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Gore Vidal: Reflections on 9/11

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Posted on Sep 19, 2006
Emperor Bush
Mr. Fish

By Gore Vidal

The legendary man of letters sees echoes of Rome’s devolution from republic to empire in America’s imperial misadventures since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gore Vidal’s latest book “Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir” comes out November 7.

Earlier this year, he published “Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories”

A version of this column first ran in The Independent (UK)


What a difference five years have made! The greatest nation in the country, as an American statesman once termed us, was attacked by a dozen or so Saudi Arabians who had, with astonishing ease, hijacked several airliners and flew two of them into a pair of New York skyscrapers as well as another into one of the five sides of the Pentagon at Washington, the heart of the greatest, most expensive military machine the world has ever known. I watched all this on CNN; in Italy where I then lived. The visual shock was great, of course. Particularly when our little president was discovered by the ubiquitous TV camera in a Florida school where he was reading to his peers from The Pet Goat,Ӕ an inspirational tale calculated to encourage small Americans to stand tall: like,Ӕ as he would put it, they should.Ӕ An aide interrupts the reading; murmurs something in the presidential ear: the presidential eyes widen. A moment akin to the Confederacy firing on Fort Sumter, or the Japanese sinking the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Two tall presidents were, happily for us, in office at those times. Lincoln acted with characteristic guile while Roosevelt, thundering anathema as Pontifex Maximus, flung open the doors of the temple of Janus and so the war that would bring us a global empire began while that of the Japanese sun goddess ended. What then did our very own Romulus Augustulus do during the rest of September 11th? He read some more of The Pet Goat,Ӕ knowing that his puppet-meister, Vice President Cheney, was safely embedded in some secret spot. Then the little emperor was hustled away in Air Force One for a tour of our most luxurious bunkers, where he might avoid the attentions of new attackers, should they come.

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What, someone asked, was my first response? Amazement at how little protected we were despite all the megalomaniacal posturings during that cold war deliberately set in motion by Harry S. (for nothing, as he liked to say) Truman a half century ago with a son et lumire celebration at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is still not known to the American public that every single important commander of World War Two from General Eisenhower in Europe to Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific pleaded with our first really small president not to atomize two cities of a defeated nation desperately trying to surrender. But Truman, and his Metternich, Dean Acheson, wanted to replace Hitler and Fascism with Stalin and Communism. It was under Truman that the ever greater lie came into its glittering own. Despite the unanimous objections of the American military Truman insisted on dropping two nuclear bombs. I was serving in the Pacific theater of operations at the time and we were assured, along with the rest of the world, that 1 million of us would die in the coming invasion of Japan. Did we love the Bomb? Yes, we did. But little did we know that had we invaded as originally planned there was no way that we would have encountered the survivors of the Japanese army from the mainland of Asia as they did not have sufficient transport to return to their home islands.

I think it was Vico who noted that busy republics tend to turn themselves into empires. Certainly, the French intellectual godfather to the American republic, Montesquieu, warned that republics which took the empire route would cease to be republics all together, while Vico, in his cyclic view of human societies, saw imperial republics evolving into dictatorships, chaos, barbarism. In the last five years American behavior in the Middle East has been barbarous and will not soon be forgiven. Meanwhile, the gas-oil junta has hijacked the old American republic through the artful use of great quantities of corporate and church cash in order to falsify the electoral tallies of easily hacked electronic voting machinery; means now exist to nullify or alter any election returns as happened in Florida 2000; in Ohio 2004.

There is a good deal of grim comedy in the words if not the current deeds of the little president. Although he and his co-conspirators relish the use of the big lie (e.g. turning a dull but genuine war hero into a cowardly fraud while ignoring the slackerdom of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, who proudly fought in none of our many wars). Now in an attempt to avoid blame for the Iraq war and further confuse the world about why Iran and Syria must be destroyed, Old Rumsfeld and Old Cheney are trotting out dim, garbled images of Hitler and appeasement as they pretend that the antiwar American majority favors Islamic fascism. They pretend terrorism is a demonic person. And if we dont stop him in Tehran we蒒ll have to stop him here. This is ludicrous; unfortunately the Junta is as ignorant of history and geography as they believe the public to be. Meanwhile, the little president worries about his legacyӔ in the history books. But should he get World War Three going there might not be any more history books, a relief to a nonreader like himself, though, lately, he tells us that he is reading Camus and three Shakespeares.Ӕ No doubt tragedies. As we know, he lies with zest, yet he was actually revealed reading The Pet GoatӔ on television and the Greek word for goat is the same as the word for tragedy. If this is code, I am beginning to suspect him of irony, a fatal flaw in Freedoms home. After all, on his first trip to New Orleans, he promised to restore the drowned city. But, as usual, nothing was done. Then this Aug. 29 he was back in town to reassure high school students: ғIve come back to New Orleans to tell you the words that I spoke on Jackson Square are just as true today as they were then.Ҕ And so of course they were! Meanwhile, one hopes that some noble humanitarian will finally shut the doors of the temple of Janus, which have not been shut since December of 1941 when we went from one war to another and another without a pauseor thought.


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By Patricia, March 1, 2007 at 1:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“solo se que nada se”.
Quien dice la verdad no miente,
Quien lo dice con altira de un Caballero real, no miente
Quien dice la verdad,
por mas que les cueste a otros entender no miente.
Quien dice la verrdad pura, sencilla y honesta, como la simplisidad ( que siempre dije eran mis palabras)
No miente.
No hay govierno, sitema, partido, o engaño de politiqueros arrivistas, que
Alcance una meta,
un ideal. que puede ser una utopia…
pero…
SALVAR AL MUNDO NUESTRA TIERRA…
TIENES QUE SER FURTE, MAS QUE IDEALISTA.
POR MAS DE SER SANTO TOMAS, QUIEN TUVO QUE INTRODUCIR EL DEDO PARA CREER EN DIOS…
hay que ser mas hoy en dia,
ya me traquearon…
y que digo la VERDAD.
Por que el Huico a los povres peruanos?
Popr que los Huracanes a los pocres Estado Unidenses , me pregunto
el por que de las guerras sin razon, por tener poderio , me pregunto…
por tener por que gastar dinero….
Cuanta gente se muere de hambre…
Cuanta gente se muere de sed…
Cuanta gente se muere en la miseria mas absoluta.
POr que si siguen las armas armandose
si nunca acabara el sistema del las armas,
por lo tanto las guerras,
por que , me pregunto
no interrogan de una vez y por todas la relacion que existe entre alcaeda y bush… por que se mueren de miedo, me pregunto.
es obio como la palma de tu mano.
por que el congreso de los Estados Unidos , no le pregunta e investiga la relacion busch igual alcaeda… por que no se .
Se mueren de miedo o que
soy latina
pero no estupida.
ptn

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By kathy sullivan, October 9, 2006 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TO MAD AS HELL:  Mad King George and his Merrie Fascists are wetting themselves, not with laughter but with real fear should their electronic Diebold machines fail in the Nov. elections.  Why?  Because along with impeachment proceedings, there will be investigations into every conceivable wrongdoing, including another 9/11 investigation.  Come on . . .everyone knows the 9/11 Commission was a scam.  I’m so sorry you’re late to the party Mad as Hell, but you should be mad as hell about 9/11 rogue elements in your very own government that carried out terror against their own people!  YOU ARE DISSIPATING REAL AND EFFECTIVE discussion of issues when you still believe the 9/11 “official” lie. Everything the Hawks have said has been proven to be a lie, why do you believe them when it comes to 9/11?? We cannot go into the future until we know the truth about 9/11 because everything said or written is false until we see through the glass darkly.  Open your eyes.  Before you were fed all the “official” propaganda, didn’t you think those buildings were detonated?  Surely, Building 7 was (even Silverstein, the owner said it was “pulled”).  If you kept up with the news, you knew the 9/11 Commission (which the neocons fought fiercely) was a farce; they had to get permission from the administration to do everything.  Bush refused to testify alone without Chaney and then they didn’t testify under oath.  Wouldn’t you say that was stacking the deck?? It is obvious, that like others who still believe the “official story”, you and the believers of the myth have not spent much time investigating on your own. It is there in black and white . . .the truth of what really happened.  See Paul Thompson’s timeline. I don’t know why people aren’t investigating because if they did, they’d know. I suppose it could be fear that once one’s mind was opened to the truth they would now really have to do something and that would interrupt their comfortable lives.  Should you ever decide to get off your high horse, please take a little time in your busy schedule to really research the most catastrophic event of the last 50 years.  You might be surprised.

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By Guitarsandmore, September 27, 2006 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Gore Vidal,

Since no one seems to remember or understand anymore would you please do us the honor of writing a definition of Human Dignity?

The current crop of MBAs (including GW) have become so accustomed to treating us all like slaves that the very notion there is such a thing as human dignity has all but baffled even the brightest of them.

I beseech you to guide us out of the lost woods and back to the Garden.

Best Regards,

-G

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By lbyland, September 27, 2006 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal: the smartest thorn in the ignorant backside.

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By Ralph DiCarpio, September 26, 2006 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As to the discussion of capitalism and its effects on world history, there seems little doubt that capitalism, despite its promises, is predicated on a hierarchical structure whereby the few dominate the many. Even a cursory reading of history demonstrates this amply.

One might say inits defense that the rise of the modern middle class has mitigated the worst effects of the free markets, but, as history has shown, the middle class was, and is, a creature of government; a result of conscious efforts to divert economic power to a broader base of citizens. (e.g., the GI Bill, education assistance, etc.) But now that the government has decided that it no longer intends to maintain this system, we see the demise of the broad-based middle class. Capital will flow to that area where the lowest labor costs are located and the government has seen fit not only to ignore this reality, but to assist it through its tax policy. Perhaps it is an exageration, but the perfect state of capitalism seems to be slavery: it has the lowest labor costs.

Now I don’t mean to say that we can eschew the profit motive and impose a socialism; that system has its own devils. But there ought to be an amalgam that preserves the profit motive essential to progress while spreading the economic fruits of a society more equitably. Perhaps we could term this neo-socialism. Whatever the outcome, absent a more equitable economic system, there lies only eventual chaos.

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By CJ, September 25, 2006 at 1:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re MarketsClear all-too-brief comment:

Thanks, but instead of a flat two-line declarative, that Vidal is guilty of “errors” and that “socialism is cancer,” give us at least a single example of when free markets saved anyone or anything whatsoever. Are you referring to the last century, the most savage in history, or maybe the one before that, when English workers and workers around the world lived in utter destitution and despair, not that different from now, if you happen to be a resident of, say, Indonesia, while Europe’s monarchs and burgeoning merchant class pursued a policy of colonial exploitation in “relieving” indigenous peoples of both raw resources and their human rights, simply so they could enjoy a life of what Marx aptly described as that of a “coupon clipper”?

Ever been robbed at point of shotgun, sir? I have. What’s the difference? Capitalism is robbery at point of losing your life, pending toeing the line. “Free [labor] markets” mean nothing less than theft, hardly salvation.

Your remark that “only free markets can save humanity” is an absurdity, and I notice you offer up no proof, not surprisingly, as there is none. Because your claim is merely ideological, in fact a matter of religious faith and nothing more.

Humankind, while they can certainly employ “free markets” as one tool, is perfectly capable of planning an economy. Certainly, it’s true enough that capitalism appeals to the worst in humanity, sort of the way mass media does, but that fact proves nothing at all, other than the fact that capitalism is more likely to damn humanity than save it. Canada’s healthcare system is proof of the opposite, though it’s easy enough for Canadians to drive south to find ostensibly superior medical treatment. But insofar as humankind is social in the first place, what matters is that each and every Canadian has access to healthcare for a pittance per month. It appears you respond to socialism in knee-jerk fashion, though the term “socialism” which is in fact apt enough insofar as it incorporates a patent, actually material (and not idealist) reality that capitalism denies. (Okay, here goes once again: Your, and my, and everyone’s, social being precedes our being as individuals. In point of patent fact, your individuality is a function of your social being, of your having been born into a social milieu. If you don’t get that, then… You do not subsist by yourself, merely for yourself. To suppose you do is pure egoism. To the degree you are an individual you are so as a function of a specific society. You are a function of society and not society a function of you.)

If you mean that “saving” amounts to no more than service to a class that believes itself entitled, then fine, say so as you offer up an argument demonstrating that a few are (by some very obscure and esoteric philosophy) more deserving than most. But should you do so, do not then, in contradiction, speak of humanity as a whole, since humanity as opposed to a few humans is not your interest. Speak only of a class of humanity, one which you apparently believe is due subservience by the vast majority of humanity, who given capitalism, sacrifice themselves in service to a small elite, one that has done an outstanding job of serving up an ideology that has convinced all but a very few that “free markets” actually could be humanity’s salvation. (You’re the believer, not I.) In fact, GW Bush has done as fine a job as any of his class could ask. He has served well, made considerable gains in his class’s interests. No one paying attention can dispute the facts. Christian fundamentalists are in some confusion because for the most part they are not members of GW’s economic class, though Boss Rove has exploited them for votes by catering to their cultural demands, even as Bush & Co. have no more real economic connection with the evangelical set than I do with, say, Martians. Such is the upshot of the average American’s ignorance of political economy. Carville can say, “It’s the economy, stupid!” but he was always wrong. It’s the culture, stupid! Rove is much smarter than Carville. Rove KNOWS a wedge issue when he spots one, and he knows that in that case economic interests will always take backseat. I remain ever-lastingly astonished at how Americans vote based on emotion. Rove is hardly a genius in any way, just a guy who gets that Americans vote their hearts and not their minds. (Chomsky and Vidal are geniuses, while Rove is a knowing political hack. One doesn’t need a lot of smarts to be smarter than GW Bush, or, apparently, than a lot of Americans.)

What renders you arrogant, ClearMarkets, is speaking of “humanity,” by which you really mean a minority class, or perhaps just Americans, which is to say, NOT exactly ALL of humanity, since there are about 5.5 billion who are not Americans. I’d add that even “free markets” for the few have not saved even the few, since the few tend to be about as nuts as human beings can become. Marx made note of the deleterious effects of capitalism on captains of industry themselves. “Free markets,” when worshipped, are then an even more ugly business, far worse than belief in any otherworldly god. Thus has ardent belief in the “naturalism” of “free markets” led to fascism—the marriage of capital and government, at least by Mussolini’s definition of fascism.

I’d go so far as to argue that in the end the fascists won out, despite appearances immediately post-WWII. It took another 30 or 40 years, but eventually the slime rose to the top as slime tends to live on the surface of the pond. For us, Reagan was the beginning, far more so than Nixon. Nixon really was a C.R.E.E.P., but everyone seemed to know that back then. Bush is Reagan’s spawn, though Bush has never been able to quite bring off the cowboy routine in the way Reagan did. Reagan was and still is the worst plague ever to strike this nation, not least because he played it so much better than Bush ever could. By fascism, I don’t mean Hitlerian Nazism, but simply fascism, as Mussolini defined it—again, the marriage between business and government. And we might add, marriage to mass media. We are the ultimate corporate state, complete with rigidified culture. It’s not about ethnic cleansing of some kind, any such patently bizarre stuff, but about a more subtle subservience to state in collaboration with business-fascism, which is disguised by “free-market” ideology, exploitation papered over as “work hard, get ahead.” What utter crap.

Thanks for your input, ClearMarkets, “btw,” completely useless as it is, completely blind as it is, completely un-thought out as it is. You offer nothing but condescending arrogance, amounting to no more than a couple silly statements, divorced from any actuality. “Free markets,” which is part and parcel of the ideology of capitalism, have for centuries delivered up only the very opposite of salvation, namely, utter misery—for most planetary residents, as well as for the planet itself! Question is whether you’ve anything other than your blind faith in your god, “free markets,” like say, a reasoned argument as to just how “free markets” have saved anyone whomsoever at any time in capital’s relatively brief history of about five centuries. To even ask is too great a demand, since the internal logic of capitalism demonstrates that capitalist “free markets” rely at heart and incorrigibly in praxis on the exploitation of laboring human beings, such that by definition capitalist “free markets” cannot and could never possibly “sav[e] humanity.” Very much on the contrary, as should be evident by now to any thinking member of our species.

As for any “errors,” made by Gore Vidal, please fill us all in as to his “errors,” such that we might be enlightened. Thank you,

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By MarketsClear, September 24, 2006 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aside from a few errors, pretty good excerpt, Mr. Vidal.

btw, posters: socialism is cancer.  Only free markets can save humanity.

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By Matthew H. Janovic, September 24, 2006 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our Cicero has spoken, no lie. Will we ever stop this war machine? We had better.

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By Jerry, September 23, 2006 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Vidal:

The world is a better place with you in it.  What the world never needed was GWB and his band of criminals.

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By Pablasco, September 23, 2006 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In response to Mr. Ewastud,
While it may be true that Mr. Bush was being read to by his peers, isn’t also true that he was following along with his finger?

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By ewastud, September 23, 2006 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, Mr. Vidal, but George Bush was being read to by his peers (not reading to) from The Pet Goat at the Florida school at the time of the 9/11 debacle.

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By CJ, September 23, 2006 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, thanks be for Gore Vidal, whose politics I don’t entirely share, but no matter. Were I religious, I’d pray nightly he’ll be with us for a long time yet.

Yes, I understand that more recent historians have written that we might have sustained “only” 25,000 losses in invading the Japanese mainland, too many of course, but then one war dead is too many, much less about 200,000 Japanese civilians alone killed by just two nuclear bombings of Japan. But would we have had to invade at all, much less drop the bombs, since evidently it was also true that the Japanese were interested in a conditional surrender? Truman, if I recall this history, would have none of it, insisting on complete, unconditional surrender. Was that demand based on the same sort of vindictiveness so much a part of G.W. Bush’s character? That is, weren’t the bombs dropped on Japan principally in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, the fire bombings of Tokyo not having been enough? (There is some evidence that Pearl Harbor too was not quite the surprise history has informed us it was. And Clinton warned the incoming regime that bin Laden represented a serious threat.) Bush took it a step further, invading (not invading, so much as blasting the crap out of) a country whose leader—but one beast among many others—had nothing to do with events of 9/11. The Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden, once shown evidence he was behind 9/11. That was a somewhat reasonable request, though whether or not they meant what they said is something we’ll never know. It hardly mattered, since Bush and crew had no more interest in that legal process than when the legal issues are torture of detainees or surveillance of citizens. Why bother with legal niceties? The Project for a New American Century, aka Empire, is not to be constructed on a foundation of legal niceties.

(And now, Musharraf is saying Armitage threatened the same would happen to Pakistan did they not bow to “yer either with us or agin us.” Being “with us” means, of course, raising no objection to blindly accepting the American way, which normally is whatever is good for American business, though in the case of Pakistan and even more outrageously, the way is providing whatever services America demands, and ASAP, Pervez!)

Chavez recently labeled Bush a “sick man.” Well, Hugo, either he’s sick OR he’s a “devil;” he unlikely both at the same time. Who can say which, whether speaking of Bush or Truman? Is Saddam evil or delusional? Were Stalin and/or Hitler? (I’ve not yet read John Dean’s new book, which I’ve heard sheds some light on this topic from the standpoint of social scientists investigations’ into the authoritarian personality as well as that typical of followers.) But the difference has been argued over by many, seemingly since the beginning of time. It was, as all know, FDR who spoke of fearing fear itself. Certainly the aforementioned feared/fear fear itself. So much for the republic—ANY republic! The drive to empire is overdetermined from the standpoint of motivations.

Beyond the element of surprise (or something less than complete surprise), there are a few parallels between the war against fascism and the so-called “war on terror,” “Islamo-fascism” involving a fairly gross misunderstanding of both fascism and Islam; although, there might be some substance to the notion, if considered from a certain (non-religious) point of view, one Bush has never and would never consider. “Has a ring though, don’t it boys?” “Might be overkill, Mr. President, same as that ‘mission accomplished’ thing awhile back. Could offend some people.” “Fine, let Frank know we’re not gonna use it agin.” One could speculate forever as to the nature of the psyches of both men—Truman and Bush, as well as to that of the American psyche, if there is such a thing. Maybe there’s really not, though more than a few on the outside looking in think there is. It IS news to me that Eisenhower and Nimitz argued against employing the bombs. More than a few upper-echelon military officers have informed the “little president” that The Project is in some jeopardy, just as it was when the obstacle to empire for so long was the “evil empire,” armed with really serious WMD. (It gets confusing trying to keep up with who’s evil and who’s not.)

Contractors, which is to say shareholders, are doing very well, thank you very much and just as they always do, not least when a number of American businesses colluded with Germany during that war. Hmm…that last one argues for the vicious sanity of all, when the issue finally is the preservation of class privilege. At least members of the British upper class DID go to the trenches and die in considerable numbers, as opposed to, say, those doing the fighting now in Iraq on BEHALF of the sanctified class). The Japanese too were in overheated pursuit of regional hegemony, horrifically so in the case of conquering China. Their position seems to have been that if you can do it, why can’t we do it? Albeit, we’re a tad more nasty and brutish in our pursuit of hegemony. Well, maybe not so much by now. Not so much any clash of civilizations as clashes of incipient Empires, the British and Ottoman having largely collapsed by, during or shortly after the Great War. Bin Laden, apparently, desires a new Caliphate. Let no one forget that Usama too once possessed a rather handsome bank account. Interesting how ideology comes to consume the members of ruling elites in particular, and often enough in the guise of ardent faith, speaking of psychological difficulty. This may be what Chavez is driving at when he lambastes Bush. Well, plus he’s probably still pissed off about that U.S.-aided and abetted coup attempt. We can only imagine repercussions had Venezuela aided and abetted a coup against GW. Venezuela would remain a smoldering crater for thousands of years were they to attempt any such thing. The late Ann Richards put it more delicately when she spoke of Bush having been born with a silver shoe in his mouth, though clearly he was born minus one or two other qualities. Never underestimate the importance of the fact the shoe was silver. Platinum might be the more apt adjective. I wonder if Bush didn’t first emerge in a fount of oil on the set of “Giant,” while mom and dad stood by whoopin’ and hollerin’ over their latest good fortune. Oh, and over baby George too. Yeah, I know, baby George was born in Connecticut, wasn’t it?

Anyway, Ike followed Harry, and in retrospect and by comparison to later editions of the presidency looks positively Augustan. Augustus was at least nostalgic for the republic. There was some nasty unfinished business in Korea—the forgotten war that forms a part of the ongoing war Vidal cites. But Ike did have sense enough to notice, and make mention of a certain complex. And now, I find out he was opposed to dropping the bombs.

Anyone who doesn’t think that another Eisenhower about now wouldn’t be a vast improvement? No, hardly a progressive’s dream, but maybe another Ike is out there, a person who could actually win, and win over any attempt to throw the election yet again. Say what you will, the man had a commanding presence. One could have asked Monty about that, or even Patton. I’m not aware of who that person might be. (Gore Vidal comes to mind in a different way, and he’d be a lot better that another Eisenhower.) He/she would have to be drafted by the Democrats this time, at least pending running as an independent. It’s hard to imagine anyone from any recent Congress, since just thinking of those people reminds me of my favorite of Gore’s historical analogies, the one where the Roman Senate sends Tiberius a message telling him that they are prepared—in effect—to rubber stamp any legislation the Emperor might submit. According to Vidal, Tiberius has been too much maligned by historians. And he’s right if Tiberius’ reply to the Senate really was something to the effect that any such offer could only be that made by complete fools. Bush, obviously, would never so reply, but instead send a “Thanks a lot, ‘bout goddamn time! XOXO” note. It seems even Emperor Tiberius had greater regard for the erstwhile Roman Republic than does Bush/Cheney for the American version. Vidal tells the story much better, such that I sort of wish he’d attach the story as an addendum to every one of his political essays. It’s a serious object lesson. However many parallels there are or aren’t with WWII, those with the Roman Empire are plentiful enough.

Is this announcement of bin Laden’s demise premature? Or somehow just in time, even if it was by Typhoid and not Cruise missile?

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By Mad As Hell, September 23, 2006 at 4:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sure the Mad King George and his Merrie Fascists would be wetting themselves with laughter if they saw how we Liberals tie ourselves up with stupidity.

Despite Vidal’s erudite discourse, all the tired old conspiracy theorists keep dragging EVERY discussion back to their pet project “proving” that MKG and the CIA were really behind 9/11 a la Hitler and the Reichstag fire.

I hate to tell you this: the last time a BIG name got involved with a conspiracy theory was Pierre Salinger and he made an ass of himself (Flight 800—didn’t you know it was shot down by a missile—Is that my tongue in my cheek?)

It’s like the christo-fascists turning every discussion into Roe v Wade, Gay Marriage and “values” (not MY values which are iron-clad, but theirs that believe God hates homosexuals, but loves the death penalty).

YOU DISIPATE REAL AND EFFECTIVE DISCUSSION OF ISSUES AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE!

Then we have malcolmartin we his 30’s-era Marxism.  Hey, guy: Marxism failed because it doesn’t work!  China is prospering because it pays lip-service to Marx, but actively is leaving it.  Marxist countries have been even less responsible about environmental damage.

Capitalism is not failing and leading to fascism, except here in America.  But that’s because Bush isn’t a capitalist, and neither are his friends.  TRUE capitalism is based on meritocracy, something that would have Mad King George barely qualified to scrub toilets in a porn movie theater!  Capitalism is working very nicely in most of Europe and, when cronyism is upset, in Latin and South America.

Henry Clemmens: I see you would have preferred Lincoln to have let the South secede and have a slave society. That was the alternative.

But here, where we’ve been suckered by the christo-fascists, the neo-fascists, and Dems with bellies but no balls, we’ve lost control of our economy and future.  Capitalism is like a dog: you have to keep it leashed and trained to voice commands (Sit, Stay, Heel). If you don’t, you get a bad dog and it’s YOUR fault! This is what they have learned in Western Europe.  Capitalism, strictly leashed is the engine to a better future. Unleashed, we get George Bush.

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By Martin Maloney, September 22, 2006 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. He is the co-author of “The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.” Here is his take on the collapse of the three buildings at the World Trade Center:

The only explanation known to science for the free fall collapse of a building, especially into its own footprint, is engineered demolition, which removes the supports for each floor of the building at split second intervals so that the debris from above meets no resistance on its fall.  To call this explanation a “conspiracy theory” is to display the utmost total ignorance.  Any physicist or engineer who maintains that buildings can “pancake” at free fall speed has obviously been bought and paid for or is a total incompetent fool.

The full article can be read here:

http://www.vdare.com/roberts/060816_what_know.htm

Bill Christison is a former CIA analyst. This is what he has to say:

Let’s address the real issues here. Why is it important that we not let the so-called conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 be drowned out? After spending the better part of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism, I have devoted serious time to actually studying them in recent months, and have also carefully watched several videos that are available on the subject. I have come to believe that significant parts of the 9/11 theories are true, and that therefore significant parts of the “official story” put out by the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission are false…

Here’s the URL for that one:

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Aug06/Christison14.htm

The video, “911 Eyewitness” is available to watch for free at this location:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3498980438587461603

(Broadband connection required.)

I realize that those who have expressed personal hostility toward me will ignore the contents of this post and will continue to demean me. I don’t care.

This post is for the benefit of those whose minds are open to new ideas and whose egos don’t get in the way of free, dispassionate inquiry.

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By nazicrazy, September 22, 2006 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
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Mr Vidal’s elegy, timely and timeless.

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By paul kibble, September 22, 2006 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
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Re Comment #24875 by Martin Maloney:

You asked (rhetorically, of course), “Couldn’t you manage something more original and inventive than the hackneyed ‘Baloney?’” To wax as ad hominem as possible: learn how to read.

Pay attention, class:  what I said was, “This JUVENILE response IS ON PAR WITH your sub-adolescent sneers. . .” Notice the big tip-off there?: I stated that my self-described grade-school taunt was on the same level as your mini-screed.

That is to say, in keeping with the tone and style of your post, I reached for the nearest cliche at hand and brought it crashing down on the head of the subject. A more “original and inventive” play on words would have been an exercise in misplaced ingenuity, like farting through a keyhole. It’s clever, but why bother?

(By the way, with a last name like “Kibble,” I needn’t tell you I’ve long been the target of similarly juvenile barbs.)

Prithee, how does Vidal’s focus on Bush’s complicity in 9/11 help keep “people corralled in a neat and tidy pen”? This is a “safe” alternative theory?

Sorry, the pen isn’t all that “neat and tidy.” Unlike most of their cynical, wised-up European counterparts, many Americans need to believe that their leaders could maybe make some mistakes—-we’re all human, after all—-but, goshdarnit, it’s just crazy to suggest that the Prez could have deliberately ordered those fighter planes to stand down—-or, for that matter, palyed a role in detonating the Twin Towers.

Yet anything that subverts our sense of complacency, anything that contributes to a climate of suspicion and disrespect for those in power,  should be welcomed. As it happens, I don’t care for Micahel Moore that much, either. But he does have his uses. He asked some hard questions and after a screening of “Farenheit 9/11,” I heard a woman in the audience yell out, “Throw these murdering cocksuckers in jail,” to a round of hardy applause. Is that “safe and tidy”? To me, this sounds like possible seeds of doubt and therefore rebellion.

I listen to Stephanie Miller on Air America and have noted that one of her cohorts, Jim, has a “conspiracy corner” in he which offers, among other things, the “darker” alternative conspiracy theory to the cause of the Twin Towers’ collapse, i.e., the controlled-demolition scenario, focusing on the timing and angle of the building’s respective falls, and so on. He is regularly teased about his “marginal” views, but I suspect he is sincere and clearly he strikes a sympathetic chord among some listeners. I have also checked out some websites that make similar claims.

But if it is indeed a “FACT that WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7 collapsed from controlled demolition[s],” then I’m sure you can adduce appropriate FACTUAL evidence (from demolitions experts, etc.) to support this claim. Since I already regard Bush and his PNAC cronies as mass murderers, I would be more than happy to believe that they played a more sinister role in 9/11 than even the “official” alternative theory suggets and will thus be happy to accept your version at face value if you can present a carefully marshalled, point-by-point array of data that will convince me you’re right.

Since you’ve read Vidal’s pamphlets (or so I gather), then you must know that his attacks on PNAC have been unsparing. Wolfowitz et al. did indeed want “a new Pearl Harbor.” And they got it.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, September 22, 2006 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
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Do we have a hope of ever knowing who killed JFK…Do we know who, aside from Tim McVeigh was involved in the bombing of the federal building….NO, NO, AND NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO KNOW HOW COMPLICIT OUR OWN GOVERNMENT WAS IN THE 9/11 TRAGDEY.
It is enough to know that our government lied, used these sad events for their own ends, which makes them very suspect. That alone should be enough to cause the voters to throw the bastards out and start again…...but we do not….so we will deserve whatever we get…..which begins to look like plenty because it looks like our congresscritters are going to give the OK for torture. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL PLAY OUT OVER THE YEARS. NOW YOU CAN SEND JOHNNIE TO TORTURE UNIVERSITY IF HE HAS A PENCHANT FOR SETTING PUPPIES ON FIRE OR BLOWING UP FROGS. OF COURSE THERE IS THAT CHANCE THAT HE MAY PISS OFF THE WRONG PERSON AND BE WATERBOARDED AND TOSSED OUT OF A PLANE OVER THE ATLANTIC, PACIFIC, OR GULF. CHOICE IS WONDERFUL….ARGENTINA ONLY HAD THE SOUTH ATLANTIC.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, September 22, 2006 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
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Thanks, Paul Kibble, you said it for me.
Mr Maloney just is not up to sparing with our Mr. Vidal. As that big toothed, big headed pundit who tried it during the Kennedy/Nixon election, whose name escapes me at the moment,found out…..you are not good enough, you do not know enough history, your command of the language is not good enough.
Mr. Maloney, do some research and find where Mr Vidal is incorrect factually…that will keep you busy for a while.

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By malcolmartin, September 22, 2006 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
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Francisco:

Capitalism is doomed! It is destined to be replaced by a superior economic system called socialism if the planet survives capitalism’s death throes.

Capitalism is an economic system built on the rubble of an inferior economic system to itself called feudalism. Nascent capitalism enjoyed explosive growth and it spawned revolutions around the world, including the American Revolution. The young and dynamic economic system found that a bourgeois democracy created the most fertile soil for development. The United States and several other leading industrial countries adopted this form of government.

Here we are 230 years later and capitalism has grown old and tired. The economic system has entered its final days and is gasping for profits—its breath of life. That is why, politically speaking, the US is moving away from bourgeois democracy to fascism.

Capitalism depends on profits to survive and the appetite for those profits simply cannot be satisfied! For example U.S. oil companies have realized world record profits every quarter for the past several years. Someone unfamiliar with the nature of capitalism might ask why Big Oil can’t relax with all those billions in the bank. The fact is, unless they make ever-greater profit into the indefinite future ExxonMobil and Chevron will whither and die. That is why, against every instinct toward justice, the oil company’s servants in the Congress reject a windfall profits tax, have given away billions of dollars of royalty rights revenues, and will eventually give up drilling rights prohibitions on the Gulf Coast and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today, even the largest corporations, like General Motors, Nissan and Renault, seek the comfort of each other’s arms. They can only survive through the consolidation of wealth in fewer and fewer entities!

Capitalism’s contradictory impulses have begun bumping into each other. It’s happening in the national debate on immigration and it happened in the recent Dubai Ports World controversy. Profits are the system’s lifeblood so the ruling class craves an immigrant guest worker program and the UEA’s petrodollars but the rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Arab sentiment coursing through U.S. society has so far blocked their designs. Racism and xenophobia and every other tactic of division have been the guarded carefully by capitalism with good reason. Unity of the working class is the only potentially deadly threat to this system. White supremacy, Black Nationalism, religious fundamentalism, sexism, homophobia, and all the crackpot schemes and the nihilistic cults of the bourgeoisie, like al-Qaeda, are dead ends for all of us who work.

Finally Francisco, personal insult demeans and weakens your argument in any debate and you should try to avoid it. Although I have to admit I’ve enjoyed some of Hugo Chavez’recent remarks. How about you?

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By Ralph DiCarpio, September 22, 2006 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
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As a historian, I find it refreshing that one of the ilk finally exposes the dirty little “secret” of modern American history: along with the rise of the imperial presidency comes the permanent state of warfare. While we may classify it by its thermal signature, the effect of permanent war serves to magnify the role of the emperor while diminishing that of the democracy.

So be it in the current conflict, the so-called war on terror. How one can declare war on a tactic remains puzzling. One can only imagine Franklin Roosevelt proclaiming that in response to Pearl Harbor, America would declare a state of war with aircraft carriers and warplanes. But febore anyone diagnoses the efforts of this administration as a function of idiocy, it is, in fact, a conscious policy of maintaining a state of fear intended to foster the true aim of this presidency;i.e., to concentrate power in a new plutocracy.

Such grand schemes aould be difficult during peacetime. It is only in a state of war where absolute power can be accumulated. This is especially true in a virtual democracy where informed citizens can question the motives of the “leaders.” However, as the Bush/Cheney/Rove team knows, when you constantly invoke the politics of fear, the citizens of the USA (United Sheep of America) will follow you anywhere. And in the age of the anti-FDR, The only thing we have to fear is the absence of fear.

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By Fellow Traveller, September 22, 2006 at 6:08 am Link to this comment
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first, my apologies for my bad spelling in my first post.

secondly, to CT DeBunker,

one of the problems with the 911 Truth Movement is that many folks get “bogged down” in the a specific detail, or two or three.  many folks lose focus of the overall sequence of the events themselves, on that day.

at a veteran’s group I attend,  I simply downloaded some photos from the web, and passed them around.

I was surprised at the reaction a week later.

Guys who had assailed me with mocking and derisive remarks, had had a chance to go to the net and “check out” the photos I had presented them, just a week earlier.  The difference in their attitudes wsa remarkable.  Hence my remarking upon this personal event.

Gore vidal delivers his opinions , oft times, in great, giant swaths of “brush strokes”.

My humble experience is that focusing one a single detail,  prevents one from painting the “Big Picture”.

Mr. Vidal, is not, in essence, a “detailist”;  al contrario,  he always paints the broad picture, and fills in historically correct details as he goes along within his presentation.

Altogether,  your nit-picking does NOT advance an aggendum, towards fighting the incicpient fascism that is gobblnig up “The Republic”, even as I type these words.

My suggestion ?  Chill out !

It is my intention to check out his last two books.  One thing about reading a book by Gore;  one is never bored !

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By Martin Maloney, September 22, 2006 at 4:10 am Link to this comment
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When lacking evidence, the first fall-back is the good ol’ ad hominem attack.

Couldn’t you manage something more original and inventive than the hackneyed “Baloney?”

I am a juvenile of 62 years of age. As I recall the fable, it was a sub-adolescent who sneered, “The emperor wears no clothes!” For the record, I watch no television programming at all (there’s a reason that it’s called “programming”) nor do I play any video games.

My critique of Vidal’s position on the crime of 9-11 was based on my familiarity, not my ignorance, of his writings on the subject.

Yes, Vidal tackled the relationship between the Bush and the bin Laden families. (So did that worthless liberal blowhard Michael Moore!) So what? It’s a red herring. Osama bin Laden had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 9-11.

My objection to Vidal on the subject of 9-11 is not that he’s an aging lefty; it’s that he’s an aging lefty gatekeeper. By keeping the focus on Bush’s alleged complicity, he keeps people corralled in a neat and tidy pen.

Vidal’s is the “safe” alternative theory of what really happened on 9-11. It goes like this: Bush had advance warning that Osama-trained Muslims were going to hijack jets and fly them into major targets, he realized that such an event would so terrorize the American people that he could force through the shredding of the Bill of Rights and justify foreign invasions, so he decided to let it happen.

The fact that WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7 collapsed from controlled demolition utterly demolishes (deliberate choice of word) the “safe” theory.

If anyone wants to know who made 9-11 happen, then start with the neocons of PNAC. You know – the people who were chomping at the bit for “a new Pearl Harbor.”

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By C.T. DEBUNKER, September 21, 2006 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
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I find it amazing that the “legendary” Mr. Vidal still refers to the fictitious elements of The Big Lie of 9/11 as if they were real.

How can anyone, especially someone like him, see only halfway behind a curtain?

Sure there are other curtains—like noticing that Democrats simply pretend to not notice that Bush has made self-implicating incriminating 9/11 witness statements—but Mr. Vidal is still stuck on the 1st one, 9/11.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Has it somehow eluded Mr. Vidal that the guy in the government’s “Osama confession video” is not Osama?

Is Mr. Vidal still unaware that the aircraft [barely] seen in the government’s Pentagon attack video is TOO SMALL TO BE A 757 and thus COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE FLIGHT 77?

How many ways must we find a conspiracy theory (in this case, the government’s) to be impossibly false before we reject it?

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By Thrasea Paetus, September 21, 2006 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment
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Dio Cassius, historian of the Roman principate, wrote that in the year 27 BCE when Octavian (later Augustus) formalized his position as first emperor of Rome, “most things began to be kept in secret and concealed, and even though some things are perchance made public, they are distrusted just because they cannot be verified; for it is suspected that everything is said and done with reference to the wishes of the men in power at the time and their associates” (53.19.2).

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By Fellow Traveller, September 21, 2006 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
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I’ve read many of his books. The man has genius.  When his time to pass arrives, the ever devolving world will have lost a treasure of inestamaable and immeasureable worth.

One WOULD tink that those stolid swedes would give him a nobel laureate, for a lifetime achievement for excellence in literature, if for nothing else.

(I could make a good case for the Peace Laureate, as regards lifetime achievements!).

As another person wrote within this blog, “Ave atqure Vale” indeed, Mr. Vidal.

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By paul kibble, September 21, 2006 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment
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Re Comment #24681 by Martin Maloney: 

Baloney, Maloney. This juvenile response is on par with your sub-adolescent sneers at an author who has devoted much of his writing life to, in Marc Cooper’s phrase, “critiquing America’s imperial impulses.” Needless to say, 9/11 gave him ample opportunity to continue and expand that critique.

Your remarks are a model of intellectual slovenliness. Have you actually read anything by Gore Vidal other than his posts here? Were that the case, you wouldn’t have made a statement as obtuse (and as easily disproved) as the following: “Lurking, however, underneath his eloquent, polysyllabic prose, is his abject failure to confront the brazen absurdity of the official conspiracy theory of the events of 9-11. . . 9-11 was the grand enabling event.”

Why, yes, 9/ll was indeed the grand enabling event for the Bush crime famiglia.  Perhaps that’s why Vidal has devoted substantial sections of his self-descibed pamphlets “Dreaming War” (Nation Books, 2002)and “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” (Nation Books, 2002) to “confront[ing] the brazen absurdity of the official conspiracy theory of the events of 9-11.”

I urge readers to read both these books, but as to Maloney’s specific contention, a glance at just one chapter in “Dreaming War” will suffice to dispel any doubts about Vidal’s opinion of the “official conspiracy theory of 9/11.” The chapter’s title? “Goat Song: Unanswered Questions Before, During, After 9/11.”

Remember this was written well before the “official” 9/11 Commission Report, when everyone approached the subject in reverential silence, heads bowed. Vidal, who, in his own description, specializes in “saying the unsayable,” had the effrontery to suggest that the authroized version of 9/11 was bogus—-and that Dubya may have played a key role in the Towers’ fall. Of course, at the time, and hardly for the first time in his long career, he was widely mocked as an anti-American crank, his fearless counternarrative derided as paranoid ravings from an aging lefty.

Some excerpts follow:

“Complicity. The behavior of George W. Bush on 9/11 certainly gives rise to all sorts of suspicions. I can think of no other modern chief of state who would continue to pose for ‘warm’ pictures of himself listening to a young girl telling stories about her pet goat while highjacked planes were slamming into three famous buildings. . .”

“Constitutionally, Bush is not only chief of state, he is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Normally, a commander in chief in such a crisis would go straight to headquarters and direct operations while receiving the latest intelligence as to who, where, what.”

“This is what Bush actually did—-or did not do—-according to Stan Goff, a retired twenty-six-year U.S. Army Veteran who has taught Military Science and Doctrine at West Point. . .Goff, like the other astonished military experts, cannot fathom why the government’s automatic ‘standard order of procedure in the event of a highjacking’ was not followed. . .That is mandatory law and does not require presidential approval, which only needs to be given if there is a decision to shoot down a plane. . . .the more it [Goff’s account] is added to, the darker it becomes.” (pp. 24-27)

[. . .General Richard B.] Myers claims to be uninformed until the third strike. But the Pentagon had been overseeing the highjacked planes from at least the strike at the first tower. But not until the third strike was the decision made to get the fighter planes up.”

“Finally, this one is the dog that did not bark. According to law, the fighters should have been up around 8:15. If they had , all thhree highjacked planes would have been shot down. I don’t think Sergeant Stan Goff is being unduly picky when he wonders who and what kept the Air Force from following its normal procedure. . .Obviously, somebody had ordered the Air Force to make no move to intercept those highjackings until. . .what?” (p. 29)

“It is interesting how often in our history, when disaster strikes, incompetence is considered a better alibi than. . .well, yes, there are worse things. After Pearl Harbor, Congress moved to find out why Hawaii’s two military commanders had not anticipated the attack. But President Roosevelt pre-empted that investigation with one of his own. [The two commanders] were broken for incompetence. The ‘truth’ is still obscured to this day. . . .”

“But Pearl Harboor has been much studied over the years. 9/11, it is plain, is never going to be investigated if our secretive junta has anything to say about it.” 

There is also an extensive discussion of the Bush family’s relationship with the bin Laden family: “Finally, the rumor that the Bush family had in any way profited by its involvement with the bin Laden family was [dismissed as]—-what else?—-partisan bad taste. . . .Bush pere et fils, in pursuit of wealth and office, is beyond shame or. . .good sense. There is evidence that they are blocking investigation of the bin Laden connection with terrorism.” (pp. 32-35)

There’s much more in the same vein. Perhaps next time, Mr. Maloney, you can tear yourself away from reruns of American Idol or sessions of Halo with fellow gamers long enough to read what Vidal actually wrote, as opposed to what you think he did—-or didn’t—-write.

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By J.D. Ricks, September 21, 2006 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you!  I was beginning to think I was the only one that could see the parallels.  As a reward for pointing it out to them, some of my “friends” will no longer speak to me.

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By Ted Buila, September 21, 2006 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
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This (also) belongs/has more flesh: the 1 hour David Barsamian-Gore Vidal Q&A on Alternative Radio (aired last night in Seattle.) 

Perhaps the Alternative Radio folks can be encouraged to Pod the interview.

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By Francisco Torres, September 21, 2006 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
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Now as capitalism enters its final stages politically, a nearly seamless transition to fascism is taking place. Or as Gore Vidal puts it, from republic to empire.

One correction (which is important, in view of the blatant ignorance behind the quoted comment): “Capitalism” is not a political philosophy but simply the human activity of creating stuff for exchange, using other stuff, or “capital”. Thus a hammer and a saw are the carpenter’s “capital”, and he practices “capitalism” every time he uses his “capital” for creating furniture.

Bush and his cronies are not following any particular “capitalistic” philosophy. They are in fact socialists, meaning they place the State above the individual and his or her rights.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, September 21, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
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Mr Vidal, I, like you, am on the other side of 60 and am looking back. I want to thank you for your attempt to inform me about the world I was living in, eventho I continued to live in that fairy tale America till about 12 years ago when I saw Noam Chomsky interviewed on Canadian TV. I went and demanded that the local bookstore get some of his books for me, then I found on the I-net your essays and many others. A lower middle class housewife did not have easy access to information like the I-net. I understand why some people just refuse to know. It was easier for me as I never believed the cold war BS, but never could put it all together. I at least recognized that….by their fruits ye shall know them…..if the result of what we had done in the world was evil then the intent could not have been good. 
Could you, at some point give the people like me some pointers on learning to live with this schizophrenic world.

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By marblex, September 21, 2006 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you.

I wish to hell you were wrong, but unfortunately, you are spot on.

Scott:  The Amurrrikkan sheeple will never rise up off their fat asses to do anything other than search for the remote control so they don’t miss another episode of “Survivor”

Things are going to start getting very ugly about now.  Der Shrubenfuherer is planning to nuke Iran.

“duck and cover”

Woe betide us all

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By James X, September 21, 2006 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
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I was a little worried reading some of the first comments imagining some attack-dog intern from the Heritage Foundation assigned to smear one of my favorite writers. How can anyone describe Vidal as “ranting” much less to “throngs”? I wish there were throngs listening.
I relaxed as I found plenty of admirers and agreed with one in particular who mentioned the Nobel. Yes indeed.
Last winter, in solitude and quiet, in Corsica, I reread The Education of Henry Adams and Gore’s 1876. Henry, a divine writer himself, must have been a great influence on Gore. Both are keen observers of power and neither of the kowtowing breed which, from here in quaint Paris, seems ubiquitous in America. Land of the free and home of the brave? I don’t think so.
If we could all think like Gore and Adams write, no one would be in thrall to such small men as most of our presidents since Roosevelt have been.
Thanks again Mr. Vidal

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By citizen_pain, September 21, 2006 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
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Where is Brutus when you need him?

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By Keone, September 21, 2006 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
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Boy, I think Vidal said it like it should be said.

Especially the remarks about our behavior in bombing Japan with the Atomic Bomb.  I’ve often thought, as it says it the Bible, ye shall reap as ye sew!  As a nation the Atomic threats by terrorists we now face are a harvest I hope we never experience.

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By Martin Maloney, September 21, 2006 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
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Ah, yes, Pope—or is it Saint?—Vidal has once again pontificated on the failed state of the Republic, and the enthralled throngs wildly cheer!

Lurking, however, underneath his eloquent, polysyllabic prose, is his abject failure to confront the brazen absurdity of the official conspiracy theory of the events of 9-11.

9-11 was the grand enabling event. Once that the lie that 19 Muslims, armed only with box-cutters, hijacked four airliners and flew them, completely off course and with consummate skill, while the FAA and NORAD and the United States Air Force were too confused to respond—once that the lie has been exposed, then sequence of the events of the past five years falls neatly into place.

Everything was pre-planned, prior to 9-11. Anyone with even rudimentary Internet search skills can discover for himself that the groundwork for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was laid in the mid 1990s. The freedom-destroying so-called PATRIOT Act was boiler-plated into place from pre-existing proposals.

Moreover, the PNAC document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” was released in September 2000. It contains this line:

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor…”

The faux election of 2000 was not just a matter of voter fraud. It was a flat-out coup.

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By BB, September 21, 2006 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
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“Now as capitalism enters its final stages politically, a nearly seamless transition to fascism is taking place.”

I don’t think you could be more wrong.  My personal interpretation of world events has nothing to do with capitalism or “petty bourgeoisie” (was the last book you read Marx’s Communist Manifesto or what?).  I think it has to do with a generation of Americans that have had the focus placed upon them their entire lives and they are suddenly about to leave the stage of history because they are getting too old and they don’t like it one bit.  They lost Vietnam and have never gotten over it.  The massive state apparatus they have built is losing strength (no draft this time, thankfully), the plutocrats have lost control of the message (they own the Internet, but they can’t control how it gets used), and they fear what they do not understand (the decentralization of every aspect of life).  These are the people who studied economics a la Keynes.  They have no other concept of how to operate civilization besides central planning and “trickle down” theory.  They’re one-trick ponies.


Vidal’s lefty rhetoric betrays the same extremsism as the neocons.  The root of the problem these writers seem to keep missing (because of their political cant) is statism itself.  The religion of the state is what has end if we are ever to live in peace.  The faith in the almighty state—that government can feed the poor and right every wrong if only it is allowed to brutalize a little bit more, that is precisely what has to change.  When the state religion dies (and it will—if communism can die, anything is possible), then the Military/Industrial Corporatism will disappear.  It probably not happen until the true believers cast off for good and succeeding generations finally come to grips with the fearmongering and lies they have been told about the goodness of militarism. 

If we can just survive the next 10 years or so without the US waging nuclear war on anyone, I think we will be all right.

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By Paul, September 21, 2006 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
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Like many political commentators, Vidal lacks basic logic. Aside from oil, Iraq, Syria and Iran have little significance. The fact that America can’t hold a tribal nation hostage doesn’t mean anything except America can’t hold a tribal nation hostage. Most tribes throughout history were exterminated. Extermination is not possible because of laws set forth BY NON TRIBAL NATIONS.

But Vidals comparison leaves out one tiny tidbit of history. For the last 100 years, Iraq, Syria and the rest of the arab world has been ruled by either dictators or western governors. The Kurds have been “uprising” since the 20’s. The fact that the real problem in Iraq is the inability of Islamic nations to create secular bureaucracies seems lost on our esteemed America dispiser.

Vidal is, as always, as insignificant as the arguments he makes. The only thing his rantings teach us is that envy is a powerful emotion.

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By Henry Clemens, September 21, 2006 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
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Gore Vidal is, of course, correct. What litte that remains of the old Jeffersonian republic is being systematically destroyed by the Bush regime. His comment about the “guile” of Lincoln is right on. Though mountains of tomes have been written trying to justify Lincoln and his war against the South, in the end the truth about him is this: Lincoln was nothing more than an extremely ruthless and ambitious politician, a dictator and a war criminal. His rebellion against constitutional government was successful. With the total destruction of the South and the old Jeffersonian republic as establiched by the founders, the road to empire was now wide open. The Federalists (i.e. the Hamiltonians, the bankers and the mercantilists) had at last realized their long-sought goal of total control over American domestic and foreign policies. Thanks Abe, you SOB.

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By AlbieWK, September 21, 2006 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, the big question is - who is our Augustulus’ Odoacer?

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By Sara, September 20, 2006 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment
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Did anybody notice that he was holding “The Pet Goat” UPSIDE DOWN?!

Or that, at a presidential photo-op, he was peering with steely gaze through binoculars THAT STILL HAD THEIR CAPS ON?!

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By ferguson, September 20, 2006 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
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one of the reasons i believe this is brilliant and razor sharp, as hpschd says, is the fact that vidal doesn’t have a dog in this fight ... he has no emotional bias ... remember he also said ...  “there is only one party in the united states, the property party. . .and it has two right wings: republican and democrat. republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—-until recently. . .and more willing than the republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. but, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”

grazie ancora una volta il sig. vidal

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By Edward Cole, September 20, 2006 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment
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That was up to Mr. Vidal’s extremely high usual standards.  Apart from history, Gore Vidal should be required reading for any aspiring writer who starts to get too wrapped up in him or herself.

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By paineite, September 20, 2006 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment
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Gore Vidal is the gadfly, the Carlile, the Tom Paine of our time. Shine on!

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By G. Anderson, September 20, 2006 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
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It’s actually become too complicated for me to follow anymore, which is typical of lies, and liers. Since, they are forced to continuously lie to cover each lie in succession, until reality itself becomes a moving target.

In this regard Mr. Vidals comparison of FDR and GWB is an apt one, and for me brings the real into focus again. 

For one thing is clear as hell, we’ve gone from FDR and the New Deal, to GWB and the New Con in a realivly short space of time. Each with their own promise, or lies depending on which side of the schizm your on.

That the New Cons seek to overturn FDR’s great reforms and public works should come as no surprise. They’ve resented them since the beginning, and even plotted to have FDR removed via military cous.

With Bush they saw their chance. A man whose personal history is as shallow as any junkie, scamming the American People for something to feed his ego.

That they American people were connned by Bush’s lies and manipulations, only indicates how little they understood what they owed to FDR, for their standard of living, and their lives as free Americans.

Believing in The little man is a damned hard job, a constant daily struggle, of revision, rethinking, and re understanding the events of the day. Similar to a day’s labor at the ministry of truth.

A job I suspect that will become even harder in the future, given the present course of history.

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By connie ruth, September 20, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks Gore Vidal. As usual, your writing packs a nucular wallop. Sorry I missed reading “The Pet Goat.” I hear it got baaaaaad reviews.

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By Stanliegh Jones, September 20, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
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As a friend wrote to me after reading Gore Vidal’s article, “We ran the wrong Gore in 2004.”

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By bg1, September 20, 2006 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
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I wish I could write like Vidal.

Regarding parallels with ancient Rome, Bush comes shows hallmarks of one of the bad emperors: dishonest, corrupt, obtuse in dealing with domestic and foreign adversaries, inflexible in his thinking, shows limited curiosity, disdainful of nuance and intolerant of dissent.

It’s important that the Democrats get control of at least one house of Congress, if for no other reason than to act as a check on this fool.

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By malcolmartin, September 20, 2006 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
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Now as capitalism enters its final stages politically, a nearly seamless transition to fascism is taking place. Or as Gore Vidal puts it, from republic to empire. The trappings of bourgeois democracy are a brake on the gas-oil junta’s profits and so they are being shredded. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights are being rendered meaningless by presidential signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive, extraordinary rendition, government surveillance programs and the like. Programs based on democratic principles like the public schools, Social Security, Medicare, affirmative action and welfare are being starved to death. The mass media and electoral machinery and both major political parties are now fully under the control of those in power. Bloodless coups in 2000 and 2004 installed George W. Bush in the White House and no future election will remove the candidate of the ruling class from power.

It would take a team of psychoanalysts to catalogue the many and varied mental pathologies of George W. Bush and his henchmen in the U.S. government. The point to keep in mind is that in this time and in this place the capitalist system needed people in power capable of carrying out insane and grotesquely inhumane policies, up to and including the coming nuclear attack on Iran. Capitalism, like the HAL 9000 computer onboard the spaceship Discovery in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, is out of the control of its makers. The system now has only human sentinels, best represented by the so-called Neo-Conservatives in ruling circles.

American bourgeois democracy is drowning. It will not be resuscitated. The liberal intelligentsia of the petty bourgeois spins its wheels in the mud of this reality. Now repentent patricians like Al Gore even see what lays ahead. Gore knows what is being done to the planets ecosystem and tries to sound the alarm with a film like An Inconvenient Truth. Lay out the incontrovertible facts of global warming, organize and agitate, and a tipping point will come that changes governmental policy. A younger Al Gore saw Dr. Martin Luther King do just that in his confrontation with racial injustice and clings to the memory along with the idea that rationality still has influence in American ruling circles. The real inconvenient truth is that even the great Dr. King could not generate an effective civil rights movement in 2006 and that the assault on the environment will not end until a stake is driven into the heart of capitalism.

The sad truth is that the petty bourgeois, for all its brilliant writers, and none is more so than Gore Vidal, cannot defeat the capitalist ruling class! They are a timid and passive group who, in this time for warriors, gather at the gates of the palace to nag and complain essentially to each other. There are scores of Internet websites, magazines, newspapers, radio programs and networks like AirAmerica Radio, and some small television networks where liberal, left, progressive, and other commentators show up to whine out loud. They rail against the outrages and inhumanity of the U.S. government and the Bush Administration. They point out the duplicity, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the inhumanity, and the utter criminality loosed in the world today but to no useful end since capitalism will not be reformed nor shamed to death. Pointing out the defects of capitalism has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. The ruling class brushes its liberal democratic critics off like gnats as long as they stay away from the third rail. But let one of these voices dare mention unity based on working class-consciousness and a mobilization to strike at profits and great danger would shortly thereafter visit.

No matter the danger, it must begin to be spoken by our warrior-poets: socialism is the only way humankind will live into the distant future on this planet. Only a working class in power will see to the end of this madness and willingly share our available resources to insure our survival on this planet. How to get to socialism is the only discussion left worth having.

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By mlecce, September 20, 2006 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
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If only these great words can be passed around to all Americans. If fact all of Gore Vidal’s writings should be included reading for every school in America.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Gore Vidal

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By paul kibble, September 20, 2006 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
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Does Gore Vidal ever get bored with being right? I realize that “I told you [or them] so” is one of his signature phrases, but even he must tire of batting a thousand while his dull opponents invariably strike out every time they step up to home plate.

Years ago, at a time when even most “responsible” critics of the Iraq war were mincing every syllable (in the case of Dems, often with an eye to re-election), Vidal said exactly what needed to be said about the Bush-Cheney junta’s crazed quest for Middle-Eastern oil. Now his lonely voice has been joined by a swelling chorus of “Had-I-but-knowns.” Well, better late than never.

Few contemporary writers deserve to have the epithet “essentail” conferred upon their works. Gore Vidal is among that increasingly endangered and utterly irreplaceable few.

As always, Vidal’s comments here demonstrate his apparently inexhaustible intellectual curiosity, his merciless wit, his fearless skewering of our follies past and present, his ability to not only grasp but reimagine and revivify history and politics (“ours” and everyone else’s).

Surely these fatal qualities explain why those solemn Swedes have thus far failed to recognize that while his achievement may not have attained the rarefied heights occupied by such immortals as Patrick White or Pearl S. Buck, Gore has at least earned a niche beside such minor Nobel laureates as George Bernard Shaw, Andre Gide, and G.W. Bush’s current fave scribe, Albert Camus.

Mr. Vidal also strikes the right tone—-at once elegiac and, well, resigned (or is it relieved?)—-as he observes our empire spiraling ever further toward the longed-for suicide pact shared by both our Christian and Muslim fundamentalists (though at the moment pursued more openly and relentlessly by the Prophet’s children). Are you getting it? Armageddonit, in Def Lepard’s deathless phrase. 

One of Mr. Vidal’s first collections of essays was titled “Reflections Upon a Sinking Ship;” it’s now safe to say that long-foundering ship is finally gurgling its way toward full fathom five, and not even the gifted and patient James Cameron will ever be able to raise it again.

As for those Viconian cycles of history,  while in previous eras we could console ourselves that another civilization might eventually rise from the ashes of this or that imperium, I’m afraid the title of one Mr. Vidal’s recent collections is all to prescient: The Last Empre. Note: that’s last—-not latest—-empire.

So to fellow Latinist Mr. Vidal, a wistful “Ave atque vale.” For you non-Latnists out there, that’s “Hail and farewell.” Or is that “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya”?

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By Carey Self Hickman, September 20, 2006 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
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MY!  Mr. Vidal brings out the best, most well-written, thoughtful comments in the blogosphere. 

All I can add is to express my utter admiration for Gore Vidal.  I hang on his every word as if I can hold onto them forever.

It’s almost as if I can physically hear Vidal speak the words as he writes.  Positively uncanny.

Thank you so much for your extreme dedication to educating and enlightening your fellow man, all in the form of delightful entertaining prose.

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By slg, September 20, 2006 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
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It’s so amazing to read in a few short paragraphs what 50,000 words a day from myriad sources have attempted to say. Intellectual thinking at its’ finest.

The case against is clear. So, now what? Two more months of fearmongering and manipulation followed by two more years of bloody debacle? and then what?

Janus was also given the honour of being the first month of the year. In this position his two faces point to the year that was and the year to be. Janus looks back so his new year can be tempered by past actions. The goal is to not keep repeating the same missteps year after year.

People used to take that sort of thing seriously, especially in their gods.

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By Larry Deyab, September 20, 2006 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
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Reading Gore Vidal’s piece, I am reminded of this quote in regard to the Bush Administration:

“Because I do it with one small ship, I am called a terrorist.
You do it with a whole fleet and are called an emperor.”

–  A pirate, from St. Augustine’s “City of God”

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By rabblerowzer, September 20, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
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The money goes round and round.

Eighty per cent of all stock market shares are owned by the richest ten per cent of Americans.  Some people call those ten per cent the “elite,” but I call them plutocrats.

Consider for a moment what that means in terms of their power to control and manipulate all aspects of government. They own at least eighty percent of the Military Industrial Complex, our largest industry, making them also our largest employer. Which in turn generates a powerful and loyal political base, because nobody votes themselves out of a well paid job.

Plutocrats have concentrated their investments in specific industries like the Military Industrial Complex because they are guaranteed humongous profits. They have also invested heavily in media corporations, banks, insurance companies, medical, drug and health care industries, power companies, telephone companies, and of course gas and oil corporations.

Our system of government is based on legalized bribery. Plutocrats have the gold and use it to bribe politicians to legislate in their favor exclusively. In a comically perverse way though, the bribes are really just loans, because politicians use those bribes/loans to buy media ads to get reelected so they can collect more bribes/loans. The money goes round and round, but always ends up in the plutocrats pockets.

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By Mr. Wonderful, September 20, 2006 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
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“reading to his peers…”

Wish I’d said that.

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By Scott, September 20, 2006 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
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You people do have a constitution that authorizes your taking up arms and using force to deal with governments that escape your control.

What are you waiting for?

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By Lee Driver, September 20, 2006 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
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Yes, some noble humanitarian, they do exist, but being noble and humanitarian they are by nature disinclined to step into the arena to wrestle power from idiots, liars and evil men, and the people that follow them. They are by nature inclined to suffer the little children, to turn the other cheek, to do art.

If we were to describe humans as being made up of two types, noble humanitarians and hawks, say, it would soon become apparent that in most encounters the hawks would come out on top simply because they’re willing to resort to the fist or corercion or the gun, while the humanitarians are not, at least to a point.

And therein is the rub, that those more prone to stepping on others set the stage for how the game is to be played. No matter how much of a turn-the-other-cheek type you are, you can only get suckered into a hammer fight without your hammer so many times, before you have to godammit go home and get your hammer. And in a way, even though the hawks may eventually be beat down and driven back into their holes, they have won in that they’ve proven once again, that force is the only way. 

The noble humanitarian must in the end draw much of his or her support from the among the followers of the hawks. And how does that happen?

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By mike, September 20, 2006 at 8:24 am Link to this comment
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Gore you are the best and brightest mind today in America and in the world about the policies of the ruling elites not only in the USA , but in the world!
I wish you can write more articles, and maybe a weekly article.an you write about Latin America, Cuba and Castro’s demise, the Cuban exiles in the US and in the world, as well as about Europe’s role and the future of our country and future presidential politics and who both sides are indebted to!
P.S. when are you coming to Chicago or Miami to give a talk,please do a tour!

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By Cameron Beck, September 20, 2006 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
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A refreshing & acerbic view of Bush & Co.

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By SamSnedegar, September 20, 2006 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
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“...the gas-oil junta has hijacked the old American republic ...”

“...As we know, he lies…”

If I may paraphrase, (1) it’s about oil, and (2) Bush is a moron.

Otherwise, I wonder what Vidal has to say about stealing oil as a way of solving our economic woes? What I have to say about it is that it won’t solve the problem, only give us a few more years to borrow and spend before the bottom drops out a la Enron.

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By OCPatriot, September 20, 2006 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
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Dear Mr Vidal:
We are Empire-lite; we yearn to conquer but we as a country do not have the intellectual strength or the stomach to do what the Romans did, invade and then occupy a foreign country, use harsh measures to bend the natives to their will, put in local governors, build an infrastructure that has lasted to this day (aqueducts and roads, for example).
The number of our troops didn’t make any difference after the “war” against Saddam’s army was over; it was the complete lack of any understanding by Bush & Co. about the three major factions in Iraq, no strategy for nation-building, not having qualified people in position. The biggest fault was the lack of understanding about what Bush & Co. were dealing with.  All of the revisionaries and neocons and excuse-makers for Bush just flap their jaws and try to excuse things as “simply” inept or “mistakes”.  Because of Bush and the neocons we invade a country, oust a dictator, without any knowledge of their history and no plan for doing anything with it.  Our armed forces only know how to wage war; that is their job; they are taught that; and they do that heroically for us; they did it in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  They are the first to admit they aren’t taught how to be policemen, nation-builders, intermediaries in civil wars, nor how to fight with insurgents and guerillas who look like the civilians and live in their homes.  When will you get that through your simplistic heads?  We can never “win” at those kind of endeavors; it is a recipe for failure for our military, and to ask them to do those things is asking them to do what is impossible right now.  The only way to avoid having our children’s children fight in these stupid wars right now is to vote Democratic and put the Democratic Party in power; they will soon turn greedy and corrupt, but for the time being we will have some sanity. So push for a Democratic majority; have your friends and others vote for them; and oust the Republicans temporarily.

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By osisbs, September 20, 2006 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
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“But we can’t just pull out!”

—Overheard in the halls of the Kremlin in 1981

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By Erich Krausser, September 20, 2006 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
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The president (the lower case is deliberate) and his administration have shamelessly used the bogeyman approach to RULE the United States. It is time the remainder of the citizenry woke up and tossed these rascals out.

There are many parallels to ancient Rome to what is going on in the United States today. We are an empire which uses economics to rule, when it can, but none-the-less enthusiastically swings the big stick when deemed necessary.

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By Jim Sorrells, September 20, 2006 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
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As usual, Vidal takes my breath away! I only wish he had included PNAC in his overview of how matters got to be as bad as they are. Mr. Bush slipped up and blurted out the other day, “Can you imagine if people who hate everything we stand for were in control of the world’s oil supplies?”  “It’s the oil, stupid!” could easily be the slogan for Bush’s legacy, once all pretense about liberty and democracy in Iraq is abandoned.

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By Dean Pettit, September 20, 2006 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
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I love the wisdom of Gore Vidal.  He is an international treasure.  Meanwhile, our U.S. Congress is considering to what degree we should allow our secret police (CIA) to use torture.

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By bjkfinancial@verizon.net, September 20, 2006 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
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What can one add to such eloquence in accuracy?

What have we not already said or cried? Yet while it is suggested that there are red states and blue states, all I see is the majority being red colored lemmings! How otherwise can one explain that there are people who think we have a real Prez.?

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By George Cronin, September 20, 2006 at 4:56 am Link to this comment
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Ah, Gore, how cruel, how witty, how true, how sad.  The “little emperor!”  Let’s hope that tag becomes universal.

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By Robert Jordahl, September 20, 2006 at 4:36 am Link to this comment
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So true, so true!

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By Curlew, September 20, 2006 at 4:00 am Link to this comment
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Its unfortunate that the people who watch Faux “News” and therefore determine elections in the country now, wont have a chance to read Vidal’s writing.

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By tommot, September 20, 2006 at 3:33 am Link to this comment
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I greatly admire Mr.Gore and appreciate his contrarian view of public affairs. Many have questioned whether the U.S. postwar II actions, which blended into the 45 years of Cold War, were constructed for the benefit of the industrial and offense industries, and not for the safety of the United States’ citizens. It is easy to manipulate the citizens - “the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders…tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing he country to danger” said Hermann Goering. It remains true today as it was then. And perhaps we can face, if we’re lucky and don’t all get blown up, 45 more magic years of prosperity for the now multinational industrial and offense industries.

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By Miriam Katsikis, September 20, 2006 at 3:13 am Link to this comment
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I have been following Gore Vidal for many years.  Lost track of him a bit during the Clinton years.  But Mr. Vidal has always spoken the truth. It’s always refreshing to have someone agree with your views and at the same time frustrating to know that whatever little we do to make changes in this administration, it is not heard by most.

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By Ana Ras, September 20, 2006 at 2:32 am Link to this comment
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We the People have become fearful, ignorant, and selfish, so it’s no wonder our Republic is failing. That is all I dare add to your thoughts.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 20, 2006 at 2:32 am Link to this comment
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The literary giant and great humanist Gore Vidal gives midget petty-minded Bush a piece of his mind.

An important piece for history and for the world of relevant world literature.

Thanks Gore Vidal! It’s really sad that God didn’t bless America with you as what would have been its greatest president!

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By Peter Kettle, September 20, 2006 at 1:37 am Link to this comment
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Bravo, Gore. You are the best of patriots. You take away the veneer of respectability that still clings - in tatters, but still clings - to the ludicrous little pres.

A war on terror, as prescribed by Bush and Cheney and their mirror image, the Iranian president, is playing into the hands of the fanatics on both sides. Shamefully, Blair is one of the devout warriors. Fairtytale myths drive both sides into dogmatic positions, and good ordinary citizens, whether in the US, the UK, or in Iran, can only look on incredulously.

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By Druthers, September 20, 2006 at 1:14 am Link to this comment
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Why encumber one’s brain with thoughts when beliefs can so handily replace them? 
Rome furnished the games, we have television.  We watch the destruction of cities and peoples “live,” as though it were a public fireworks complaining only if there are unpleasant showings of human body parts at prime time.
It is amazing how easily a population can become convinced it is inherently “good,” transforming
all critical thought into treason and treachery.
The lonely isolation of mediaeval monasteries where scholars, in part for their survival, retreated to study, leaving the lowerlands to superstition and witch-craft, seems rather like the eviction of thought and thinking people from the MSM where infotainment delivers its hourly lot of blood and gut.

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By hpschd, September 20, 2006 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
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Had to look this one up:

“Janus also has a temple at Rome with double doors, which they call the gates of war; for the temple always stands open in time of war, but is closed when peace has come. The latter was a difficult matter, and it rarely happened, since the realm was always engaged in some war, as its increasing size brought it into collision with the barbarous nations which encompassed it round about. But in the time of Augustus it was closed, after he had overthrown Marc Antony; and before that, when Marcus Atilius and Titus Manlius were consuls, it was closed a short time; then war broke out again at once, and it was opened.”
[Plutarch, Life of king Numa 20.1-2
tr.Bernadotte Perrin]

Thank you Mr. Vidal
brilliant and razor sharp

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By rachelle, September 19, 2006 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment
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Gore Vidal, there are no words to express the depth of my admiration for you and your writing—your intelligence never disappoints. Thank you for yet another insightful observation.

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