“Who Controls the Past:” Some Historical Quotations For Bush

In a press conference 11 days ago, Yale History Major George W. Bush told a reporter that Iraq actually had “nothing” to do with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. This brief and quickly qualified acknowledgement of an aspect of the truth was made despite the fact that his administration had done everything it could to link Iraq to  9/11, al Qaeda, and the “war on terror" leading up to the U.S. invasion of Mesopotamia.  

Yesterday, Bush gave an alarming (one would hope) speech to the American Legion in which he connected his illegal and disastrous occupation of Iraq with 9/11 and his war on terror. It was like something out of the old Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen Here (1936). 

Crackpot history loomed large in Bush's laughable effort to convince Americans that calling off the vicious imperial assault on Iraq would be tantamount to opening the door to an explosion of "Islamofascist" terror attacks “IN THE STREETS OF OUR OWN CITIES.”

Yes, “in the streets of our own cities.”

As this speech and related recent attemped fear-fanning utterances by the sinister corporate-state war criminals Darth Cheney and Darth Rumsfeld show, Darth Rove et al. have decided to go balls-to-the-mid-term-election-year-wall with the preposterous metaphor between the Western appeasement of fascism in the 1930s and the reluctance of sinister Democratic elites and other supposed leftist agents of national surrender  — well, actually the majority of the American people — to continue soullessly crucifying the Middle East in the name of something Team Bush calls “freedom.”

It is perhaps worth noting that our current ruling hollow men would have richly supported the great Nazi appeasement of the 1930s. They would CERTAINLY have shared their interwar predecessors’ feeling that European fascism was a welcome counter to European socialism and “bulwark against [Russian] Bolshevism.”

Take my word for it: these newly energized proto-fascistic enemies (and large-scale generators of) of “Islamic fascism” would have liked real deal labor-and left-disciplining European fascism (up to the point where that fascism attacked U.S. interests of course)….just like much of the American business class (including Nazi collaborators in Dubya's family lineage) did at the time.  

Bush and Rove indulged their taste for historical quotation, weaving into yesterday’s vapid Legion address Thomas Jefferson ‘s purported observation that nations cannot move “from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.”

Then the vicious fear-mongering Fortunate Son Deceiver-in-Chief "wiped a tear from his eye" and told the "patriotic" story of a marine he murdered by sending him to his death in Iraq under the false claim that United States troops are over there “fighting terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.”

Just say it, fellow Americans: what a lying sack of shit.  

Since Bush and his “boy Genius” Rove (who may have recently finished his doctoral Dissertation in History at the University of Texas) like historical quotations, here are a few of my favorites that relate in important ways to the historic crimes of the Bush cabal:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

– Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials


"The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad."

 - James Madison, 1799


"The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

 - Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding America 's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century (September 2000)


"Think about 'how do you capitalize on these opportunities?

- Condaleeza Rice, White House National Security Adviser, to the United States National Security Council, September 12, 2001.


"Through the tears of sadness, I see an opportunity."

 - George W. Bush, September 14, 2001


I highly recommend an essay titled “The Orwell Diversion” (1986), written by the late Australian propaganda critic Alex Carey and included in his 1997 book Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty. In that essay and elsewhere, Carey argued that the most relevant long-term threat to liberal democracy has never come from the state totalitarians of the Stalinist left or the fascist right. It comes instead from the homegrown, big business-connected “Respectable Right” that arose within the liberal-democratic societies of the West (chiefly the US ) largely to protect concentrated corporate power against its natural homeland antagonist – the popular democratic tradition.

Twenty years after Carey’s essay, the Soviet Union has long ago joined Nazi Germany in history’s proverbial dustbin and the last classic 1984-style regime (if such a thing has ever existed) bangs its little nuclear drum for global food assistance in North Korea . Meanwhile, a homegrown version of Big Brother stalks the corridors of domestic and imperial power in Washington D.C. , wearing the uniform of the Respectable Right. He is deeply enabled by a corporate communications and entertainment empire that combines Huxley with Orwell to muddy the waters of popular perception in ways that modern red- and brown-fascist state-totalitarians could only dream about. He is ineluctably if perhaps unconsciously drawn to the wisdom of Orwell’s chilling axiom: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

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