Repetition Compulsion

“We have to speak up about this war. Now we don’t even count the bodies. We only count the American bodies. Woo-hoo. That’s even more self-obsessed. We kill hundreds and hundreds of Iraqis, and we don’t pay any attention to how many there are. We don’t call up the hospitals; we don’t call up the morgues. Let’s count the Iraqi bodies over again. Maybe we can bring them over to this country. Prop them up at some of Bush’s speeches, so we know what the money is going for. Americans want their money’s worth.

“It’s so interesting that Canada doesn’t have anywhere near our percentage of murders. Why is that? Maybe it’s because we were the ones who had slaves and killed the Indians. After the civil war, we let men go and some went west. Martine Prechtal has said that many of these men had untreated trauma just as many Vietnam veterans had. Imagine what that was like after the civil war. Unbelievable, the brutality of that. We sent them right out West, where they became the Indian fighters. We have the stupidity typical of a country that doesn’t realize what the killing of war can do to a human being. We just send them out. That’s called the repetition compulsion. We have to look for more Indians and kill them. If we didn’t learn anything from the first killing of the Indians, every ten or twelve years we have to do it again. Bush, of course, that coward, was never in the war at all; he sneaked out. It’s not as if you have to be in a war to want the repetition. Now repetition is built into the American culture.

“The invasion of Iraq is the biggest mistake this country has ever made. The most dangerous and greatest confrontation is between twentieth-century capitalist fundamentalism and eleventh-century Muslim fundamentalism. I’ve translated much Islamic poetry and I admire the Islamic culture. We have no idea how great their poetry is, but you’re also looking at a social culture frozen by the mullahs, frozen in the eleventh century. That’s the worst thing we could possibly do, to get into an antagonistic relationship, and that is exactly what Bush did. Bush Sr. was intelligent enough to pull back and not go on towards Baghdad. There’s nothing we can win in this war. Our new war is a war against the terrorists, but Bush Jr. has created ten thousand new terrorists.

“Bush and Wolfowitz and Cheney are repetition compulsion people. It’s wrong to give into them. We have veered off our own path completely. We’re pouring billions into Iraq, and Oregon has just taken nineteen days off the school calendar.

“Lincoln and Douglas had debates. They’d go on for four hours in the afternoon, then they’d take a break and come back for two hours more in the night. You could say that people in the audience were watching them speak to see if their words fit their bodies. Is this the real person? But on television no one is real. They’re all being someone else. The entire American nation has lost that ability to decide if those words are genuine. That’s why Bush won the election. He never would have gotten near winning an election in the nineteenth century. They would have seen immediately that his words and his body don’t fit.”