Excerpts from
A Nation on the Edge of the Final Descent (II): A Culture of Lies, and a Desperate Need for Action

For this is where we are in the United States, nearing the end of the Year of Our Lord 2007: the truth is not merely unpleasant, an uninvited guest who makes conversation difficult and awkward. Truth is the enemy; truth is to be destroyed. To attempt to speak the truth on any subject of importance requires a deep reserve of determination, for to speak the truth requires that one first sweep away an infinite number of rationalizations, false alternatives, and numerous other failures of logic and the most rudimentary forms of thought — as well as the endless lies. On that single occasion in a thousand or a million when a person overcomes these barriers and speaks the truth, he or she discovers an additional, terrible truth: almost no one wants to hear it. This is how we live today: lies are the staple of our diet. Without them, we would die, certainly in psychological terms.

The United States is in the fifth year of a criminal, illegal occupation of a country that never threatened us. The occupation follows a war of aggression and conquest, an international crime that violates the Nuremberg principles. The Nazis fabricated a series of lies to justify their invasion of Poland; the United States did the same with regard to Iraq, and now does the same in preparation for an attack on Iran. The United States set in motion a series of events that has led to the deaths of one million innocent Iraqis, and probably more. The deaths will go on for at least several years to come; the United States will remain in Iraq for decades, probably for the rest of your lifetime. In this manner, the United States has made itself an international criminal, and a world outlaw. It did all this not out of any credible concern for self-defense, however slight, for Iraq never represented any serious threat to us, as much of the rest of the world (and many Americans) well understood in the winter and spring of 2002-2003. The United States did all this because the ruling class is intent on world hegemony; both parties are committed to this goal, and no major national politician opposes it. It did all this because it could, and because no one could stop us — and because we will have our way. If other countries will not obey us, they will be bribed, coerced and otherwise manipulated, and — if they persist in their disobedience — destroyed.

But none of this is to be discussed. Instead, we speak of “liberation,” and of “spreading democracy.” Even the most strident of “respectable” critics of our foreign policy point only to the Bush administration’s “incompetence,” and to how badly it “bungled” the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is understandable that you might have thought the twentieth century had forever ended contemplation of “competently” executed genocide — but you would have forgotten the power of lies, and what happens to a culture steeped in lies….

At present, the United States is the leading international murderer, and it murders on a monumental scale. And it appears determined to launch still another campaign of destruction and of possible genocide, against Iran. Every leading national politician agrees with Hillary Clinton’s position, as expressed in this Foreign Affairs article:

Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies, and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The Bush administration refuses to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, preferring to ignore bad behavior rather than challenge it. Meanwhile, Iran has enhanced its nuclear-enrichment capabilities, armed Iraqi Shiite militias, funneled arms to Hezbollah, and subsidized Hamas, even as the government continues to hurt its own citizens by mismanaging the economy and increasing political and social repression.

As a result, we have lost precious time. Iran must conform to its nonproliferation obligations and must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.

On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.

My all-embracing cynicism is woefully inadequate to this moment. I had entertained a vague notion that the leading presidential candidate of the nominal “opposition” party, a woman who has offered numerous remarks purportedly critical of the Bush administration, would be reluctant to repeat the administration’s Iran propaganda word for word. We might note the various critical assertions for which no proof whatsoever has yet been adduced: that Iran “uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq,” for example, or the statement that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program” — which Iran has repeatedly denied. And, I repeat, an assertion for which no proof exists or has been offered.

But there is a hugely notable omission in Clinton’s formulation of her Iran policy, and it is critical that we appreciate what it is. This is the key sentence: “If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.” According to the IAEA, Iran has complied “with its own commitments”; in fact, Iran has voluntarily undertaken commitments that it was not obliged even to consider. And the meaning of “the will of the international community” is clear enough: this refers to “the will” of those countries that the United States manipulates, cows and coerces into adopting its position, whether the other countries in question view that position as legitimate or even sane themselves. And there are a number of countries whose “will” is very different on this question. But those nations are not part of “the international community” as we choose to define it for our own purposes.

And everyone knows — although no one will state explicitly — the meaning of that last vile phrase: “all options must remain on the table.” That means one thing, and only one thing: if Iran does not do exactly as we say, we reserve the “right” to attack it, to bomb it, and to destroy it — just as we have destroyed Iraq. But note what Clinton does not say: she does not postulate that Iran has directly threatened the United States, or that it has even indicated it wishes to threaten us. She does not imagine that Iran has attacked the U.S., or that evidence exists that it plans to do so. No, Iran’s crime would be of an altogether different kind: Iran will not have conducted itself in the manner that we demand. This has nothing at all to do with self-defense, if that phrase remains even tenuously tethered to reality. But it has everything to do with the title of my ongoing foreign policy series: “Dominion Over the World.”

…But none of this is to be discussed. In the last several years, we have caused the deaths of a million or more innocent people. The United States has committed crimes on a scale that defy comprehension. This fact is almost never mentioned by our leading politicians and commentators. And now all our leading politicians lay the groundwork for another act of still worse, monstrous, criminal aggression — but we discuss it as if it is our “right” to wreak destruction, suffering and death, in the name of “self-defense” and “civilization.” Lies, on top of criminality, on top of genocide, both accomplished and planned. Lies and destruction without end, and facts and reality are banished altogether.

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