Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Baghdad Drop-Kick: The President in His Labyrinth

It’s one of the many hallmarks of totalitarian leadership that it seeks out secrecy the way a roach seeks out the dark. It feeds on its own deceptions in the shadows of people’s ignorance to accumulate the kind of power that has nothing more than itself as the measure of its worth. We don’t have a totalitarian regime in the United States. At least not yet (the potential is always there when, as in the Balkans, nationalism and religion speak louder than law). But we do have a president who submits freely and increasingly to the totalitarian temptation. His regime could not function without secrecy. His war on terror, his spying manias, his secret prisons, his not-so-secret but no less abject prisons in Cuba, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, the corrosion at the heart of their purpose would all be laid bare if a small amount of sunshine was shone on their workings. There is nothing to justify them all but the word of the president. There is nothing to certify the president’s word but a long line of lies, slithers and fabrications that themselves now need protection from being found out. The secrecy, you see, is the veil that allows our Oz of a patriarch to keep up the illusion both of leadership and of the self-fulfilling necessity of the edicts and felonies he’s accrued in his nearly six years at the controls.

Sometimes the secrecy bites its own rear, and sometimes the bite is a colonoscopy of the vacuum at the secrecy’s core. That’s what Bush’s latest drop-kick into Baghad was. The trip was designed to lend support to the new Iraqi prime minister. But how do you lend support to another country’s leader when you, the alleged leader of the free world, have to hide from your own cabinet along the way? Bush only told his junta about the trip—Dick Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld. Pool reporters permitted to go along were sworn to secrecy, forced not to tell their spouses and forced to turn over all communication devices when they reported for the trip. The Iraqi prime minister himself was not told.. Read the rest...