Karma of Spin
By Rodger Stevens
a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary
act." - George Orwell
It isn't nice to knowingly deceive others. It isn't nice
to mislead them, to present in a self-serving manner motivations
and events which eventually affect everyone else in a negative
Religious and philosophical teachings throughout history
disparage those who deceive others, and propose, one way or
another, that such deceit will rebound eventually to the detriment
of those who instigated it. Whether or not one accords with
such declarations, be it the Golden Rule or the so-called
Laws of Karma, most people understand that all actions are
somehow answerable in their results... the greater the moment,
the greater the effects.
But "always tell the truth" has come on hard times,
particularly among those who in recent years have ascended
to positions of influence and power. No longer is honesty
seen as an advantage; too often, the pretense of rectitude
has masked its absence. This state of things is painfully
apparent in considering the pervasive influence of advertising,
wherein the 'sizzle' of the ad eventually cools to reveal
the congealed grease of the real product. Spin is little more
than false advertising, and no more honest.
So I find it very interesting that over the span of the
past couple of years, White House-generated spin has begun
to congeal in a most karmically revealing way. Events which
were grandly presented as having happened one way turn out
to have happened in quite another. Those of us who yearn for
peace, and for honest disclosure by those in power can hope
that maybe we're seeing an emerging trend.
Consider these few among the many such instances:
The president's May 1 'Top Gun' burlesque on the
deck of the Abraham Lincoln, while at first praised as a rousing,
gung-ho endorsement of the success of the Iraq invasion, soon
evolved into the shallow PR ploy it was from the beginning…
the flight suit worn by a man who shirked his own military
commitments was fittingly stuffed with an appropriately unmasculine
cod-piece; the huge "Mission Accomplished" banner
strategically placed in the background turns out to have been
not a spontaneous gesture by the crew of the carrier, but
a White House-provided prop. The carrier had to be turned
back to sea and positioned so the nearby California coastline
remained out of camera view, and so that the afternoon sun
would provide the most striking shadows. The whole event was
a very expensive cheap shot, particularly in light of the
continuing devastation of humanity on both sides in that war.
One must wonder just which 'mission' was 'accomplished'… it
certainly wasn't the one advertised. And since this arrogant
and self-serving event is now generally held to be such, you
will probably be spared seeing reruns in the upcoming campaign.
Pfc. Jessica Lynch's experiences turn out to have
been starkly different from the spin given them by the Pentagon.
She didn't fight it out heroically - her gun jammed; she wasn't
stabbed and shot - she was knocked unconscious in a vehicle
mishap; she wasn't mistreated by Iraqi medical personnel -
they saved her life; she wasn't rescued from the clutches
of bands of bloodthirsty Iraqi terrorists - her rescuers staged
an assault against an unprotected hospital which was guarded
by exactly zero enemies. Lynch herself, in most heroic fashion
(when you're a Pfc, everything else that moves is a superior)
bucked the PR and insisted that she was just a normal person
who only joined the Army because there were no jobs available
in her part of the country and she needed the money for college.
You will probably not see footage of this farce either in
the upcoming campaign.
The heavily-spun reasons for going to war in the first
place - enormous stockpiles of chemical and biological
weapons available for use in a mere 45 minutes, nuclear weapons
programs on the brink of deploying working bombs, operational
links to Al Qaeda, aluminum tubes for nuclear materials centrifuges,
and the enormously overblown threat to the United States which
must be crushed at the earliest moment - all turned out to
be false, and those who accuse others of revisionism are themselves
frantically respinning those intense PR efforts to sell America
on why we should subdue the entire oil-rich Middle East. The
outing of the wife of Joseph Wilson, the ambassador who effectively
debunked the oft-repeated claims that Iraq was seeking Nigerian
yellowcake, has yet to be accounted for, but even despite
the continued spin, the prospects are not encouraging for
those in the administration who orchestrated this treasonous
rebuke to the truth.
The harebrained trip the president took over Thanksgiving
to Iraq to 'serve turkey to the troops' also turned out to
have been rife with deception. The reported contact with a
BOAC pilot en route was later shown to have been a total fabrication.
The hastily organized turkey dinner served to the troops consisted
not of turkey and all the trimmings, but airline meals, served
at the traditional Thanksgiving hour of 3 a.m. local time.
And the famous picture of the president toting a tray heaped
with holiday fare turns out to have been just another sizzling
deception, because the turkey was made of plastic. This costly
but ultimately farcical extravaganza, like the others, will
probably not serve its intended purpose as campaign footage,
since too many people now see it for what it was: Pure spin.
"Who makes the fairest show means most deceit."
- William Shakespeare
And now we have Saddam. No doubt the spin-meisters are frantically
working on another presentation, but this time there are too
many other interested parties who insist on being invited
to the… party. The last thing the administration wants is
for Saddam to testify in open court, because he would no doubt
have some rather revealing and embarrassing things to say
about how the United States supported his regime with weapons,
chemicals, and logistics all through the 80's while he was
busy gassing Iran and his own Kurdish populations. But further,
Saddam's capture means very little to the future of Iraq,
and its value as cover for administration SNAFU's remains
in serious doubt.
Due to the passage of time and the numerous and repeated
revelations concerning the verity of administration spin,
the American people are not nearly as receptive of such deceptions
as they were immediately after 9/11. Their trust, and the
world's trust, in the American government has been shaken
profoundly by such revelations as those described above. Unfortunately,
a liar has no fall-back position but to continue to lie when
he's been found out, and we can expect no less from the Bush
administration as we approach the 2004 election. They are
in serious trouble, and they know it.
As if acknowledging their loss of control over our abilities
to add things up for ourselves, we are once again under another
dreaded Orange Alert, and the word 'terrorist' is once again
being crammed into our ears by the media… "We're under
heightened threat of terrorist attack - have a nice holiday."
A tyrant will always appeal to fear, and when fear doesn't
work, the solution is yet more fear.
But perhaps the biggest lie yet (not counting for the moment
the highly suspicious manner in which Bush was handed the
last election) is the one that catalyzed all that followed.
I refer, of course, to 9/11 itself. Unless he has something
to hide, why does the president continue to stonewall all
meaningful efforts to discover who, in fact, actually carried
out the attacks, and what evidence existed before the fact
that might have been used to prevent it? Why did he sit for
20 minutes with that famous deer-in-the-headlights look on
his face after Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second
plane had impacted the WTC, reading a story about a goat at
a bunch of 2nd graders in a school in Florida?
Administration officials were quick to pin the atrocity
on al Qaeda, a presumption which still hasn't borne the burden
of evidence, yet it strains the imagination to conceive how
a bunch of religious zealots living in caves in Afghanistan,
normally occupied by sniping at people and fashioning car
bombs, could successfully orchestrate such a vast and complex
enterprise as simultaneously hijacking not just one commercial
airliner, not two, but four, within minutes of each other,
how pilots supposedly trained to fly single engine prop planes
could have guided those huge jets with such precision, and
how they could have arranged that NORAD, the FAA, and the
US Air Force would remain docilely uninvolved until it was
all over, to mention only a few of the more significant elements
of this fiasco.
If nothing else, the 9/11 operation was as far from al Qaeda's
expertise as would be an infiltration of the nation's top
secret military installations by the junior varsity cheerleader
squad from Hofstra. Only the patriotically myopic could fail
to discern the repeated and blatant inconsistencies put forward
by administration officials as credible explanations. But
then, spin needn't - and probably can't - be consistent with
the facts. Half-truths make up in glitter what they lack in
As noted in an earlier piece, the present administration
appears to have yearned for 'another Pearl Harbor' in order
to cover, if not justify, its unprecedented grab for power.
These people don't care about the lives of others… in their
eyes, power is its own reward and fulfillment. Morality is
useful only insofar as it can be used to impart spin to an
ulterior agenda. Sadly, the media is largely complicit in
what has transpired since the still-disputed 2000 election.
It is questionable whether, in the past, such momentous
attempts at spin have ever come unraveled as quickly and convincingly
as we are seeing Bush's do. Even the Warren Commission's whitewashing
of the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,
and Pearl Harbor itself have festered for decades without
falling apart as resolutely as Bush's escapades. Is there
some cosmic message being delivered here?
The purpose of spin is to delay such revelations long enough
to distract attention to other arising crises. So far, as
judged by the tenor of national polls, this deception has
succeeded in befuddling any concerted efforts to reveal the
deceptions behind most of the administration's public strategies.
But sooner or later truth will out. This holds not only
in international arenas, where the stakes are geopolitical
money and power, unimaginable human suffering, and unmeasured
environmental devastation, but also in those less grandiose
circumstances that most of us interact with on a daily basis:
the assurances of the used car salesman, the doctor, or the
insurance peddler … the 'sizzle-enhanced' ads on TV, the solemn
and measured pronouncements by mayors and lawyers and school
boards, the brimstone-etched utterances of religious zealots,
and the smooth assurances from anyone else who stands to gain
from convincing us of the worth of their motives.
Spin is intentionally deceptive. Only later do we discover
the rancid layers of coagulated deception clogging our lives,
chiding us that we've once again been had, and reminding us
yet again that we should have trusted our own intuitions instead
of others', we should have thought things through a little
Perhaps in these early years of the 21st Century we are
seeing the beginnings of an imminent collapse of the engines
of deception whose power and reach have never been greater
than they are today. Perhaps mankind really is reaching a
crisis point which will, in whole or in part, determine the
course of things for the next decades. Perhaps there really
is a bifurcation taking place, whereby those whose lives thrive
on deception will fall away, one way or another. After all,
it is probably still true that 'the bigger they are, the harder
they fall,' and there's no doubt that we've set all-time terrestrial
records for 'big' and 'powerful.'
Rodger Stevens is just this guy who lives for a writing. He's
from Earth, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.