Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated

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Some of the
early reviews of Gore Vidal’s Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
called it "inflammatory." That’s because truth is often inflammatory.
It is a measure of the American descent into fascism when distinguished
authors are denied access to the audience that their work, in fact,
created. Neither self-publishing or the blogosphere is, as yet,
the solution. Those venues, themselves, are under threat if the
news we hear about Google is, in any way, true.

So – what
was said by Vidal that scared the pants off the MSM, the mentally
constipated, the poohbahs at the Pentagon? Simply – Vidal found
fatal flaws in U.S. foreign policy that inspire desperate measures
abroad and, of late, at home. An empire whose exploitation of ever
greater numbers leaves them desperate invites response and retaliation.
A nation-state so exploited may fight back with conventional means
– armies and weapons. A "people" so exploited has
only "terrorism" to fight back with.

Vidal found
parallels between Timothy McVeigh and Bin Laden. That, of course,
assumes that we know anything at all about Bin Laden. For all we
know, Bin Laden is long dead or never existed. He could very well
have been a creation of clever video editors. Think about it: how
many people do you know who have actually met him? What hard evidence
do YOU have that he exists? He probably does (or did) exist, but
– to be honest – I don’t know that for a fact and cannot
prove it! Neither does anyone else who, like me, never met him.
Bin Laden is a name in a newspaper article or a blurry image on
a TV

Vidal makes
little or no distinction between U.S. Foreign policy as practiced
by George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. That is consistent with my position
that the U.S. has but two wings of a single "Capitalist Party."
Of the two, I believe the Democrats are preferable but that is a
highly "qualified" endorsement based entirely upon the
fact that Democrats have consistently outperformed the GOP economically.
For example, every Democratic regime since WWII has presided over
greater job growth and GDP growth than any GOP regime. The margin
by which the GOP are beaten is impressive, clearly, a result of
their utterly wrong and "top down" ideas about economics.
Trickle-down or supply-side economics is the best example.

"Preferable"
is, admittedly, is a qualifying word used when none of the choices
are precise or perfect. Neither party has articulated a truly desirable
or noble "America." Neither party has inspired us! Neither
party has delivered a "higher pie"! Both parties have,
in fact, triangulated not even a center but an "electorate"
of some amorphous sort. No one – most certainly not Bush –
has articulated what is right, noble and correct, merely whatever
it is that might get one elected to office. Ronald Reagan, for example,
had only to make psychopaths feel good about themselves.

Studs Terkel
on Phil Donahue spoke of the need for a "major voice"
to address the un-addressable of which 911 is the most notable example.
Even now – no one dares speak realistically about 911, an outcome
openly desired by Bushco. The "patriotism" of anyone daring
to speak openly or truthfully about 911 was impugned, castigated.
Critics of Bush were called, in effect, "traitors." A
legitimate government of broad-based support does not behave in
this manner. It was Bush and his stolen "office" who was,
rather, the traitor to the people and the last time I checked, the
people are sovereign. But, in America, they seem to have forgotten
that.

Vidal’s voice
needs to be heard now more than ever. 911 must not simply fade away.
What was done to this nation and by whom are issues that must be
faced and will be – now or later! Calling opinions of any kind
"un-American" is, itself, "un-American" and
must not be tolerated. The alternative is censorship and fascism;
conformity and totalitarianism, in this case, a dictatorship in
which Fox and one or two other big networks play the role of "The
Ministry of Truth
" i.e., "The Ministry of Propaganda."

Vidal committed
the unpardonable sin. He questioned U.S. assumptions about the bombing
of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center
bombings. He wrote: "That our ruling junta might have seriously
provoked McVeigh and Osama was never dealt with."

His critique
of the 911 cover story is incomplete. I believe he had written prior
to recent revelations that utterly disprove the official conspiracy
theory, some of which you will find at: 911
Inside Job Chronicles
.

Perhaps the
only surprise in this book is Vidal’s convincing argument that McVeigh
had not been behind the bombing of the Murrah building in OKC. Only
Vidal could have held this collection of essays together with a
single thesis: that we must take seriously people like Timothy McVeigh
whom Vidal proves was genuinely outraged by the outrageous murder
of civilians at Waco. We must take seriously people like Bin Laden,
who may or may not exist. Vidal stopped short of the simplistic
"evil begats evil" but he might have said it outright
and would have been correct had he done so.

The point
of the book is captured in the first and only new essay –
"September 11, 2001 (A Tuesday)," and it is this essay
that, presumably, kept the book from being published in this country
until now. Has anyone noticed how quiet Vidal has been since 9/11?
Well, it wasn’t by choice. Just after the 9-11 attacks on the
United States, Vidal’s initial comments appeared in Portuguese
when he shared his views with a Brazilian publication. Those comments
were then translated into Spanish and published in the Mexican
newspaper La Jornada. Vidal later revised and expanded
these early remarks for a piece intended for Vanity Fair.
The magazine – among others, including The Nation,
where Vidal is a longtime contributing editor – passed on
the piece as a result of its "anti-American sentiments,"
thereby keeping our leading publishers and primary voices of dissent
in lockstep with the rest of the mainstream media’s newfound desire
to censor itself for the supposed good of the country. Even in
those heady days immediately following the attacks, and given
the "unified front" rhetoric that has enveloped the
country since (a united front that has since made shopping, and
consumption in general, as the way to return to those happy-go-lucky
days of last summer), it seems astounding that a major American
literary figure and cultural critic would have a hard time placing
one of his works concerning the most significant domestic event
since W.W.II.

Reprinted
with permission from The
People’s Voice
.

September
28, 2010

Len
Hart blogs at The
Existentialist Cowboy
.

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