Sunday, September 28, 2014

Putting Out Fire With Gasoline

I watched a brief excerpt from an interview given by President Obama on 60 minutes Sunday night. He was talking about our airstrikes against jihadists in the Middle East. What hilariously preceded and followed the interview excerpt was a Viagra commercial. Who needs Viagra? Would could be a better cure for erectile dysfunction for many American males than dropping bombs in the Middle East? I've noticed you get a new commercial every time you watch the video, so you will unfortunately not get to experience the irony I experienced first hand.

Here we go again. We are once more bombing evil doers in the Middle East. The evil "flavors of the month" are ISIS/ISIL and the Khorasan Group. Last Wednesday, in a speech before the United Nations President Obama vowed the US "will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death." What are we going to do about the even greater number of people who will be radicalized by our attacks on ISIS and the other groups who are perceived as existential threats? We are trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Everything we do in that part of the world merely adds to the hatred of the United States. Are we going to see a replay of history, with the United States playing the part of Rome and the jihadists in the middle east playing the part of the Visigoths?

During the 60 minutes interview, President Obama was quoted as saying "There is a cancer that has grown for too long that suggests that it is acceptable to kill innocent people who worship a different God." Couldn't he be describing the United States? Don't we justify killing innocent people - make no mistake, we are killing innocent people who have the misfortune of accidentally being in our line of fire - by saying they worship a different God. In our case the god isn't in heaven, our god resides in New York's financial district. Does anyone doubt that our military industrial complex is riding high right now? Just look at Lockheed-Martin's stock price this past month, in case you have any doubts.

This past week, my son turned on the TV to watch a few minutes of NBC's The Today Show. The first story was full of hand ringing over Ray Rice's beating of his wife in an elevator. Immediately following a display of their heartfelt indigence over the Rice story, the normally cheerful team of lovable reporters excitedly told us how the US military was engaging in an all out effort to annihilate ISIS. Beating wives and girl friends is understandably shocking to our emphatic morning pals on the boob tube, but how can they jump into right into a report on the destruction of our enemies in the middle east without revealing some visible discomfort brought on by what should be a massive bout of cognitive dissonance? Last week a story about the cruel murder by a Sarasota, FL man of a Dachshund caught the attention of much of the nation.

Doesn't anyone see the irony? We are horrified at violence to a little dog, yet we don't seem to be disturbed by violence on a much more massive scale. Some the comments about the surveillance video showing the killing say that the person who killed the dog deserves the same treatment and that he should rot in hell. I've known many people, and they surprisingly often are right wing Republicans, who are horrified by violence against innocent pets, yet many of these same people cheer on the annihilation of human beings in a far off part of the world who we declare as enemies. Violence against an individual, even an individual animal, shocks us, yet our unspeakable violence against masses of people who we have dehumanized is somehow acceptable. 

I can't understand how our country never seems to be able to come up with money to help the poor, provide universal healthcare, or invest in scientific research, but when it comes to killing our enemies or bailing out banks we spend like there's no tomorrow. Medea Benjamin makes this point very powerfully in this recent interview with the folks from Democracy Now.

Why can't we ever hear such voices in the mainstream media? 

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