Support the Tsunami
Imagine millions of people driving around with magnetic car ribbons declaring support for the tsunami that ravaged south and Southeast Asia, killing upward to a hundred thousand people. You’d probably think those people are sadistic mental cases in need of treatment and medication. And yet millions of Americans display “support our troops” ribbons on their cars, even though “our” troops are daily killing and torturing innocent Iraqis—at checkpoints, in their homes, on the street, at demonstrations, and in Bush’s gulags such as Abu Ghraib—upward to a hundred thousand of them have died to date, possibly more. Supporting troops violating the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War is considered patriotic while criticizing the troops and Bush for committing war crimes is considered not only unpatriotic but criminal.
So, are Americans sadistic mental cases in need of treatment and medication? Some of them are. Most, however, have no idea of what is going on Iraq because the corporate media does not tell the whole story about the systematic and methodical destruction of Iraqi society. If Fox News and CNN showed images of dead babies and pregnant mothers gunned down at checkpoints (or raped at Abu Ghraib), the American people would turn against the government and demand “our” troops be sent home.
Or would they? On March 16, 1968, over 300 unarmed civilians—including women, children, and the elderly—were massacred at My Lai, Vietnam, and this was reported by the corporate media, thanks to the investigative journalism of Seymour Hersh. And yet the Vietnam War dragged on for several more years. Even after the American public learned of My Lai—one of many massacres of Vietnamese civilians who, like Iraqi civilians, were considered the enemy by the Pentagon—the American public remained “deeply divided” about the war, that is to say a lot of Americans supported the systematic destruction of Vietnamese society. My Lai, like Abu Ghraib, was considered bad “public relations” by the United States government.
(ed. note: There was a coverup of the My-Lai massacre orchestrated by parties unknown inside the Pentagon. However, their point man for the project was, none other than Colin Powell. This is a fact and how Powell started his climb to the top. He knew how to take orders and, obviously, still does)
Like Lyndie England at Abu Ghraib, Lt. William Calley was singled out and punished for the My Lai massacre. Calley , addressed as “Lieutenant Shithead” by his superiors, was convicted of killing civilians, sentenced to a life sentence of hard labor, but was pardoned by Richard Nixon in November, 1974. If anything should be remembered about Calley, it is the following quote : “They were all enemy. They were all to be destroyed.” In Iraq, as well, all civilians are the enemy and “our troops” are destroying them with the obtuse support of millions of Americans who believe—thanks to the corporate media—that Saddam was Hitler and the “war” in Iraq is a noble replay of World War II where the U.S. military is the cavalry sent to save Iraqis from “bad guys” consumed with “dark vision.”
As Mike Whitney writes, the corporate media “has descended on the Asian tsunami with all the fervor of feral animals in a meat locker,” while assiduously ignoring the tsunami of murder and mayhem in Iraq. “Where was this ‘free press’ in Iraq when the death toll was skyrocketing towards 100,000? So far, we’ve seen nothing of the devastation in Fallujah where more than 6,000 were killed and where corpses were lined along the city’s streets for weeks on end. Is death less photogenic in Iraq? Or, are there political motives behind the coverage?” Whitney mentions Ted Koppel’s comment that filming the dead of Iraq is “in bad taste,” and yet there seems to be no aversion to showing the bloated corpses littering Indonesia’s Aceh province. “When it comes to Iraq, however, the whole paradigm shifts to the right. The dead and maimed are faithfully hidden from view. No station would dare show a dead Marine or even an Iraqi national mutilated by an errant American bomb. That might undermine the patriotic objectives of our mission: to democratize the natives and enter them into the global economic system. Besides, if Iraq was covered like the tsunami, public support would erode extremely quickly, and Americans would have to buy their oil rather than extracting it at gunpoint.”
Public support, of course, is irrelevant and oil is but a secondary consideration. The destruction of Iraq serves two concurrent purposes: it is part of a larger plan by the Likudites in Israel and the Strausscons in Washington to destroy Muslim culture—perceived as a threat to Israel’s “security,” that is to say the Greater Israel project (or biblical “Eretz Yisrael,” stretching from “the north, the Litani river [in southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-’Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan,” as David Ben-Gurion so famously declared)—and secondly it is supported by neoliberal loan sharks and carpetbaggers on Wall Street who are determined to “reshape” the Third World, in other words “privatize” its natural resources, exploit its labor in sprawling multinational sweatshops, and burden it with lucrative IMF and World Bank “development” loan schemes. Iraq is the emerging template of how predatory capitalism will operate in the 21st century.
It will fail—and the American people, driving around obliviously with their nitwitted “support our troops” magnetic car ribbons, will ultimately pay the price for this monumental failure. For as Robert Fisk writes, “our troops” are “being vanquished by a ferocious guerrilla army, the like of which we have not seen before in the Middle East… Who would have believed, in 2003, as US forces drove into Baghdad, that within two years they would be mired in their biggest guerrilla war since Vietnam? … Iraq is now proving all over again what we should have learned in Lebanon and Palestine/Israel: that Arabs have lost their fear… Iraqis are just not prepared to live in fear any more.”
Unfortunately, this fear means nothing to our rulers—on both sides of the Property Party, as Gore Vidal correctly terms the United States government—who will “stay the course” in Iraq until reality dictates they leave. The Strausscon-neolib tsunami of premeditated violence, murder, and destruction will grind on until it becomes too expensive to continue—in a year or a decade, although a year or two is more realistic—and then they will leave, as they did in Vietnam, leaving an unconscionable wasteland of wrecked civilian infrastructure and scattered depleted uranium in their wake. On the bright side—for Iraqis, not Americans—the U.S. economy may collapse (some predict this year) and this will necessitate Bush leave Iraq sooner before later. Americans, wholly incognizant of the true nature of predatory and parasitical late capitalism, will suffer in great numbers as Iraqis now suffer under massive unemployment and poverty.
If Americans learn anything, it will be that you can’t eat magnetic car ribbons.