“Say a thing but say it slant.” -- Emily Dickensen
got something to say, Henry, for God’s sake spit it out!” William James to
his literary brother (perhaps apocryphal)
scheme was quite clever (bwa-ha-ha) in that the 9/11 operation produced
massive cognitive dissonance—an irresolvable contradiction between two
self-evident, unquestionable truths:
1) Top US
officials would never do something so awful; and
Overwhelming evidence shows that they did do it.”
Truth Jihad: My Epic
Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie
* * *
I May Have
William Rivers Pitt
r u t h o u t | Columnist
19 September 2007
round in a ring and suppose,
Secret sits in the middle and knows.
Frost, "The Secret Sits"
It is a
legitimately demented phenomenon, all the more so because it all started
with a joke. Not even a funny joke, either, but a sad and threadbare thing I
told only to myself, and no one else. When the clustered elements of our
collective national burden erupted in masterfully synchronized bedlam, as
they so often seem to, I had that joke to tell myself, and it may not have
helped much, but it was there.
Every time another cacophony of freshly minted lunacy was unleashed - lunacy
regarding Iraq, the NSA domestic surveillance program, White House defiance
of subpoenas, timorously flaccid performances by the Congressional majority,
or merely when enduring the repeated "nukyalur"-ized butchery of public
political rhetoric was required by my employers, all of which emphatically
pegged the needle on my Pandemoni-O-Meter - I had that joke to tell myself.
The joke is spherically terrible, i.e. bad in every possible direction in
three dimensions and across 360 rounded degrees. It isn't even a joke,
really, which may be why it went so abruptly and bewilderingly sideways on
me months ago. The joke, to be embarrassingly honest, is more like some
half-bright mantra than anything else. As I came to discover, however, it
managed to settle my mind when the needle was in the red. Perhaps the thing
is best described as my self-generated Zen koan; though it did not actually
stop my mind in proper koan fashion, it kept me from putting my head through
the wall, and that made it valuable indeed.
The joke: people say Bush and his people want to raze the core nature of the
country itself by wrecking the Constitution, and they're correct. People say
Bush and his people are enriching their friends beyond dreams of avarice at
our actual expense, by way of war-inflated oil prices; war-captured Iraqi
oil infrastructure; the orgiastic plunder of Treasury money through
calamitously unsound tax cuts for Bush's pals; and through an Iraq war
profiteering scam so unutterably corrupt that it bends the very light. That,
and more besides, is what people say, and they're correct.
that, along with everything else the Bush crew has done, just isn't enough
for them. What Bush and his people really seek, at bottom, is to destroy the
basic definition and literal existence of reality itself. They want to
destroy reality, rebuild it according to their own blueprint, so the sum and
substance of this new reality will accept as axiomatic the idea that lying,
stealing and wholesale carnage are badges of integrity and moral clarity. In
other words, our comprehensively understood reality today would be replaced
by whatever madcap anti-reality currently exists within the walls of 1600
I warned you.
As bad as that chaotically crossbred joke/rant/mantra thing is, it wasn't
meant to be anything other than a harmless sliver of wordplay, something
that settled my nerves and gave me a private little chuckle - that alone,
and nothing more.
Things are different now. It isn't a joke anymore, at least not to me. The
premise that the Bush administration has literally been trying to shatter
elemental reality on planet Earth has steadily gained traction in my mind.
It started as that sort-of joke, then it became an idea, and then it became
an actual hypothesis, a working theory requiring research and evidence and
argument so that, someday, I can prove it to be an unassailable bone-basic
And yes, the fact that I'm quite serious about this has me quietly yet
legitimately concerned for my own mental health. What worries me the most,
however, is a freshly minted suspicion that it is already over, that the
deal already went down, but almost nobody actually noticed when it happened.
I think these Bush folks may have successfully pulled it off right in front
of our noses over the course of this past August. I think they may have
actually broken reality, cobbling together a chaotic replacement, and I
think I can back up that supposition all the way down the block and back
Bear with me.
The process began in earnest more than a year ago with a publicity campaign
that deliberately made no sense whatsoever. Day after day, statements and
declarations came from all manner of White House officials that were little
more than bags of over-the-moon nonsense - all patently inaccurate to nine
decimals, yet spoken shamelessly into cameras with bare faces hanging out.
With this, the Bush folks laid the mental foundation of the new reality to
come; that foundation had to transmute lies into facts while still stuck in
the old reality, but they had an edge that may have proven decisive: trust.
If the American people hear the White House repeatedly claim that water is
not wet and Godzilla is real, many of those Americans will believe it after
The rumored totality of America's cynical scorn for politics and leaders
notwithstanding, this country has many citizens who still believe, even
after what has happened, that if the president of the United States says it,
then it must be true. This isn't a conscious thing; it happens way back in
the slushy part of the brain, where unpleasant facts or disquieting fears
are submerged and drowned like rats in an applesauce vat. Bush and his crew
counted on that, using TV news messaging to furrow the field in preparation
for seeding time, and their trust in the trust of Americans was shown to be
When the serious push came, it came fast and furious. Dick Cheney declared
that the Vice President's office no longer existed within the Executive
branch because he didn't want to give any of his documents to the National
Archives as is required by law, and actually went on to defend the
legitimacy of his astonishing, arrogant, galactically mistaken declaration,
and he got away with it.
Bush's lawyers put forth a claim of Executive Privilege that was the very
living essence of overheated hubris run amok - a claim that for all intents
and purposes declared Bush and his people to be fully and completely above
the rule of law, and he got away with it. Subpoenas issued by Congress were
either utterly ignored or smugly slapped aside, and the lawyers got away
Another piece of draconian surveillance legislation aimed at shattering our
remaining rights arrived in Congress, so the Bush folks brazenly bullied the
majority into passing it by threatening to blame them for the next terrorist
attack to come, whereupon the majority instantly wilted like orchids in a
snowbank, the bill passed with room to spare, and once again they got away
Cheney's chief of staff was convicted for lying about lying about lying
about outing a deep-cover CIA agent and sentenced to federal prison,
initiating the single most observably crooked bag-job in modern political
history: Libby took the bullet for his boss, got rewarded for his service
with a presidential get-out-of-jail-free card, and they all got away with
All of this was deployed in rapid succession, presenting the American people
with a sudden feast of gibberish that has redefined incoherence across the
board: the VP is not in the executive branch, and the executive branch is
above the law, and the majority in Congress is actually the minority, and
obstructing justice to protect Cheney from being prosecuted for annihilating
a CIA operative isn't anything to get in a snit about. If that is not prima
facie evidence that a new reality has been imposed upon us, then I don't
know what is.
After all that came August, and if I'm right, the process was brought to a
successful conclusion. In a way, this was the greatest challenge for Bush
and his people, because they all had to argue time and again that Iraq was
doing fine, that the whole thing was about freedom, that there was no civil
war, that the "surge" worked, that the American people truly supported the
whole bloody carnivorous process, and be damned with poll numbers and
pundits and contradictory facts. General Petraeus was rolled out on cue, he
hummed his bars and faked it at the same time, and as far as the mainstream
press was concerned, the White House won the argument and that's that.
Think about it. The weapons of mass destruction were not there, connections
to 9/11 and Osama bin Laden were not there, the hearts and flowers were not
there, thousands upon thousands have been killed, billions upon billions of
taxpayer dollars have been translated into the bank accounts of
administration allies, a civil war is raging beyond any semblance of control
there, Iraq's much-ballyhooed democracy is almost as chaotic as the streets
outside Parliament, and the entire disaster has become a Quantico training
ground for scores of bomb-makers looking to ply their trade in the wider
And they got away with it. If that is reality, I want no part of it.
It must be clearly understood, however, that I do not discount the very real
possibility that I have, finally and for all time, gone insane because of
all this. My theory is not proven beyond doubt; my suspicions grow stronger
by the hour, but I could simply be this barking madman no longer able to
recognize reality even when it is staring me in the eye. I'm pretty sure of
my footing, but the truth is that if I did go over the high side somewhere
along the line, I'd be the last person to figure that out.
Therefore, I'm going to wrap myself in the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, if
only to replace what once was my comforting little joke before the
metamorphosis flipped everything upside down on me. "The test of a
first-rate intelligence," said Fitzgerald, "is the ability to hold two
opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to
I make no claim to any sort of first-rate intelligence, but I'm going to try
to hold these two thoughts in my mind for as long as possible. One thought
says reality itself has been detonated with calculated premeditation by Bush
and his people. The other thought remembers what it was like before anything
like the first thought was even remotely conceived of. Each thought, I
think, will nurture and protect the other once the three of us are all
settled in, and I will continue to retain the ability to function.
Meh. Reality is overrated anyway.
William Rivers Pitt is a
New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War
on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The
Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House
of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation,"
is now available from PoliPointPress.
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