Five years ago, while we were dumbfounded and distracted by Mr. Bush putting on a costume and posing and bragging on a floating stage, Seymour Hersh put before us what was perhaps the most important story the American people have ever missed: that the intelligence that brought the United States into Iraq had been supplied via consciously duplicitous machinations within the new Office of Special Plans, under Paul Wolfowitz and Abram Shulsky, both former students at the University of Chicago of the political philosopher Leo Strauss, the Father of Neoconservatism.
In his New Yorker article "Selective Intelligence", posted online that first week in May 2003, Hersh revealed to us that many of the political appointees within the Defense Department were guided by Strauss’s underlying principle that "deception is the norm in political life":
"Robert Pippin, the chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at Chicago and a critic of Strauss, told me, 'Strauss believed that good statesmen have powers of judgment and must rely on an inner circle. The person who whispers in the ear of the King is more important than the King. If you have that talent, what you do or say in public cannot be held accountable in the same way.' Another Strauss critic, Stephen Holmes, a law professor at New York University, put the Straussians’ position this way: 'They believe that your enemy is deceiving you, and you have to pretend to agree, but secretly you follow your own views.' Holmes added, 'The whole story is complicated by Strauss’s idea—actually Plato’s—that philosophers need to tell noble lies not only to the people at large but also to powerful politicians.'"
Did you catch that? "NOBLE LIES".
Because we can't handle the truth -- or they can't handle us knowing the truth.
Strauss, uncomfortable with people, believed it was necessary for the elite group of statesmen to maintain their leadership and control the masses.
And he taught that the greatest tool for control is FEAR. He also taught a simple, specific structure for that Fear.
First, there must be an Enemy - an Enemy that's big, and Enemy that's getting bigger and more dangerous -- in fact, the best is an Enemy that presents a build up to the great battle between Good and Evil.
Then, the people must be guided into structures that provide identity and rules of behavior, as well as insure obedience and loyalty: RELIGION and PATRIOTISM.
With those tools, the people are too busy wallowing in paranoia, self-righteousness, and the bipolar condition of outer arrogance and inner doubt, to ever see clearly what is actually happening in their world.
When there is also a media working with the same influences, owned by fewer and fewer entities, all fighting for greater audience share, ownership and power, then the leaders can proceed to further entrench their long-term dominance, both at home and abroad.
Which leads full-circle back to May Day 2003, when Americans took the bait, and celebrated the "Mission Accomplished". We just didn’t understand at the time that the Mission that was accomplished was not ending the threatening power of Saddam Hussein. It was getting us to swallow that bait: that we were the very good guys going after the very bad guys and saving the world -- in the name of God and Country.
When in fact, we were just the foolish puppets of arrogant and greedy liars.
Now, in 2008, we bear the consequences -- with polluted imports, wasteful contractors, impossible debt, lost jobs and homes, shameful dishonor, and a future of yet more kharma to come.
While the written word, carefully explaining in depth the truth that should have made us rise up and stop these Masters of Greed and Destruction, remains quietly shelved in Archives.
Now that you know, we know, I know, we have a responsibility to pay attention.
We must study recent history, acknowledge mistakes, demand accountability, and respond strongly to the newest Ignoble lies - that Iran is a threat, that the primaries are going smoothly and our votes are counted, and that we will soon be rid of Mr. Bush and his ilk--
Listen, read, and talk about it – with any and every one, every day. Because it matters.
Then we May live to celebrate a better May Day.
Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, 05/03/07.