The more one listens to and watches administration figures desperately trying to counter the tsunami of charges related to how the war in Iraq was foisted on the American people, the more one has to ponder the discomfiting question: what kind of humans are these? What kind of person can engage in such blatant deception, unprovoked aggression, and state-organized murder? How can a public figure maintain a straight face while promoting such deadly, costly lies?
The Secretary of State, for example, has embarked on her European tour to shore up the sagging support of European governments outraged over reports of CIA flights through their airspace in order to render kidnapped terror suspects to secret prisons and/or countries where they can be tortured. Such flights make these governments liable for collusion in international crimes. But despite the clear evidence of flight logs and personal testimony from those, like Khaled al Masri, who have been kidnapped and tortured, the Secretary of State feigns her own outrage over the charges , and states vehemently: "The United States does not send people to foreign countries for the purpose of torture." No matter that the whole world knows this is a lie. Condoleeza Rice insists on repeating it, pumping up her trademark pout that anyone could imagine such a thing.
The Vice-President engages in the same act. He considers it "reprehensible and irresponsible" for anyone to suggest that his administration consciously deceived the public about the reasons for invading Iraq. Though his innocence is slightly compromised by a barely suppressed snarl, not to mention the current plight of his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, he projects, nonetheless, a most savage umbrage.
And of course the President, with his foolish grin miming nothing so much as a teenager caught altering a bad report card, plays the role of outraged patriot to perfection. "The United States does not engage in torture," he insists staunchly, even as photographs and reports circle the world documenting precisely the torture he is denying. "Our plan for victory is working; we will not cut and run while I am President," he maintains, even as his commanders feverishly work up plans to create at least the appearance of reduced troop levels in time for the 2006 elections.
Do these people have no shame? No sense of embarrassment over the mountains of evidence confirming the totality of their lies, the hypocrisy of their outrage, their utter lack of moral or social responsibility? Have they no remorse whatsoever for the thousands of American and Iraqi lives destroyed by their self-serving machinations?
Apparently not. And since such behavior, on the part of most of us, would be considered pathological, to say the least, we have no alternative but to agree with what increasing multitudes, both around the world, and in our own country, have long since concluded: the United States of America, once held to be a bastion of democratic sanity, is now in the cold, bloody hands of psychopaths.