Doesn't matter all that much either way -- to you it's still there, and very concrete. It must either be dealt with or avoided. Each strategy takes some form of actual effort to carry out, and each has its benefits and problems. People who are deemed successful at their personal strategies are said to be "well-adjusted". Really, it all depends on the severity of what they were dealing with -- again, whether real or imagined.
Frequently people attempt to mask their anxieties with various addictions -- drugs, sex, gambling, whatever. Anything to take their mind off the problem at hand. Conversely, they may project the anxieties on to others, accusing friends of doing what they themselves are doing. Each is merely a coping mechanism; neither is particularly effective for dealing with the problem itself.
Sometimes these demons manifest themselves much more fiercely, resulting in pathological behaviors, sociopathic, even psychopathic, destructive (self or others) behavioral patterns, etc. Everybody knows somebody who has bottomed out in such fashion, frequently with tragic results. Loved ones might attempt, in the therapeutic parlance, to have an intervention.
Interventions, like funerals, tend to be more beneficial to the bereaved than to the subject. An exception (in my humble secondhand knowledge) is if the person is simply too out of it to have realized up to that point what sort of pain he was causing his loved ones. This is rare. Usually the person is well aware that they're fucking up royally, they have just prioritized much differently than rational people expect.
But occasionally those things are successful, and the person with the problem attempts some sort of proactive rehabilitative program, and gets on with their life, or what's left of it. Even once rehabilitated, there is always the potential for recidivism, for falling back to old ways and bad habits. This is not so good.
So what do you do when such irrational behavior has taken place on a collective level? How does a huge nation set about the task of unfucking itself, and getting out of its vicious cycle of denial and projection?
I commented way back in January, right before the wave of purple-fingered freedom swept Iraq, about the advent of Shiite death squads. Sure enough, it turns out that some of them have been found to be torturing civilians to death in horrific ways:
Part of rehabilitation will be coming to terms with the fact that we don't even know what we don't know -- and that many people prefer it that way. Not me. If something is right, then it's right, and there's no need to hide your light under a bushel, right? If these people took a power drill through the skull, we should find out if it was for a just cause, n'est-ce pas?
There is something so shamelessly duplicitous about all this, when you get right down to it. Bush lectures from the podium in Panama about how "we do not torture" even as Cheney insists on exemptions for just that for the CIA. Plus extraordinary rendition, plus what we already know about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. So perhaps we need to parse "we", "do not", and "torture", the way we used to parse "is" and "alone" in a more innocent time.
I believe the American people are starting to do just that, just as they instinctively know that it doesn't matter what the technical classification of Willy Pete happens to be, they just know they'd be furious if it were used on American troops, much less American civilians. This too is a cause for national therapy, even without the requisite photo of a naked screaming Iraqi child, scorched by napalm or Willy Pete, fragged by a daisy cutter bomblet, whatever.
And if Big Time and his rotten little henchmen want to chuck stones at perfidious Democrats who have reasonable doubts about the Great Strategery, what does he have to say to the democratically elected leaders of Iraq?
So if Jack Murtha's a cut-and-run pussy, what does that make Ibrahim Jaafari? No matter. Murtha never proposed cutting and/or running in the first place -- his proposal was entirely reasonable, and involved keeping troops safely nearby in friendly countries like Kuwait and Qatar.
But if there's one thing this administration understands well, it's how repeating the same falsehoods over and over again tend to take on a life of their own, and the benefits nearly always accrue to the propagandists. Especially in the absence of an effective opposition party.
Not so much this time, though not because the Democrats have suddenly grown a backbone. No, they're content to keep their powder as dry as possible until the next election cycle begins after the holidays, then hoo boy, watch out Republicans! Prepare to be pimp-slapped by the likes of Rahm Emanuel, fool! No doubt Rove and the rest of them are quivering in the corner at the very prospect of getting Rahmed.
It turns out that the American people have finally started to give up whatever good faith they had been holding out for this gang to get its shit together. Independents and moderates are giving up on the Bushies in droves, and on the selfsame issues of personality that got Bush installed in the first place. The notion of having a beer with a gutless lying tool suddenly doesn't sound like such a hot ticket. Imagine that.
And note just how sotto voce this little gem just floated over the transom. In the British media, naturally [emphases mine].
Well, gee, I guess we can all put two and two together and take a stab at what Chalabi's little secret meeting with Big Time was about the other day. Hint: it wasn't about the so-called Energy Task Force.
Now, we have some tough choices to make here in the U.S. of A., and we don't seem terribly inclined to make them. Oh sure, more and more of us are getting pissed at the lying. But we continue to lie to ourselves. In terms of long-term US strategic and economic interests, we're screwed royally whether we stay or we leave tomorrow. Jim Kunstler puts it well:
That's exactly it. It's nice that the demand for Hummers has waned so precipitously that GM is shitcanning 30,000 Americans and Canadians, but that is not remotely a solution to the bigger problem at hand. It is going to require a great deal of discussion and debate, and real scrutiny of where we are at, and what the true sustainability of our little petroleum paradise is now. We can't pull out and sacrifice access; we can't stay in and lose our souls.
The first step is to admit that we have a problem, and we -- the American citizenry -- have still somehow not reached that point. Shudder to think what it's going to take to get there.