Let’s be paranoid! This week’s column will aim to be all about smoke and mirrors.
Do you ever get the impression that all the news you hear just represents people practicing on us?
What I mean is, somebody out there is trying to pull strings and make puppets out of us all. What we see are just the occasional twitches here and there when they’re making sure the strings are attached, and they’re practicing on how to operate them. The real puppet show will come later.
I’m thinking about this as I look over the news of the past month or so. Remember the Petraeus scandal? In the two weeks since Israel and Hamas have been hammering each other, it might have slipped your mind, but there was this alleged sex scandal that monopolized our attention for an earlier week or two.
I tried to make sense of it at the time. I learned all the characters. There was David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley, Gen. John Allen and some guy with no shirt on. I learned the scenes: Tampa, Langley, Benghazi, Afghanistan. I wanted to understand why anyone cared. Emails were being passed back and forth by the thousands, and not one juicy quotation. What the heck?
Where’s the sex? Who did what to whom, and what equipment was involved? What color was the dress? Was there a cigar? Was there a swing or a trapeze? Were there rodents?
How can you even have a “sex scandal” between a Tampa socialite and a general in Afghanistan, if they never even spend a minute in the same room? What kind of crappy sex scandal are people trying to put over on us? It’s like the kind of sex scandal I’d expect to get in the mail if I ordered one off an ad in the back pages of a comic book. As in, “Hey, these aren’t sea monkeys, these are shrimp! Where are the monkeys?”
This sex scandal has been lacking monkeys. There have been neither monkeys nor monkey fun.
So what’s the big deal? Why was this worth demanding the attention of all the news readers and news watchers in a nation of more than 300 million people?
I think I’ve figured it out. It didn’t happen because it was an important sex scandal. It happened because someone wanted to see if they could do it. By “it” I mean, bring down a director of the CIA, perhaps discrediting an author making annoying assertions about a terrorist attack and, you know, just cause a stir.
There’ve been reports that as many as 30,000 pages of private emails were intercepted by the FBI and examined during the investigation of the relations between Jill Kelley and General Allen alone, all without any warrant or even a whiff of an excuse for one.
By the way, it boggles the imagination to think that two people could be capable of exchanging 30,000 pages of emails between each other, and not one single halfway respectably tawdry email could be displayed for me to read. Please, puppet masters, think of me sometimes?
But the important thing is, now the FBI knows its strength much better. If it really was the FBI that made all this happen. Assuming it wasn’t actually coordinated by part of the CIA itself, or the NSA, or (why not?) Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.
Why not Mossad? How many of us were really paying attention when the latest outbreak of hostilities began in and around Gaza?
When I see an entire country distracted by nothing worth the trouble, I wonder who benefits from the distraction, and who has the means to create it.
Or maybe the latest manifestation of Gaza war is, to invoke an animal metaphor, the next new squirrel, meant to distract us from yet another bigger injustice in the making. It certainly isn’t worth the trouble either, in itself.
Could it just be that one side or the other just wanted to test Israel’s anti-ballistic defenses? Is there any other way to test them?