some semblance of
sanity, a capacity to assess reality as it presents itself.
Instead, Bush men and upscale suburbanites alike are equipped
only with guns and appetites, both of which are governed by
misperceptions so gross, an individual as acutely afflicted
would be categorized as clinically incapacitated.
Americans call "patriotism" is in fact an insatiable
appetite for confirmations of white superiority - an ugliness
they see clearly in 1930s German propaganda films but cannot
recognize in their own mass cultural product, including "news"
presentations. They demand that their leaders tell
heroic tales of conquest over whoever can be made to stand
in for the injuns and niggers of their collective, imagined
Bush men are, if anything, exaggerated caricatures of this
culture, perfectly attuned to their (white) countrymen's self-love
and other-hate imperatives, which they share. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld - whose behavior ceaselessly confirms
that he believes himself to outrank the Black Secretary of
State, by virtue of his whiteness - created an alternative
CIA in order to feed himself more pleasing information.
Hersh's May 5 New
Yorker article illuminates the Pentagon's Alice in Wonderland-like
Office of Special Plans (OSP), the Rumsfeld creature that
"produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped
to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq."
The OSP transformed near-lifelong exile Ahmad Chalabi's sales
pitch into hard "intelligence" information on which
the Bush men based their strategic plans for Iraq. They chose
Chalabi as the agent of their collective masturbation, the
Playboy magazine they preferred to fantasize with instead
of the often-disturbing news from the real Iraq.
is merely a hand servant - he gets paid to conjure illusions.
The pathology springs from the heads of the Bush men, whose
OSP operatives refer to themselves as "the cabal,"
but are better described as the Office of Delusions Verification.
America is hooked on its delusions. The Bush men are pushers
of fantasies and lies, but they also consume their own product
and will come unglued like Al Pacino's dealer-junkie character
in the movie Scarface. In the interim, many people will die
and fragile structures of international order will be smashed
and mangled. What is certain is that the Bush men are too
far adrift in a sea of illusions to retool their New American
Century machine. Unlike the Great White Fleet, they will not
return in triumph from Iraq, but in a profound state of disarray,
their fundamental chimera shattered. No one can predict what
delusionals will do when they become unmoored, but the world
has been forewarned that its antagonist lives in a different
social mechanisms that keep the Bush men in power are fueled
by hate, the great mobilizer of white American opinion, and
a central contradiction of the Pirate enterprise. For as the
Bush men stoke the domestic fires of racial hatred to encompass
all the "sand niggers" of the Middle East, they
simultaneously seek to establish an orderly and profitable
occupation masked as "liberation." Beyond Iraq,
the U.S. undermines or abandons existing malleable regimes
in favor of future rulers whose social bases do not exist,
among peoples that are fully aware that they are hated by
the Americans. The hegemonic project becomes an impossible
mission for American society and its military and corporate
Private Jessica myth goes to the heart of the contradiction.
As reported by the BBC,
and many other journals, 3rd Infantry Private Jessica Lynch
was coddled by Iraqi hospital personnel after suffering injuries
during her capture near Nassiriya. In her last days of tender
loving care, including infusions of precious blood from the
hospital staff's own supplies, unavailable to Iraqi patients,
Lynch's fedayeen captors fled the area. Her wounds, though
serious, were not inflicted by bullets or knives, but accidental
trauma from the crashing of her vehicle in the ambush. A middle-aged
nurse, chosen by the staff because she has daughters around
Jessica's age, literally sang the young soldier to sleep at
that American forces were just outside town, the staff bundled
Private Lynch into an ambulance and drove toward U.S. forces,
attempting to give her back. They were fired on, and retreated
to the hospital. When U.S. Special Forces arrived with a camera
crew, Lynch was smoothly repatriated, with well wishes from
the staff. There was no rescue.
Pentagon put together a five-minute mini-movie depicting heroic
derring-do on the part American forces, falsifying every fact,
event and injury. (American readers require no details of
the scripted tale, since it was presented as fact by the corporate
media on an endless loop of lies.) Lynch is now said to have
Pentagon invented the story to fuel (already existing) hatred
of Iraqis and Arabs (and Persians), in general. Sand nigger
hatred is indispensable to the war that the Bush men have
declared on the people of the Middle East. Such hatred, a
derivative of Black and Indian hate, comes easy to the white
public, which is so predisposed to the emotion that NBC immediately
announced plans to base a TV movie on the Pentagon's fiction,
with or without the permission of Private Lynch or the U.S.
military. NBC knows the tastes of its prime viewer - a thirty-something,
white suburban mom from a higher than median income household.
These are the same people whose racist passions the Bush men
must constantly inflame to keep the momentum of its global
we see that the conversation between the Pirates and their
public reinforces delusions of white supremacy and goodness,
while thoroughly niggerizing Iraqis. The Bush men, sharing
the unworldly view of their audience, then find themselves
attempting to organize friendly Iraqi factions to supervise
the society on their behalf. Yet they cannot tell Iraqis apart
from one another, and make more enemies every day as they
stumble through a country that is in no respect the one they
imagined. The Americans sit in the middle of Mesopotamia and
Kurdistan, armed, dangerous - and lost.
is no wonder that new American "administrator" L
Paul Bremer III cannot say when an interim government will
be announced, or who will be in it, or that diplomat Barbara
Bodine departed the country huffing, "We didn't know
what we were walking into."
a career Foreign Service officer, got into hot water with
the Rumsfeld people when she complained that the U.S. had
not made sufficient provision for interpreters. The Rumsfeld
crowd, however, believe they get all the information they
need from their English-speaking exiles.)
Iraqi society organizes itself. Ten thousand demonstrators
gathered at a Sunni Muslim mosque in Baghdad, then marched
across the river to a shrine in the Shia section of the city.
"We will not sell our country," read a prominent
Pirates think they own Iraq already - an American delusion
that cannot be sustained.