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Regime School

I am just getting back into the swing of things after having spent most of the last couple of weeks finishing a deep edit for a book on Egyptian politics. The very charming gentleman who wrote it tells me he'll probably have to move to Canada soon, because his writing will eventually drop him into "troubles he cannot carry."

Imagine that. Sadly, I can totally imagine that. All during this project, reading about the Mubarak regime, and Sadat and Nasser, and how wily and clever they are at staying in power, I kept thinking Rove has studied this stuff, and so has Cheney, and so have all the other scumbags who scurry around in Washington think tanks figuring out ways to get power and keep power. And Bush learned everything he knows while walking around holding hands with Saudi Princes. Our current group of corrupt psychopathic 'leaders' has learned from the masters, the Arab dictators, the people who have perfected Regime Management over decades of authoritarian rule. It is seriously impressive in a deviant sort of way.

And you know what is so scary? It's this. At least if you live under an Arab dictatorship, you know where the lines are. You know when you're going to cross one. They'll just tell you: you can't criticize the president. But not so here. Our government knows where the lines are, but you don't get to know unless you are paying very close attention, and even then you can't be sure. It's a secret. Are you on the terrorist watch list? Who knows. How do you get on or off? Who knows. By the time you ever find out, it's much too late, like the poor dog running into the invisible fence. Yes, the Bush regime has set up their secret little dictatorship right here in the USA, trashing our Constitution with his signing statements, torturing people, making preparations for martial law, presiding over financial ruin, and tapping his fingers. Waiting...waiting. Waiting for the day when he can Be the Dictator, in Real Time, Live, Bursting out of the Oval Office in his Superpower Dictator Tights and Cape. Not Secret Anymore. Oh yeah.

And I'll say one more thing. Israel is nothing without the USA. These Arab leaders are exceedingly astute. Without the US running interference, Israel would quickly find itself in a diplomatic figure four, forced to behave. Violence would hardly be required. Our continued unqualified support of Israel prevents peace in the Middle East. If we got out of the way, they would all somehow figure it out with Israel. After that, the Arab dictatorships would eventually fall, and there would come a time of equilibrium and peace, which all people of good will desire. I don't know how long it would take or via what route, but it would happen.

UPDATE: George Washington describes why the US government really uses torture: to intimidate US citizens. Classic dictatorial behavior, of course accompanied by the usual litany of lies and justifications and scapegoats (the ever-useful Arab 'terrorists').