Friday, March 28, 2003

A Nation of Crashtest Dummies

March 28, 2003


What are we fighting for over there? Sheer avarice? Oil lust? Unbelievable. At least there was an element of idealism, in the beginning, in Nam. And what about survival? Are we attacking Iraq in order to save ourselves? And revenge? Are we taking revenge on Iraq for something Al Qaeda did? Of COURSE we are.

Is the Bush Administration taking advantage of the public’s gullibility and inability to think analytically….to advance its narrow, shortsighted, and warlike agenda? OF COURSE it is.

Has the Federal Gov’t gotten out of control? OF COURSE it has.

Then why do polls indicate that the American public is overwhelmingly in support of attacking Iraq? Well, anytime Americans see brave American boys fighting in a foreign land, who do you think we’re going to support? The Fedayeen?

How did we get from 9/11, when much of the world sympathized with us, to now, when we are viewed as a kind of King Kong, ready on a moment’s notice to invade any remote corner of the world? Does the world feel safe from us, who have more weapons of mass destruction than any other country in the world? Does the world perceive us as terrorists? Of COURSE it does.

Do we perceive ourselves as terrorists? OF COURSE we don’t. We think we’re doing something good to a very bad man.

IS Saddam Hussein a very bad man? Well, he’s a torturer, and a rapist, and a despot, and a warmonger, and he rules by terror and coercion. That doesn’t sound good.

So are we justified in invading his country to knock him off? Who cares? We’re already there. The terms of the debate have been altered. The question is no longer whether or not to invade Iraq because we have already done so.

What is now the question? Whether to remain in Iraq? Well, now that we’re 50 miles from Baghdad it hardly makes sense to abruptly pull out and anyway, our President is scarcely about to do so.

So maybe there IS no longer a question. Maybe there ARE no longer terms of debate because there’s nothing to debate. Certainly the Bush Administration is going to do what it is going to do and therefore are the opinions of those of us who opposed the invasion and who continue to be horrified by this course of action irrelevant?

Well, we can’t stop feeling what we feel, thinking what we think. We can’t stop being aware of and outraged by what’s going on. We can’t stop opposing our will to that of the ruling party and presumably to that of a majority of Americans. Some of us will protest in the street. Some of us will try to continue with our lives while reading and watching everything we can about the war and about the reaction of the rest of the world and about the machinations of the ghouls in the White House.

We’ve felt this way before. We felt this way when the Bush people stole the 2000 election. We felt this way when Congress gave Bush carte blanche, back in October, to attack Iraq. We felt this way when the Bush Administration took the debate to the United Nations and then disregarded that debate, rendered it a sham, and essentially told most of the rest of the world: “Fuck you, we’re going to do what we’re going to do.”

We feel this way every time Attorney General Ashcroft sinks his axe into the Bill of Rights and every time Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton hands over another sacred grove of Sequoias to her lumber cronies so they can rape, er ah “harvest,” centuries-old trees in the name of “saving” them from being burned down. We feel this way when we get the creepy feeling we’re executing the foreign policy of rightwing Israelis. We felt this way when a convicted felon (yes, he got off on a technicality), nailed for lying to Congress and subverting the Constitution with covert actions during Irangate, is appointed head of a sinister new domestic spying agency. Yes, Admiral Poindexter is the fox guarding the henhouse, and we’re the hens. We feel this way every time our President asks us to make sacrifices in order to fight terrorism, and then pushes through another tax cut for the upper one percent. I could go on, but let me sum up these actions as follows: The President Bush feels he has to destroy or at least rape America in order to save it. And Americans are supporting him in large, maybe even overwhelming, numbers.

Maybe they, too, feel as if they have to destroy their rights and their environment in order to save themselves. Maybe, in short, they feel they have to destroy or fuck themselves in order to save themselves. Maybe the citizenry feels/thinks that in order to survive they must allow a lying felon to spy on them. Maybe Americans feel that in order to survive they must trust and follow a cabal of leaders who are primarily interested in advancing the narrow interests of the wealthiest one percent and of their political and corporate cronies. Maybe most Americans don’t know WHAT the hell is going on. Maybe most Americans are easily manipulated by hysterical, warmongering news reports on networks owned by ruthless rightwing foreign moguls like Rupert Murdoch. Maybe Americans want to believe what they’re told to believe. Maybe Americans want to follow their leaders, even if we’re being led into the mouth of hell. Maybe America has been hijacked by ruthless terrorists, just like those planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, but the passengers are just going along with the program in hopes that things will turn out OK.

But already things HAVEN’T turned out OK. Because hijacked America is on a collision course with Iraq. In fact, America has ALREADY collided with Iraq. And it has also ALREADY collided with the whole Arab world. And with the whole Moslem World as well. And the weird thing is, after we collide with Iraq, we’ll keep on colliding with Iraq day after day. The nightmare keeps repeating itself. If you doubt me, just turn on the news. Pick up a newspaper.

And after we are finished colliding with Iraq, I wouldn’t be surprised if we then collided with another country. Maybe it will be Iran next time. Or North Korea. Though North Korea has no oil, so why would we want to collide with them? Just because they’re labeled an axis of evil? But they also have a million man army and some of us remember how chilling it is to fight in the Korean mountains. We’ve been there before. Most of us are not eager for Korea II.

Oh, and did I mention that we have ALREADY collided with Afghanistan? But maybe that was a GOOD collision in the sense that we had to clean out that hornets nest, Al Qaeda. OK, OK, we didn’t exactly clean them out. We cleaned out some and scattered lots of others. And they may be multiplying elsewhere. And it was sort of a hornets nest WITHIN a hornets nest, because we also had to clean out the Taliban….although they may now be reasserting themselves and we’re wondering just how long we must remain in Afghanistan, because this nation-building is an absolute bitch. And we also can’t help wondering about Saudi Arabia, which is our friend, but which seems to be the SOURCE of Al Qaeda. So will we some day have to collide with our “friends” the Saudis?

The question is, will the men who have hijacked this nation continue to collide with other nations indefinitely? Perhaps. After all, they have promised us a perpetual war on terrorism, and this war seems to include endless invasions of foreign nations as well as an endless invasion of America herself. So how well built is America One, this giant craft in which we are all passengers? Can it survive daily external and internal collisions? And how well built and strapped in are we? Will these repeated collisions start to rattle our brains and disintegrate us even if the aircraft around us seems to survive? And even if we can survive, is this what we want, to be a nation of crashtest dummies?

And at some point will we realize that these hijacking leaders of ours are never going to stop colliding our country and that we must finally stand up and strip them of their boxcutters, or rather Constitution-cutters, and retake control of America One, because if we don’t we will be annihilated, and what’s more, we will become a missile which will annihilate the rest of the world as well? Or is it already too late for that because too many of our fellow passengers identify with our hijackers and have, in fact, become hijackers themselves?