Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Salvador and the rake's progress

You have to wonder why the American government is using Newsweek to float its musings on the desirability of applying in Iraq the model of Reagan-era American support for death squads in El Salvador. The CIA/Pentagon/Mossad appears to be doing something like this already, and it seems odd, given the many objections that could be raised, both practical and moral, that we would be seeing the airing of this particular dirty laundry in public. Unfortunately, since September 11 Americans seem to have a limitless ability to tolerate and even endorse positions that would have been considered beyond the pale only a few years ago. The Bush Administration has successfully employed this method of gaining implicit public endorsement for extreme positions over and over again. Who would have thought that a demon like Gonzales would have even been considered to be American attorney general, let alone largely sail through his confirmation hearing? Every time something completely outrageous is revealed or proposed - attacking an unthreatening sovereign country based on obvious lies, 'shock and awe', torture at Abu Ghraib, cold-blooded murders by sadistic American troops - not only does this pass with muted criticism, but there is a loud and well-publicized group of Americans who actively rejoice in the evil that Americans do. This tolerance for evil is growing, and is exemplified by Daniel Pipes' suggestion that the United States establish a gulag for all its Muslim population (Pipes doesn't actually go quite that far, but his implication is completely clear). I doubt very much that Pipes is serious about this, but it forms part of the ongoing Zionist campaign to vilify all Muslims in the minds of Americans - if you need to consider concentration camps for them, Muslims must be bad, right? - so Israel can continue to steal Muslim lands. Those who oppose Muslim internment camps must be bleeding-heart liberals who support such quaint ideas as human rights, civil liberties, and the terms of the American Constitution. Pipes' article was published in the New York Sun, and I'm sure that historians could find a lot of similar articles advocating much the same thing in German newspapers of the 1930's. The unthinkable now has enough respectability in the United States to be published in the newspapers. Where will it all end? Each outrage forms the basis for the next. The Pentagon knows it can float its most extreme ideas without any fear of any real objection. It now has an implied endorsement for the proposed policy, which will no doubt come in useful when the predictable disastrous consequences come home to roost and Americans belatedly ask questions of those responsible.