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The United States Of America Has Gone Mad Essay

AMYGOODMAN: British novelist John le Carré. I spoke to him in London on Sunday. While he’s famous for his spy novels, he wrote a widely read antiwar essay in 2003 just before the US invasion of Iraq. It’s called “The United States of America Has Gone Mad.” This is an excerpt.

JOHN LE CARRÉ: America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.

But bin Laden conveniently swept all that under the carpet. The Bushies are riding high. Now 88 per cent of Americans want the war, we are told. The US defence budget has been raised by another $60 billion to around $360 billion. A splendid new generation of nuclear weapons is in the pipeline, so we can all breathe easy. Quite what war 88 per cent of Americans think they are supporting is a lot less clear. A war for how long, please? At what cost in American lives? At what cost to the American taxpayer’s pocket? At what cost — because most of those 88 per cent are thoroughly decent and humane people — in Iraqi lives?

How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election.

Those who are not with Mr Bush are against him. Worse, they are with the enemy. Which is odd, because I’m dead against Bush, but I would love to see Saddam’s downfall — just not on Bush’s terms and not by his methods. And not under the banner of such outrageous hypocrisy.

The religious cant that will send American troops into battle is perhaps the most sickening aspect of this surreal war-to-be. Bush has an arm-lock on God. And God has very particular political opinions. God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy, and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist. […]

What is at stake is not an imminent military or terrorist threat, but the economic imperative of US growth. What is at stake is America’s need to demonstrate its military power to all of us — to Europe and Russia and China, and poor mad little North Korea, as well as the Middle East; to show who rules America at home, and who is to be ruled by America abroad.

The most charitable interpretation of Tony Blair’s part in all of this is that he believed that, by riding the tiger, he could steer it. He can’t. Instead, he gave it a phoney legitimacy, and a smooth voice. Now I fear, the same tiger has him penned into a corner, and he can’t get out.

It is utterly laughable that, at a time when Blair has talked himself against the ropes, neither of Britain’s opposition leaders can lay a glove on him. But that’s Britain’s tragedy, as it is America’s: as our Governments spin, lie and lose their credibility, the electorate simply shrugs and looks the other way. […]

I cringe when I hear my Prime Minister lend his head prefect’s sophistries to this colonialist adventure. His very real anxieties about terror are shared by all sane men. What he can’t explain is how he reconciles a global assault on al-Qaeda with a territorial assault on Iraq. We are in this war, if it takes place, to secure the fig leaf of our special relationship, to grab our share of the oil pot, and because, after all the public hand-holding in Washington and Camp David, Blair has to show up at the altar.

“But will we win, Daddy?”

“Of course, child. It will all be over while you’re still in bed.”


“Because otherwise Mr Bush’s voters will get terribly impatient and may decide not to vote for him.”

“But will people be killed, Daddy?”

“Nobody you know, darling. Just foreign people.”

“Can I watch it on television?”

“Only if Mr Bush says you can.”

“And afterwards, will everything be normal again? Nobody will do anything horrid any more?”

“Hush child, and go to sleep.”

Last Friday a friend of mine in California drove to his local supermarket with a sticker on his car saying: “Peace is also Patriotic”. It was gone by the time he’d finished shopping.

AMYGOODMAN: British novelist John le Carré reading from his 2003 essay “America Has Gone Mad.” John le Carré is the pen name for David Cornwell. His new book, Our Kind of Traitor, is coming out soon. We’ll be broadcasting the full interview with le Carré in the coming days.

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock the last few years, here’s a newsflash: America has gone totally mad.

To be clear, I don’t mean that all Americans are off their rocker. I mean that right is now wrong, the abnormal is now normal, and what was once was unthinkable is now celebrated.

Head-scratching Headlines

Think I’m exaggerating? Then consider some recent headlines.

  • Time magazine, September 12, 2016: “My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family.”

This article was written by a woman who was describing her brother’s pregnancy — in other words, her sister’s pregnancy. The twist being that her sister now identifies as her brother.

  • Pink News, September 4, 2016: “This photo of a trans dad breastfeeding his son tells a great story of love and acceptance.”

This refers to the same story and features the same, heartbreaking picture of what appears to be a man (with a scruffy beard and chest hair) nursing a baby. Somehow, this man has women’s breasts. This is not a “great story.” It’s a tragic story. It’s something to be mourned, not celebrated.

  • Lifesite News, May 19, 2017: “Breastfeeding organization welcomes transgender ‘nursing men’.”

As the article explains, “A venerable breastfeeding advocacy group is floating the notion that men can nurse children.

“Nursing is not just for moms anymore, reports a blog post from the National Catholic Register this week about a policy statement from La Leche League International (LLLI).

“‘As the cultural understanding of gender has expanded, it is now recognized that some men are able to breastfeed,’ the organization also stated.”

Note those words carefully once more: “nursing men” and “some men are able to breastfeed.”

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 16, 2017: “Tampons in Men’s Rooms? It’s Just a Small Part of ‘Menstrual Equity,’ Campus Activists Say.”

Says the article, “Over the past year, several colleges have improved access to menstrual products on their campuses, including in some men’s and gender-neutral restrooms. That last detail has prompted some conservative websites to take note.

The American Conservative mockingly headlined its report ‘Social Justice Washrooms,’ from ‘tomorrow’s generation of American elites.’ Commenters on Breitbart’s report on the trend called it ‘academic insanity,’ pointing out that ‘men do not menstruate.’”

But these campus ideologues are committed to their cause, which is part of the growing “free the tampon movement.” This is “an effort to make college more fair for students who menstruate, a concept for which Jennifer Weiss-Wolf coined the phrase ‘menstrual equity.’

According to Lance Floto, vice-president of the student association at the University of Rochester, “We have smaller baskets in men’s rest­rooms, but the reason we do that is because there are some men on the campus who menstruate and so it’s just the whole idea of inclusion and making sure that nobody’s left out — it’s a very easy thing.”

Let me remind you that these quotes are not from a satirical website and that the “menstrual equity, free the tampon” movement really exists.

Coupled with this on our campuses is the “pronoun of your choice” movement, which I’ve documented elsewhere. (For the record, these pronouns include: they/them/their/themselves; tey/tem/ter/temself ;ey/em/eir/emself; e/em/eir/emself; thon/thon/thons/thonself; fae/faer/faers/faerself; vae/vaer/vaers/vaerself; ae/aer/aers/aerself; ne/nym/nis/nymself; ne/nem/nir/nemself; xe/xem/xyr/xemself; xe/xim/xis/ximself; xie/xem/xyr/xemself; ze(or zie)/zir/zirs/zirself; zhe/zhir/zhirs/zhirself; ze/hir/hirs/hirself; sie/sier/siers/sierself; zed/zed/zeds/zedself; zed/zed/zeir/zedself; ce/cir/cirs/cirself; co/cos/cos/coself; ve/vis/vir/verself; jee/jem/jeir/jemself; lee/lim/lis/limself; kye/kyr/kyne/kyrself; per/per/pers/perself; hu/hum/hus/humself; bun/bun/buns/bunself; it/it/its/itself.)

And let’s not forget the Obama Justice Department policy. It threatened schools that would not allow boys who identified as girls to share the girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower stalls. What kind of social experiment is this?

Perhaps this one article from Everyday Feminism(with video) shows just how mad our nation has gone. (Thankfully, the responses to the video are mostly negative. That’s a glimmer of hope, at least for the moment.) The article is written by Riley J. Dennis, “a polyamorous, atheist, gender non-binary trans woman with a passion for fiction writing, feminism, and technology.” It’s titled, “Can Having Genital Preferences for Dating Mean You’re Anti-Trans?” In other words, if, as a man, you prefer to date or marry a woman who has female genitalia rather than male genitalia, does that mean you’re “anti-trans”?

The article asks: “Is it cissexist, or anti-trans, to say that you wouldn’t date a woman who has a penis?” The answer? Well, it’s “more complicated than you might think.”

Complicated? Really? We have lost our collective mind!

England is not far behind. This headline announces, “First British man to get pregnant has been bombarded with abuse and threats since revealing he is due to give birth.”

I’m truly sorry that this woman is suffering such abuse and getting ugly threats. I’m also sorry that she wants to be both the mother and father of her child.

Speaking of children, have you heard about the latest? It’s drag queens reading stories to little kids. Major media headlines celebrate it. “Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading” says The New York Times. “Early reading just got a lot more glamorous” says the Smithsonian. And Circa tells us, “Drag Queens Are Reading Books to Help Fight Gender Stereotypes”

And who knows what’s coming next? Who can even imagine?

Three Possible Outcomes

As a God-fearing follower of Jesus, I can see three possible outcomes for the near future:

  1. Jesus comes back before we completely self-destruct
  2. We completely self-destruct.
  3. We have a great (and rude) awakening that saves us from self-destruction.

While I long for the Lord’s return, I also work and pray for a great awakening. We should all pray that the Holy Spirit will transform the people I mention above. If not, it will be a rocky ride.

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