Saturday, September 29, 2007

They Love War The Way We Love Flowers And Trees And Small Children

War is cruel to the people who love it. Do you remember being in love after the other person has fallen out of love? It's not just a teenage thing.

Neo-Conservatives love War that way. Even after it's gone bad, they love it. They think about what might have been, if only...

They miss War when they can't spend time with it. If it went away they'd want to die. But they can't die because they don't actually fight wars, they only start them and think about them.

They think about War obsessively, wondering what they did that made the war go the way it's gone, but usually persuading themselves that it wasn't anything THEY did, it was somebody else who screwed it up. It wasn't their own lack of forethought, or their incompetence, or their weird belief that everybody thinks exactly the way they do that made such a mess of things. It wasn't the lives they destroyed or the fact that they enriched themselves. No, the fault belongs elsewhere. They were tricked or betrayed. They love War, so War must love them back. So why is it treating them this way?

It's always someone else's fault. If people had only listened to them. And if people did listen, and people actually did follow their instructions, and it still went terribly wrong, well, other people must have been incompetent. Or there were spies and traitors who made it go wrong. Other people didn't believe hard enough. This perfect war was meant to be. And no one should ever have messed it up. And anyway it wasn't their fault.

So, if God was on their side, and they were brilliant and correct and did everything right, what happened? God isn't telling them they're idiots, God is only testing them. That's it.

People who love War are not like you and me. They live in a kind of fairyland, a parallel world where they are wise and competent (and get to wear cool military jackets and boots and hang around with generals mostly, not enlisted men and women) and everybody agrees with them, at least everyone who counts. They hate the real world, where people refuse to believe what they do or follow their orders. Things don't go like that in the military. (Don't bother reminding them that they avoided joining the military when they had the chance.) The real world isn't a nice neat obedient place because other people are stubborn and won't do as they're told.

So why did we invent video games? Why aren't these people living in their parents' basement playing video games? They prefer make believe. Why were they allowed to run our country for six years and make such a mess of it?

The sad part is, now that we've got the controls back, all the blame belongs to us. "If you break it, the next guy gets to buy it."

This is part two of the lovely Neo Con delusion, the "con" part: they made the mess, but we have to clean it up. And while we're cleaning it up, and paying the costs, and apologizing for the damage, and burying the dead, the Neo Con believers will be inventing the legend, about how they were just about to snatch victory from near defeat, brilliantly and bravely, by remote control, if only the stupid Liberals hadn't taken their powers away.

And they will take this fairy tale around to all the VFW posts and war widow support groups and tell it to the people who lost limbs and loved ones. They'll tell it with one hand on the flag. But the ones they'll visit the most are the suppliers of military hardware, who will pay their new salaries, and pay to have their fairy tale published and sold.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Old Katherine Kersten Column Shows Striking Similarities To A Recent One

(This very early column, written by Katherine Kersten in 1772, was found in the pre-Revolutionary War archives of the Boston Gazette and Marblehead Advertiser. Reading it alongside one of her more recent columns shows that her familiar rhetorical style––reliably authoritarian and loyal to her Royal masters––developed very early in her career. To characterize it as "Take No Prisoners" would not be inapt. "Take Lots Of Prisoners" is more on point, and one might worry about what kind of treatment those prisoners should expect.)


A phalanx of Boston lawyers is laying the groundwork for what may become the legal equivalent of the Scottish Rebellion.

A campaign is underway to ensure that protesters at the benevolent visit of the brave and dignified King’s Own Dragoons-- to be held here in 1773 to coincide with the annual Tea Tax Conference-- will get a warm Massachusetts welcome.
The Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is leading the charge. It's lobbying Boston city fathers (with their known rebel sympathies) and His Royal Majesty’s representatives (as if!) to smooth the way for tea permits and considering nuisance lawsuits if necessary, while trying to arrange for unwashed demonstrators to protest as close to Dragoon parade routes as possible.

Civil Liberties Union staff members are contacting an array of local groups (including The Sons Of Liberty) offering to represent them if they demonstrate and making sure that they "know their rights," according to Charles Samuelson Esq., the organization's director.

The Civil Liberties Union is recruiting lawyers -- many from white wig law firms -- to lend their clout to this many-pronged effort. They've been dubbed the "silver buckle brigade." When His Royal Majesty’s Royal Dragoons arrive, Samuelson hopes to have 300 lawyers on call -- in large part to defend any hooligans who are arrested.

"We're not experts on protest demonstrations," William Pentolovich of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand told the Boston Gazette and Marblehead Advertiser.

"Some of the best trial lawyers" are "sitting in this room," Pentolovich added.

"We're experts on civil litigation in the Boston area. We know this town, and we know the judges."
Typical lawyerly modesty, this.

The silver buckle brigade may see lots of action. At the 1762 unpleasantness in Dublin, constables arrested more than 1,800 people, though a smaller crowd of protesters is expected here next year.

The Civil Liberties Union's volunteer lawyers will go to bat for any rebellious scoundrel arrested, whether it occurs at a tea party or some so-called “Massacre,” regardless of conduct or offense, says Samuelson.

What sort of rascals are likely to benefit from these legal eagles' skills? Earnest grandmas who wave signs outside the Governor’s Palace aren't likely to get in trouble with the police. Arrestees will probably disproportionately be anarchists, tea-drinkers, people dressed up like Red Indians and other self-proclaimed rabble-rousers who are eager to flout the law.
One such group is The Sons Of Liberty, an "emerging network" whose national membership advocates "militant direct action." At a recent planning conference, members listed goals to "shut down" Boston harbor, and "to deter [other] cities from wanting to impose unfair taxes on imported tea in the future," according to an anarchist broadsheet.

The Sons Of Liberty laud the strategy of an organization that helped create havoc at World Slavery Conference protests in Bristol in 1751, another broadsheet says. In Bristol, according to published accounts, a relatively small group of activists fired flintlock muskets from concealment behind rock walls and trees to provoke violent confrontations with the King’s troops. Thousands of pounds in property damage and numerous injuries resulted.

According to The Sons Of Liberty, the British troops “occupying” the city of Boston have "strategic vulnerabilities unique to any unwelcome intrusion of recent years." The group is considering blockading traffic in narrow streets, on Boston Neck and at key intersections and conducting other kinds of civil disobedience.

This weekend, the so-called Redcoats Welcoming Committee, a local anarchist group, is hosting activists from across the country -- including The Sons Of Liberty -- to strategize. The committee has urged people to march through Boston to "gather information, take measurements, check horse troughs, etc." At a news conference on Monday, the group showed a printed cartoon featuring figures dressed up as Red Indians and hinting at violence. "There exists no 'peaceful' option," it said in a news release.

Samuelson says that protesters have no "license to riot." But he expressed little concern about anarchist threats, and said that serious problems -- if they occur -- are likely to arise spontaneously.

But the threat is real, as Dublin's harrowing experience makes clear. Anarchists apparently planned similar mayhem at the 1771 Royal Visit to Wimbledon, but were largely deterred by careful police planning and a massive show of force.

In a Times Of London article this year, Judith Miller, a former New York Times reporter and confidante of His Gracious Majesty’s Spymaster, described some of the anarchists' plans after reviewing confidential police documents (which authorities were kind enough to share with her in exchange for her oath of loyalty.) They ranged, she said, from mounting a "Day of Chaos" at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, to closing down the Royal Croquet Tournament at Wimbledon, disabling lords’ and ladies' carriages and vandalizing tea tents.

Anarchists have vowed to learn from their Dublin experience. Next year, we Bostonians may discover exactly what they've learned.

For a critical mass of protesters at the 1775 Tea Tax Conference, the goal will not be to exercise their free speech rights, but to obstruct the rights of others to enjoy tea our Royal Masters have been kind enough to import for us, at reasonable charges.

Apparently, these rascals may be represented free of charge by some of the colony’s top legal talent. Way to go, guys.