A 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.

Dogma of Patriotism

The 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.

So 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?  Fantasia!

Iraq did not surrender

Fantasia 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

In 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.

War is far from over

Middle 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.  We are.”

There 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’s peculiar disorder

Soon, 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.

And 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 Karzai government.

The 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.

Bush 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.

Mamadou 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].

Copyright © 2003 by Mamadou Chinyelu

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Issue Number 50
July 17, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story: Barefoot, Sick, Hungry and Afraid - The real U.S policy in Africa

Cartoon: Hollywood's Magic Negro

Think Piece: The Pretense of Hip-Hop Black Leadership By Dr. Martin Kilson

Affirmative Action as a Tool of Imperialist Expansion and Aggression by Mark P. Fancher, Guest Commentator

One Bush Too Many in Africa by Kweli Nzito, Ph.D., Guest Commentator

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Contents of Issue 49 July 3, 2003:

Cover Story
The Slow and Tortured Death of Affirmative Action - Redress of racial wrongs no longer public policy

Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision

A message from Clarence Thomas to all African Americans.
View the BuzzFlash Cartoon by Eric Harrison.

GOP Bullies DC on Vouchers - No democracy for Black city

Strom Thurmond survived by Black daughter... Can the world survive "bubble" America?... DLC could be fatal to Democrats

Movies' 'Magic Negro' Saves the Day - but at the Cost of His Soul by Rita Kempley

Fear of a Black "Street" Army By Glen Ford, Co-publisher, The Black Commentator

The New York Times’ Racist Lies about Africa by Milton Allimadi, Guest Commentator

The "Enronization" of America by Ahmed M.I. Egal, Guest Commentator

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.