"I hate to sound like a prude," blogs
Matt Barganier of Antiwar.com, "but these people have issues.
And they have made the projection of their obsession onto others a matter of
Who are these people?
Simply put, they are the war party, the Bush administration neoconservatives
and their minions, people who with their insatiable will to power display desires
that most people would find disquieting, to say the least.
The "Apprenticeship" of a Warmonger
What sparked Barganier's concern is this
disturbing article from the New Yorker, which details the lurid "literature"
penned over the years by the likes of William Safire, Lynne Cheney, William
F. Buckley, Bill O'Reilly, and perjurer of late I. Lewis Libby. Especially grotesque
was the last's quasi-historical novel, The
Apprentice, set in turn-of-the-century Japan.
"While one critic deemed The Apprentice 'reminiscent of Rembrandt,'"
recounts the New Yorker, "certain passages can better be described
as reminiscent of Penthouse Forum."
It is nauseating stuff, not even worth quoting. Let's just say that Libby envisions
little girls stuffed into cages with aroused bears, and delights in giving Bambi
an innovative workover.
Nancy Sladek, editor of Britain's Literary
Review, was surveyed by the New Yorker regarding Libby's book.
Her magazine holds an annual "contest for bad sex writing in fiction."
Denouncing the literature of Cheney's erstwhile assistant as "depraved"
and "nasty," Sladek mused, "God, they're an odd bunch, these
Can all this malevolent, er, posturing be traced back merely to bizarre
rituals in coffins at Yale University and kooky
ceremonies glorifying human sacrifice in the California woodlands? What
warped the imaginations of this powerful group of sociopaths, in their thirst
for domination and the blood of entire nations?
There's no need to delve into all those murky speculations that supernatural,
Satanic forces or even lizards have been reincarnated as world leaders. Were
it true, it would almost be reassuring. We should just note that were you to
strip these men (and occasionally, women) of their power suits and accoutrements,
and enrobe them in ceremonial cloaks and their demonstrably febrile literary
imagination, they would appear something more like the Ku Klux Klan meets the
Rogue Goat Herders International, and spark fierce debate on how best to reintegrate
them into society.
The War Party's "Christian" Devotees
Scrutinizing the conservative Christian base of
the war party, acclaimed sex therapist Marty
Klein has a simpler explanation. As the New Yorker noted, the war
party's "extracurricular creative writing has long been an outlet for ideas
that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast." At least not
Last week I surveyed Mr. Klein, who made the following astute observations:
"I'm not the first to say this, but sexual repression makes people
nutty. Believing your sexuality is bad, believing God is angry because you masturbate,
believing that Jesus is nervous about how you express your eroticism, fearing
your preferences, fantasies, desires – it all makes you nutty. It makes you
defensive, paranoid, aggressive, mad for power. It adds way too much anxious
energy to your eroticism, which is often expressed in weird, power-oriented
"And sooner rather than later, if you fear your own sexuality, you
fear your neighbors'. If your sexuality needs to be controlled, so does theirs.
If your sexuality is powerful enough and destructive enough to anger God, the
best thing you can do (after repressing your own) is repressing others'."
In a recent newsletter, Klein
also commented on the hypocritical reaction of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-Texas) to the Libby indictment. While she supported the persecution of former
president Clinton on the grounds of his alleged lying "about whether or
not he had had sex with a consenting adult," Hutchison downplayed the significance
of Libby's "perjury technicality." Klein notes that "Libby is
accused of lying about whether or not he compromised the integrity of the CIA.
Those Christian conservatives really are consistent: nothing is more destructive
than sex, and so no lie is more destructive than lying about sex – even if it's
Pathologies Institutionalized: Abu Ghraib and The Arab
Back to the neocons – not all of whom are conservative
Christians. Many of them are just plain evil.
Last year, the
Guardian's Brian Whitaker demonstrated how the U.S. military's "rendering"
process as perfected at
Abu Ghraib was an official, institutionalized policy gleaned from one holy
book of the war party – the thoroughly discredited pseudo-academic The
Arab Mind, written by cultural anthropologist Raphael Patai, "who
taught at several U.S. universities, including Columbia and Princeton."
Whitaker refers first to Seymour
Hersh's discussion of the book, in which the investigative journalist calls
The Arab Mind "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior."
Hersh specifies two prevailing themes: "one, that Arabs only understand
force, and two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is [sexual] shame and humiliation."
The British writer went on to find "something even more alarming."
"Not only is it the bible of neocon headbangers, but it is also the
bible on Arab behaviour for the U.S. military. According to one professor at
a U.S. military college, The Arab Mind is 'probably the single most popular
and widely read book on the Arabs in the U.S. military.' It is even used as
a textbook for officers at the JFK special warfare school in Fort Bragg."
While this epic work of scholarship has long been panned by American academia,
the U.S. State Department has taken an interest: "at one stage, the training
department gave free copies to officials when they were posted to U.S. embassies
in the Middle East."
What should we make of this? Why have such projections of the war party's twisted
imagination resonated so strongly with their uniformed counterparts and suited
diplomats? Did they perhaps arise from personal experience, like the alleged
childhood treatment of Richard Perle? While his
own contribution to literature, 1992's Hard
Line, is relatively chaste, it does eerily prefigure the drive to war
Slapping Down More Than a Veto
If the elected members of Congress reflect the
will of the American people, then the
Senate's amendment to put a provision forbidding torture and unnatural treatment
of detainees – which passed by a
fairly indicative 90-9 vote – is a strong sign that the average American
does not approve of the deviant, institutionalized tactics and obsessive pathologies
of the war party.
Nevertheless, neocon godfather Dick
Cheney is pushing hard for the torture policy, and President Bush, who professes
to be a fierce Christian, has hinted he will veto
the resolution. Even worse, Bush also praises
the professional character of someone like "Scooter" Libby – even
though the former's Puritan public persona would seem to forbid friendship with
people whose ideas "might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast,"
as the New Yorker put it.
So are we left to believe the dark theories that the president's Christian
image is nothing but a
schizophrenic front meant to move his (equally repressed, according to Klein)
Evangelical base, to mask comically
slanderous allegations like these and whatever
he picked up in the crypt of Skull and Bones back in the day?
This is something to think about. Indeed, in preaching forgiveness, Jesus said
a good Christian should "turn the other cheek." Bush agrees. Only
difference is that in opposing the anti-torture bill, Bush apparently wants
the other cheek turned – in order to give it another sound whipping.
God save America.
Note: Portions of this text are copyright (2005) Marty Klein, Ph.D, and
reprinted with permission from his Web site, www.SexualIntelligence.org.