Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, and I’m no exception, although what people refer to as a theory is usually no more than a guess, a hypothesis or at the very best, a conjecture. Most are unproven, unprovable or plain wrong, but I’ve never been able to understand the point of view that all conspiracy theories are some kind of deluded, paranoid fantasy simply because they involve conspiracy.
No such thing as a conspiracy? Well, that’s the Nuremberg trials down the toilet. Let’s issue a posthumous apology to Mr Goering, Mr Himmler, Mr Kaltenbrunner, Mr Keitel, and all the other gentlemen accused of conspiring to engage in crimes against humanity, conspiring to commit war crimes and conspiring to commit crimes against peace.
Where did the Nuremberg trials start? With a conspiracy theory which proved to be correct. That’s where.
There are always conspiracies, and it’s perfectly valid to speculate about them.
You might, for example, speculate that the current financial meltdown is a conspiracy by a small number of people to devalue everything with the intention of buying it all back for a song. It might be difficult to prove that, but you wouldn’t be crazy or paranoid if you decided to investigate your educated guess a little further. After all, the last Great Depression served to concentrate United States wealth in the hands of a very small circle of extremely wealthy families, so why not his one?
If you have immense wealth, you can afford to lose most of it and still remain immensely wealthy. You can take damage. You can devalue everything you own, almost down to zero, and when you’re the last man standing, you can buy it all back again, for half nothing, along with the wealth of everyone else who wasn’t able to remain standing. Suddenly, you own the whole lot.
To my way of thinking, a hypothesis like that is at least worth pursuing, without some huffing and puffing know-all telling me I’m a conspiracy theorist and dismissing it out of hand.
Only a fool would suggest that conspiracy theories are always wrong. Sometimes, they’re right.
I thought the invasion of Iraq was a conspiracy to enrich a small number of people: notably GW Bush and Dick Cheney. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iraq had no involvement in the 9-11 attacks, and yet, thanks to the big lie sold to them by Cheney and Bush, 40% of Americans still believe that Saddam was behind the operation. Of course, it’s easy to sell a lie to a population whose critical faculties have been blunted and infantilised by generations of Fox News and Mister Ed. They’ll believe anything. Try telling the American public that Saddam’s big crime was threatening to trade his oil in euros and see what sort of blank stares you get.
How does Cheney get richer than he already is? By getting his Halliburton creature into Iraq with contracts to do everything from pumping drilling-mud down boreholes to flipping burgers in the Green Zone. Halliburton and the invasion of Iraq are almost inextricable.
How does Dubya get rich? By being the idiot son of George HW Bush, a director of Carlton, the huge consortium that supplies arms to conflicts across the globe. Of course a sitting president couldn’t be a shareholder in such a company because there would be a plain conflict of interest, but there’s no reason he can’t replace his daddy in due course. And a cruise missile fired today doesn’t have to be replaced today, does it? Just run down the inventory and buy the replacements ten years down the line when Dubya is safely out of office. It’s like money in the bank, especially when your boys out there in Eye-Rack are firing thousands of the suckers. Yee-Haw!!
How about the invasion of Afghanistan? Surely that wasn’t a conspiracy?
Well, yes and no. In order to justify the Iraq adventure, there had to be a reaction to the 9-11 attacks and of course, in a country whose standards of political analysis are based on Batman, there had to be a bad guy. Enter Osama bin Laden from Central Casting. Foreign-looking, Islamic, rich, bearded and carring a Kalashnikov. He had to be the guy. Take him out and the whole story is resolved.
Remember, your generals trained in Hollywood, so raise Old Glory, play some patriotic music, call the whole thing Enduring Freedom and send for Wesley Snipes.
You goin’ down, muddafukka!
Unfortunately, the only thing that endured was death and destruction. The muddafukka didn’t go down, but thousands of US troops and Afghan civilians did, while the evil genius stroked his cat in a vast complex close to the heart of the Pakistani military, practising his Mwooohahahahaha in Arabic.
It took ten years to get him, and they didn’t get him in Afghanistan, so what was the war for?
Simple, it was the intro they couldn’t switch off. A technical glitch. They turned down the volume and got on with the gig.
No-one really cared about the Islamic Taliban, these backward, tribal, woman-hating lunatics who blew up the ancient Hindu Bamiyan monuments out of sheer atavistic ignorance. Nobody really cared that they were killing teachers for educating girls. Not really, just as nobody really cared that the Kabul elites were sucking all the new money out of the system.
Afghanistan has always been a foreign-policy disaster, for everyone. The British found that out. So did the Russians. And now, the Americans are discovering the same thing: you can’t win a war in Afghanistan.
So, what about the final conspiracy theory for today — the one that suggests Afghanistan has become the place where America buried its secrets at the expense of its own people?
A Chinook helicopter was shot down using a rocket-propelled grenade, killing 38 people. Twenty-two of those people were members of Seal Team 6, the élite unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden across the border in Pakistan three months earlier.
Some papers are saying that the troops in the chopper were not part of the bin Laden mission, but that’s hard to debate, since the US government doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of Seal Team 6, let alone discuss the activities of its members.
Conspiracy theories are running wild. Did these guys see more than they should have? Did they hold sensitive information? Did they find out something they shouldn’t have?
I don’t know. They could easily be different troops, but still, wasn’t that a hell of a shot by an illiterate Afghan tribesman against a €40-million, armoured aerial platform, one of the most powerful the world has ever seen?
Lucky shot? Well, ok. Fair enough, but I can understand why the conspiracy theorists might at least be asking hard questions.
After all, without hard questions, what do governments need fear?