The Winter of the American Despot
by Karen Kwiatkowski
Bush and Cheney and the rest of the Pod people are really starting to sound out of touch. They are crying about the recent National Intelligence Estimate and how wrong it is, how biased its creators, and how mistaken the world would be to believe a word of it.
Too bad they didn't have this reaction last time we got a long-delayed and highly politicized NIE.
Neoconservatives everywhere are getting eye tics and cocking their heads as if receiving encrypted messages from the mother ship.
In another era, we might relax in such a time of troubles for the crazies in Washington, D.C. We might wish them well, and perhaps offer counseling. But we live in an age where legislation against homegrown terrorism passes the House with a breathtaking lack of regard for the very people the House is supposed to represent and the very Constitution it is supposed to obey. Today, concern about what key actors in Washington may do — to us and to the world — is quite rational.
The serious aspirants to executive power — with the sole exception of Republican Ron Paul — have been franticly reviewing their old speeches to see what they think about this latest NIE. They have been hurriedly consulting their well-paid advisors to find out where they now stand on the issue of attacking Iran sooner, or later.
Most of these politicians, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, have already decided that an attack of some type on Iran must come, and they seek only a pretext. And pretexts, like Earth Girls, are easy for the philosophical aliens who clean up so nicely in and around the 21st century White House.
Against these lawless immigrants there is no fence, no restraining legislation, and no moral outrage from the heartland. Yet, they are not so difficult to understand. George W. Bush, with his screwy diction and screwier presentation style, his obscene gestures and his self-aggrandizing pseudo-Christianity, is nothing more than the American Big Man.
Those familiar with third-world dictators immediately recognize the portly Dick Cheney, with his own array of obscene gestures and self-aggrandizing adoration of power, his strange and secretive preoccupation with premature withdrawal and his obsession with "big sticks."
A few years ago, Parade Magazine did a nice piece on the world's ten most horrid dictators. It's enlightening reading.
Number 1 successfully stifled press freedom, and created a system of torturous prison camps for those he deemed political enemies.
Number 2 has problems in honoring the results of elections, favors militaristic solutions and operates in complete obscurity.
Number 3 monitors communications of all citizens, as a matter of national security.
Number 4 has "killed, tortured and displaced 70,000 people." Only 70,000, you say?
Number 5 "engages in arbitrary arrests and torture."
Number 6 "is in permanent contact with the Almighty" and "can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to Hell.
Number 7 has been involved in continuing a civil war that has killed 2 million people and uprooted 4 million more. He has been accused of "engineering famine" in regions that oppose him.
Number 8 insists the country's constitution doesn't really apply to him.
Number 9 controls the courts.
Number 10 replaced the constitution with one that better suited him.
The Bush-Cheney denial of the strategic and political import of the latest NIE on Iran, and their demand for continued aggressive, pre-emptive wars should surprise no one.
Big Men are not akin to captains of ships, or protectors of flocks. They are motivated not by duty or love, but by the exhilaration of unrestrained and unlimited power. Like a drug, such power is addicting. Like addicts, our leaders and their advisors are out of touch, in denial of truth, and tend to extremism.
The Dick and Dubya Big Man Fantasy Presidency of the United States is dangerous. American tyranny and instability has already frightened the world, and domestic awareness of executive and legislative tyranny is growing each day.
While most of the presidential candidates long only to grab the reins of a monster state from our little Nero and ride into Hell, the average American has begun to roll his eyes in disbelief and derision at the whole scenario of modern non-constitutional government.
I know the average American, like me, is donating a bit of spare change to Ron Paul's campaign.
I believe the average American, like me, is looking forward to a new year, a change of seasons, and a humane intervention for the hallucinating addicts in Washington.
And I sincerely hope the average American, like me, favors liberty over despotism, and fears neither.
December 8, 2007
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.
Copyright © 2007 Karen Kwiatkowski