If you believe they put a man on the moon
I hope the United States is ready for the stunning revelations in General Petraeus's upcoming report on the Iraq War.
Some have speculated that he'll merely offer a "stay the course" agenda, modulated by a few admissions of "challenges."
Nothing could be further from the truth. And if there's one thing that the Bush administration doesn't want to be, it's far from the truth.
And come next week, they're coming clean: there is no war in Iraq.
In the wake of 9/11 and the botched mission at Tora Bora, America needed a feel-good story, much as 1960s America needed the Apollo 11 fiction to salve the wounds of that tumultuous decade.
In what should be obvious by now, there never was a U.S. invasion of Iraq, at least not since Operation Desert Storm.
In the year following the World Trade Center attacks, America was in a serious funk, barely able to hit the malls and golf balls that make our economy the strongest in the world.
Americans were boringly united, which endangered our nation's massive capital investments in rightwing thinktanks.
Something had do be done — or made to appear so. And it was.
As Petraeus will explain next week, American journalists weren't embedded with our troops. Actors dressed as troops were embedded on green-screen sets at Fox News, CNN, and msnbc.
Seen though the prism of truth, it all seems so obvious now:
- Of course America's skilled and savvy journalists wouldn't have found the "evidence" in Colin Powell's speech compelling. But they did their patriotic duty by pretending those sketchy claims amounted to a casus belli. Does anyone honestly believe we'd start killing Iraqis and putting our troops in harm's way over baseless speculation about metal sheds and vials of imaginary anthrax? If you believe that, I've got some unpostmarked Florida absentee ballots I could sell you.
- Would the Commander-in-Chief really send only a fraction of the several hundred thousand troops General Shinseki said were required? Puh-leese! But how many troops can you keep holed up at General Cinemas, Tower Records stores, and other facilities purported to have gone out of business in order to help the country spin its way back to health?
- Wouldn't we see footage of caskets loaded onto planes and hear body counts of Iraqi civilians?
- Wouldn't we have a draft and war-bond drives?
- Wouldn't we be mobilizing our manufacturing resources to build armored vehicles, and running Congressional commissions to ensure no one was profiteering?
- Wouldn't the young Republicans who cheerled this war be lined up at recruiting offices, ready to answer "the call of this generation"?
- Would we really let Walter Reed fall into disrepair if America's bravest were coming home wounded?
- Would there really be tax cuts for the wealthiest in a time of war?
- Wouldn't there be at least one call to sacrifice something? Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Think McFly, think!
- Would we really nullify the writ of habeas corpus, a foundation of freedom since the 12th century? Not in this country, we wouldn't! And ditto for the Fourth Amendment.
- Would the Greatest Nation on Earth really flaunt international opinion and even the Geneva Conventions? What a hoot!
- Wouldn't the Democrats who were elected expressly to stop the war, actually — oh, I don't know — stop the war? C'mon, get serious, folks! Of course they would!
- And finally, knuckleheads, wouldn't we have found those WMDs? You didn't have to play this thing backwards to hear the clues, y'know.
The only problem was, this ploy was too successful.
Sure, the "war" hasn't cost much, but it does take a few bucks to maintain so large a fiction.
And lest our children and children's children bear a burden of deficit spending — anathema to the fiscally prudent GOP — it was necessary to start ratcheting down expectations, to help Americans get used to the idea of life without an urgent military conflict to galvanize them into civic action the way this five-year fable has done so profoundly.
With this in mind, our nation's top PR wizards fabricated tales of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, coined phrases like "IEDs," and staged the brutal hanging of Saddam Hussein.
Fear not: Saddam Hussein is alive and well, and Donald Rumsfeld was never fired. They're busily arranging more chemical weapons deals, while other former Nixon, Ford, and Reagan officials are continuing their lavish support of the Mujahideen, and otherwise stabilizing the Middle East. Same as it ever was, and happy ever after.
And for goodness sake, don't believe it when they tell you we're bombing Iran. Fool me once...