Quackspertise’s domino theory against terrorism collapses
During the Vietnam War in the 1970’s, both Johnny Carson and President Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger used dominoes to their advantage. On the Tonight Show Carson featured a fellow adept at setting up a labyrinth of dominoes, a huge maze of sharp turns and roller coaster inclines. It took Carson’s guest the better part of a day to set dominoes behind each other on a massive stage. With a flick of his finger, he pushed the lead domino towards its partner. Havoc broke loose as dominoes clickety-clacked, furiously toppling each other.Meanwhile, Kissinger warned us that we couldn’t leave Vietnam without first establishing “peace with honor.” War hawks loved to recite this phrase to shore up their domino theory of Communism’s evil aggression. If Vietnam fell, Kissinger assured patriotic Americans, we must brace ourselves for battle against the Red Scare on our shores. Beneath his thick German brogue, Kissinger mastered a form of quackspertise. What’s quackspertise? Kissinger’s verbal sleights of hand tricked listeners into believing the domino theory really was factual in Southeast Asia. Quackspertise amounts to fake expertise. It sounds plausible but amounts to lots of hooey.Of course, Kissinger rarely admitted that the Communist threat in Vietnam was not part of a monolithic war against the United States. Even those who supported this war now understand our nation didn’t fight international Communism in Vietnam. What we confronted were insurgents who led a very effective Communist inspired underground nationalist movement. The fall of Vietnam to Communist rulers didn’t lead to their invasion of the United States. Recently, we have learned that the Bush Administration’s back door is always open to Kissinger. President Bush listens to him. He speaks the President’s lingo of toughing it out in Iraq, no matter how long it takes or how many casualties mount up.Do you hear quackspertise spoken in the White House? The domino theory is as real to the Bush/Cheney team as was the exhibition of falling dominos on vintage Carson shows. “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad,” our president gravely warns us. Such a script from quackspertise is lifted from General Westmoreland who led our troops in Vietnam. If Saigon falls, watch out for communists swarming over Honolulu. If not Saigon and Honolulu, then Los Angeles is next. Now we hear how if Baghdad falls, acting like the first domino, such terror will run roughshod over our nation. Could another 9/11 be far behind? Cheney, in his customarily assertive, gruff voice, told Americans not to let our enemies “break our will” and embarrass us because we “don’t have the stomach for a fight.”Using quackspertise as if he invented this slippery way of lying, Cheney defended the domino theory. “It was the right thing to do,” the Vice President intoned like Charleton Heston’s Moses clutching the Ten Commandments. “And if we had to do it over again, we would do exactly the same thing.”The Good Book reminds us of the dividing line between what’s true and false, effectively demolishing the domino theory. “A person will be praised based on his insight, but whoever has a twisted mind will be despised” (Proverbs 12:8). Here are insights exposing quackspertise as a sham to justify what’s unjustifiable.The link Bush forges between the terrorist assaults on 9/11 and the war in Iraq are non-existent. The September 11 Commission showed Saddam Hussein detested al-Qaeda, and these terrorists returned their hate in kind. “Defeating terrorists abroad before they attack us at home,” in the context of Iraq, is eloquent quackspertise.Killing terrorists doesn’t diminish them. Our occupation of Iraq creates more terror. That’s how a secret report, portions the White House begrudging released, sized up our efforts in Iraq. The report concludes that war in Iraq is a “cause celebre,” creating a real domino effect of militant extremists and terrorists who fall all over our troops.”We must put our soldiers in harm’s way as the price of honor we pay for those troops who have returned to their homeland in flag-draped coffins.” This quackspertise is lifted straight from Vietnam quackspertise. Just stay the course.Islam in Iraq is not monolithic. Our president mistakenly glosses over age-old grudges between Sunnis and Shiites. He believes these religious traditions will cooperate for the greater good of establishing democracy. After the Prophet Muhammad died, followers could not agree on whom Allah selected to succeed him. Because Sunnis and Shiites clash on Mohammed’s successor, Sunnis brand Shiites apostate (devilish thugs), and Shiites castigate Sunnis, demonizing them, too.President Bush repeatedly warns us the experiment to establish democracy in Iraq will be long and hard. It demands heroic sacrifice from patriots. This rhetoric is quackspertise wrapped in Old Glory. What actually happened is that the U.S. has successfully traded Sunni extremists for Shiite extremists who now rule. Both use private militias to control Iraqi police. Sunnis and Shiites murder each other.Quackspertise provides vocabulary justifying the Iraq War. It supplies jingoistic sound bites and macho-sounding clever word plays overlaid with a rigid “me and them” mentality. It separates good guys from bad terrorists. The U.S. becomes a posse of Lone Rangers who scour the land to rid it of desperadoes who want to unmask our noble intentions. Quackspertise, appearing quite right, is very wrong, like glossy veneer on termite infested wood. Doc: quackspertiseThe Reverend Dr. Jack R. Van Ens is a Presbyterian minister who heads the non-profit, tax exempt CREATIVE GROWTH MINISTRIES, enhancing Christian worship through lively storytelling and dramatic presentations. Van Ens’s book, “How Jefferson Made the Best of Bad Messes,” is available in local bookstores for $7.95.
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