Can One Nation Have Two Moralities?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, American Conservative, 29-2-2013
“Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” So wrote Alexis de Tocqueville.
Judged by the standards of those old “pulpits aflame with righteousness,” is America still a good country?
Traditionalist America has always held homosexuality to be unnatural and immoral, ruinous to body and soul alike, and where prevalent—as in Weimar Germany — the mark of a sick society.
This belief outrages millions. Yet it is as old as mankind and was held universally in the Christian West until this century. Moreover, it is grounded in biblical truth, tradition, natural law, and Catholic doctrine.
The new morality argues thus: For a significant slice of the population, homosexuality is natural and normal. They were born this way. And to deny homosexuals the freedom to engage in consensual sexual relations, or the right to marry, is bigotry as odious as was discrimination against black Americans.
Should the advocates of same-sex marriage prevail, their victory will not be accepted by believers in the traditional morality, but simply be seen as but another step in America’s descent down a slippery slope to hell.
Which raises a serious separate issue. If we Americans cannot even agree on what is right and wrong and moral and immoral, how do we stay together in one national family?
A common faith and moral code once held this country together. But if we no longer stand on the same moral ground… what in the world holds us together?
The Victory of the Noble Lie
by Gary Leupp, CounterPunch 29-3-2013
Few highlight the role of (what neocon godfather Irving Kristol called) “the neoconservative movement” in collecting and channeling the lies that produced the Iraq-war. And too few lament the fact that neocons continue to shape foreign policy (especially policy towards Iran and the Arab world) in significant ways.
The fact is, neocon ideologue Paul Wolfowitz, as deputy secretary of defense under his old friend Donald Rumsfeld, devoted full time during 2002 and early 2003 planning the war. That meant in part planning the lies to justify the war. …
The Office of Special Plans of 2002-3 was headed by Donald Feith.. It included Abram Shulsky, Wolfowitz’s college roommate at the University of Chicago and fellow student of the philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973), and implemented Strauss’s principle that since the masses are intrinsically foolish and will not always approve heroic action when necessary, the “Wise” must employ “noble lies” to convince them.
These are to be presented through “gentlemen” who are not too bright but malleable and enjoy credibility. … Strauss believed that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.”
The OSP [..] decided upon which false stories about Iraq would become part of the public campaign for war. … Shulsky prepared the “talking points memos” consulted by many of the unnamed government sources sited by journalists in sensationalistic fashion. It worked!
In June 2003 [..] Shulsky unabashedly described his Straussian view of intelligence. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “In a supportive role, intelligence must concentrate its efforts on finding and analyzing information relevant to implementing the policy” because, after all, “truth is not the goal” of intelligence operations, but “victory.”
He explained that whereas the (traditional) “social science” method of intelligence focuses on “facts,” he prefers the military intelligence model, “in which the intelligence officer works for the commander rather than an independent intelligence agency.”
Note that in traditional intelligence, deception is used to confuse the enemy. In this model, the deception (the “Noble Lie” in Straussian terms) used to mislead one’s own people, in order to achieve some “victory” on behalf of the noble, wise elite. …
July 2002 New York Times columnist Ron Suskind reported a visit from a “senior official” who complained about his writing and ridiculed his belief “that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.”
“That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he told Suskind. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality, 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.” …
Long-time Feith pal Richard Perle is another neoconservative who aggressively promoted the cause of war on Iraq. He has a long history of promoting lies. Perle recommended Paul Wolfowitz for Team B to his good friend Richard Pipes. As Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, 1981-1987, he received the nickname “Prince of Darkness”…
Using the prestige of his title and position he editorialized in favor of war on Iraq in the British press…
Asked this month if he felt the war was worth it, the “Prince of Darkness” replied: “I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, ‘Well we shouldn’t have done that.’”
“Was done in the belief…”
Who the hell created the belief?
It was the neoconservatives staffing the think tanks to which Perle currently belongs, and from whose pulpits he can pontificate: Hudson Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
“At least it’s not a threat to us anymore!” they might argue, although Iraq never threatened the U.S. in any way. …
Hadn’t the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, stated in Cairo, on February 24, 2001, “He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors”? Hadn’t National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice stated in July, “Saddam does not control the northern part of the country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt”? All such statements were denied or forgotten once Bush and Cheney decided for war.
U.S. security was not the issue. For the neocons, Israel was the main issue… Saddam had in sent some Scud missiles Israel’s way in January 1991, as the U.S.-led coalition was destroying the Iraqi army. Saddam did, up to his overthrow, make payments to the families of Palestinians who died in suicide bombings. He was (and remains in death) popular on the Arab street precisely because of his unrelenting opposition to Israel.
So how satisfying it must have been for the Israeli leaders and their neocon allies to watch U.S. troops track Saddam down like a dog, display him humiliated in public, let a kangaroo court sentence him to death and hang him in front of the cameras!
No more Scuds against Israel. No more payments to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Working arrangements between the Israelis and Iraqi Kurds and a massive arms-for-oil deal between the Israelis and Azerbaijanis. Such are the heroic achievements that validate the Iraq War in the minds of the neocons. So what if an Arab nation’s been destroyed?
How many hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed from Iraq to Pakistan due to a “War on Terror” that changes shape, shifting from Aghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria and Iran?
How many will be killed if the U.S. and/or Israel decide to prevent Iran from mastering the nuclear cycle, just the way Brazil and Argentina want to do (with no one objecting), and which every nation signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty has the “inalienable right” to do?
The neocons have been incessantly demanding a U.S. strike on Iranian nuclear facilities for years, particularly since their heyday during the George W. Bush years when neocon icon Norman Podhoretz publically prayed to Bush to bomb Iran. …
Obama has not echoed Bush’s preposterous neocon and AIPAC-spun rhetoric about “the shadow of a nuclear holocaust” but he has never challenged the fear mongering or emphasized what his intelligence services tell him.
When you read report after mainstream press report that refers matter-of-factly to “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” as though there definitely is one, and find that editors refuse to insist that reports routinely note “the entire U.S. intelligence establishment has repeatedly concluded that Iran has no operative nuclear weapons program,” and then you look at that poll figure, you can tell how the neocons and allies have won. However exposed, time and again, the lies of empire have triumphed, and continue to triumph. …
So long as profit conditions what the masses hear and believe, there will be more wars based on lies.
GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press).