new mental disorder has been born. (Either that or its an old disorder with a
new application.) Like
all newborns, this new mental disorder needs to be named.
Its official name should be a catchy, clinical-sounding
term. The term should contain reference to each of
the multiple characteristics that converge with one another
to form this mental disorder.
It should be self-definitional and worthy of its uniqueness
in human behavior. Those characteristics include (1) ill-fated
policy, because that’s the symptom of this mental disorder;
(2) self-delusion, because that’s the cause of the disorder;
(3) collective, because this behavioral disorder has reached
epidemic proportions; and (4) nationalistic, because the common
denominator of those in this collective is national origin.
Space for this new category should be reserved for
inclusion in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders.
Until a more media-savvy term is coined, perhaps its
working title can be National Collective Self-Delusional Foreign
Policy. And since heads of state, their advisers and
citizens of any country can suffer under this mental disorder,
its name should be generic, rather than specific to any one
nation-state. Therefore, “U.S.” will not be included in its
name. However, to
mark the point on the historical timeline at which this mental
disorder was discovered and to honor its most famous victim,
it’s only fair that it be nicknamed The George W. Bush Self-Delusional
Syndrome, or, for short, Bush SS; or, if that’s not short
enough, BSS. In the
next edition of the DSM, this new category of mental
disorder, Bush SS, should be perfectly placed between two
new companion disorders; that is, (1) Those Who Laugh At Their
Own Jokes; and (2) Those Who Bask In The Smelling Of Their
Own Broken Wind. And
it can be cross-referenced with Those Who Don’t Know When
grounds on which the Bush administration justified preemptively
declaring war on Iraq was based purely on a campaign of propaganda
and psychological warfare against U.S. citizens, the world
population and Iraqis. According
to Bush, Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction
and was in league with al Qaeda
He also concocted an image for himself as the great
liberator of Iraqi people. Bush had no evidence to support these assertions and fabrications.
That’s why it’s called propaganda, after all; it has
no basis in fact. Still, the corporate media gave him the equivalent of a blank check
to disseminate disinformation.
A majority of the U.S. population did so too, under
the erroneous belief that to not support Bush would be unpatriotic.
From sea to shining sea, patriotism has become the
new religion. And the dogma of patriotism must be adhered
to without question, even when its definition is corrupted
and its practice flies in the face of reason.
As tragic as this is, it is not the most tragic part
of this drama. The real tragedy lies in the fact that Bush
and company have repeated this propaganda so often that they
have come to believe it themselves.
For example, Bush actually believes the U.S. has a
right to occupy Iraq, that the occupation is a noble undertaking
and that Iraqis who oppose the occupation do so solely because
they are Saddam Hussein loyalists, rather than because they
want to preserve their independence.
awesome and relentless has the Bush propaganda and psychological
warfare campaign been to justify this war, that not only has
Bush and company come to believe it, but they also expect
the Iraqi people to swallow it hook, line and sinker as well.
But the Iraqi people have too great a sense of themselves
to buy into this Bush malarkey.
That’s why Bush has recently attempted to shape-shift
himself and take on the role of victim. For example, in response to continued Iraqi
resistance to the occupation, Bush admitted that “dangerous
pockets of the old regime remain loyal to it, and they, along
with their terrorist allies, are behind deadly attacks designed
to kill and intimidate coalition forces and innocent Iraqis.”
After victimizing the Iraqi people, Bush now tries
to join them as the victimized. His statement typifies the acuteness of his
BSS. What could possibly
have led Bush to believe there would be no Iraqi resistance?
And what would possess him to believe that the Iraqi
resistance would not conduct guerilla warfare?
did not surrender
can be a double-edged sword. The land-of-make-believe is a place of bliss,
as long as no uninvited forces interrupt the fiction. But when a party pooper crosses the threshold
of the sandcastle, the fantasy comes tumbling down. Obviously, Bush was not listening when Saddam Hussein promised that
Baghdad would become a graveyard for coalition forces. Neither the U.S. intelligence community nor
corporate media offered any kind of analysis, logical or otherwise,
as to why Hussein allowed coalition forces to overrun Iraq
so easily. Hussein, like the leaders of other nation-states,
was well aware that he could not defeat the U.S. in an old-style
conventional war, much less a high tech conventional war. Thus he did what generals do; he developed
an alternative strategy to defeat his enemy.
back at the ranch, Bush and company decided to take a victory
ride into the sunset on horses mounted to a merry-go-round. Perhaps the repetitiveness of going around
in circles accounts for their dizziness.
What other explanation is there for Bush unilaterally
declaring an end to the war?
On May 1, Bush staged a media event in which he copiloted
the landing of a fighter plane on the USS Abraham Lincoln,
an aircraft carrier returning from the war with Iraq. For this occasion, Bush shape-shifts into the
Great Liberator, a nickname given to Lincoln the president
because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1,
1863, which officially liberated enslaved Africans in America.
But tradition has it that the cessation of war is marked
by an armistice signed jointly by both the winner and loser.
Of course, that’s why Bush chose his words carefully
on May 1, saying only that major combat had ended.
He couldn’t very well say the war had ended.
To do so, he would have needed several Iraqi military
officials dressed in spiffy uniforms in order to pull that
off. But there is
only a split hair of difference in the phrases “the end of
the war” and “the end of major combat.”
In the propaganda game, such split hairs don’t exist. The purpose of that media event was to make
Americans feel good and justify their support for what will
eventually prove to be an ill-fated, Vietnam-like campaign.
time, however, Bush will have more than just Iraqi resistance
with which to be concerned.
Already, the spouses of U.S. troops in Iraq are demanding
that their husbands and wives be sent home.
The Associated Press quoted one wife as saying, “They
need to be out of there, because I don’t believe it’s safe….
A lot of people felt like if you didn’t support the war, you
didn’t support the troops…. I had to tell someone – I’ve supported
my husband for 16 years.
I don’t have to support the policies.”
Bush is fond of telling American service men and women
and their family members that more “sacrifice” may be necessary. Ironically, not one member of Bush’s family – and there are several
who are of age to join the military – is serving in harms
way. Yet they and members of their socio-economic
class are the only ones who will benefit from this naked aggression. In the future, Bush will be disrobed of his
hypocrisy. And as
the number of body bags filled with the sons and daughters
of Middle America sent home from Iraq increases, so too will
the number of U.S. citizens who lose patience with this doomed
campaign. The U.S.
was forced to evacuate its troops from Vietnam for this very
is far from over
America is that portion of the population that usually gives
the government unquestioned support by maintaining its silence.
But they will eventually become disgruntled and their
voices of discontent will be added to the voices of the traditional
antiwar protestors to make a deafening sound that even the
imperial Bush administration can no longer afford to ignore. For example, the Baltimore Sun quoted
the family of one U.S. soldier killed early in the war as
expressing disdain for Bush.
The dead soldier’s sister said, “It’s all for nothing,
that war could have been prevented…. Now, we’re out of a brother.
Bush is not out of a brother.
will be more such sentiments expressed as the U.S. illegal
and immoral occupation drags on and the number of American
troops killed increases.
Since Bush’s unilateral declaration that the major
combat has ended, more than eighty American troops have been
killed. Of course,
Bush and company cook the books when counting U.S. collateral
damage, making a distinction between those who have been killed
by hostile fire, about 35 at this writing, versus those who
have died as a result of an accident. But this method of auditing American casualties
is indeed disingenuous, since those who died in Iraq as a
result of accidents would not have done so if they were not
there to fight rich folks’ war.
Countless more have been wounded and at least two had
been taken prisoner. Interestingly,
the U.S. corporate media – that is, state-run media, since
the corporations appoint the president and members of Congress
and thereby run the government – chooses to use the term “abducted”
when referring to the missing troops.
Being “abducted” usually refers to civilians who are
kidnapped during peacetime. On the contrary, the U.S. soldiers that were
missing in Iraq had been captured and were being held as prisoners
of war. However, “prisoners of war” is not the term
of choice of the U.S. state-run media, because they have been
told to pretend the war has ended.
If anyone has any doubts, just ask George W. Bush.
He’ll tell you, as he did on May 1.
But if the truth is told, the war is far from over.
And it will continue, as will the needless loss of
life, until the U.S. government unceremoniously departs from
Bush will be overwhelmed with simultaneously managing the
Iraq campaign and his reelection campaign, the success of
which depends on developments in Iraq.
To be reelected, he must be able to milk September
11 for all its worth, without appearing to trade on the sufferings
of his constituents. But
because 9/11 is inseparable from his war on terrorism and
his war against Iraq, he increasingly will need to exploit
those who were killed on that day, in his quest for reelection,
since it is the only arrow in his quiver.
It’s likely that what he had hoped would be his greatest
victory, instead will become his greatest defeat.
don’t forget Afghanistan. It’s also pure fantasy to declare that conflict has ended. For example, a retired CIA officer in a position
to know recently drew a parallel between the Soviet and U.S.
occupations of Afghanistan.
“Now in the second year of America’s Afghan enterprise,
there is less talk of things being easy.
The accounts of [the U.S.] Operation Enduring Freedom
and [the] analysis of Soviet operations in the [Afghan] Panjshir
in 1984 have begun to sound hauntingly familiar: crisp military
briefers giving cheerily optimistic but unconvincing accounts
of a beaten enemy, of high body counts, but again without
the bodies," wrote Milt Bearden in his new book (co-authored
by James Risen), The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the
CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB. Bearden is
the 30-year CIA veteran who was tasked with supplying the
mujahideen with Stinger missiles and other weapons of war
used to end Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Furthermore, it has been recently reported that remnants of the
Taliban are reorganizing to depose the U.S.-sponsored Hamid
current crisis of global warfare all came about because the
little men appointed to powerful policymaking positions in
the Bush administration hit the ground running, immediately
after Bush was inaugurated, to establish the new century as
another American century.
In order to prepare themselves for the launch of this
crusade, their artificially inflated egos had to be aroused
by the twisted imagery of missiles as phallic symbol.
For them, the only effective aphrodisiac is warmongering.
First, they needed to create a fantasy for themselves. During the Clinton administration, when they
were private citizens, they organized a think tank and developed
a plan for the rapid transformation of the U.S. military apparatus. The objective was to make the U.S. the unquestioned master of the
planet, if not the universe, since the plan also included
dominating outer space. Second,
they had to induce U.S. citizens to replace an already-skewed
public reality with a grotesquely skewed public fantasy.
How else can this propaganda and psychological warfare
campaign of fabrications, bogus intelligence findings, overstatements,
distortion of fact and boldfaced lies be explained?
It’s as though after a lie has circulated more times
than can be counted, the very person who gave birth to the
lie forgets that it is a lie.
For example, to hear Bush tell it, the Iraqis are illegally
invading Iraq and the Iraqi freedom fighters who attack coalition
invaders are “common criminals.”
He is even quite convincing when standing in front
of his full-length mirror, addressing his audience of one.
has already established a place for himself in the pages of
history. In the future,
his pages (or footnote) will easily be found by consulting
the index of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Chinyelu is the author of three books, including Harlem
Ain’t Nothin’ But A Third World Country:
The Global Economy, Empowerment Zones and the Colonial
Status of Africans in America. He has also contributed to five other books.
He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, the Southern
port city, where approximately forty percent of all Africans
brought to North America during the infamous Transatlantic
slave trade were sold at auction.
Chinyelu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2003 by Mamadou Chinyelu