Thugs Who Control the Darkness
By Sheila Samples
GONNA DIE IN THERE! ALL OF YOU! YOU ARE GONNA DIE!" -
Reverend Henry Kane, Poltergeist II
The fear in this country was so thick immediately after
9/11 that most Americans could taste it. Two years later,
the fear is still here, but those of us who are beginning
to drown in it are struggling to be exorcised from its grip.
We are far more terrified of the greedy creatures who lurk
in the dark shadows of our new world order than of some nebulous
somebody out there who might someday be a threat to us, and
I, for one, am hell-bent on scrambling to the light.
Some days it looks like we just can't get there from here.
Because of the fear.
Fear is what thuggish cowards use in order to control and
manipulate lesser cowards. You know - them against us? And
there are so many of "them" skulking through the halls of
this administration and its attendant media, they're bumping
into each other.
Their names are as familiar as their fear-driven agenda
- Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Woolsey, Bolton, Kristol, Rice,
Powell... all bitch-slapping us with the searing memory of
9/11 to keep us in trembling subjection; threatening us with
another big helping of terror if we don't back off and let
them have their way.
And their way is to frighten us into connecting only two
dots - Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Defense honcho Donald Rumsfeld
was leading the pack only hours after the September attack
when he jotted his now-famous memo to his staff, demanding
the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. (Saddam
Hussein) at same time. Not only UBL (Osama bin Laden)."
"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all
up. Things related and not."
When testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee
a year after 9/11 about why there was such an urgent need
to attack Iraq after 12 years of successful containment, Rumsfeld
responded - "What's different? What's different is
3,000 people were killed. We know what he intends to do,"
Rumsfeld said, and added if we didn't attack Hussein post
haste, millions could be dead "because of the miscalculations..."
Condoleezza Rice is adamant that we are beset by the "forces
of chaos and terror," and the only way out is to slaughter
our way to freedom and democracy admidst rose-petals and cheers
as we "restructure" the Middle East more to our liking. James
Woolsey warns that World War IV is on our doorstep - the only
choice we have is whether we fight it here... or there. Colin
Powell squandered his political capital in an astonishing
80-minute litany of fear-inducing lies before the United Nations,
complete with galvanizing photos and audiotapes, even going
so far as to say, "Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons...
and we have sources who tell us that he recently authorized
his field commanders to use them..."
Poltergeists. They keep entering our homes, moving the furniture
around, flipping the lights on and off, and terrorizing us
with an evil enemy that is everywhere and nowhere. The only
word to describe their shoddy performance is "delirium" -
a state of extreme mental excitement, marked by restlessness,
confused speech and hallucinations.
But nobody works harder at sustaining national hysteria
than Vice President Dick Cheney, who set his course for perpetual
war in order to gain control of the world's energy resources
more than a decade ago, and will not be deterred by the cries
of an unpatriotic rabble at home nor by the shrieks of unfortunate
Cheney is oblivious to both facts and evidence, or lack
of them, and is seen sporadically in venues where he knows
his lies about reasons for an unprovoked attack on Iraq will
not be challenged. You will see him on NBC's "Meet the Press"
and speaking to right-wing think tanks any time there have
been embarrassing disclosures from, or about, the administration.
A year ago, Cheney and "Press" host, Tim Russert, diffused
accusations that Bush had been told in an August 6, 2001 intelligence
briefing that we were under imminent al-Qaeda attack. "Old
intelligence," Cheney scoffed, sneering that terrorists have
been hijacking planes for 30 years - so what?
Then, earlier this month, when Bush was backed into a corner
and forced to admit there was "no evidence of a connection
between Saddam and 9/11," Cheney was back with Russert, countering
Bush's statement with, "we are learning more and more about
connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq before the Sept. 11
attacks." Cheney has long insisted that Saddam not only had
weapons of mass destruction, but that he and Osama bin Laden
worked in tandem to bring "massive and sudden horror" to U.S.
In the area of evil manipulation, Cheney is head and shoulders
above all those around him. He's a natural - the best that
ever was. While the others fill us with temporary fear, Cheney
infects us with the creeping horror of his own superstitions
that will remain with us far beyond Iraq - possibly for a
9/11, according to Cheney, is "the merest glimpse of the
violence terrorists are willing to inflict on this country.
They desire to kill as many Americans as possible, with the
most destructive weapons they can obtain." He says it will
do no good to protect the American people from 99 percent
of the cold-blooded killers who are after them - because that
one percent will surely sneak through, and then all of us
are gonna die!
In a July speech to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute,
Cheney declared unending war on an enemy who "holds no territory,
defends no population, is unconstrained by rules of warfare,
and respects no law of morality. It can only be destroyed,"
Cheney said, adding matter-of-factly, "...and that's the business
at hand." He told the mesmerized audience, "we will act, and
act decisively, before gathering storms can inflict catastrophic
harm on the American people..."
Cheney is rarely seen in public, but his dark, bone-chilling
influence permeates this administration. He is the
Reverend Henry Kane (played so brilliantly in Poltergeist
II by the mysterious Julian Beck) of this administration.
When he appears, I look upon his grim, pale countenance, his
mouth distorted into a snarl, and involuntarily shudder as
I fight the impulse to warn everybody within hearing distance
- "It's hee-e-e - erre..."
Of course, it will do no good, because Americans are mostly
sitting submissively, staring vacantly at the eerily fair-and-balanced
static on their TV screens.
Nobody is more obsessed with tracking down and destroying
potential evil before it materializes than the Dear Little
Leader, George W. Bush. All he knows, he recently bragged
to FOX News' Brit Hume, is what his advisers tell him; he
doesn't read newspapers or watch TV. Is it any wonder, then,
that Bush is out there, babbling hysterically about evil and
evildoers - and thrashing about wildly on the world stage?
A lot of ink has been spilled in vain attempts to "dissect"
Bush's psyche. He has been called stupid, greedy, mean-spirited
- even evil. He is all that, but only as an agressive,
pre-teen schoolyard bully can be when he is literally given
all the power in the neighborhood - discovers that the other
kids have to listen to him whether they want to or not - and
he can play "dress up" to his heart's content. Bush is the
perfect foil for those who surround and control him. He believes
what they tell him, and he lives by a "smoke 'em out, git
'em on the run - don't mess with Texas" philosophy. He remains
an intellectual and emotional child, albeit a spoiled and
pampered one, who never got over his fear of the Boogie Man.
"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you
knew exactly who they were," Bush said proudly while on the
campaign trail in January 2000. "It was us versus them, and
it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the
they are, but we know they're there."
Bush is not stupid. Almost immediately after the twin towers
imploded, he learned that his popularity was directly connected
to 9/11, and that the more he laced his rhetoric with fear
and terror, the faster his "numbers" shot up. Suddenly, he
wanted all the evildoers, the potential evildoers, even Dr.
Evil himself, and he was going to get them all - dead or alive.
Before we realized he wasn't just playing "grown up," we were
sucked into a mad crusade, too frightened to realize in June
2002 that the shudder shifting the world under our feet was
Bush throwing down his preemptive-strike "Bush Doctrine" gauntlet
from West Point in a speech wherein he arrogantly assumed
dictatorial powers. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize,"
Bush warned ominously, "we will have waited too long."
But, alas, the game didn't turn out as planned. The evildoers
keep changing the rules; ganging up on him in the schoolyard.
And, now the Dear Little Leader, who simply believes - and
repeats - what his advisers tell him, is the most frightened
one of us all. He appears to be literally numb with fear -
unable to recognize the light of reason. Being a mother, I
feel sorry for him, even though he brought it upon himself.
He's like the child who cannot be convinced that the dark,
monstrous form lurking just inside the closet is nothing but
a pair of jammies slung carelessly over the door. Nothing
short of sleeping with the light on will allay his fear, because
he knows the creature is there - just beyond his range of
vision. You may not see it, but he knows it's
there. Oh, yes indeedy, it's there all right and it's just
waiting for the right moment to pounce.
Most of us grow up and shake off such childish fears. We
move on to a world of light and freedom, family and community,
weeping and laughing - and of living and dying. But there
are those whose stunted growth forces them to dart about fantastically
in a ghastly world of ominous closets and cackling hobgoblins.
Like Bush and the greedy, corporate warmongers who control
him, they live in a terrifying world of "what if" - compelled
to strike out indiscriminately and crush all in their path
because any threat they imagine is real.
This is now the world of George W. Bush. It is a dangerous
world wherein the brutish cowards who surround Bush and stoke
his childish fears have their hands on the light switch. Unfortunately,
it is even more dangerous for us because - as we struggle
frantically toward the light - we remain at the mercy of Bush's
And the bloodthirsty thugs who would control the world are
also controlling the darkness.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former
US Army Public Information Officer and Axis
of Logic contributing editor.