Un-American?

 

by "Iconoclast"

 

Everybody and his brother is "sick to their stomachs" about our recent faux pas of getting caught on film. "It's not the way we do things".

It certainly isn't - we are unused to being graphically reminded of what our education, indoctrination and policies can accomplish. "Plausible deniability", the seeming root of our political activity, looses a lot of plausibility if we're actually caught by the camera eye.

Of course, there are those who say that the issue is minor, that it has been overblown. And they're right - compared to the actual B52-borne genocide we did 30 years ago in SE Asia, this is nothing. This is nothing compared to My Lai and dozens of similar incidents that our boyz perpetrated back then - incidents punished with suspended sentences IF they made the news. Helicopter interrogations followed by the tiger's leap make the leash seem quite benign.

But hell - we're the country that had a few Andersonvilles 140 years ago on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. We've made our share of unmarked mass graves in the Philippines, rubbed out the Indians, and helped dictators around the world to "euthanize" political dissenters by telling them who's dangerous and even how to torture (remember the School of the Americas?).

How is this possible? How can it be that when the chips are down we are no better than so many bloody tyrannies throughout history? Is it the water?

Americans are human beings, and to expect Americans to act any differently than the rest of humanity is to be over optimistic. In fact we have done quite well considering what we've been up against. To whit:

Like all countries we demonize our enemies while putting ourselves on a nationalistic pedestal. "We're better, they're just animals" (or g**ks, ni**ers, w*ps, n*ps, sp*cs, t*welheads, inj*ns, or whoever is the enemy du jour). We train our lowbrow soldiers to hate to the point of killing, turning a bunch of largely uneducated and otherwise useless social rejects (from the perspective of our laissez faire society) into useful tools of coercion.

Our society has been taught that titties are bad, violence, blood and gore are OK.

Our society is taught that owning weapons is fine - and many people DREAM of the day that they'll be able to realize their potential by blowing away someone who has the temerity to enter our homes unannounced.

The flaws of our hero figures are almost always one of victimization. Always a man with Vietnam scars, a family killed by baddies, an abusive father -- never actual character flaws such as Othello's jealousy or even Achilles' heel. IOW, any flaw isn't their fault.

So is the torture "un-American"? Seeing that this epithet is being bandied about by our leaders - ones who have been instituting "un-American" policies themselves, the word "irony" comes up short.

Remember, our leaders supported apartheid S. Africa for decades, loved Pinochet, Marcos, Somoza, Papa Doc, etc... Remember that we've been invading someone or other almost every year for decades. Remember that we only recall "human rights" when people we don't "like" abuse them -- otherwise we look the other way.

So when we're caught on film doing what we've always done, cut the crap already. Or if we're actually squeamish about it and want to actually BE the good guys we like to portray ourselves as, DO something about it.

 

05/08/2004