Saturday, June 14, 2014

Terminal Cognitive Dissonance

Fox News has finally succeeded in making itself as unbelievable as MSNBC. That the current Iraq crisis is the direct result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the overthrow and subsequent execution of Saddam Hussein is undeniable. The increasingly frantic efforts of Fox News on-air personalities to divert audience attention from this inconvenient bit of history borders on the comical.

For the benefit of any readers who might mistake my motives, I believe Barack Hussein Obama to be a dangerous Socialist hack who has done and continues to do great damage to the nation. Please see "Stealth Strike Treason" which was written in January of 2013 and is archived on this site. That said, it is dishonest and completely unacceptable for neo-conservatives, whose policies ignited the still-burning fuse, to blame anyone else for the escalating violence in Iraq, violence that has spread across the Middle East, reached into the Ukraine, and now threatens to engulf the Baltic and beyond.

Cognitive dissonance has been defined as the mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who is confronted with new information that conflicts with existing beliefs. Millions of patriotic Americans are experiencing cognitive dissonance as events in Iraq collide with the false official narrative that has been drummed into their consciousness since September 11, 2001. If you are among those struggling to square what you've been told about Iraq with the fact that Iran's Islamic government is intervening militarily in an effort to protect the U.S.-installed government in Baghdad, the answer is straightforward. You've been told a pack of lies.

In the wake of 9-11 most politicians wisely avoided directly accusing Iraq of involvement in the attack. Instead they changed the subject, falsely accusing Saddam of possessing "weapons of mass destruction" which threatened the United States. It's worth mentioning that the "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) label is itself a propaganda device of neo-conservative invention. This newly made-up weapons category allowed them to conflate chemical and biological agents (which many nations in the region possess in limited quantities) with nuclear weapons, a labeling that was then used to conjure up images of a mushroom cloud over Des Moines. The correct nomenclature is "unconventional weapons" or "NBC weapons" (for nuclear, biological, and chemical).

It is an indicator of just how conscious they were of their duplicity that neo-conservative politicians relied upon their propaganda organs (Fox News, The Washington Times, National Review, and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal) to create the false linkage between Iraq and 9-11. The media campaign to deceive the public was successful. As late as 2011 some 41% of the American people still believed that Iraq was involved in the 9-11 attacks, down from a high of 70% in 2003.

Let's take a quick walk down memory lane to review a small sample of what was actually said by a few of the principle actors. Most, but notably not all of them, were Republicans.
"Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." –  Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, February 13, 2002 
“The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. … Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally Israel.” - Senator John Edwards, D-N.C., addressing the U.S. Senate, September 12, 2002 
"If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.  Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, effects American security.” – Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., addressing the U.S. Senate, October 10, 2002  
"It’s a slam dunk case" Former CIA Director George Tenet about evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, December 21, 2002  
"We know where they [weapons of mass destruction] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ABC News interview, March 30, 2003  
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason [for invading Iraq]." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, "Vanity Fair" interview, May 28, 2003   
"There was a concerted effort ... to pin 9-11 on Saddam. It began in the fall of 2001 and it came from people around the White House." General Wesley Clark, Retired NATO Commander, NBC, "Meet The Press", June 15, 2003 
"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . [in] weeks rather than months." Vice President Dick Cheney,"Meet the Press", September 14, 2003    
"We expected, I expected to find actual usable, chemical or biological weapons after we entered Iraq. But I have to accept, as the months have passed, it seems increasingly clear that at the time of invasion, Saddam did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons ready to deploy." British Prime Minister Tony Blair, July 14, 2004  
It is necessary to go back to the very beginning of the "war on terror' era to sort this out. Despite desperate efforts to avoid responsibility by blaming Obama, the current Iraq crisis did not arise because of the President's feckless ineptitude (which is no less real). No, today's problem exists because President George W. Bush and his neo-conservative brain trust decided to invade, occupy, and impose "regime change" in Iraq. Not only was the Iraq war planned well in advance of 9-11, but its plotters were brazen and arrogant enough to publish their plan a year earlier and put it on the Internet! If you doubt that charge, by all means download and read Rebuilding America's Defenses, a "report" commissioned by Dick Cheney and delivered in September, 2000, two months before the Presidential Election and one year before the attacks of 9-11. Repeatedly citing the existence of Saddam Hussein's regime and the entire list of neo-conservative "regime change" targets as justification, the report advocated "transforming" the U.S. military into a force capable of enforcing U.S. mandates around the world, a transformation that would establish a de facto American Empire. Page 63 contains the following provocative and vey interesting sentence.
"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor."
The attack of 9-11 provided that "catalyzing event". It was shortly followed by the invasion of Iraq which, as President Bush's inner circle knew full well, had absolutely no involvement in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Until a crisis occurs, most Americans, busy raising families and earning livings, are only marginally interested in the daily behind-the-scenes machinations that define Washington's political landscape. Because it received almost no coverage in the popular press or television news outlets, only a few know of the decades-long war waged beneath the surface for the Republican Party's soul, a war ultimately lost by traditional conservatives. Fewer still understand the motives of the combatants or appreciate the impact of that struggle's outcome on today's political scene. Many Republicans and real conservatives have no idea that their party, the Republican Party, was surreptitiously hijacked and subsequently subverted.

Here is what happened.

In the 1950s a small group of Trotskyite intellectuals became disenchanted with aspects of Marxism and began a philosophic migration away from communism. The new movement paused briefly at the "Scoop" Jackson/Hubert Humphrey faction of the Democratic Party before selecting the Republican Party as its final host. The migration was led by Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss, the intellectual fathers of neo-conservatism. Slowly but surely, movement activists worked their way into the inner circle of Republican Party machinery. By the mid-80s, they were a force to be reckoned with within the Party. A short but incomplete list of prominent movement members would include Elliott Abrams, Ken Adelman, Richard Armitage, John Ashcroft, John Bolton, Richard Cheney, Douglas Feith, David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, William Kristol, Richard N. Perle, Daniel Pipes, Karl Rove, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dov Zakheim.

By the way, that many neo-conservatives are Jews is true but irrelevant. The neo-cons use this demographic fact to vaccinate themselves against opposition by playing the "anti-Semitic" card whenever their policy preferences are challenged. The tactic is intellectually dishonest and illogical but it has certainly been effective.

Traditional conservatives never really understood the power of propaganda, naively believing that facts and logic would carry the day. They even allowed neo-conservatives to define the terms under which the battle for control of the GOP would be waged. The very labels that the neo-conservatives assigned to the combatants (neo-conservative and paleo-conservative) served the neo-conservative purpose. Those labels conferred an undeserved legitimacy on neo-conservatism, creating the illusion that a symmetrical division existed within the body of conservatism when, in fact, that which calls itself neo-conservatism is not conservative at all.

It is only necessary to listen to what neo-conservatives openly admit to understand that they are amoral relativists who are using the Republican Party as a host as they manipulate the public in their drive for total power. Consider these quotes.
"You are a reality-based guy and that’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Karl Rove (as quoted by Ron Suskind) 
"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work." - Irving Kristol
"...one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills [emphasis added], into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy." - Irving Kristol
"Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his "The Man Versus the State," was a historical eccentricity." - Irving Kristol
For his part, Strauss wrote an entire book ("Natural Right and History") praising what he called the political realism of the ancients who denied that there was any natural human right to liberty or truth. He was especially taken with Plato's discourses on "noble Lies." Strauss implicitly believed, as did Plato, that "noble Lies" were essential to stable government because they gave the people meaning and purpose. Strauss also believed that secrecy is necessary tool for ruling elites. In "Persecution and the Art of Writing", he explained that "the wise" must conceal their motives and actions in order to protect themselves from uprisings and reprisals.

Finally, the neo-conservatives are dangerous to the nation for reasons that go beyond their willingness to fight to the last drop of somebody else's blood. It is neo-conservative GOP party leaders, including the likes of just-defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who are working hand in glove with the Obama administration to ram amnesty for millions of illegal aliens down the throats of the American people. The newly-minted "humanitarian crisis" resulting from thousands of unaccompanied illegal minor "children" flooding across our southern borders is a glaring example of that cooperation. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.

So there you have it. Based on the prolific written admissions of the movement's founders and the purposeful actions of Cantor and his peers, neo-conservatives stand exposed as purposeful liars and incipient totalitarians who hold the American people and their traditions in absolute contempt. Today they control much of the national GOP's internal workings. If you are an authentic conservative who values the Republican Party and cares about the nation, just how much do you appreciate where the arrogantly dishonest neo-cons have taken "the Republican party, and American conservatism...against their respective wills?"

FJB

Post Publication Note: Mark Twain once wrote that he would have written a shorter book if only he'd had more time. This post is long because details are important on a topic of this magnitude. I believe that readers who care about the subject will have the fortitude to endure its length. Some ideas and content included here appeared in an earlier post. If you are interested in a more complete description of how the GOP achieved its current sorry state, please see "Who Killed the Republican Party", originally published February 4, 2013.

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