Wednesday, February 26
Norman Mailer: Gaining an empire, losing democracy?
Iraq is an excuse

Norman Mailer, Tribune Media Services, February 25, 2003

LOS ANGELES: There is a subtext to what the Bushites are doing as they prepare for war in Iraq. My hypothesis is that President George W. Bush and many conservatives have come to the conclusion that the only way they can save America and get if off its present downslope is to become a regime with a greater military presence and drive toward empire. My fear is that Americans might lose their democracy in the process.

By downslope I'm referring not only to the corporate scandals, the church scandals and the FBI scandals. The country has gone kind of crazy in the eyes of conservatives. Also, kids can't read anymore. Especially for conservatives, the culture has become too sexual.

Iraq is the excuse for moving in an imperial direction. War with Iraq, as they originally conceived it, would be a quick, dramatic step that would enable them to control the Near East as a powerful base - not least because of the oil there, as well as the water supplies from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers - to build a world empire. [...]

Indeed, democracy is the special condition - a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascistic atmosphere in America already.

Norman Mailer's latest book is "The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing." This comment was adapted from remarks Feb. 22 to the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and distributed by Global Viewpoint/Tribune Media Services International.
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