December 29, 2003

Nightmare Vision

Lately it seems
everyone is having them dreams

As I drove across New England en route to Brattleboro, Vermont, a thought flashed across the screen of my mind as I stared unseeing at the white lines slipping by. It was a vision of a scenario, a nightmare horror scenario that would normally be in the category of things called "unthinkable," but unfortunately is not at this time implausible. The scenario unfolds upon the consideration of a single premise. And oddly, a perfect summary of the premise was stated to me when I reached Brattleboro and stopped into one of several bookstores there.

The thought that bubbled up in my mind from some primordial pool of pre-verbal impulses was essentially this:

Imagine for a moment that a group was absolutely relentless in its pursuit of power and was unrestrained when it came to seeking power and holding it. What if a group was totally dedicated to power as its ultimate goal, and all other values were secondary? What if such a group sought to gain control of the U.S. government, the seat of the greatest economic, military and political power in the world, and it would stop at nothing to achieve its goal?

And what if, having taken control of the U.S. government, its plan would would be to then parlay that power to military, economic and political domination of the world?

The essential principle of maintaining its control, once it had in its hands the most powerful government in the world, would be to apply maximum force -- to use its ace -- in every confrontation. If anyone ever challenged it, it would use whatever power was necessary to remove the obstacle. It would accomplish its end efficiently and coldly, and every step of the way it would make a great show of force in every theater of action in order to inhibit any impulse toward resistance.

We in America have already seen our electoral processes blatantly pushed aside and nullified in order to install a president who was not elected. Under the illegal administration, we have seen flagrant disregard of every law, every promise, every traditional custom of American politics that ever stood in the way of the Bush cabal achieving whatever objective it sought.

We saw our national defenses perverted so that no defense was mounted at all to save New York and Washington D.C. from planes that had been known for hours to be hijacked. Then the reserve defenses of the country, people who were wooed into the service with glamorous ads that bragged about the "part-time commitment" that would "pay for your college education or train you for a career", were swept out of their lives and sent to Iraq to invade and occupy the country on false pretenses -- based on an out-and-out lie clearly designed to create fear and hysteria.

And they act as if they can get away with anything they want, no matter how flagrant a violation of international or domestic law, or human decency. No one will take action and everyone will eventually forget. They will have so many fresh wounds to nurse, they will have to forget the old ones.

So just imagine for a moment that the group that has done the things we have seen, was absolutely uninhibited by any moral consideration that obstructed its primary objectives, and the limits of what it would do were exactly what was required to maintain and build its hold on power, no more and not a bit less.

If the fear induced by the terror of 911 was no longer sufficient to keep the rabble in a docile mood, and the orange and red alerts were no longer having the desired effect, would this group hesitate to, say, nuke New York City to make its point?

If someone like Howard Dean -- who appears to be the person who has come forward to claim leadership of the vast hordes of those disenchanted by the Bush administration -- became successful enough to constitute a real threat to the regime's power, would it hesitate to wipe him out by any means necessary? Would he get better treatment than Bobby Kennedy, for example? Or Martin Luther King? If they cannot stop him with a character assassination/smear, like what destroyed the candidacies of Muske, Dukakis, or Gary Hart, and crippled the presidency of Bill Clinton, would they have too many gentlemanly inhibitions to take whatever step was necessary to arrange a plane crash, or to have some deranged loner take a shot at him?

After witnessing the non-electoral seizure of power in 2000, followed by the failure to defend against the 911 attacks, and then the use of the attacks for justification of a pre-emptive attack on another country that cannot in any way be implicated in 911, and having seen all the political violence in America in the last 40 years, I'm afraid the above scenario is not at all implausible to me. In fact I think it is time for Americans to move it from the category of "unthinkable" to "thinkable".

When I got to Brattleboro, I went into a used bookstore and after picking up a couple of treasures I found there, I got into a conversation with the owners of the store. The talk turned soon to politics and we found ourselves holding almost precisely the same view about the Bush administration. And at one point one of them stated simply the one principle that makes the hideous scenario above worthy of consideration.

"I believe these people will stop at nothing to hold on to power," he said. And that is it. Nothing in their past behavior gives us any reason to believe they will ever be restrained by moral considerations or matters of propriety. We don't know what their limits are, and I dare say they don't either. I think they are resolved to do whatever is necessary to achieve their objectives, to create and maintain this New World Order. We have to hope that they have some basic moral limits, that their resolve would break, or there would be a breaking in the ranks, before they would nuke New York or put out a hit on an opponent.

But in their actual behavior there is little to suggest where their moral limits lie, if they have any.

The story of the Nazis is a story of a group that played the power game relentlessly and put the pursuit of power beyond any moral restraint. It's not unlikely that the current exercise of relentless power-seeking will bring itself down eventually by its own corruption and depravity, similarly to how the Nazis finally overextended their power and the capacity to distort human values and stretch the limits of human tolerance of brutality.

So -- not a very happy New Years thought, but better to consider dreadful possibilities than to be hit with them as realities without ever having considered them.

Many would say the idea is far-fetched, just some expression of hysteria or paranoia. I hope they are right.

Back to Home Page