by Gilles d'Aymery
"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."
--Attributed to Georges Clémenceau
(A slightly different version is attributed to Oscar Wilde: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." And Albert Einstein is reported to have said the same thing, but in French: "Les États-Unis sont le seul pays à être passé de la barbarie à la décadence sans connaître la civilisation.")
(Swans - July 4, 2005) WHETHER A MAJORITY of AMERICANS can fathom the insanity and racist character of Mr. Bush's assertion that we are better off fighting the "terrorists" in Iraq than in the U.S. is beyond my paycheck, or plain comprehension; America is an inherently racist society whose culture grew in the genocidal fields of her history, fertilized by the blood and tears of chattel slavery. To this day, behind the veneer of political correctness, racism remains rampant in all the layers of the culture, a scourge so profoundly engraved in the fabric and the consciousness of her people that, in spite of the Judeo-Christian disposition of the polity, redemption, always foregone, gives place to a recurring blindness of the hearts and minds. The mythic Jeffersonian exceptionalism, itself grown and bred in a mixture of Enlightenment idealism, Adam Smithonian self-interest, and slavery blight, keeps unabated thanks to the legions of intellectual sycophants a la Michael Ignatieff and his guard-dog siblings. Nothing new here. From the birth of Western civilization to date, the hypocrisy of the enterprise is self-evident. Check the history books; look into hubris all the way back to Crete, Greece, Rome, passing through England and France, and various other contenders, to today's latest and hopefully last incarnation, the United States of America. The White Man's Burden, the superior race, the Manifest Destiny...
AND FOR TWO millennia the wretched of this world have had to carry the Brown Man's Burden as the armies of "goodness," with god on their side, have been roaming the planet to impose -- to impose what exactly? The "ownership society?" The subjugation of the weak by the powerful in the name of the ownership society...the concentration of wealth within lesser and lesser hands...that's what it boils down to when you think of it with some attention. The "liberation" of Iraq has more to do with Wal*Mart than with "freedom and democracy."
HOW STRANGE that in all the public declamations by our "leaders" and the chattering class, even in the latest Bush peroration at Fort Bragg, the subject of oil is never mentioned -- it's the main, overwhelming reason, of the US invasion of Iraq. How come? Are some matters not worthy of discourse in polite company? Or is it that, all considered, military families would not take gently the death and maiming of their loved ones in the name of the ownership society? The defense of freedom and democracy and the defeat of the "terrorists," in the goodness of our hearts, better conform to our myths.
THAT, VERY CONSERVATIVELY, in the past three and one half years 65,000 Afghans and Iraqis -- troops and civilians -- have been killed and over 162,000 seriously injured does not register a blinking dot on the radar screen of American consciousness. They, like the millions who died in the Indian Holocaust, or the 600,000 Filipinos, or the incinerated populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the 2 or 3 million southeast Asians (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), or the million-plus Iraqis in Gulf War One and as a result of a decade of economic sanctions, or, or, or, or... never belonged to the superior race. They never mattered -- did they even exist, really? They didn't and do not count in the ownership society. Remember, we do not do body counts.
MEANWHILE, we are fast approaching the 2,000 mark, between Afghanistan and Iraq. 2,000 US soldiers fallen in the name of our ownership society, and thousands more broken for life, with no end in sight.
INTERESTINGLY, as Mr. Bush keeps linking Iraq with 9/11, no one seems to have noted that we are slowly reaching the 2,948 (Americans and foreign nationals) dead that occurred on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. Taking into consideration the death of civilians (e.g., journalists, contractors) and those of the other members of the "coalition," in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about 2,500 lives, that we know of, have already been lost. We'll probably surpass the 9/11 count before year-end.
SO, IN THE NAME of 9/11 and 2,948 deceased human beings -- but, in actuality, our ownership society -- over 67,000 other human beings have been killed and more than 171,000 seriously injured...so far. (Again, these are conservative figures; for details about these grizzly statistics, see http://www.unknownnews.org/casualties.html.)
QUOTATION FOR THE AGES: "If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say 'No' to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses."
--Louis Lecoin (1888-1971)
ANOTHER QUOTATION FOR THE AGES: "Why of course the people don't want war... Naturally... That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
QUIZ: Who said this? "This year will go down in history... Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future."
1) George W. Bush, 2) William J. Clinton, 3) Franklin D. Roosevelt, 4) Adolf Hitler, 5) George H. W. Bush, 6) Augusto Pinochet, 7) Napoleon, 8) Ariel Sharon, 9) Mussolini, 10) Dick Cheney (answer at the end of these blips)
WORLD TRIBUNAL ON IRAQ: Yep, those of you who get your news from the main media have not heard of it, for the simple fact that the WTI did not make the news altogether. But it does not mean that it is not newsworthy... Have a look at the various sessions and findings at worldtribunal.org. It may help you get a different perspective about the Iraq quagmire and the illegality of the war.
ADMIRABLE PRESIDENTIAL LOGIC: Iraq is the central front on the GWOT and we fight the "terrorists" there so that we do not have to fight them on our soil. But we are training Iraqi soldiers so that they can take over the fight and become allies in the GWOT. Hmm, let's get this straight: it's the Iraqis who are going to fight the "terrorists" there so that we do not have to fight them here. Dude, who said that Bush did not have a winning strategy?
ANYWAY, why should one care about Iraq when a much more important drama is taking place in Aruba? Oyez, oyez, oyez, a jolie damoiselle has been missing for several weeks. Natalee Holloway, a slender blondinette, as white as a pearl, is no where to be found on an island mostly inhabited by, ah yes, but of course, people with dark skins. What happened to her, what happened? America wants to know. Interrupt all programming. We want Natalee home, get the yellow ribbons out. Is it going to be another Chandra Levy, or will the story have a friendlier ending like that of the runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, who claimed to have been kidnapped by, ah yes, but of course again, a Latino (dark skin, see...)? Ah, those dark forces, marauders up to no-good, always on the lookout to assail our crème de la crème whiteness, our genteel daughters! Funny, how the sexual undertones of these stories keep being played over and over in the media. When is the last time we've seen the table turned around? Strange, no, that a black girl disappearance, or rape, or murder by white men does not receive much, if any coverage by the media... Is this another indication of American values at their best? You can't erase 500 years of abject racism just yet, can you?
JUST A LITTLE STATS to ponder: European cows receive a daily $3 subsidy from taxpayers. To put it in context, over fifty percent of the African population lives, or better said, barely survives, with less than $1 a day. Call Bono and enjoy your steak.
TORTURE: Just in case you did not know, according to the AFP (June 24, 2005), "Washington has for the first time acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantánamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq . . . . The acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, said a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on condition of anonymity." Obviously, this is not news when Natalee Holloway has gone MIA...
OBNOXIOUSLY YOURS: I've recently been accused of being an absolutist, a dictator -- no, seriously! -- for my efforts to enforce the policy of no-multi-posting. Accusing poor old Les Blough (Axis of Logic) of being a scavenger has earned me few friends. (Les Blough IS a scavenger and IS a contemptible individual.) Fighting for ethics in a hypocritical and corrupt land won't win you the lotto. Asking for respect from people whose history is rooted in desecration and destruction of the other, working ever harder at stealing other people's land, resources, even labor (through enslavement, underpay, or mere robbery) will only get you to the lynching post, the feather-tarring log out of town, or, if threatening enough, to your grave (cf. Malcom X, MLK, and the like). So, at my under-the-radar-screen level, totally incapable of moving the Prozac-loaded, credit card maxed-out, Wal*Mart-Subaru or SUV driving laden masses to anything but stupefaction, I got a treat when I visited (out of a Google search) Unknown News. Here are two individuals, Helen & Harry Highwater (pen or Web names) who do not mince their words. If you think I am an absolutist or a dictator, you absolutely and dictatorially must go and read their own guidelines. There is not one iota with which I disagree. They happen to keep Occam in the closet (I try with mixed results to bring his axiom to the fore) but they are right on target. Please, visit Unknown News. These people are for real.
GOING AROUND: David Garret, who contributed a couple of pieces to Swans in 2002, has set up his own Web site where he lists some of his work that has been published in various online publications. He includes the URLs as it should. For people who clearly have a hard time understanding how the Web works, from a linking perspective (vs. multi-posting and scavenging), David is a good example that's darn easy to follow. See davidgarrett.org
BOONVILLE NEWS: None. David Severn and his sycophant do not speak Occitan.
Ç'est la vie...
And so it goes...
Answer to quiz: #4, Hitler.