Thursday, June 08, 2006

Forget the Iraq civil war; the U.S. cultural war rages on

In 1992 Pat Buchanan addressed the Republican National convention with talk of great "culture war" that would be waged in America. What he didn't tell the convention was that the right wing would declare the war by attacking the U.S. Constitution.

Buchanan didn't tell his audience that his culture war would pit Americans against one another. He didn't tell America that his culture war was purely partisan. He didn't tell those not supporting that convention that they would become targets of a right jihad.

He didn't tell the nation that his culture war would be an entirely negative, destructive war that would treat citizens as enemies of the state —though they are protected by the Constitution and are, in fact, on the right and historically correct side of the Constitution.

From the psychotic viewpoint of the increasingly radical right wing, it must destroy and subvert the Constitution in order to wage this war on the American population. Put another way: under Bush, the right wing has learned how to make legal what had been illegal under the Constitution.

In a monument to backward thinking and circular logic, the GOP will justify its subversion of the rule of law because it is necessary in order to achieve the right wing agenda.

Since 1992, the GOP has waged this war on many fronts: the schools, congressional districts, the courts, and, most insidiously, the validity of the ballot box itself. It is a war on anyone disagreeing with a narrow, increasingly rabid, fanatical Weltanschauung.

Under George W. Bush, the GOP has waged this war on fellow Americans as Hitler waged his war on the Jew, that is, by denying the blessings of Due Process of Law to anyone who dares to dissent. It is a political war that exploits the advantages of corporate power by forging a fascistic partnership with the corporate community. In alliance with big, corporate media, for example, the right wing junta slanders individuals, undermines the Bill of Rights, and, in other ways— legal and illegal —destroys the very underpinnings of American society. This is, for them, as it was for Hitler, a single-minded quest for raw power. It is total cultural war.

The mere impeachment and imprisonment of George W. Bush will not begin to address the crisis. As many bloggers have pointed out recently: Bush is —as he has said —a war President. What escapes mere words is Bush's role. He has become the impresario of a radical, right wing, fascist agenda that pits American against American, citizen against citizen. Bush's war is not against Iraq; it is against America, the American people, the Constitution, the rule of law, and Due Process of Law. We have seen the enemy and it is George W. Bush, the GOP and all their "fellow travelers"!

Revolution is not always waged with violence in the streets. But, with Bush, there seems to be a resurrection of old tactics. Among more prominent examples is the gang of GOP "brownshirts" who feloniously attacked the recount rooms in Florida. More recently in Sugar Land, TX, a gang of thugs —supporting Tom DeLay --violently attacked a peaceful rally held by DeLay's Democratic opponent. Clearly —the right wing will not be satisfied until the Constitution is overthrown and a dictatorship installed; it has shown itself capable of violence and thuggery to make it happen.

Some recent events here at home illustrate how the right wing has racheted up their practices, strategies, lies and histrionics. Recent comments by Bill O'Reilly illustrate the extremes to which they will resort. It was bad enough that Ronald Reagan paid his "respects" to the Nazi SS at Bitburg, saying that they were likewise "victims" of Hitler's right wing regime, now we are expected sit quietly while Bill O'Reilly blames Amercans —not Nazi SS —for the massacre at Malmedy.
R. Reagan Paying Homage to SS at Bitburg

At a time when the GOP seems to have adopted Nazi tactics —rewriting history among them —it is more than merely suspicious when a right wing, GOP apologist gets on television and tells the nation that it was U.S. troops who massacred SS combatants at Malmedy —and not the other way 'round.

The facts are these: it was the SS —not U.S. troops —who did the shooting. The SS literally set up a machine gun and mowed down U.S. troops who had been taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge.
During the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge) the Combat Group of the 1st SS Panzer Division, led by SS Major Joachim Peiper, was approaching the crossroads at Baugnes near the town of Malmédy. There they encountered a company of US troops (Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion) from the US 7th Armoured Division. Realizing that the odds were hopeless, the company's commander, Lt. Virgil Lary, decided to surrender. After being searched by the SS, the prisoners were marched into a field adjacent to the Cafe Bodarwé. The SS troops moved on except for two Mark IV tanks Nos. 731 and 732, left behind to guard the GIs. A couple of GIs tried to flee to the nearest woods and an order was given to fire. SS Private Georg Fleps of tank 731 drew his pistol and fired at Lary's driver who fell dead in the snow. The machine guns of both tanks then opened fire on the prisoners. Many of the GIs took to their heels and headed for the woods. Incredibly, 43 GIs survived, but 84 of their comrades lay dead in the field, being slowly covered with a blanket of snow. No attempt was made to recover the bodies until the area was retaken by the 30th Infantry Division on January 14, 1945, when men from the 291st Engineers used metal detectors to locate the bodies buried in the snow.

The Malmedy Massacre

It's easy enough to dismiss O'Reilly as either stupid or ignorant. It's hard to believe, however, that he's never seen a movie —many of which accurately portray the events at Malmedy. What's O'Reilly's excuse? What's his motive for defending Nazis?

Either O'Reilly is appallingly ignorant of American history which means he is both the product and the victim of GOP public education policies. Or —he deliberately reversed the roles of Americans and Nazis during World War II. If this is the best the right wing has to offer, then we are in deep stuff. Interestingly, right wing "commentators" —most prominently Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly —are mean spirited and venomous. They will bend facts, lie, and re-write history to serve the interests of right wing propaganda. Their morality is a relative one; every crime is justified if it serves the party agenda.
Nevertheless, we can mourn the German war dead today as human beings crushed by a vicious ideology!

Ronald Reagan at Bitburg
I rather think Ronald Reagan missed the point. The SS were not the common foot soldiers Reagan described. They were the Nazi elite; they were not the victims but the co-conspirators in Hitler's dreams of absolute dictatorship and vainglorious world conquest.
New York Times (6 May 1985): "It's over, but the Bitburg blunder, too, should not be forgotten. President Reagan's regret at having promised such a cemetery tribute was palpable. He walked through it with dignity but little reverence. He gave the cameras no emotional angles. All day long he talked of Hell and Nazi evil, to submerge the event. . . . Not even Mr. Reagan's eloquent words before the mass graves of Bergen-Belsen could erase the fact that his visit there was an afterthought, to atone for the inadvertent salute to those SS graves."

Memo To Bill O'Reilly: The Nazis Were The Bad Guys.

by tristeroClick and watch it all.

Bill O'Reilly's outrageous attempt to paint the Nazis as victims of an American atrocity at Malmedy when in fact Nazis slaughtered American troops should have led to his immediate firing and ostracism from American airwaves. What did Fox do? They tried to scrub the transcript, but were caught and restored it.

But that's not all. Watch and marvel at the sordid history of right wing denial of the Malmedy atrocity, complete with genuinely ugly eruptions of American homegrown anti-semitism. And don't miss a cameo appearance by Joe McCarthy, which should thoroughly discredit anyone malicious enough to try to whitewash that scoundrel's reputation.

And you know what's the worst part of this? No one really cares that much, no one that matters. "Oh, that's just Fox News, that's just O'Reilly, whaddya expect?" The level of bullshit, ignorance, bigotry, and malicious stupidity is so high we don't even notice it anymore. Worse, the stench is so bad and is so far over our heads already, we don't even notice when it's reached a new height.

But we're not done yet. If O'Reilly can keep his job - and he can and will - after smearing American WW II soldiers (as well as sending covert signals of support to all the David Irvings in America), then he will feel compelled to top that.

Anyone care to predict the next O'Reilly outrage?I don't. If you had told me that Bill O'Reilly could get away with rewriting Malmedy, I would have said you were mad. But what we do know is that the goal posts have moved and right wing extremism is just is only slightly less extreme than it had been.

Let's call it the Neiwert Effect, in honor of the expert in how extreme rightwing memes get mainstreamed. Last week's racist anti-immigrant remarks seem downright moderate compared to re-casting Nazis as innocents when they were cold-blooded murderers. And since there were no consequences for him doing so, O'Reilly now has permission to be as publicly bigoted against Mexicans and Hispanics as Stephen Douglas was against African Americans.


Pat said...

Storm troopers kicking doors in the middle of the night doesn't seem near as frightening as the neighbor vs. neighbor thing that appears to be growing exponentially in this country. These right wing fruitcakes keep harping about family values while destoying all sense of community with their total intolerance of any original thought.
I see the classic Larry Flynt argument:
"Which is more obscene, war or masturbation?" These ignorant shits will pick masturbation every time.

Len Hart said...

Sadly and for all that talk about "love of freedom" the potential has always been with us. The "Alien and Sedition Acts" passed during the Adams administration were the first "Patriot Act" and were sold with the same fallacious rhetoric.

You are right: neighbor ratting on neighbor is a symptom of totalitarianism. The reign of Nero who succeeded Claudius must have been somthing like our own McCarthy era. Slander, Seneca was forced to live in exile but when he was allowed to return, he was accused of being part of a plot to murder Nero. Despite his assurances to Seneca, Nero ordered Seneca to commit suicide. There is an account of all this in Tacitus.

Some things never change and Bush exhibits many characteristics of Nero, Richard III, and Adolph Hitler.

Fuzzflash said...

Bit lonesome on the prarie today, pard, reckon some of the regulars are refining their fear and loathing in Las Vegas, or like me, transfixed by the largest terrestrial 4 yearly celebration of life's metaphor, the Wold Cup. By comparison,this dramatic ho-down makes the Olympics seem like Schmendricksville.
Mien hosts have served "The World" up quite a few surprises over the last century, however their prevailing passion for orderliness hamstrings their ability to be anything but robotically creative,this time around. I refer to the sort of thing that goes way beyond the concept that white men can't jump, for although Germany have a strong airial game and posses "a natural sense of rhythm that is born right in 'em", the modern footballing Valkyrie lacks what those uppity Brazillionaires call "ginga" and what Post-Detroit Americans of African heritage call Soul.
Great to see so many so-called third world nations made it to the big stage where over 3500 million people will watch the last 2, of 32 finalists play for Le Grand Prix. What an aching irony it is that the world can party with such panache every 4 years when we have the capacity to swap battlefield for field of dreams whenever we set our "ginga" free.

I wonder how many of our bretheren who are at Vegas this weekend will be shilling for the military industrial complex in 10 years time, joining the O'Reillys and Coulters and their lower rent imitators in an ongoing mediafest of abasement and venality, for which they are remunerated with the shiniest of the king's shillings? I can even remember the days when "Tumbledown Bob" Woodward had integrity. And oh what a blogger would Bobby have been.

Dante lee said...

Zarcaoui, bien sûr!

damien said...

Lunacy, just plain lunacy. I read the US is still doing 25 air strikes a day in Afghanistan with most of the inevitable victims being women and children. As Paul Craig Roberts says: "America is drowning in the shame of war crimes."

What is it going to take to wake up people to these atrocities committed under the fiction of bringing peace? Do we have to do the Cambodian bombing runs all over again? This is nuts.

Len Hart said...

fuzzflash, Americans will never grasp the global obsession with "football" which we insist upon calling "soccer". Real "football", in America, is what Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi coached.

But —I suspect we've missed out something when "football" was turned into bread and circuses. Players are gladiators. Football became fascist when it was corporatized and even baseball went down the steroid path. Even that last bastion of real "sport" in America is in the process of selling out —College football. There haven't been any real student players of the game for some time now. At some point they will just drop the pretense and these "grunts" won't be expected to get passing grades in Calculus, Physics, or Economics.

"Scholarship" is the term used in college "football"; "Huge Contract" is the term used in pro sports. If anyone hadn't noticed —America lost its innocence a long time ago. Welcome to Rome!

dante lee and damien: Indeed! With regard to Afghanistan, I wonder if rurikid's rule of of thumb might be extrapolated to include "losing a war" as correlating factor with the rise in atrocities.

Dante lee said...

Len Hart:
Watch and marvel at the sordid history of rightwing denial of the Malmedy atrocity, complete with genuinely ugly eruptions of American homegrown anti-semitism.

Len, aside our homegrown anti-semitism and other Japanese immigrant nightmares lived onto the American soil during WWII, you miss another very big point the "greatest generation" ommits to remember: Roosevelt himself passively embraced the apartheid style segregation within the military - and we'd had to wait for Truman to strike Jim Crow segregation from the military three years after the war.

The racism and other abuses encountered by black American soldiers by their white sergeants and other officers, not counting the hostility of the common people surrounding training bases would have probably shocked even our good old Buffalo Soldiers!

Fuzzflash said...

len, you observe, "—America lost its innocence a long time ago. Welcome to Rome!"
In the foreward to his masterwork,"American Tabloid", James Ellroy suggests that America never had any innocence from the get-go, that we popped our cherry in transit on the Mayflower.
And yes,I concur, "Americans will never grasp the global obsession with "football" which we insist upon calling "soccer". Real "football", in America, is what Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi coached."
I find this approach truly fascinating because it lies at the heart of the hegemonic mind set. Hints of this mind set are glimpsed in the triumphalism of some US sportsfolk in the moments following victory. The display of a severed opponent's head,as it were,rarely fosters ongoing good will. Also,brute physical strength is not an advantage in Futbol, as it is in Gridiron, therefore bulk up 'roids are redundant. Finesse counts for more than shock and awe. Money,per se, does not guarantee victory. Bruce Lee can whip King Kong. Players wear shin pads not body armour and the game flows for 90 minutes unencumbered by the "back after this break" imperatives of networkus interruptus. Poetry in motion as opposed to umpteen short set piece battle plans. To me, it's the difference between Bacon and The Bard, between O'Reilly and Stewart, between Coulter and Colbert, between an SUV and a solar powered vehicle.

As soon as Americans perceive futbol as "COOL", it will become bigger than ding-bats and yo-yos and possibly even sliced bread. Unfortunately, this may take some time.

Len Hart said...

Excellent take on the American gridiron. It was the triumphalism of the whole thing that began to turn me off early on...even though I may have had the makings of a good quarterback; I was quick, maneuverable, and could throw a neat spiral.

I had fewer problems with the game itself than with the attitude that festered around it —both players and spectators. George Carlin did a funny but accurate contrast with baseball. An example: "In football you strike deep in enemy territory to make a touchdown in the endzone! In just wanna go home. Football is played on a GRIDIRON; baseball is a park."

Now, alas, even baseball —that idyllic afternoon spent with peanuts and crackerjacks is now a teeth grinding excercise of fascism on steroids and other cheats.

American sport sucks and FOX is only partly to blame.

Fuzzflash said...

len, while gridiron triumphalism turned you off, I remember what turned Joe Namath,arguably the greatest running quarterback of all time, on.

Len Hart said...

Broadway Joe! He was a great one. But please don't tell me it was the panty hose. Please leave one the unsullied memory of a sport that was at one time —if not perfect —at least a helluva lot better than it is now : )

Fuzzflash said...

Nuh,not the nickers, the hay. Freaked middle America right out.