Monday, April 21, 2008

How Certitude Conceals Incompetence

Dear George,

There was a time when hard-hitting investigative journalism tore the lid off the cesspools of power and revealed the corrupt slop moldering in their dank depths. It is a tribute to your successful management of the media that today’s investigative journalism uncovers the obvious.

Sunday’s New York Times ran a hard-hitting expose that revealed that the military analysts so loved by our electronic media were far from being objective observers. Not only did many of them have ties to the military contractors who are making money hand over fist on your Iraq enterprise, but were being fed talking points by the Pentagon.


The Pentagon is doing its best to execute a war that everybody loathes. Of course they are going to do their damndest to distort the information that is fed to the public. Did anyone believe that a retired military officer who holds a cushy job with a defense contractor is going to go on the air and criticize your administration?

The Times simply does not understand the dynamic of power. The more power grows, the more incompetent it becomes. At the close of World War II, America was the greatest military power in the world. This is why we haven’t won a war since then.

There is but one antidote for the incompetence of power and that is certitude. Certitude is a smoke screen that conceals power’s inevitable collapse. And if there were ever a time our country needed the reassurance only masculine certitude can bring, it is now. Iraq is a disaster, our economy is falling apart and democracy grows quainter with each passing day. All that stands between the American people and existential despair is the soothing baritone of the “expert”, whose voice oozes confidence even though he hasn’t a clue.

Certitude is an essential prop for power in all its manifestations. The practitioners of certitude know neither doubt nor error, no matter how bizarre their position. It was certitude that predicted Iraq would be a cakewalk. Certitude warns us that people boarding planes with unchecked shoes are a threat to our national security. It is certitude that sees our Constitution for what it is: a document that coddles terrorists.

Certitude silences dissent and discourages probing questions. The definitive statement gives life to the lie by coating it with a patina of truth.

So it is only natural that the “military experts” who flood our news shows appear with Pentagon talking points in their back pockets. Capitalism is all about enlightened self interest, and it is certainly in the interest of those who profit from the war that the war continues. This is why their mission is not to inform or analyze, but to spin.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones


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