I caught a passing reference yesterday on one of the news nets to a U.S. aircraft carrier called the Abraham Lincoln, and I decided right away that it was the best name for one of those devil ships that I'd ever heard. In fact, the very first World War I warship crudely retrofitted as a primitive carrier should have borne that man's name. If our poor country had somehow been spared Lincoln and his children, it's a good bet that we and the rest of the world would have been spared aircraft carriers, too. For what are they but weapons of empire?
It's curious that, minutes after seeing that reminder of Lincoln and his imperial legacy, I should have come across news of a gross and hitherto-unreported atrocity committed by Lincoln's children. That news, I encountered not via the telescreen but on the Net, in the form of electronic samizdat. I'll get to it presently but first a few words about America's Great Satan.
It was Lincoln who first waged a protracted Total War on American civilians of non-Indian descent. It was he who sent the vandal-generals Sheridan and Sherman to conduct scorched-earth campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley and the Southern seaboard states. And it was he who sent "Red-leg" political soldiers the SS or Spetznaz of 19th-century America to forcibly evacuate whole counties of Missouri and murder those who resisted. Employing censorship, illegal arrests, military despotism, and outright terrorism, Lincoln inflicted a fatal blow upon the old Republic. In so doing, he secured the continental Empire and laid down the necessary foundation of foreign Empire.
When he took time out from wisecracking with his cronies, the man displayed, or affected, a weary mournfulness and regret about Northern casualties that his propagandists exploited for the next 140 years in painting and repainting their blasphemous and obscene portrait of Lincoln as the American Christ. Lincoln himself practiced the same kind of strategic inversion of truth, and he did it four score and five years before George Orwell wrote about it. At Gettysburg in November 1863, Lincoln redefined self-government and the self-determination of peoples as the denial of self-government and self-determination, all in the interest of the imperial Union. He looked forward to forcibly returning a people to the rule of a government they had rejected, and with an audacity probably unprecedented among American politicians, he declared that to be a government "of the people"!
A reversal of truth that bold, that drastic ripped out of the fabric of reality that completely is more than a mere lie, and it does more than merely mislead a thinker. It destroys thought among the ordinary people who accept it, and it liberates the bestial Will to Power among those who would make themselves into human wolves. As the revisionist historian William Appleman Williams has suggested, Lincoln in effect replaced the ordinary understanding of popular self-determination with an occult, mystical, inexplicable, irreducible monad: that of the holy Union, unlimited in time, space, and power.
The destruction of the ordinary meaning of words and their replacement with irreducible, unanalyzable slogans is a necessary step toward achieving what I have called the death of the moral imagination. It leads to an entire mental universe of strategic reversals, one where war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. And, naturally, where evil is good.
Once Lincoln had established the precedent of making Total War on American civilians people who he insisted were still U.S. citizens at the time no one should have been surprised when Lincoln's children began making Total War on foreign civilians. And, in fact, as the American moral imagination sickened and died, few Americans evinced any surprise. Or outrage.
There's no reason, nowadays, for any of Lincoln's children to pose as the Man of Sorrows. They report their crimes in dry, bureaucratic reports without pretending to agonize over any moral implications. And few outside the regime even take notice of the reports. I suppose that is why one of the grossest atrocities of the Permanent Gulf War has continued for nine years while remaining invisible, or virtually so, to the established media. I suppose it is why I've seen mention of it, so far, only in a story from an obscure Scottish paper, the Sunday Herald. I am going to go out on what looks like a very short, thick, sturdy limb and assume the critical details of the story are true.
Here is the gist of the horror, according to Sunday Herald reporter Felicity Arbuthnot:
The U.S.-led allied forces deliberately destroyed Iraq's water supply during the Gulf War flagrantly breaking the Geneva Convention and causing thousands of civilian deaths.
Since the war ended in 1991 the allied nations have made sure that any attempts to make contaminated water safe have been thwarted. ("Allies deliberately poisoned Iraq public water supply in Gulf War," September 17)
According to Arbuthnot, Dr. Thomas J. Nagy, professor of expert systems at George Washington University, has gotten hold of a "minutely detailed seven-page document prepared by the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency, issued the day after the war started," describing the elaborate lengths the Iraqi regime had gone to in order to provide residents of the arid country with a pure water supply. If the allied air forces were able to accomplish what the report euphemistically called "full degradation" of the Iraqi water treatment system, "increased incidents, if not epidemics, of disease" could result, and "certain pure-water dependent industries" could be incapacitated. That was not meant to warn military planners, of course, but to alert them to a fine opportunity to sow destruction and misery among an entire civilian population.
And so it came to pass. The Empire's glorious hero-aviators wrecked eight dams and destroyed four out of seven major pumping stations. Sewage flooded into the Tigris and according to Prof. Nagy, "For many weeks people in Baghdad without television, radio, or newspapers to warn them brought their drinking water from the Tigris, in buckets," with predictably sickening results.
Arbuthnot says that water-borne diseases are now both epidemic and endemic in Iraq, including "typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, cholera, and polio (which had previously been eradicated), along with a litany of others." She says that Dr. David Levenson, who visited Iraq on behalf of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, estimates that "many thousands" have succumbed to drinking polluted water. The Iraqis say that includes thousands of children, and, for what it is worth, UNICEF doesn't dispute their claim.
Criminal responsibility for the initial attacks lies with the Bush regime, of course. But the Clinton regime succeeded it in 1993 and, according to Arbuthnot, for the past seven years has conscientiously promoted "holds" on water and sanitation contracts under the UN sanctions system, ensuring that the death toll would continue to mount.
During the Middle Ages, one of the worst libels perpetrated against the Jewish people was the one accusing them of poisoning the water supply of their non-Jewish neighbors. What a terrible irony it is that the Clintonista diplomatic hierarchy, overwhelmingly Jewish, has sponsored and promoted seven years of well-poisoning against one of Israel's neighbors in the Mideast! When one reflects as well that the Gulf War was fought, in part, at the behest of Israel, one might venture to predict that the mass poisoning of Iraq's water will not reduce anti-Jewish sentiment among Muslims. One might even say that this type of thing is to anti-Semitism what the current proliferation of drag queens is to "homophobia."
The water-poisoning will not reduce Muslims' anti-Americanism, either. There is plenty of blame to go around plenty that attaches to both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the U.S. political and military classes and their masters in the ruling class. Bush of Arabia and his advisers and ministers conducted the initial bombing, and they were mostly of Old American heritage. If anyone is seeking a perfect example of the "bipartisan foreign policy" that Establishment drones are always advocating, he need look no further than the U.S. Empire's permanent war against the Iraqi people.
I can only hope Muslim opponents of the Empire understand that we ordinary Americans are just another of the Empire's captive peoples. Unfortunately, however, terrorist attacks against American civilians suggest that many Muslims take the Establishment's loud bleatings about American democracy all too seriously.
In the freedom community there are those who, while hardly fans of Bush the Lesser, can't help wishing him well in his contest against the vice emperor. I myself have always feared Al Gore more than George W. Bush. But it is good to refresh one's perspective from time to time. I will try to do that now by asking: How likely is it that either man will make the deliberate mass poisoning of Iraq's men, women, and children an issue in the upcoming presidential debates?
The fact that a debate about the Empire's war crimes is quite impossible and that neither man regards them as crimes at all affords us an educational context for the haggling we will have to endure over their busy little plans to save Social Security or advance the nationalization of education. Whenever George W. Bush promises he'll "leave no child behind," we will keep in mind the Iraqi children his father left behind and his own support for the genocidal policies that continue to leave them behind to sicken and die.
Remembering the atrocities that both men agree on and are happy to endorse in the spirit of bipartisanship should help us remember that both are Lincoln's children morally dead men living comfortably in the hideous charnel house that Lincoln built.
September 30, 2000
What do you think of Strakon's analysis? If you'd like to see your brief comments posted on the site, please respond here.
All comments will be subject to the usual editing, and we will be looking for those that are the most thought-provoking, pro or con.
Return to the "Strakon Lights Up" table of contents.