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A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik

 
DanG
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08/15/2006 10:54 AM
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A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik

PeaceNik: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?

WarMonger: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of security council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate security council resolutions.

PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in violation of more security council resolutions than Iraq.

WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be a mushroom cloud over NY.

PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.

PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for attacking us or our allies with such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.

PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?

WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.

PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.

PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Gillespie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?

WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Qaida. Osama Bin Laden himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.

PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill him?

WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily be a partnership between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.

PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a secular infidel?

WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.

PN: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaeda poison factory in Iraq.

PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?

WM: And a British intelligence report...

PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate student paper?

WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...

PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?

WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence from inspectors...

PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.

PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB to find evidence. You're missing the point.

PN: So what is the point?

WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the security council will become an irrelevant debating society.

PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the security council?

WM: Absolutely. ... unless it rules against us.

PN: And what if it does rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade Iraq.

PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters.

PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of billions of dollars.

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.

WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make decisions.

PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is important?

WM: Yes.

PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the U.S. Supreme C...--

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is about being a patriot. That's the bottom line.

PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not patriotic?

WM: I never said that.

PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.

PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.

PN: You know this? How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are still unaccounted for.

PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.

WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.

PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist, we must invade?

WM: Exactly.

PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.

WM: That's a diplomatic issue.

PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?

WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving, and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens of millions.

PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.

PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our security?

WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.

PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the way we live?

WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.

PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.

PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?

WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?

WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?

WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?

WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.

PN: In which case?

WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.

PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?

WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.

PN: That makes no sense.

WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France, with all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.

[link to www.houstonjusticenotwar.org]
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 10:56 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
Priceless. Sounds exactly like Fox.
Rev. Star Gazer

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08/15/2006 11:00 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
peace
"The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path..."
PACNWguy

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08/15/2006 11:01 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
And this piece of garbage was pinned for what reason?

nospam
OBAMA - THE FASTEST FAILED PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY

"I inherated and I am Great!"
Rev. Star Gazer

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08/15/2006 11:02 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
And this piece of garbage was pinned for what reason?

nospam
 Quoting: PACNWguy


To expose the sheer stupidity of warmongers like you.
"The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path..."
DanG (OP)
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08/15/2006 11:07 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
I'm not at all surprised that a JACKASS
like PACNWguy doesn't get this.
censored
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:07 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
And this piece of garbage was pinned for what reason?

nospam


To expose the sheer stupidity of warmongers like you.
 Quoting: Rev. Star Gazer


bsflag
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:08 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik

PeaceNik: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?

WarMonger: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of security council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate security council resolutions.

PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in violation of more security council resolutions than Iraq.

WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be a mushroom cloud over NY.

PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.

PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for attacking us or our allies with such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.

PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't we?

WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry lunatic murderer.

PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.

PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador to Iraq, April Gillespie, know about and green-light the invasion of Kuwait?

WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to Al Qaida. Osama Bin Laden himself released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a partnership between the two.

PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill him?

WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily be a partnership between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.

PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a secular infidel?

WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.

PN: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaeda poison factory in Iraq.

PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?

WM: And a British intelligence report...

PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate student paper?

WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...

PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?

WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence from inspectors...

PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that cannot be revealed because it would compromise our security.

PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB to find evidence. You're missing the point.

PN: So what is the point?

WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the security council will become an irrelevant debating society.

PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the security council?

WM: Absolutely. ... unless it rules against us.

PN: And what if it does rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade Iraq.

PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters.

PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of billions of dollars.

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.

WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its will by electing leaders to make decisions.

PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is important?

WM: Yes.

PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the U.S. Supreme C...--

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is about being a patriot. That's the bottom line.

PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not patriotic?

WM: I never said that.

PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our allies.

PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.

PN: You know this? How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are still unaccounted for.

PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.

WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.

PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist, we must invade?

WM: Exactly.

PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.

WM: That's a diplomatic issue.

PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?

WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving, and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens of millions.

PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.

PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our security?

WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.

PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the way we live?

WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.

PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.

PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?

WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?

WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security Council?

WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security Council?

WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.

PN: In which case?

WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.

PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at all?

WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.

PN: That makes no sense.

WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France, with all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.

[link to www.houstonjusticenotwar.org]
 Quoting: DanG 126063


bsflag
DanG (OP)
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08/15/2006 11:09 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
Witty post COWARD 131358
whatever
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:13 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
And this piece of garbage was pinned for what reason?

nospam
 Quoting: PACNWguy


Was wondering the same myself. lmao

Did Fox hacked into this forum and pinned this thread?
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:14 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
Why continue to discuss the past? The fact is we are in Iraq now. Welcome to the present.
ToadMaster

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08/15/2006 11:15 AM
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osama
:toadmaster:
DanG (OP)
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08/15/2006 11:16 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
wow COWARD 123221's comment could
be added to the original post don't ya think?
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:17 AM
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wow COWARD 123221's comment could
be added to the original post don't ya think?
 Quoting: DanG 126063

Who would i be? WM or PN? lmao
PACNWguy

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08/15/2006 11:18 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
I am not a war monger.

I just donít like people who want me and my children dead. I think when they wonít listen to reason, they need to have their asses kicked.

When they shout from the roof tops that I am the great Satan and call for my head, I believe them. When they teach their children itís cool to strap on bombs and blow me up, I take it seriously. When they march in the streets shooting guns in the air and burn the flag that represents where I live, It bothers me.

When a neighbor of mine tells me he is going to kill me, and will die trying, I am not going to sit on my ass and wait for him to come in the night and fulfill his dream.

I send emissaries to him and they are sent back on a horse without their heads.

Well, I am sorry if you think Iím a war monger. It is further from the truth than you can imagine. I am a vet and have seen war, but I am also a realist.

I believe in fire prevention rather than fire fighting. Sometimes you have to burn off brush so it doesnít turn into a raging forest fire.

Ya know?
OBAMA - THE FASTEST FAILED PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY

"I inherated and I am Great!"
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:19 AM
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Wonderful thankyou op.
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:22 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
Why continue to discuss the past? The fact is we are in Iraq now. Welcome to the present.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 123221


This needs to be copied and pasted into the original post.
Soothsayer

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08/15/2006 11:30 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
I just donít like people who want me and my children dead. I think when they wonít listen to reason, they need to have their asses kicked.

I believe in fire prevention rather than fire fighting. Sometimes you have to burn off brush so it doesnít turn into a raging forest fire.
 Quoting: PACNWguy


The biggest threat to you and your children's safety is the Bush administration and its anti-American policies.

Are you going to fight against your government or can you only direct your anger towards innocent people thousands of miles away from you?
COGITO, ERGO, SUM
Godot

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08/15/2006 11:34 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
Enjoyable and amusing read. Very accurate recollection of the course of the debate.

If this were an actual conversation, the discussion would have quickly descended into personal attacks about lack of intelligence and grammatical errors and of course, questions of allegiance to god and country.
Yes it's safe, it's very safe, it's so safe you wouldn't believe it....
... No, it's not safe, it's very dangerous. Be Careful.
LTC Peachblossom

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08/15/2006 11:35 AM
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Excellent post, OP.

This reminds me of my time working as keeper at a mental hospital. I spent hours and hours trying to make the poor inmates snap out of their distorted world, if only for a short moment.

Those who know what I'm talking about know that it is virtually impossible to reach psychotic people. They have very carefully constructed a private universe for themselves that makes them feel safe, a world that is totally controllable for them. Anyone threatening their world is an enemy. They really hate you if you try to use logic and hard evidence. Other ways might work though.

Many years later I found GLP to satisfy this strange urge to bash my head against the wall.

Love,
/LTC Peachblossom
This space is not for rent.
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:39 AM
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short of the USA wholesale converting to Islam, do you think this is going to be settled peacefully? NOT!

so let get er done!
Dil
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08/15/2006 11:44 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
And this piece of garbage was pinned for what reason?

nospam


To expose the sheer stupidity of warmongers like you.
 Quoting: Rev. Star Gazer



muaha Goofy Thum
Godot

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08/15/2006 11:44 AM
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Excellent post, OP.

This reminds me of my time working as keeper at a mental hospital. I spent hours and hours trying to make the poor inmates snap out of their distorted world, if only for a short moment.

Those who know what I'm talking about know that it is virtually impossible to reach psychotic people. They have very carefully constructed a private universe for themselves that make them feel safe, a world that is totally controllable for them. Anyone threatening their world is an enemy. They really hate you if you try to use logic and hard evidence. Other ways might work though.

Many years later I found GLP to satisfy this strange urge to bash my head against the wall.

Love,
/LTC Peachblossom
 Quoting: LTC Peachblossom



hf
Yes it's safe, it's very safe, it's so safe you wouldn't believe it....
... No, it's not safe, it's very dangerous. Be Careful.
PACNWguy

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08/15/2006 11:45 AM
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The biggest threat to you and your children's safety is the Bush administration and its anti-American policies.

Are you going to fight against your government or can you only direct your anger towards innocent people thousands of miles away from you?
 Quoting: Soothsayer


Well Soothsayer, I see on your profile that you live at Starfleet. Are you still fighing the Klingons? Arent they innocent people too?

When you go back to school this fall as your History teacher when Islamic Terrorists began attacking American interest in the US and abroad. I think she might inform you that it began long long before Bush.

spock
OBAMA - THE FASTEST FAILED PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY

"I inherated and I am Great!"
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:45 AM
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we live in a complicated world, not on NPR happy street. Things are not black and white.


fucking hippies.... peace

man, I love you guys, but sometimes you are just clueless.
Sinanju

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08/15/2006 11:49 AM
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Peacenik: Why do we have war?

Warmonger: because we can..

Peacenik: but...

Warmonger: *slap* Shut up bitch.

Peacenik: YESSIR!
ProphetNoweh

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08/15/2006 11:50 AM
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Peacenik: Why do we have war?

Warmonger: because we can..

Peacenik: but...

Warmonger: *slap* Shut up bitch.

Peacenik: YESSIR!
 Quoting: Sinanju

lol
We are officially out of the UFO business and back bagging groceries at Ralph's Grocery Mart.
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 11:53 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
This is for all of you Warmonger's. Read it and TRY to start thinking for yourselves.



What do you think? The t r u t h o u t Town Meeting is in progress. Join the debate!

Also see:
Marc Ash | Fascists of All Varieties ē

Editor's Note: This piece by Bernard Weiner is the second in our series on fascism and its implications for America today. - ma/TO
Go to Original

The Fast Lane to Fascism: A Review of John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience"
By Bernard Weiner
The Crisis Papers

Tuesday 01 August 2006

"How does the Bush Administration get away with it?" And: "How come, no matter what scandal or embarrassment or disaster Bush&Co. get enmeshed in, one third of the population still supports them?"

The answers to those oft-expressed questions are complex, to be sure, but with the publication of former White House counsel John W. Dean's compelling new book "Conservatives Without Conscience," we now have more of a framework for understanding what drives the Busheviks and why so many continue to stand behind them.

Dean, whose insider testimony helped bring down President Nixon during the Watergate scandal, is a Goldwater-style conservative Republican. Like so many such "old-style" conservatives - believers in small government, maximizing freedom of the individual, balanced budgets, caution in foreign affairs, etc. - Dean is appalled by the extremists who now run the party, turning all the traditional conservative beliefs upside-down.

These so-called "conservatives" have taken the country down the slippery slope of extra-Constitutional rule, at the bottom of which, unless the situation changes, lies the reality of fascism.

"It would not take much more misguided authoritarian leadership, or thoughtless following of such leaders, to find ourselves there," Dean writes.

Impact of Fundamentalist Thought

And here is the heart of Dean's intelligently-reasoned volume. In his 2004 book "Worse Than Watergate," Dean excoriated the CheneyBush presidency for its secrecy, unconstitutional over-reaching, and in-your-face nastiness. But, aside from revealing its dastardly governance, Dean didn't have an over-arching theory of why the Administration and their followers behaved that way. Here, in "Conservatives Without Conscience," he has come up with a believable explanation as to why those traits are so prevalent in right-wing circles.

So how did America wind up on the freeway heading toward the exit marked fascism? Dean finds a good share of the answer in the pulling power of authoritarianism, both as practiced by demagogic officials and as accepted by the third of Americans who, without much thought, permit themselves to be swayed so easily by those leaders.

But what explains the willingness of so many millions of American citizens to blindly follow such leaders?

Dean points to the power of fundamentalist religious thought, both in this country and in other areas of the world as well, no matter what the religious preference.

Dean keeps digging: What has led to the resurgence of fundamentalist belief systems?

In America, he notes, fundamentalist/evangelical Christians had political reasons for their renewed activism, including reacting strenuously to attempts to tax their schools, for example, or to Roe vs. Wade. But there is something much deeper, which is true as much in Afghanistan as it is in the U.S. of A.

Hard-Wired for Authoritarianism

To put it simply (in my words, not Dean's) there are those who are reasonably comfortable with major social changes, or at least can adapt to them, and there are those who find rapid changes off-putting, disorienting, even frightening. To the latter group, the world is a scary place, with so many conflicting options and alternatives, so much freedom and so many temptations. Many find psychic safety in returning to the old verities, the simple prescriptions for behavior, the clear reasons for acting this way and not that way.

Not having to think for themselves, or about themselves, provides a secure "container" for their anxiety. Conservatives have a "heightened psychological need to manage uncertainty," notes one social researcher quoted by Dean.

Fundamentalism, you see, seems to provide a safe harbor, a simple "quiet" way in the midst of all the world's ambiguity and "noise," that helps in dealing with the frightening and contradictory cacaphony outside the religion. There is good and there is evil, a right way and a wrong way, Revealed Truth and dangerous falsehood, you're with us or with our enemies, that sort of simplistic understanding of the world. Gott Mitt Uns - God is on our side - so why should we compromise with or pay attention to those who do not believe in The Truth?

But, says Dean, in addition to the doctrinal underpinnings, something in the personality of many fundamentalist religious leaders, and their followers, may be working even more strongly: a built-in tendency toward authoritarianism.

He quotes from voluminous studies by social psychologist/researcher Bob Altemeyer, who - after examining the attitude of tens of thousands of subjects in interviews and questionnaires - concluded that "acceptance of traditional religious beliefs appear to have more to do with having a personality rich in authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism, than with the beliefs per se."

Lying as Standard Modus Operandi

Dean says he writes as "a conservative who is deeply troubled by what has become of a treasured philosophy. Conservatism has been co-opted by authoritarians, a most dangerous type of political animal."

"[A]t heart," he writes, those in charge of the Republican party "are tough, cold-blooded, ruthless ... tolerate no dissent, use dissembling as their standard modus operandi, and have pushed their governing authority beyond the law and Constitution ... [O]ur nation's founders relied on reason, which is anathema for many of today's conservatives. ..... [They] cannot be trusted to exercise the powers of government responsibly."

Conservatives, Altemeyer found, often engaged in right-wing aggression not only out of political belief but also "for the pure pleasure of it ..... [They are] malicious, mean-spirited, and disrespectful of even the basic codes of civility ... [A]uthoritarians have little if any conscience when pursuing their causes, and reason gives way to expediency."

The Need for Domination

Altemeyer and other social scientists who have done the ground-breaking research on authoritarianism have also found that many political conservatives, both leaders and followers, possess "a need to dominate others."

Dean reminds us of the famous '60s experiment by Dr. Stanley Milgram where college students readily inflicted electrical shocks (or what they thought were such shocks) on supposed prisoners in their care because the supervising scientist in a white coat told them to do so, despite the prisoners' seeming writhing in pain. The experiment revealed in most of the subjects a clear readiness to bow to the orders of authority figures. Decades later, we saw photos and videotape of normal young U.S. soldiers tormenting, humiliating and torturing prisoners in their care at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. The hard-wiring is there and switches on in optimal social situations.

According to Altemeyer's research, "authoritarian aggression is fueled by fear and encouraged by remarkable self-righteousness, which frees aggressive impulses. ... [Lying is] easy for right-wing authoritarians to do because of their remarkable self-righteousness."

Not only do political conservatives tend to follow authority figures' orders more often, Altemeyer's research revealed, but they are "intolerant of criticism of their authorities, because they believe the authority is unassailably correct." In short, their leaders do not lie; but when they are found to have lied, they did so for good, godly reasons. After all, the righteous end justifies all means.

Outbreaks of dangerous authoritarianism have occurred throughout our nation's history, notes Dean, but the CheneyBush Administration has taken social authoritarianism to the extreme - with Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay as dominator poster-boys for the movement.

They may think of what they are doing as akin to playing political chess, but, if so, it's a political game with extremely lethal consequences. Unlike most other examples of previous authoritarianism in earlier U.S. administrations, now when the leaders lie, a large number of people die. Another such example would be what happened in Europe in the 1930s; see "The Easy Slide Into Fascism: Germany in 1933."

Most everything in the Bush Administration is done for political reasons, often to feed its rock-solid fundamentalist/evangelical base. Rove's tested election strategy is built upon that base. By hook or by crook or by fraud - dropping hundreds of thousands of Dem voters off a state's rolls, tying up oppositional phone lines, perhaps altering ballot tallies, and so on - he's able to claim one more vote than the opposition and feels free then to assert that the GOP now has a "mandate" to rule.

And, of course, the run-up to the election is orchestrated to the drumbeat of constant fear and fright, against real or imagined enemies; these days, the buzzworded scapegoats are "gays," "illegal immigrants," "atheists," and that oldie-but-goodie "terrorists." (When the Bush Administration "continues to raise the threat of terrorism but refuses to implement even the minimum measures recommended by the [9/11] commission," writes Dean, "it is clear they are playing the politics of fear.")

What Happens If GOP Wins in November

What can America look forward to if the GOP holds onto the House and Senate in November? For sure, we can anticipate the further destruction of any opposition as the Republicans continue their drive for permanent one-party rule. "Our goal is to inflict as much pain as possible," said authoritarian GOP honcho Grover Norquist. "It is not good enough to win; it has to be a painful and devastating defeat. We're sending a message here."

In addition, we can anticipate continued packing of the appeals courts with more jurists in the authoritarian mode, serious cracking down on opposition web sites and writers on the Internet, the continuation of corruption at the highest levels as lobbyists buy corporate access to the writing of laws, and further movement toward the assumption of "unimpaired executive authority," to use Cheney's spine-chilling term.

And, no doubt, we can expect more wars abroad (Iran? Syria? Venezuela?), carried out with bullying, self-righteous certainty of victory - which, since these guys never learn, and are clueless and incompetent as well, will backfire in America's face. Again. Chalk it up to greed, power-hunger and the arrogance of empire. (Bush's unwavering support of Israel's destruction of Lebanon is a proxy case in point.)

Is the situation hopeless in moving this country away from authoritarianism, and restoring America to its great foundations, its adherence to and respect for law? Dean concludes with this:

"Research, however, reveals there is a solid majority of Americans who are not right-wing authoritarians, that there are countless millions of liberals, moderates and conservatives with conscience, people who shudder at the prospect of giving away our hard-earned democratic principles, and who cherish our liberties. These are individuals who question their leaders and their policies, and that is as it should be.

"Democracy is not a spectator sport that can be simply observed. To the contrary, it is difficult and demanding, and its very survival depends on active participation. Take it for granted, and the authoritarians, who have already taken control, will take American democracy where no freedom-loving person would want it to go. But time has run out, and the next two or three national election cycles will define America in the twenty-first century, for better or worse."

--------

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked as a writer-editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly two decades, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers. To comment: [email protected]

First published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 8/1/06.

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Jump to today's Truthout Features:
Today's Truthout Features -------------- Dahr Jamail | Ehren Watada: "Soldiers Can Choose to Stop Fighting" Civilians Seek Return Home as Truce Starts in Lebanon Missy Comley Beattie | Wanted: Terrorists to Resuscitate Republican Party Bush Pushes Congress to Make Conspiracy a War Crime Norman Solomon | Who's Afraid of Hillary Clinton? Bernard Weiner | John Dean Book Review: The Fast Lane to Fascism For GOP, Bad Gets Worse in Northeast Resist the Taliban? What For? Hundreds of Fallujah Police Disappear After Threats David E. Sanger | Does Calling It Jihad Make It So? Bush "Viewed War in Lebanon as a Curtain-Raiser for Attack on Iran" "Swift Boat" Veterans Set Sights on Congressman Murtha Dean: Lieberman Should Drop Out of Election Race Daniel Ellsberg | Times Call for New Pentagon Papers New York Times | Rewriting the Geneva Conventions Bush Back in DC, but "Camp Casey" Still Open Governors Oppose Federal Control of Guard US, Iraqis at Odds Over Blasts' Cause Gunmen Kidnap Fox News Journalists in Gaza Edward M. Kennedy: Demeaning Democracy -------------- t r u t h o u t Town Meeting t r u t h o u t Home

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Pollyannuh

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08/15/2006 11:58 AM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
DanG!!!

hugs

Well done piece, DanG.

Thanks for sharing it.
Green Man

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08/15/2006 12:02 PM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
To succinctly paraphrase:

"Authoritarians are assholes."
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

Hey! I'm a Zen Master! And I thought I was just lazy.
Anonymous Coward
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08/15/2006 12:05 PM
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Re: A Warmonger Explains War To A Peacenik
This thread is pinned?
LOL!!!





GLP