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Of Disconnect and Fantasyland

Of Disconnect and Fantasyland

By Manuel Valenzuela

Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in mid October (for real this time) of 2004. A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in late Fall of 2004. His articles appear weekly on where he is also contributing editor. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at

Imagine my surprise, having returned from a research and exploratory sojourn through the mesmerizing beauty of the lands, coasts and peoples of Mexico where the spirit re-energized, mind meditated and appreciation for humanity returned, all of which enabled me to escape, at least for a small respite, from the madness of a troubled world, to see that Iraq had almost overnight been transformed into a nation on the verge of a Renaissance, becoming a new beacon of democracy and security, morphing into an unyielding success, an illuminated positive road devoid of reality. A heap of garbage had suddenly become a Kandinsky, a masterpiece in waiting whose canvas Bush had transformed into a work of art with each new brushstroke of his formula for nation building and democracy creating.

As if dark skies pregnant with ominous chaos and certain defeat had suddenly parted and dissipated from the lands of Eden, giving rise to splendorous warmth and radiant success, Iraq was, in the eyes of the Bush administration, their sock puppet Ayad Allawi and almost half the American population, a nation no longer in the grip of utter decay or certain devastation. As if on cue, the plague introduced by Bush into Iraq disappeared in a blink of an eye, no doubt an act of divine intervention brought on by Bush’s Almighty Father. Iraq, it seemed, was once more on the right track, even as carnage hovered above and devastation prospered below.

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Simply because Bush wished it so, Iraq became, in the minds of 40 percent of American citizens, an endeavor worth staying the course over, a noble undertaking worth thousands of American casualties, tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and over 200 billion dollars of America’s treasure. Chaos suddenly became success, a quagmire was now the road to democracy, a debacle morphed into progress and turbulent sandstorms of bullets and the riled hornet’s nest in Iraq were made tranquil through the power of positive spin and delusional manipulation.

Because Bush and his malevolent brain Karl Rove wished it, 40 percent of Americans were ready, willing and able to re-appoint Bush back into office, accepting as true his make-believe fantasy over Iraq and the delusion that he has made Americans safer while winning the fictional ‘war on terror’. It is these 40 percent of Americans that believe any and all trash emanating from the mouths of the Bush administration, the Republican Party and the minions in the corporate media. It is this forty percent that cannot see reality for what it is, cannot comprehend the danger Bush has placed them in and cannot understand what four more years of Bush means for America, and the world. It is this forty percent whose disconnect may help seal the future course of humankind, and why millions more break out in cold sweats at the prospect at having the disconnected decide their futures.

Almost miraculously, the nation all people with half a brain in their craniums knew to be on the verge of implosion had been resurrected, becoming a great victory for the Bush administration, a true Lazarus rising from the dead. The ruins of war no longer existed, the putrid smells of quagmire no longer lingered, nor did the growing swells of freedom fighters reclaiming their lands from the terrorist occupiers that had in two wars and a decade of economic genocide destroyed their society and lay waste to their country.

Rubble had been made to disappear, rotting corpses vanished, open sewers spawning disease were a figment of our imagination and the Iraqi animosity towards the US military had never existed. New schools and hospitals were prevalent, even with disease and injuries from American “collateral damage” growing; electricity and water were now commonplace, in fact better than pre-war levels; reconstruction was moving forward and a new dawn of prosperity was fast approaching. The new Iraq, the one envisioned by the neocons and Bush was finally upon us, even if less than one billion dollars out of a total of 18 billion has actually been spent on reconstruction and even when new reports have found that American forces have killed more innocent Iraqis than the insurgency has. It is now going so well in Iraq, in fact, that the Pentagon’s emergency funds of 25 billion dollars has been tapped and top military officials in Iraq have asked for more troops. Democracy, they tell us, is now in motion, even though nothing has been done to assure its implementation and even when Bush knows January elections will be near impossible to undertake given the chaos and insecurity now ravaging the nation. But oh yes, freedom is on the march, and so America must stay the course.

Most surprisingly, suddenly Iraq was truly sovereign, a free state capable of its own decision making powers and free of the corrosive grip of the occupiers that linger in every ministry, every neighborhood, street and throughout the giant bubble called the Green Zone. It seems the largest American embassy in the world, the biggest CIA station on the globe, 140,000 troops and the fourteen new bases built in Iraq are nothing more than pillars of support to the new, unelected and interim government, most of whom are considered American puppets and expatriate stooges by the Iraqi people. Every decision and speech by Prime Minister Allawi, we are made to believe, are now independent, with no American control, full of truth and righteousness and free of the stooge label printed on his thick skull.

The puppet’s strings have finally been cut off as the ‘courageous’ Prime Minister, who foreign reports claim had in cold blood murdered six Iraqi prisoners just before taking office and once worked for Saddam Hussein himself, stood steadfast and stalwart in the face of tremendous obstacles, ready to instill human rights and immovable pillars of freedom and democracy on his people. How soon it is forgotten that he once, and may still, work for the CIA and MI5. Through American governmental and corporate propaganda, Iraq’s Thomas Jefferson has been born, combining the attributes of Washington and Lincoln, positive and upbeat, angered that the ‘truth’ of the wonders taking place in the country he had not visited in over two decades is not being told the American people.

Finally, Bush’s hand had been taken out of Allawi’s rear end, as he was now able to speak his own mind. To Washington he headed, wowing the morons, scum and traveling salesmen who comprise Congress. These prostitutes and gluttonous vermin could only stand and applaud the man comfortably arranged at the end of Bush’s now brown stained hand, even when they all knew the debacle taking place, the death and destruction their ignorance and incompetence had helped unleash, and the obviously less secure country and world their spineless failure to act had birthed. The American stooge performed rather well, manifesting an echo where no hallways or canyons existed, reading from the same script of lies and delusion as his masters in the White House. Never mind that Allawi’s opinions and so-called ‘truths’ continue to mirror Bush’s, using the same language and talking points, the same rhetoric and delusional bovine fecal matter. In the end, forty percent of the American people would not be able to tell the difference. Their attention span is that of a gnat, their IQ that of their shoe size.

The Iraqi people, I soon found out, were now grateful to America, and thus to George W. Bush, for being ‘liberated’ and ‘saved’ from the claws of Saddam, that evildoer extraordinaire, the most dangerous of ‘terrorists’, the man who, if he even came close to wet dreaming about WMDs needed to be decapitated and his people condemned. The man who replaced Osama as enemy number one was now in prison, making the world entire safer, making Americans more secure. Iraqis were now glad to replace a boxed-in, contained and impotent charade of a dictator who provided security, jobs, food, water, electricity, social services and stability with an occupation in quagmire, a society near debacle and a nation on the verge of chaos and anarchy. Thank you George W. Bush! Iraqis, we now hear, are so grateful for the utter death now common in their cities, the carnage prevalent in their streets and the anarchy imported thanks to American stupidity. In some strange and twisted way, and in the Bush logic of positive spin, Iraqis who did not welcome American troops with open arms, flowers and candy during the invasion now welcome the strangulating occupation that has only delivered misery and endless suffering with smiles, positiveness and thanks. Yes, Iraq is a great success, and forty percent of Americans desperately cling to this ludicrous fallacy.

I soon found that Iraq only had one troubled spot left: the pesky town of Fallujah, which itself only had a few pockets of thugs, dead-enders and foreign fighters. Fallujah, we must remember, is the headquarters of the new evildoer extraordinaire, Osama and Saddam’s replacement as ‘thee anointed to haunt the American mind’, al-Zarqawi, the man that is as elusive as a ghost and as hard to catch as the delusions espoused by Allawi and Bush. This man has been made out to be a metaphysical freak of nature, everywhere and nowhere at the same time, a villain of reputable superpowers, a Napoleon-like commander directing the entire Iraq resistance from a city that is surrounded by American forces. He has become, quite simply, a poster child created in order to brainwash the American populace into further supporting the debacle in Iraq as being part of the larger war on terror. He has become the perfect enemy, geniusly marketed by the propagandists in government as the axis connecting Iraq with al-Qaeda, thereby validating American war crimes, occupation and collateral damage.

This al-Zarqawi, very conveniently to the Bush administration, enables the American mind to associate Iraq with al-Qaeda, something the corporate media gleefully endeavors to accomplish. Through him, suddenly al-Qaeda is at the center of the Iraq insurgency, once more terrorizing the world. Every kidnapping, bombing, beheading and American death is therefore blamed on al-Zarqawi, and by implication al-Qaeda, the bogeyman group whose terror-filled activities have been implanted into the non-thinking American mind in order to instill fear and acquiescence. The national resistance, comprised of many groups and insurgencies, and following the steps in guerilla warfare, thus becomes al-Qaeda in the American mind, forgotten as a valid insurgency to purge the invaders from Iraq. A war for independence thus morphs into a war against terrorism, and the US military is granted the moral high ground in a canyon of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This gives Bush the ability to connect in the American mind the al-Qaeda/Iraq connection with the wider war on terror, in essence enabling fear in the American populace to dictate the furthering debacle in Mesopotamia without the citizenry seeking accountability or questioning authority.

In Fantasyland, I learned, the rest of Iraq beyond Fallujah was as placid as Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. The world was rejoicing; the nations’ of freedom and democracy had prevailed. America was fighting ‘terrorists’ in Iraq so that we didn’t have to fight them in Kansas or Oklahoma or Georgia. Never mind that a resistance usually fights in their occupied lands, trying only to expel the occupiers. George Washington and his patriot army waged guerilla and traditional war in the US, not in Britain, after all, never to fire a single bullet in London. George W. Bush is right in one respect, however: freedom is winning in Iraq. The resistance is slowly but surely suffocating the invaders and occupiers who have raped Iraq of its freedom, society and lands. Freedom will eventually prevail, as it almost always does when an occupier is subjected to the independence movement of the native resistance. History, for those willing to listen, echoes this same sentiment over and over again. Those living in occupied lands have many advantages, and, as we can see in Iraq, time and the occupier’s ignorance are on the side of the Iraqis. It is only a matter of time, and of how many more American deaths and maimings the occupier and its population can withstand. Yet with each act of American barbarity, death of innocents, rape of lands and resources, and daily humiliation directed at Iraqis the resistance will grow until the boiling waters of anger spill over, burning the entire surface of American occupation.

No doubt thanks to the political season, Iraq has, thanks to George Bush, suddenly become part of the fiction called the war on terror, even if it had no WMD, no ties to al-Qaeda, no connection to 9/11 and no terrorist atrocities before the invasion. Bush now makes the direct connection that Iraq is a central front on the war on terror, thus connecting it with the greater brand name of the war on terror, most probably because the war there is going terribly wrong yet the American people approve of and have been conditioned to accept the ‘war on terror’ label. The hope is that once Iraq is considered the central front on the war on terror the debacle taking place will be forgiven and whitewashed.

The quagmire is so pervasive, the stench so putrid, that this clever marketing mechanism is being used to squash in the American mind any chance to deviate from the government’s propaganda. This will no doubt work successfully to once more manipulate the non-thinking, I-believe-everything-my- government-tells-me American mind. It is pure politics, as usual to manipulate the American people to accept and sacrifice the mistakes and lies of the Bush administration and to once more become compliant worker bees aimlessly surviving from day to night. Ignoring and forgetting, moving on to the next TV show, celebrity gossip or sporting event, the American mind will once more suffer the amnesia it is world renowned for, turning the channel yet again in search of further decay and ignorance in the endless cycle of short attention spans and conditioned minds that once more return us to the dumbing down of the collective brain and the further enslavement of the American mind.

I returned home to Fantasyland to find that America had entered the rabbit hole into Wonderland, taking the hand of Peter Pan into the realm of Never, Never Land. Instantly fiction had replaced reality, compulsive lies now represented holier than thou truths and the last four years had been but a terrible nightmare that we had now awoken from. George W. Bush and his administration, I found out, were incapable of lies, delusions and manipulations, after all, and so what they say must be truth and reality. Thanks to Bush and the American public that continues to live in Fantasyland, the world is a safer place and America has been made stronger, a land once more safe from the bogeymen trying to destroy us because of our endangered freedoms and ever-disappearing rights that they so abhorrently hate. Our Protector in Chief has given us comfort and security, and certainly four more years of his leadership are thus warranted. Only he, after all, can defeat the Arab bogeymen. He is the new superhero, sent to protect security moms and NASCAR dads. He has been anointed by the Almighty to read “My Pet Goat” to our children while the nation burns. Only he can protect us from evil and terror, helping to make us safe once again. He is, after all, the savior, the second coming. He converses with the Almighty. He genuinely cares about the middle class, even as he eviscerates our way of life, guts social programs such as healthcare and education and only serves to further enrich the elite few. But, deep in his heart, he cares about you and me. And, lest we forget, he has the same mental capacity as forty percent of our population. He truly represents America, for he is us and we are he. If presidents are indeed microcosms of the nation, then the United States is in grave danger. If our people are as dumb as George W. Bush, I fear the end is near.

In this new Fantasyland, those of us who have reported and written about the prevalent chaos and inevitable defeat that is only a matter of time from coming into fruition are nothing but defeatists and traitors, men and women giving comfort and aid to the enemy. This cluster of unpatriotic heathens are labeled ‘Islamists’ and ‘terrorists’, ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘anti-American’, nothing more than the evolving name-calling of the times since the label ‘communist’ is so yesterday, made extinct by the passage of time. We manifest lies from our mouths and keyboards. Our fictions do not exist; our warnings should be ignored and silenced. We are alarmists and dead-enders, writing in our pajamas from our homes, knowing nothing about the ‘reality’ in Iraq. Our truths are called disruptive to the fictional war on terror. We are once again unpatriotic and anti-American, providing solace and confidence to the terrorist evildoers. How dare we question the feces that is Iraq? How dare we question the lies and delusions that emanate from the mouths of Cheney and Bush? How dare we question the motives, the deceptions, the fictions of the war on terror? How dare we try to awaken the sheep that roam the land of the free and the home of the brave? How dare we think for ourselves in a land where free-thinking minds are now the exception rather than the rule?

Yes, this new foray into Wonderland is typical George W. Bush, the Bubble President, a man whose lies are so incessant he can no longer tell the difference between the fictions he blurts out and the delusions he believes. The very sad reality is that 40 percent of Americans also believe the delusions and fantasy espoused by the Bush administration. Millions of Americans take the words of the compulsive liars in office as unchallenged truths, even in the face of such obvious distortions and manipulations, even when the lies no longer make sense and the laundry list of distortions begin to contradict each other. Millions still believe the false connections, blatantly made by the administration, of a Saddam, 9/11 connection, a Saddam/al-Qaeda relationship and the lie that Iraq was a haven for terrorists.

Millions of Americans choose not to see the debacle in Iraq for what it was, and is: a war for corporate profit and crony capitalism, not for freedom and liberty; a war for geostrategic empire building, not democracy; and a war for Israeli security, not American, using our soldiers’ blood for the proxy war of another nation. Iraq’s invasion and subsequent occupation has nothing to do with protecting our vaunted freedoms and rights, which, by the way, are being threatened daily by the savior called Bush. The inept mismanagement of Iraq by Bush now threatens the entire security of the globe, giving birth to a Bush-created and abused fear that now envelopes Americans everywhere. Millions think themselves safer under Bush and his war for profit, not realizing the tremendous karma, blowback and hunger for hatred and revenge the war and occupation have engendered. Yet forty percent of Americans fail to see beyond the fog of war or the haze of propaganda, and will do all in their capacity to elect the worst President in history back for four more years.

Millions of Americans are keeping alive the evil that is George W. Bush, in the process scaring billions of world citizens that the worst American President in history will be left to his own devices for four more years. The world’s destiny depends on the average American citizen, which is why so many people around the globe tremble in fear at the thought of what might be decided in less than 40 days. Forty percent of 290 million people may well seal the fates of 6.2 billion people. I now see how 1920’s and 30’s Germans were capable of electing a vile monster into power. I now understand how so many people allowed horrific crimes to be committed in their name. I now comprehend how a nation can become so blind to the fate their actions have placed the world entire in. I now see what is happening in present day America, and it scares the living daylights out of me. The ignorant, the dumb, the easily manipulated worker bees and soldier ants are the same, whether in 1930’s Germany or 21st century America. Blind to the truth, consumed by fear, brainwashed by ideology, manipulated by propaganda and hypnotized by deadly patriotism, unknowing what they do and dumbed down by the system they live in and support, it is in these millions that our future depends.

Why is it that so many Americans do not see what they are helping to keep in power? Why do they not see that in their support for corruption, wickedness, death and destruction they are helping to seal their own fates, helping to prolong world conflict and American fear and insecurity? Why can’t they see the fate that their support for malfeasance is bringing to fruition and the decimation of the way of life they cherish their blind belief in ineptitude is unleashing? What is it in these 40 percent of Americans that sheep they become even as packs of wolves condemn them to the slaughter? How, in such obvious exercises in lies and distortions, and such blatant ineptitude and mismanagement, can 40 percent of Americans still try to maintain the status quo by keeping in office the most damaging administration in history? In the answers to these vexing questions the salvation of the nation lies.

In the disconnect of Americans and the Fantasyland we live in the ruins of our once great nation will we one day pick up. In the rubble of what we were may a better foundation soon be laid.

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