Rush Limbugh recently threw a fit on his radio show over an appearance by Michael Sheuer on the FOX News Channel (as did Sean Hannity, who was even more apoplectic than Limbaugh). Michael Sheuer is the former CIA head of the bin Laden unit. Limbaugh was at his sarcastic and bombastic name-calling worst in responding to Sheuer’s comments.
What on earth did Michael Sheuer say to cause such an emotional explosion of bombast?, one might ask. Well, when asked by the host of a FOX News show about what might motivate Muslims from the Middle East to harm Americans, the man the CIA put in charge of the “bin Laden unit” said, “People don’t like being invaded or bombed,” and they sometimes retaliate. This of course is perfectly reasonable and understandable. It’s called “blowback.” He reminded the FOX host that Muslims have long protested the American military presence in the Muslim country of Saudi Arabia; the invasion and occupation of Iraq; the killing of thousands of Iraqi civilians; the statement by U.N. Ambasador Albright that a half million dead Iraqi children was “a price we are willing to pay” to achieve our political objectives; the U.S. government’s support for the government of Israel in its wars against Muslims; and the bombing and killing of civilians in numerous other Muslim countries, most recently in Mali and Libya under the Obama regime.
“We are trying to impose democracy . . . and parliamentary government . .. on a people who don’t want it,” said Sheuer. All of this is perfectly true, which is why Limbaugh did not spend one second of air time disputing anything that Michael Sheuer actually said. He did not because he could not. Instead, Limbaugh attacked a straw man by reinterpreting Sheuer’s words to supposedly mean that “Islam has nothing to do with it” and “It’s the United States’ fault!!!!!!”
Scheuer never said “Islam has nothing to do with it.” Limbaugh said that. What Sheuer has said is that many Muslims resent the never-ending attempts by the U.S. government to impose our culture of “democracy” on them at gunpoint and at the cost of thousands of Muslim lives. Limbaugh was never a CIA agent like Scheuer, but one might think of him alternatively as an FIB agent of the state.
Limbaugh was even more misleading when he screeched and whined over and over that Scheuer supposedly said that “It’s the United States’ fault!” “It’s America’s fault!” No, Rush, it’s not “America’s” fault. It is the fault of the several dozen or so political connivers, liars, manipulators and empire builders who call themselves “statesmen.” The average American never has anything whatsoever to do with the “diplomacy” that gets us into never-ending, perpetual wars for perpetual peace. As Randolph Bourne wrote in his famous essay, “War is the Health of the State,” [A]ll foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are . . . the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.”
It is not “America” that is responsible for the killing of hundreds or thousands of Muslim civilians with drone strikes or other weapons of mass destruction. War always originates, wrote Bourne, when “the government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war” (emphasis added). Contrary to what Limbaugh insinuates and what Barack Obama has similarly declared, the government is not us. The government is the government; it is the largest instrument of organized plunder ever known to man. We are the plundered, duped, and misled into catastrophic, bankrupting war after war that has nothing to do with “national defense.”
What really set Limbaugh off was Michael Scheuer’s mockery of the standard neocon line that “they hate us because of our freedoms.” Muslims are not motivated to harm Americans because “you and I can have a beer after work,” Sheuer said to the FOX host. He called this theory “insane,” and he was right.
Those who really hate our freedoms are those who supported the PATRIOT Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, warrantless wiretapping, internet eavesdropping, and the creation of what William F. Buckley approvingly described as a “totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores” with a gigantic FBI and CIA complex, a massive military, and the militarization of society into a police state. (Buckley – Limbaugh’s hero of heroes – once said that all of that was necessary in his day to fight the Cold War). Rush Limbaugh would be at the top of the list of supporters of such a freedom-destroying regime.
Randolph Bourne would be even more cynical about war had he lived to witness the gargantuan army of squawking chickenhawks on TV and talk radio, led by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, whose cheerleading for war is many orders of magnitude greater that that produced by the chickenhawk journalists of Bourne’s day (the World War I era). The role of today’s squawking chickenhawks is to serve as the propaganda megaphones of the warfare state and the military-industrial complex. In return, they are paid eye-popping salaries for their mediocre talents and turned into “celebrities” of a sort. Their job is to make sure that the nightmarish reality of the warfare state as described by Randolph
Bourne becomes or remains a reality. With the onset of war, said Bourne, “the patriot loses all sense of the distinction between state, nation, and government” and “the individual becomes almost identical with his society.” This of course is what the Limbaughs of the world want when they falsely accuse people like Michael Sheuer of saying “America” is at fault for terrorist attacks.
With war, “minority opinion” becomes “a case for outlawry,” and at times “the minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought around slowly by a subtle process of persuasion . . . ” That again is the job of the squawking chickenhawks. They are in reality a part of “the whole terrific force of the state” which is “brought to bear against heretics,” a.k.a., the proponents of peace and prosperity as opposed to war and impoverishment of the masses.
As soon as Barack Obama took office Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and the rest of the squawking chickenhawks totally reversed their personas. During the Bush regime they sounded like Benito Mussolini in their denunciations of the Constitution in the name of “safety.” “9/11 changed everything” was their mantra. Translation: To hell with the Constitution. Liberty Schmiberty. But with a Democrat in office they began sounding more like Thomas Jefferson, even writing books about liberty and freedom for a change. But their true personalities are revealed whenever a genuine Jeffersonian like Ron Paul, or a genuine advocate of American peace and prosperity like Michael Sheuer becomes prominent. In such instances the claws come out, the microphones are turned up, and they reveal their true selves as the propaganda mouthpieces for the state, which Randolph Bourne described as representing “all the autocratic, arbitrary, coercive, belligerent forces within a social group,” a “sort of complexus of everything most distasteful to the modern creative free spirit, the feeling for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. War is the health of the State.”