Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The rain in spain

As I mention below, I rarely watch or read political news these days, at least not in the mainstream media, at least not much beyond the headlines.

But for whatever reason,I did read an article about the current media bogey man, Jeremiah Wright. The Guardian reports that Wright did not disown his most controversial soundbite - that the US bore some of the blame for the attacks on 9/11. Like its U.S. media counterparts, the Guardian fails to enlighten us as to why such a mind-numbingly obvious fact is controversial.

Do people really think that Al Quaeda attacked the World Trade Center for no reason? Or because they hate our freedom?

Yes, I guess they do since that is what the tv tells them. But the reality is that we currently have more than 700 military bases overseas in about 130 countries and have another 6,000 bases in the United States and that our military budget is larger than the rest of the world combined and that we have a long history of supporting brutal dictatorships and state sponsored terrorism and generally deterring democracy, often in an ultra-violent manner, wherever it suits our "national security interests."

Of course plenty of very smart people, including pretty much everyone in the government and defense establishment since WW II, believe that it is necessary for us to support violence and repression abroad so that we can enjoy our freedoms here at home. And perhaps that's true, I'm not prepared to argue it either way in this brief essay, but wherever a person comes down in that particular argument, he or she would have to be a total idiot not to acknowledge the possibility of blowback. An eye for an eye. Is that really such a difficult concept? That was the point a lot of Arabs made after 9/11. Now you see how it feels, they said.

Well, that was wishful thinking, obviously. We are not about to acknowledge how anyone else in the world may feel. We can't even acknowledge how other people in the world may think. Thus we get these idiotic "controversies" when someone like Wright comments on the obvious. For the common people, and presidential candidates alike, notions of truth, peace, love and understanding are borderline treason. Only the (undemocratically) elect are capable of understanding the situation and making the hard choices. The rest of us should worry about flag pins if we worry at all. Better not to worry even about that. Better to stay away from politics and public policy altogether. Let the adults handle it. If you must worry and you feel the need to vote, worry about American Idol and vote for your favorite contestant. That's the ticket. That's the straight talk. Now make like a journalist and get on the bus.