Democratic Underground  
The Thugs Who Control the Darkness
September 30, 2003
By Sheila Samples

"YOU'RE 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 victims abroad.

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. shores.

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 lifetime.

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 frightening hallucinations.

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.

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