Big Lies & Mass Hysteria

It was Adolf Hitler, the world’s most notri­ous dic­ta­tor, who told us that The great mass of peo­ple … will more eas­i­ly fall vic­tim to a big lie than to a small one.

And it is in the vein that I will pass along the lat­est poll by MS-NBC, that has found that 70% of Amer­i­can peo­ple think Hus­sein and 9/11 are linked. This is per­haps the biggest lie of my life­time. I fear for the very soul of my nation, that so many of my fel­low Amer­i­cans would deny all evi­dence to allow them­selves to go along with this myth. There has been no evi­dence of any con­nec­tion. Most of the hijack­ers were Sau­di nation­als, opposed to the U.S.-backed rul­ing Sau­di fam­i­ly. Al Qae­da is a group of reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ists trained in part with CIA mon­ey who have always been opposed to the sec­u­lar social­ist régime of Sad­dam Hus­sein. There’s no mys­tery who the hijack­ers were or why they chose the U.S. as their tar­get. Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries aren’t need­ed to explain the events of two years ago.

So why then do we believe Sad­dam blew up the World Trade Cen­ter tow­ers? Maybe there are too many of us who love our lives of con­ve­nience, who love our big cars, our big homes, our opu­lent lifestyles and maybe we know that deep down our lifestyle is based on con­trol of Mid­dle East oil. Or per­haps Sad­dam Hus­sein has become the demon we pour all our world­ly fears and guilt into, so that we think all the world’s trou­bles must come from him.

What­ev­er the rea­son, the results are a kind of mass hys­te­ria. Sev­en our of ten Amer­i­cans believe in a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry so divorced from any evi­dence that his­to­ry sure­ly pre­pares to mock us. Every so often I’ll read of the out­landish con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries run­ning through the Arab world — like the one that the planes were manned by Israelies and that all the Jews who worked in the tow­ers were warned not to come to work — and I’ll won­der how a peo­ple could live in such a state of unre­al­i­ty. But then I see American’s myths: just as incred­i­ble, just as based on our own demons. We have based a war and a for­eign pol­i­cy on the boogie-men of our sub­con­sciences. We have killed for our fears. What if we were to wake up to real­i­ty: could we still jus­ti­fy the war and occu­pa­tion of Iraq with the impe­ri­ous­ness and sure­ty that we’ve shown so far?