Thursday, June 22, 2006

Magical Thinking, with Flight of Ideas

Our post's title today features two terms that are very well known to Western psychiatrists, particularly those who deal with psychotic and delusional disorders. Here is an example of what a psychiatrist would call "magical thinking":

"I'd like to end Guantanamo. I'd like it to be over with..."

Yes, that's what he said, the leader of the free world—in Vienna, on Wednesday. Can you imagine him holding a teddy bear or a security blanket, with his eyes squeezed shut; his thin, colorless lips set in a grimace of wishfulness?


Now comes the flight-of-ideas part—the complete and unabashed breakdown into a quiet psychodeviance:

But he added that there were some detainees "who need to be tried in US courts...They will murder somebody if they are let out on the street."

Now you may ask, ladies and gentlemen: "why couldn't this idea have occurred to him 3+ years ago, when this madness all began?" I hope that the question, on a little reflection, will answer itself.

I am beyond words, past the point of reasoned argument...when will I awaken from this nightmare? Mr.!

Today in Vienna, at a press conference, George Bush defended US policy by reminding Europeans that September 11, 2001 caused a changed in US thinking.

But September 11 did not change my thinking. And by the way, September 11 was not something I saw on TV. I was on the 20th floor of an office building in New York City on that day. Our building shook from the shock wave of the first plane – though we didn’t know what it was for a few minutes. I was sad to see the twin towers burn. And shocked when they fell. (And I loved the twin towers – even though they were an architectural monstrosity). My wife and I would meet there when we met in the City on days she came into the city for work.

After the towers fell, a colleague and I walked down to Washington Square. From there, you could smell an acrid smell of burnt something… was it flesh? I shudder to think about what it was. But the smell was there.

But no—my thoughts didn’t change. I knew we had fucked with them. And now they fucked with us. It’s the grim symmetry of war. The CIA refers to the reaction as “blowback” (see this article by Chalmers Johnson).

So today, George Bush was greeted by protests and by overt opposition - clearly from everyone. He strides bravely on: "I will do my best to explain our foreign policy," he said. "On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be; on the other hand, it's compassionate…”

As an American, I’m embarrassed and ashamed.

—T. McKenna

By the way, Happy Solstice everybody.

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