Everyone has heard of the ingenious Deck of Cards issued to coalition troops to aid them in identifying and apprehending the leaders of the former Iraqi regime. Unfortunately, in the most repulsive gift-giving idea since the terrorist trading cards, the French leftist extremist Thierry Meyssan has published his own Deck of Cards -- featuring the "most wanted" Americans.
The Commander-in-Chief of the fight against terrorism, President Bush himself, is given the place of the King of Diamonds. Meyssan, who is a major conspiracy theorist (more below), tries to connect the Bush Administration to Osama bin Laden, as President Bush's card refers to him as "the director of the oil company owned by Osama bin Laden’s brother."
Indeed, through the deck, Meyssan labours to connect the Bush administration to al-Qaeda and tries to portray bin Laden as close to the U.S. government as possible at every opportunity. Echoing Janeane Garofalo, the deck gives the title of the "Most Dangerous Man Alive" jointly to Osama Bin Laden and Colin Powell. It is beyond understanding how even the most convoluted logic could be used to equate these two men. Nonetheless, the heading on the card, "Weapons of Mass Deception," gives us some insight into the limited thought process that went into Meyssan’s decision. It would seem that Colin Powell’s strenuous efforts to appeal to the United Nations prior to the Iraq War have won him little approval among the Left.
The tally of administration officials displayed on the cards continues. Donald Rumsfeld is listed as the Ace of Spades and Condoleezza Rice is given the position of the Queen of Spades by this progressive Frenchman. The caption under the picture of the National Security Advisor reads, "She supervises the opening of all markets with the use of military force." And on the list goes, American after American equated with terrorists -- and apparently they are selling well "on the continent."
But this leftist hero’s sniping at the U.S. is not constrained to the Deck of Cards. The 44-year-old Thierry Meyssan has a backlog of publications that should be worrisome to anybody concerned about truth or decency. His book, 9/11: The Big Lie, suggests that the responsibility for the most destructive terrorist attack in history does not lie with Muslim fundamentalists but rather the U.S. government itself. In Meyssan's fantasy land, the military-industrial complex launched the attack on its own headquarters, the Pentagon, as a justification for higher defense spending. Meyssan also contends that President Bush has had personal financial dealings with Osama bin Laden and had him carry out the attack against World Trade Center in order to persuade the American people to acquiesce in U.S. wars to secure oil interests in the Middle East.
Meyssan followed up his kooky conspiratorial ramblings with a new book, Pentagate. The new volume, as its name implies, deals with the crash of the Boeing 737 into the Pentagon. Meyssan denies that any aircraft actually ever the hit the building. No pieces of a 737 have been located in the vicinity of the area and none of the eyewitnesses can recall seeing the aircraft, the author assures us. The conclusion can only be (you guessed it!) that the U.S. government is responsible for this attack, too, having conducted it with nothing less than a guided missile.
These incoherent theories might be amusing were they not so popular in Europe. 9/11: The Big Lie was a bestseller in France and according to Amazon.com; the book achieved the highest sales ever recorded during the first week of its debut in Europe.
Given their apparent popularity in Europe and elsewhere, the conspiracy theories that Meyssan espouses are clearly damaging to the international image of the United States of America. Leftist activists are well known for their high propensity to believe in conspiracy theories, and Meyssan is not only a leftist activist but also runs his own socialist organization called Reseau Voltaire. This is the group that published his perverted Deck of Cards; Meyssan holds the position of the Director.
Meyssan also participates in CORA (Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination), also called the Association of Transnational Radical Parties, with which Reseau Voltaire is affiliated. He is a member of CORA’s Political Directorate – clearly an important position. CORA fights for the legalization of ‘soft’ drugs and the distribution of opiates in France and the rest of Europe (maybe that explains Meyssan's books). CORA pays particular attention to Eastern Europe, probably because the region is still highly conservative with respect to drugs. The group also advocates campaigns of ‘civil disobedience’ with the aim of legalizing drugs. Such ‘civil disobedience’ at the very least involves the consumption of drugs and possibly entails pursuits that are even more morally and legally questionable. In most legal systems, including the legal systems of countries where CORA operates, the form of the proposed ‘civil disobedience’ is nothing less than criminal activity. Given Meyssan’s association with such groups, there can be little doubt that he genuinely believes in the gross misrepresentations that appear in his works. That, however, does not make those distortions less dangerous; on the contrary, it makes him more of a threat: he is a true believer.
One of the most insidious leftist beliefs Meyssan embraces and propagates is that rather than fanatical terrorists, the true threat to world peace is the Bush administration. This really lies at the core of leftist hostility to the U.S.A. The author of Pentagate explicitly states, "The Bush administration is totally different to other administrations. It's a threat to world peace." This belief is based on the recent U.S. War against Terrorism, partially the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. These people seem to forget that the Operation Infinite Justice, later renamed to Enduring Freedom, was forced on the U.S.A. by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. America could not have allowed those responsible for the atrocity to remain at large and thus able to continue planning further attacks. The strike against the Taliban was essentially a defensive war and surely every country has the right to defend itself against an attack.
The second war of the Bush administration seems to cause even more consternation. Although it is somewhat more ambiguous in its aims than Operation Enduring Freedom, even the U.S. invasion of Iraq cannot possibly be used to brand the U.S. government a "threat to world peace" in a rational world. The Iraq War was not a defensive war in the sense that Iraq had not initiated military hostilities against the U.S. Instead, the war resembled a combination of a pre-emptive war and a humanitarian war. It was calculated to prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring Weapons of Mass Destruction and designed to free the Iraqi people from the brutality of the Ba'ath Party.
The Left’s mantra of "blood for oil" encapsulates their conspiratorial view of the world, though. The Bush administration was well aware of the state of the Iraqi oil industry after decades of neglect and knew that it would take a very long time to substantially increase crude oil production in Iraq. It would have been much easier to simply forget about human rights and let the oil flow unhindered by lifting the sanctions on Iraq; but Bush did no such thing. Nor was the Iraq War a conflict of territorial expansion. In fact, U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq as soon as the country is stable (or sooner if the Democrats have their way).
Even if one disagreed with the necessity of going to war in Iraq, it is necessary to put this in perspective. When judging a conflict, it is not sufficient to look at the causes of the war. One must also take into account the way the war was fought and the behavior of the winner in the aftermath of the conflict. The Coalition militaries executed the war in the most humane fashion possible. Not only did the U.S. and allied armed forces seek to eliminate civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure, but they also sought to minimize casualties among the opposing Iraqi troops. The latter is probably a historical first and sets a new standard in humane warfare. After concluding major military operations and having removed the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, the USA continues its commitment to stabilizing the country and is providing about $87 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq. Such generous behavior hardly constitutes a threat to world peace. If every government was so munificent, the world would be a much better and safer place.
Thierry Meyssan and his assorted supporters have repeatedly attempted to spread misleading and harmful conspiracy theories and to depict the current U.S. administration threatening to world peace. They should seriously reflect on their actions and ask themselves about what they are accomplishing – splitting and pacifying the West at a time when it is faced by a threat from a vicious and uncompromising terrorist enemy. Far from the U.S., the inaction the Left advocates poses a grave threat to the West, second only to the fundamentalist terrorists themselves.
You may agree with this, yet dismiss Meyssan as a garden variety nutcase. But Thierry Meyssan is not your ordinary fool. He wields considerable influence and not only over the far fringe leftists. That so many Europeans consider his ridiculous conspiracy theories to have even a modicum of credibility raises some serious questions about the world’s perception of current international events. If the U.S. cannot persuade a significant portion of the European populace regarding the authenticity of one of the defining moments in American history, how much more difficult is it going to be with people in Muslim countries?