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 To Quit.
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 reason.
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 Iraq.
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
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 Karzai
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 Disorders.
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 [email protected].
© 2003 by Mamadou Chinyelu