Remember historical context?
first have to get into contact with reality. That's because U.S.
administrations for the past century have periodically frightened the
public out of their collective wits.
And a frightened nation is a malleable nation, one whose people are
susceptible to being led into any struggle. There's usually been some
evil outside force lurking to take away what we have. There was the "Red
Scare" during the Wilson administration and Joe McCarthy's terror during
the Truman and Eisenhower years. President George W. Bush gave fear a
new twist with his "War on Terror" in which innocent nations were
illegally invaded and tens of thousands imprisoned and hundreds of
thousands of innocent people killed. In his speech of September 20,
2001, Bush claimed terrorists attacked America because they "hate our
freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to
vote and assemble and disagree with each other."
Those who believe this whopper will never deal with the reality that we
might just be hated throughout the Middle East because the CIA at
Eisenhower's behest overthrew the democratically elected government of
Iran in 1953. Or that we might be hated for taking Israel's side in its
ongoing efforts to displace the Palestinians. Or for taking Iraq's side
in its war of aggression against Iran and supplying it with poison gas.
Or for subsequently waging an illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
The idea that Muslim extremists attacked America out of envy lacks any
connection to reality, especially when much of the Arab world has long
made known its vehement opposition to U.S. support of Israel.
The Bush regime fanned the fears of Islamic terrorism in the American
mind by making it appear the 2001 anthrax attacks that shut down
Congress were staged by Muslims. One anthrax envelope read "Death to
America! Death to Israel!" Bush press agents leaked stories that the
attack emanated from the Middle East when, in fact, it originated at a
U.S. biowarfare complex in Maryland under management of George W. Bush,
commander-in-chief. This lie helped rush through the Patriot Act and
opened the door to a $50 billion spending spree to develop new
bioweapons, although experts say the U.S. is under no threat of such
attack. Meanwhile, we have real influenza epidemics that kill thousands
every year that must be prevented and scientists who tell us they no
longer are getting the money to fight. What do you call a country that
ignores realities and arms itself against fantasies? Try lunatic asylum.
Down through the years our politicians have shamelessly advanced
themselves by playing on the public's fears. George W. Bush is only the
most recent culprit. Presidential campaigner Jack Kennedy, for example,
in 1960 falsely warned Americans of a "missile gap," i.e., that we
lagged behind the Soviets in our ability to deliver nuclear weapons.
These fears were encouraged by the military-industrial complex to pump
up spending on atomic bombs and their delivery systems. Late in his
life, the eloquent General Douglas MacArthur came to this realization:
"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear---kept us in a
continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of a grave national
emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some
monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not
rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded."
In the past eight years, the Big Lies have flown thick and fast.
Americans today suffer from a "master race" delusion akin to what
Germans believed in the 1930s. The Neocon's "New American Century"
philosophy posits the U.S. is ordained (Bush believed by god) to provide
leadership and spread democracy around the globe. In this vision,
America is the self-appointed policeman for the planet. Delegates to
Republican National Conventions only have had to hear the phrase "United
Nations" to jeer. This poisoning of the public mind could make it
difficult for President Obama to use the UN effectively just as it made
it easy for Bush to sell his "preventive war" doctrine.
Americans have been conditioned to think the U.S. is always in the right
and its enemies are always in the wrong. A prime example: the POW/MIA
flags that flutter over public buildings everywhere. Americans believe
the Vietnamese held hundreds of U.S. prisoners after the war ended. If
so, why couldn't the Pentagon with its spy satellites that can spot a
wooden nickel from 60,000 feet ever find and rescue them? By claiming
they refused to live up to its obligations, the Vietnamese are made to
look like the bad guys even though we waged a war of aggression in their
country and bombed their cities, not the other way around.
I'm not saying there were no POWs being held illegally, only that the
issue has been framed to inflame the public out of all proportion to
reality. Today, it's the U.S. that imprisons "ghost" POW/MIAs. Only the
victims are Arabs and Muslims. General Paul Kern, who headed an Army
inquiry, told the Senate in 2004 the CIA may be keeping up to 100 "ghost
detainees" at Baghdad's infamous Abu Ghraib. And it has been disclosed
that the U.S. under Bush/Cheney operated a string of secret prisons
where the Red Cross is denied entry. Isn't that illegally holding
POW/MIAs? To accuse others of crimes you are committing raises the
suspicion that your own charges may not be true. It also suggests you
might be deluded.
Again, there's our rationale for every defeat. They'll tell you at any
veteran's post we lost in Viet Nam only because "our boys fought with
one hand tied behind their backs" and not because their foes were
worthy---when we dumped more tons of bombs on Viet Nam than we did on
all of Europe in WWII. Such myths are dangerous.
Recall Hitler told Germans they didn't lose WWI because they were
outfought but because they were "sold out by Jews and the Communists"
that made peace behind their backs. So they should fight a new war.
Millions of people the world over saw through Bush's lies about Iraq
being in league with 9/11 terrorists and possessing WMD. The war was
condemned by the Vatican and termed "illegal" by the UN
Secretary-General. But Congress bought the lie that Saddam Hussein, with
his $5 billion military budget, threatened America with its $300 billion
military budget, and voted to attack. Why could the rest of the world
see reality when Americans could not?
Americans have repeatedly subscribed to policies of aggressive war based
on lies and delusions engineered by their own chief executives. An Obama
presidency will not restore peace unless such falsehoods are first
exposed and expunged from the American psyche. Time to open the asylum's
doors and windows and let in the fresh air and sunshine.#