by Tom White by Tom White
Our capacity (when I say our I mean “us,” America, the USA, the Bush government, the loonies in charge) for making messes goes way past anything that can be the simple result of incompetence or stupidity. It has to be the result of a deliberate plan.
I know I shouldn't sign up for membership in the conspiracy cadre, but sometimes the evidence forces your hand. How can we:
- be buggering things so badly over in Iraq (having so elegantly “fixed policy around plans”), while at the same time and in every way,
- be pushing the economy of the homeland pell-mell toward final financial disaster (hey, how about that new $9,000,000,000,000 national debt “limit”? – the very word limit is a laugh riot in this instance), and also
- be playing the very hell, at great cost, with failure as a certain result, down in South America, where we are propping up everyone's virtue with fire and bombs?
I am referring to a story I just read, dated May 15, from the Independent (UK), “America's drug plan collapses in chaos.” The story begins:
Washington’s “war on drugs” in Colombia is collapsing in chaos and corruption, and the drug producers are winning. The so-called Plan Colombia, which has cost the US more than $3bn (1.6bn) in the past five years, is being abandoned, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced.
Last year, the hugely expensive effort to poison coca bushes – whose leaves are the source of cocaine – by aerial spraying ended in failure. More bushes were flourishing in January this year than in January 2004.
I recall reading Arthur Koestler back in the early 40s, when I was in college, in Darkness at Noon, I think, that FDR's early New Deal crop and live-stock destruction programs (to get prices up) convinced him there was no social hope forthcoming from our side of the Atlantic. And that left him, of course, he then thought, with only the Reds as hope.
There is no way to feed people or improve things or even end people's resort to vice by destroying natural things. This is Manichaeism raised to some monstrous level: the belief that evil is resident in the material. Or that destruction is “creative.”
Coca is a gift of Nature; only sheerly crazy people would ever think of spraying it with poison and fire. We spray it with fire and poison. Ergo.
But not all of us USA citizens are crazy. I don't think I am crazy. But we have a crazy government and are therefore responsible for it, although I fail to see what we can do about it but wait for it to fall on its nose, which it is sure to do sooner or later. I pray for that hour, while also dreading it. The trouble with crazies in high places is the “collateral” wreckage they make of everything as they finally go down in the flames they have so generously sprayed on everyone else.
But then that thought returns. Maybe these people aren't crazy. Maybe they are clever like a fox. They want ruin. It's mother's milk to them. I know people (that conspiracy cadre I mentioned) who say that's the case. This is all a deliberate scheme to reduce us to a nation of poverty-stricken, blithering, uneducated idiots hated the world around, seen by every last man, woman, and child of Europe, Asia, and Africa (not to mention South America and Australia) as so many Darth Vaders intending hateful death for the whole planet and inviting it upon ourselves in a blowback that really, truly, will make history.
If so, then we are indeed on plan.
But back to the Colombian drug story. As always there is the corruption of little people at the bottom to match the corruption at the top that set the whole grisly program in motion. And it is, as always, the little people who get chucked in the clinker, stripped of their badges, run through courts martial, and pilloried in the press – so many sacrificial goats to help to keep the big shots safe in their cozy offices. As follows, from the Independent story:
Drug profits have also corrupted US troops stationed in Colombia. This month a US Green Beret lieutenant colonel and a sergeant were caught selling 32,900 rounds of ammunition to the right-wing death squads who are flush with drug profits.
In March, five US soldiers – supposedly training local troops in anti-guerrilla and anti-narcotics techniques – were arrested after 16 kilos of cocaine were found in the aircraft taking them from a military base in southern Colombia back to the US.
Now guess what the Columbian government is asking for to deal with the present troubles. You're right. More money. $130 million, on top of $600 million, as part of the $7.5 billion plan; oh, what the hell, it's only money. Your money.
I get broadcast emails from a sage up in Canada named Bruce Beach who is keeping a kind of watch on the world in the conviction that sooner or later someone will let loose a nuclear weapon. His latest is a kind of poem I found moving and true. I quote the opening lines:
At this particular time – a veil has been drawn over humanity – much like any animal anaesthetized by the approach of death.
"Mankind is sore vexed and fearful – earthquakes have broken loose and the tribes have lamented."
Total fear – and rejection of reality. Simultaneous hopelessness – and giddy immersion in materiality.
The deer stuck in the headlights – the mouse mesmerized by the snake – the calm acceptance that comes over the creature caught in the trap.
We can only stand before the storm. A very few have the vision to see. Most do not.
"The rain will fall – on the good and the evil alike." We can only stay calm and place our trust in the Lord. . . .
Tom White [send him mail] writes from Odessa, Texas. He is the author of Bill W., A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous (2003).