We’ve heard that the cover-up is worse than the scandal, but we’ve moved far beyond mere scandal. These are cover-ups of things that subvert the entire nature of "civilized" humankind:
LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND THE END TO LIFE AS WE KNEW IT (or, Die, Ayn Rand, Why Won't You Die?)
We’ve heard that the cover-up is worse than the scandal, but we’ve moved far beyond mere scandal. These are cover-ups of things that subvert the entire nature of "civilized" humankind: like the true scope of C.I.A. Black Ops and renditions, or "drone" operations that kill indiscriminately on a mass scale, with no one held accountable thanks to agreements made behind closed doors. We hear just enough to let us know something evil is going on, something systematically wrong, and like Germans in the early 1940s ignoring the rumors about Auschwitz, we say, "it probably isn’t that bad...it may be necessary for our safety, who knows?" It’s no different people, so stop trying to pretend it is.
In The Four Quartets, Eliot wrote that "humankind cannot bear very much reality". But how dare we allow ourselves the dubious luxury of ignoring the suffering directly caused by our "way of life"? Because these things don’t go away, they return, they come back on us with devastating force, and will utterly destroy us.
So this is what They do:
They cover up.
They disappear data.
They destroy evidence.
They run the governments, and their bought friends do their bidding: Senators, Congressmen, Generals, the C.I.A. As do their counterparts all over the world, in governments like and even more like our own.
Because what else does it mean when the President of the United States authorizes a policy of allowing the assassination of a citizen without trial, except that we’ve become no better than the most fanatical thugs? What does it mean when the Justice Department says detainees who have been held almost a decade without being charged cannot challenge their detention, except that the very bedrock of our Constitution and Justice System is reduced to rubble? What does it mean when the whereabouts of trillions of dollars in tax-payer funded bail-out money to Wall Street are "unknown", except that banks and corporations now run the Treasury Department? What does it mean when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan roll on at a cost of $3 billion per week while killing untold numbers of civilians and accomplishing no recognizable mission, except that war has become the ‘business of America’? And what does it mean when an oil company can walk away from the destruction of the entire Gulf of Mexico, by being allowed to cover up or erase all information pertaining to the true scope of the spill, except that the life of the planet earth is less important than capital gains for oil companies?
It means that citizens and lawmakers who would represent their true interests are no longer a part of the process in the United States, and in much of the world which has come to follow it off the cliff.
This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter.*
With the end of the rule of law, habeas corpus, democracy itself, the U.S. and its powerful allies around the world are literally getting away with murder, global pillage, genocidal pollution of the planet. These allies are not just "western democracies", my friends: the West is allied with every one of those countries they tell you are "enemies". What we’re being told is nothing other than outright lies; the truth consists of what we may never know. Orwell warned of it: "who controls the past, controls the future, who controls the present controls the past" — and when the cover up is this systematic and reflexive, the future will read like a Texas history textbook. How long will this go on before "the great majority of people" realize that there is NO SUCH THING AS SELF-INTEREST????
*NYTimes, Sunday, 23 May, 2010, Bob Herbert