Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Corporate Corruption 101

Leo Strauss and the Noble Lie:The Neo-Cons at War

byJohn G. Mason

As our Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once noted in an off the cuff remark, strategic truths sometimes need be defended by a “bodyguard of lies.”[i] Here Rumsfeld was thinking no doubt of Churchill’s famous quip defending Operation Fortitude, the mock invasion force aimed at Calais that drew the attention of Herr Hitler and his high command away from the Normandy beaches and hid the Allies’ operational plans in the summer of 1944. Rumsfeld’s critics in Washington and London, however, have in mind more the history of contemporary philosophy than the history of WWII.
In the past few months, the “bodyguard of lies” metaphor has been redeployed and used to characterize the Bush Administration’s raw manipulation of the CIA and other intelligence agencies for propaganda purposes and for the gross deceit that seems to characterize the rationales put forward for their Iraq policy. Of these there were many--WMDs, a suspected connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, or the humanitarian rescue of the Iraqi people. They shifted depending on their intended audience and perhaps the day of the week. The “imminent threat” of WMD’s were emphasized for the British public while links to “Al Qaeda-like terrorism” were stressed at home – where the fiction that Saddam was directly involved in the September 2001 attacks has been firmly embraced by over two thirds of the American public. As Olivier Roy rightly noted last May, ”Washington’s stated war goals were not logically coherent, and its more intellectually compelling arguments were usually played down or denied.” [ii]

In London this affair has mainly raised questions about the honesty of Mr. Blair and his press and defense secretaries. In Washington it has done so as well, and the prevailing view of the Administration’s war policy among its critics is summed up succulently by the United for Peace slogan:

Bush lies—Americans die.”

But this affair has also a raised a related and perhaps even more troubling question about the philosophical roots of the ideology that’s driving the “counter-revolution” in foreign and domestic policy within the Bush administration. In short, the relation between strategic disinformation and political truth has been very much on our minds of late—along with some concerns about the lessons taught by Leo Strauss to the brilliant group of his former students who now occupy the seats of power in Washington

A Crisis of Intelligence (on many levels)

Last May Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia gave the speech on the Senate floor that marked the moment when Bush’s Iraq policy began to seriously unravel. “The truth,” he said, “has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing international law, under false premises.” He concluded, “We just fought a war that didn’t need to be fought.” And of course, Byrd assumes that “unnecessary wars” can never be just. But if proven this charge alone would constitute technical grounds for the impeachment of the President for “high crimes and misdemeanours”—as Senator Bob Graham of Florida pointed out last July.


In Canada we have our own batch of Neo Cons with Stephen Harper a dedicated follower of fascist Strauss, doglike in obedience to Bush, and Mulroney is his mentor. Professor Flanagan an extreme right wing hack from the University of Calgary, is his mentor. Flanagan is against women's rights, aboriginal rights and believes in a caste system where the rich entitled few rule the rest.

FOX (Rupert Murdoch) recently purchased Starchoice, CTV and Canwest to deliver the same American Idol drivel in Canada. Flanagan is a constant "political analyst on any FOX owned Canadian network. He stays out of the limelight for a reason, because if most people knew the fascist philosophy of this man and Stephen Harper they would never vote Conservative.

American Neo cons to the right of center, to the wrong of democracy, and to the corruption of the system.
... the closing of this article says it says it well

what qualifications if any the Neo-Straussians have for undertaking the democratic modernization of the Mid-East as a “generational project”—given their own skepticism about democracy and liberal modernity as a political projects. “They really have no use for liberalism and democracy, “Dury remarks,” but they’re conquering the world in their name…” This suggests that the Neo-Cons are something more complicated than the Wilsoniens bottés that Pierre Hassner has dubbed them. They’re too wedded to a radical critique of liberal modernity and to their alliances with Protestant fundamentalists Ayatollahs to be considered reliable friends of democracy in the Middle East or indeed anywhere else – and most especially at home.
In helping us pose these political questions, Shadia Dury may sometimes slip into a partisan, polemical mode—as her critics suggest—but perhaps we might forgive her blunt Canadian way of speaking. In America, the Neo-Cons and the Religious Right are winning our culture wars, and the hour is already late. Liberal democrats in North America no longer have the time or the luxury of arguing the other side’s position better than their opponents. Indeed, they must first understand their own position and argue it without reservation. This is something at least that Shadia Dury does not hesitate to do.
[i] See Donald Rumsfeld, News Briefing, U.S. Dept of Defense, September 25, 2001, p. 1.
[ii] On the conflict between the official diplomatic line and real strategic rationale for the invasion see Olivier Roy’s Op-Ed column, “Europe will not be fooled again, “The New York Times, May 13, 2003.
[iii] See Sonni Efron, “Diplomats on the Defensive,” The Los Angeles Times, May 8,2003 www.latimes.com.
[iv] William Pfaff, “The Long Reach of Leo Strauss,” Op-Ed, International Herald Tribune, May 15, 2003.
[v] See Mark Blitz’s reply to Dury, “Leo Strauss, the Straussians and American Foreign Policy,” Open Democracy, November 14th, 2003, www.openDemocracy.net, p. 1.
[vi] Danny Postel, “Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq,” www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-95-1542.jsp.

John G. Mason is Professor of Political Science at William Paterson University and has been a Visiting Professor (Professeur Invité) at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in 2001 and at l’Université de Paris VIII in 2002 and 2003. He is a regular contributor to Esprit in Paris in London. This article first appeared in French translation in Critique, March 2004.

... As George W. Bush is surrounded by Straussians so too is Stephen Harper, we need to keep close watch on our democracy (or what is left of it) since both Harper and Bush act more like Kings than elected leaders, in keeping with the "noble lie" and elitist philosphy of Strauss.


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6:36 AM  

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