March 19, 2008

Tragic Reprise: A Nation of Stupid Children, Who Refuse to Give Up the Lies

As the United States is about to begin the sixth year of its eternally unforgivable, genocidal war crime in Iraq, I direct your attention to a piece I wrote just over a year ago, on March 1, 2007. I could have selected any number of essays, but this one will do for my purposes.

"A Nation of Stupid Children, Who Refuse to Give Up the Lies" arose out of yet another of the utterly meaningless controversies of the moment. Such daily contortions over trivialities -- which contortions consume our major media and far too many bloggers of all political persuasions -- prevent us from understanding anything of significance about the actual meaning of our nation's actions. This is why so many of us love them so much: we never have to think and, of even greater importance, we never have to do a damned thing that might actually matter to stop the ongoing crimes. In this case, the circus was set in motion by John McCain's comment that the United States had "wasted a lot of ... American lives" in Iraq.

And the heavens shook. Almost no one would speak the truth, which was far, far worse than anything McCain or any other national figure had said. As I wrote:
The truth is infinitely worse than that these lives have been "wasted": these deaths have served to strengthen our enemies and weaken our own country in countless ways that our actual enemies could never have achieved on their own. That these lives have been "wasted" is the best one can say, not the worst. They are the greatest boon our enemies could dream of. These lives have not been "wasted": they are the precious tribute laid at the feet of our enemies, by our own leaders in the pursuit of indefensible and criminal aims.

Of course, the recognition of this truth requires that we act like adults, and that we are capable of coherent thought, shorn of lies. We must be willing to give up the myth of the "noble soldier" who "selflessly sacrifices" his life for the glory of the Perfect and Good United States -- and see that these individuals died in a criminal war of aggression launched to consolidate and expand America's hegemonic role, a goal embraced by almost every leading politician, Republican and Democratic, over many decades of entirely avoidable conflict, chaos and death.

I find it easier to deal with the widespread ignorance that afflicts so many Americans -- for example, the almost total lack of knowledge concerning the U.S. occupation of the Philippines that I detailed last week. Since they are rarely provided with this information, it is possible that at least some Americans might prove capable of absorbing it, and begin to question the myths that sustain their identities as "Americans."

But it is almost impossible to deal with the fact that so many Americans, almost all our political leaders, and our media virtually without exception are so relentlessly stupid, and so resolutely determined to remain so. As this latest episode in national idiocy proves yet again, and for the millionth time, this laughably pathetic state of affairs certainly would appear to be the unalterable truth of where we are.

And so we debate whether these lives were "wasted." With the blind ferocity of religious maniacs, we enforce our new Puritan code, which demands that certain prohibited thoughts may never be uttered. Violation of this code means banishment from public life and from further "serious" consideration. Every matter of importance is reduced to the intellectual level of a remarkably backward house pet.

Meanwhile, no one will stop this criminal war and occupation. And no one will do a goddamned thing to stop the next war, which could alter all our lives forever.

How in the world do most Americans face themselves each morning? Someone needs to explain that to me. I truly would like to know.
It is now a year later, and I still would like to know.

It is now a year later, and more than one million people have been murdered.

It is now a year later, and still no one will stop this damnable war and occupation.

A year from now, perhaps some American troops will have been withdrawn. But regardless of who the new president is, at least 80,000 or 90,000 American troops will remain, and probably more. The Theater of Death will go on.

A year from now, the war may very well have widened. If there is a major attack on U.S. troops in Iraq (or any of a number of similar possible incidents), if the blame is laid at the feet of Iran -- regardless of whether such a claim is true or not, and we may not know for many more years, if ever -- and if the fevered and unreasoning demand for retribution rises, fed by a media that, like our political class, has learned nothing from the catastrophes of Iraq, no U.S. president will be able to resist the tide. He or she will probably not even want to. John McCain will not stop it, Hillary Clinton will not stop it, Barack Obama will not stop it.

So, we will once more have cause to note this date in March after another year has passed. Many more people will be dead, and the chaos may have spread far beyond Iraq. And we will fiercely debate the latest instance of idiocy, while the crimes of the United States continue unimpeded and uninterrupted.

Happy Anniversary.