What then did our very own Romulus Augustulus do during the rest of September 11th? He read some more of "The Pet Goat", knowing that his puppet-meister, vice‑president Cheney, was safely embedded in some secret spot. Then the little emperor was hustled away in Air Force One for a tour of our most luxurious bunkers where he might avoid the attentions of new attackers, should they come.
I think it was Vico who noted that busy republics tend to turn themselves into empires. Certainly, the French intellectual godfather to the American republic, Montesquieu, warned that republics which took the empire route would cease to be republics altogether while Vico, in his cyclic view of human societies, saw imperial republics evolving into dictatorships, chaos, barbarism. In the last five years American behaviour in the Middle East has been barbarous and will not soon be forgiven. Meanwhile, the gas-oil junta has hijacked the old American republic through the artful use of great quantities of corporate and church cash in order to falsify the electoral tallies of easily hacked electronic voting machinery; means now exist to nullify or alter any election returns as happened in Florida 2000; in Ohio 2004.
There is a good deal of grim comedy in the words if not the current deeds of the little president. Although he and his co-conspirators relish the use of the big lie (e. g. turning the dull but genuine war hero John Kerry into a cowardly fraud while ignoring the slackerdom of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld who proudly fought in none of our many wars). Now in an attempt to avoid blame for the Iraq war and further confuse the world about why Iran and Syria must be destroyed Old Rumsfeld and Old Cheney are trotting out dim garbled images of Hitler and appeasement as they pretend that the anti-war American majority favours Islamic fascism. They pretend terrorism is a demonic person. And if we don’t stop him in Tehran we’ll have to stop him here. This is ludicrous; unfortunately the junta is as ignorant of history and geography as they believe the public to be. Meanwhile, the little president worries about his "legacy" in the history books. But should he get World War Three going there might not be any more history books, a relief to a non-reader like himself, though, lately, he tells us that he is reading Camus and "three Shakespeares". No doubt tragedies. As we know, he lies with zest yet he was actually revealed reading "The Pet Goat" on television and the Greek word for goat is the same as the word for tragedy. If this is code, I am beginning to suspect him of irony, a fatal flaw in Freedom’s home. After all, on his first trip to New Orleans, he promised to restore the drowned city. But, as usual, nothing was done. Then this August 29 he was back in town to reassure high school students: "I’ve come back to New Orleans to tell you the words that I spoke on Jackson Square are just as true today as they were then." And so, of course, they were! Meanwhile, one hopes that some noble humanitarian will finally shut the doors of the temple of Janus which have not been shut since December of 1941 when we went from one war to another and another without a pause – or thought.»
September 28, 2006
From «Bread and Circuses» by Adrian Murdoch