the Bullet Meets the Bone
Ari Fleischer's Single Bullet Doctrine
By John Stanton
20 October 2002
Coincidental, no doubt, but one day after Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer's
comment on putting a bullet into the sovereign ruler of Iraq's head,
five US citizens in a suburb of Washington, DC, lost their lives
in just that manner while innocently going about their daily routines.
Each was brought down by a single shot as if to underscore the sickening
logic of Fleischer's comment that "the cost of one bullet...is
substantially less than the cost of war".
Yes, indeed, and that's the same logic used by the DC Metro shooters,
al-Qaeda and a host of other terrorist groups and common criminals.
The "evil doers" return-on-investment (ROI) makes its
way to infinity as US taxpayers, businesses and the US national,
state and local governing apparatus affected by these violent acts
will never realistically recoup the lost lives and their potential,
or the dollars and time spent in the chase for the perpetrators,
caught or not. Likewise, the US ROI would be enormous if someone,
anyone, would take Fleischer's advice and "off" a pesky
foreign leader who just happens to sit on world-class oil reserves.
A compelling economic argument indeed.
On its face, Fleischer's efficacious single bullet doctrine, whether
it leads, say, to a friendly US regime in Iraq and cheap oil, or,
ultimately, the deaths of American citizens and officials here in
the United States, one can't argue against it as a cost effective
solution for change. What makes that statement remarkable is that
its gravity, its meaning, has no discernable impact on the majority
of Americans. It causes a yup and a yawn, and a "so what"
rather than a disgust for what has become, unbelievably, a more
ludicrous and murderous state of affairs here in the US. As Jimmy
Breslin recently pointed out, someone always shoots back in these
More than the pity and danger, is that the use of language, of
articulation with depth, is dying in the US. There's a horrible
disconnect between Americans' mythic perceptions of themselves and
the dirty, caustic reality of their society. More than ever, Americans
seem doped up by Condoleezza Rice's verbal equivalent of a speedball
represented in her "US as special case" comment and the
constant War propaganda feeds coming over the airwaves. Incoherence
reigns in America.
Side Effects Include...
Unpalatable to most Americans is the fact that in promoting and
marketing the US "way of life" here and abroad, painful
side effects include extraordinary violence, mayhem and suffering.
That 28,000 Americans die each year at the hands of killers with
guns means less than the importance of the earned run average of
US major league baseball's New York Yankees. Americans are so accustomed
to violence (they can't wait for the next collision in the NASCAR
race) that there is almost a celebratory nature to its society that
says: You die so we can live, mourn and party. That such a country
now wants global dominance should awaken many around the globe.
To a degree unprecedented in US history, that daily "street"
violence has now become incorporated into the retaliatory violence
generated by the attack on New York and the DC Metro area, and the
Cold War era plans of militant conservatives. In the worst way,
the US is now in retro-Nixon mode and its rabidity takes the form
of vigilante doctrines of preemption, public sanctioning of murder
of foreign leaders and concomitant replacements by equally nefarious
individuals, and under-the-table payments and weapons sales to silence
nations opposed to US military intervention. Crime, or at least
negligence, does pay. There are minor consequences for the failed
efforts of the CIA, FBI and military intelligence -bad publicity
and more funding- just as there are few for the destruction of worker
pensions, the due process of law, burgeoning trade deficits and
In this anarchic, utilitarian environment, the flippancy and callousness
of the Bush Regime's various remarks should come as no surprise.
For example, calls for undertaking biblical eye-for-an-eye, preemptive
and premeditated murder of foreign officials shows just how depraved
the United States has become. Is it any wonder that in America it
is acceptable for young children to remark, "Let's kill them
all." Indeed, this President and his apostles make the character
Hannibal Lector seem downright elegant.
"Dead or Alive," said Bush of Bin Laden. "I'd love
to see his head on a platter," said Cheney. "The world
would be a better place if Bin Laden were killed," said Rumsfeld.
"If you can make something that others value, you should be
able to sell it to them. If others make something that you value,
you should be able to buy it. This is real freedom…"
according to George Bush II commenting in his National Security
Strategy of the United States. It is?
The great poet and philosopher Frederick Nietzsche talked about
these types of statements long ago and recognized through them that
those who uttered these disconnects were representative of a society
that had lost its ability to coherently blend the better aspects
of idealism and realism into an artful reason for existence and
a workable national doctrine. The slow death of language was the
first indicator of the doomed society's free fall. Words, metaphors,
speeches like those above emanating from both government and business
"leaders" do not inspire any emotion from the listener
to ask questions or even applaud, or, for that matter, to even notice
This goes far beyond Orwell in that there is no longer any art
and/or depth in the language of the US representatives -elected
or otherwise- or of the people tasked with electing and monitoring
them. In Orwell's book 1984, the authoritative characters were clever
about their use of language. In that vein, so was real-life killer
Joseph Goebbel's in 1943 when he gave the German people 30 points
to ponder about WWII. "Nothing is too valuable to be sacrificed
for freedom. All we possess we won as a free people. Without our
freedom, it would have no purpose, meaning or endurance. It is better
for a nation to be impoverished but free rather than to seem prosperous,
but end a war as slaves. A free people can rebuild everything it
lost in defending its freedom. An enslaved people will lose that
which survived the war, and also the ability to gain it back again,"
he said. Hardly has such thought on freedom been brought to bear
by the Bush Regime.
Today in the US, language represents the intestinal, the formulaic
and mechanical, all numbers and numbness, all "fantasy sports"
in which the participants don't really compete with each other,
they get a competitive feeling by manipulating the statistics of
the real athletes on the field, court or rink.
Similarly, sadly, this is the same fantasy game played by the US
electorate. Votes don't really matter and one gets the "feel"
of participating in the political process by punching a card, sending
an email to Congress, or by scoring a representative's liberal and/or
conservative tilt factor. That the US Congress is being contacted
by an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed to war with Iraq
and that it still moved forward to give Bush the authority to attack
Iraq is a good indicator of the powerlessness of the American people
and the seriousness of the problems in that land.
And so the band will play on. Within the last year, the "leaders"
of the United States have publicly and privately advocated the murder
of foreign government officials in Iraq and Iran (an effort to court
the Shah's son is underway). They have militarily backed violent
attempts to overthrow foreign governments such as in Venezuela.
And, more recently, they have vigorously attempted to manipulate
the outcome of Brazil's presidential election, which featured "leftist"
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Da Silva and the Brazilian military recently
signaled their intention to withdraw from the once binding nuclear
non-proliferation treaty and begin construction of their own arsenal.
Just so, one of the first side effects of the new free-for-all US
When the Bullet Hits the Bone
What happens when a bullet hits a human head? Who wants to take
responsibility for putting that bullet right where the Bush Regime
and so many Americans want it to go? Would they pull the trigger
if they really knew the details of the act? According to marksman.com
and an autopsy report, the bullet travels at high speed (generally
at or above 1,000 feet per second) when it encounters the surface
of the head. Instantly it begins to decelerate and deform, flattening
on impact--an effect known as mushrooming. A tremendous amount of
the energy carried by the bullet is transferred to the head as the
bullet decelerates. Hydrostatic shock radiates out from the bullet's
path, causing a much larger temporary wound cavity that accounts
for a significant amount of the soft tissue mutilated, while the
bullet itself plows inward, potentially breaking apart if it strikes
bone. The temporary cavity closes back after the bullet's passage,
but significant damage, notably to major blood vessels, may be inflicted
by the sudden stretching and tearing involved in the hydrostatic
"On the right upper forehead, 1/2 inch to the right of the
anterior midline, there is a gunshot entry wound. This wound consists
of a 5/16 inch circular hole with circumferential abrasion and slight
marginal radial laceration. The bullet has proceeded through the
soft tissues of the scalp to cause a 3/8 inch circular entry hole
in the frontal bone which expands inwardly in a conical fashion.
Several pieces of small curvilinear lead fragments are retrieved
from this area. The missile has proceeded through the right frontal
pole of brain in a downward and rearward direction to perforate
through the cerebral peduncles and pontine area. The missile then
impacted with the occipital bone just posterior to the foremen magnum.
In this area, a large area, a large caliber, mushroom-shaped, nonjacketed
missile is retrieved and forwarded to the ballistics section...".
Copyright © 2002 by the News Insider, John Stanton and Wayne
John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer on national security matters.
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