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Cognitive Dissonance Folks will see it when they believe it
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepps Commentaries
May 2, 2004

People are getting hit with so much crap from the outlaw right ruling America that they literally are incapable of responding to input in any sort of sensible manner any more. They cling ineffectually to positions that they know contradict information they have, and squeeze their eyes shut and hope it will all go away.

The Republican Rapture Right has created a nation that is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, and they couldn't be happier.

Case in point: how people feel about 9/11. A recent poll asked people the question, "When it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States, do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?"

Keeping in mind that over 60% of the general population approve of how Putsch is handling followups on 9/11, it would be reasonable to assume that at least that many believe the administration is telling the truth about those events.

In fact, only 24% of the public thinks the admin is being straightforward. Most (56%) think they are hiding something, and one in six flat out say they are lying.

The cognitive dissonance comes mostly from the administration's favorite victims, rank-and-file Republicans. There, less than half believe the admin is telling the truth about 9/11, even though over 90% of them support how the admin is handling 9/11.

Try to imagine that. At least 40% of Republicans admit they don't trust the story the admin has fed them about the greatest crime committed against Americans in the 20th century, but what the hey? It's only a few thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Supporting the president so he can lie to us is much more important.

Fantastic as that seems, we have a situation where nearly 50% of voters - including 80% of Republicans - approve of how Putsch is handling Iraq. Even allowing for the fact that a depressingly large number of profoundly ignorant people still think the two (Iraq and 9/11) have something to do with each other, there have been a few little problems in Iraq lately. I'm sure you heard about it; it's been in all the papers.

Just this past week (admittedly, too recent to show up in the polls so we don't know if these items managed to shake the insufferable smug certainty of the willfully ignorant) we've had the highest casualties since Putsch declared an end to battle operations a year ago. In Falluja the Marines pulled out, while vehemently denying that was what they were doing (they "advanced to the rear," no doubt), and leaving four of Saddam's generals in charge of a tiny force (1,100 men) to control the restive city of 300,000. They also tried denying that they were using Saddam's people to try to restore order, even though they a) left Saddam's people b) to restore order. It wasn't a proud moment.

Then the torture scandal broke. There had been reports right along of American troops, and the mercenaries the government hired to buttress the troops, mistreating the local population. There was film of Americans potshotting a man, wounded and down, to death. There were widespread allegations of abusive behavior, including torture and rape.

Now, of course, there are pictures. The ones that CBS broadcast were bad enough - the guy with the wires attached standing on the box, assured that if he stepped off the box, he would be electrocuted (I'm told he lasted almost 28 hours. Have fun imagining yourself or your spouse in that situation). There were the shots of the naked prisoners made to lie in a kind of pyramid.

The ones out on the web are far worse, and explicitly demonstrate exactly what the Army meant when they talked about sodomy, rape, oral copulation and simulated rape.

The Turks used similar tactics on the Iraqis in the past, and hundreds of years later, Iraqis place fingers alongside mouths and spit whenever Turkey's name is mentioned. The hatred and anger never died.

How will Republicans react to this? Well, here's an early example, from a fellow calling himself "Billary" on Usenet: "A brief note to all of the members of our armed forces: God Bless you. But when you're beating the shit out of those scum sucking, murderering [sic], terrorist, camel jockeys towel head fuckers. PLEASE make sure no one with a digital camera (or other camera) is around!! Because the leftist liberal whiners in America would prefer that we coddle and nurture the fucking animals who try to kill us. And all those pictures do is give them more fuel for their warped anti-American minds. Shame on you guys! Lose the dirtbag with the camera. 'Billary Out'" He was quite proud of this effort, and posted it several times. In the name of God and America, of course.

Of course, the Usenet loonies are an extreme example. Or so I keep telling myself, because if they aren't, America is finished. But I'm remembering the outrage over My Lai - not that American soldiers slaughtered nearly an entire village, but that they were tried for it. There are a lot of Republicans to whom the term "Good Germans" - the Germans who accepted everything Hitler did in the name of patriotism - applies.

Let's see what many of them have accepted over the past 30 months: administration foot-dragging on a full investigation into 9/11, with increasing questions and doubts about what really happened that day, and how it happened. Restrictions on civil liberties in the name of a threat that is not quite as likely to kill you or yours as a drunk driver. Not one, but two military quagmires, and in case nobody's noticed, we don't have personnel to deal with Pakistan selling nuclear secrets to terrorists and rogue nations, and Saudi Arabia has just taken up the charming new middle east hobby of dragging the naked bodies of Americans through the streets.

So how is it Republicans stand for this? Think of the Stockholm Syndrome. Or, failing that, consider the behavioral patterns you see in abused spouses and children. People tend to form dependent relationships with those who are tormenting and abusing them.

This is why the Republicans use fear and hate so much in their campaign. They deliberately frighten and threaten, knowing that no matter what, they have about 30% of the population who will support them. Nor do they even have to do anything for these people: indeed, the more they lie to them, cheat them, and conjure up things to frighten them, the more desperately they will cling to their Republican masters.

Want proof?

Ask a Republican who blindly supports Putsch no matter what why he's voting against John Kerry. He'll tell you that Kerry will bust the budget, expose America to terrorism, mishandle Iraq, screw the working class people, and our allies won't respect us. As an afterthought, he'll add that he has serious doubts about Kerry's military record, and suggest that someone with a record that weak maybe isn't fit to run the country during times of war.

See anything on that list that doesn't apply to Putsch? The thing is, these people at some level KNOW this. And they support Putsch anyway.

Stockholm Syndrome.

Democrats don't need political analysts to reach these people; they need psychotherapists.

Yes, it can happen here. Yes, it has happened here.

Posted: May 4, 2004


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