Friday, December 29, 2006

Bush’s Wonderland and through the Looking Glass of Iraq


BY FRANK J RANELLI


Seduced by a powerful cocktail of intoxicating hysteria, America tumbled down the rabbit hole of Bush’s Wonderland only to discover the looking glass was a window in reverse with a frightening view.


In 1865, Lewis Carroll authored the famous children’s storybook, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A fairytale laden with satire and illusions, Alice in Wonderland tells the story of a little girl who follows a white rabbit down a hole into a bizarre underworld. Alice emerges into a netherworld beset with anthropomorphic characters that lead her on a series of misadventures in a chaotic society of unruliness, lunacy and utter mayhem. In a distorted and sometimes mockingly perverse way, Carroll endeavors to lampoon his childhood along with the lessons and perils of a careless adolescence in 19th century Britain.

Here in 21st century America, we too, have tumbled down an abysmal hole and materialized in an alternative dream world. For six years, we have been faltering through a mass hallucination of alarm and disbelief, apprehension and discord, addiction and disorder. Our delirium is the somber side-effect of a nation under sedation, induced by a heroin-like injected haze of obfuscation and trepid tentativeness to break free of our “pusher.” Ironically, it turns out that in street slang, “white rabbit” is an urban idiom for heroin. A drug marked by paranoia, fear and anxiety.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, America begin to inhale the heavy vapors of Bush’s “white rabbit” and we have been “chasing the dragon” ever since. The alleged alleviation, only by way of a Faustian Bargain, was to sell our national soul in exchange for the prevaricated promise that we would be unshackled and set free to awaken from another long, national nightmare. That was never the case. Instead, we were further seduced by a coterie of unsavory characters who suspiciously correlated two arch nemeses together – Saddam and Bin Laden – to formulate a “speedball” cocktail of intoxicating hysteria.

After a patriotic parade of propaganda and deception, the sentinels of our society – Congress – in a frenzy of panic, bequeathed their sole power to declare war to a boorish executive with a galloping case of megalomania and chest-thumping bravado. Thus began, like Alice, our own journey into madness, lawlessness and absolute chaos. We embarked on a war of aggression, under the ruse of seeding democracy and disarming dictators, while munitions manufacturers raked in the revenues and oil barons profited handsomely.

Fortunately, like most addictive drugs, a tolerance factor begins to takes hold. As we yearned and waited for our next fix of the latest formula of Bush’s “white rabbit”, naively accepting his next white lie, America began to sober up. We awoke from Bush’s ghoulish nightmare and hellish war to find not patriots and heroes but pariahs and heretics feeding our addiction and feasting on our own national flesh and blood.

Now cognizant of the untoward carnage of war, America, like Alice upon her return from Wonderland, we fell through the looking glass into the quagmire of Iraq. The mirror that for years reflected back a mirage of a benevolent nation now became a window in reverse. Gazing back, Americans could now see the horror, the malevolence, and the gruesome, grim reality of the abject evil we had unleashed on so many people for such a sinister cause. Adding to our pained view was the vision that while we were presumably exporting democracy to foreign lands, we were killing it here at home.

As the New Year, the new Congress and the newfound will of the America people falls quickly upon us, we must send a clear message to Bush and his cast of recycled, pernicious buffoons. While Bush intends to inflame Iraq’s civil war with even more troops – certain to become target practice in a vicious sectarian feud – Americans have unequivocally said, “No more!”

Bush may be content to be the “mad hatter” in an underhanded world of misguided mischief, but Americans now knows that vigilante acts of superficial goodwill are never an acceptable defense to perpetrating a crime, regardless of the perceived good intentions or eventual outcome. Peering transparently through the looking glass of Iraq in reverse, the "its not fascism, tyranny or imperialism when America does it" just doesn't work anymore; moreover, it never did. It was all just an illusion.

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