Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Beat the bullies

December 6, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

We all know this from our schooldays and our workplaces: the thing about bullies, especially the really cocky ones, is that they're often very insecure. They swagger and strut their stuff, and get in your face aggressively, but once you organize opposition and indicate you're not afraid of them anymore, thus stripping them of their essential power over you, they're lost in the world of ordinary mortals.

Bullies need to seem successful, which helps explain why so many cheat and lie and threaten in order to get their way; they don't believe they can make it on their own abilities. This behavior also helps explain why they avoid responsibility by blaming others for their own faults.

I got to thinking about this the other day when learning that the Bush Administration secretly paid for pro-U.S. stories in Iraqi newspapers. That reminded me of how Bush & Co. got caught secretly paying a number of U.S. journalists to write pro-Administration articles and plant them in various media outlets. And that reminded me of how the Pentagon and other Administration departments created their own fake TV "news stories" about Bush policies and sent them out to small-town stations around the country, who ran them as real news.

And that reminded me of how Bush during the campaign almost always appeared before hand-picked supportive audiences, and how he almost never gives major foreign-policy speeches these days except before supportive military audiences. Ordinary American civilians who may or may not agree with all his policies are not to be included in the democratic process; as Bush famously told one citizen who expressed mild disapproval, "What do I care what you think?"

The operating principle in the Bush M.O. is to bully and threaten and use violence abroad, to denigrate, humiliate and thoroughly neuter the political opposition at home, to frighten those around them, to take what can be taken, to move relentlessly forward toward their goals until forced to stop, to discipline and harm those who desert their ranks. In short, a regimen of intimidation and use of brute force.

Continued here


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