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Monday, March 5, 2007

Iraqupation

Hillbilly Report has a great post up highlighting the comments by protesters on March 2 in Louisville on the occasion of G.W. Bush's fundraising visit for Mitch McConnell. It is heartening in many ways, to see so many people speaking frankly about their disgust with the direction of the country and the Iraqi "war." On the other hand, it is disheartening to see that these fine American citizens are still buying into the main narrative which has been fed to them by the very people they protest.

First of all, we need to stop calling this aggression in Iraq a "war." It is an occupation, and I wish I had the readership (hell, any readership) to help turn this narrative. Far too many people characterize it as a "mistake," or that it was executed "incompetently" (Arthur Silber's deconstruction of John Edwards' problem clarifies the matter far better than I can, and the essay neatly encapsulates the thrall in which most Americans are ensconced.) These characterizations are helpful towards the end of masking the responsibility we all share for what is going on there.

A ex-Marine friend of mine recently told me a real knee-slapper about an exchange he had with a training officer. Well before any desert aggressions were in the obvious future, he wondered aloud why exercises were being conducted in desert camouflage (I hope I have remembered this accurately.) The response he received began with "What do you put in your car, boy?"

At one point in the video posted posted by Hillbilly Report, we see cars whizzing by, honking for the impeachment of George W. Bush. To what extent are these people aware that Bush and Cheney are committing this crime of occupation for their own interests? Are we really aware of the obscene levels of consumption of oil by us, the "outraged" American people? Now I do not here wish to share the full blame of this villainous administration with the man on the street, for I am of the opinion that, if we were willing and able to see the full truth of what is happening in the world, the majority of the people would shrink back from the bloodthirsty solutions that these monsters are willing to execute. Perhaps I am naive in this, but I do not think so.

But one cannot escape the passive willingness with which people seem to accept the pablum that is offered to them in lieu of the truth. Yes, the weight of shame which would descend unavoidably upon anyone of conscience is probably a prime reason for this, but we are only postponing this eventuality with our denial. The "solutions" that these fools are serving up for us cannot and will not stand for long. The revulsion we experience when realizing that we are murdering innocent men, women and children is not a complete one if we continue to blame the administration solely for their "mistakes" and "incompetence." Oh, the horror of the waste! we say, and for such specious reasons! The failure of intelligence - if only we had known that we didn't know of the threat of Iraq, we would never have allowed this to happen! Perhaps, but what would really have been the response if the full truth were known?

Would we have accepted the fact that our American way of life ("not negotiable") is only propped up by the naked exploitation of people around the world? This exploitation, while mainly of the theft of resources - like oil - from bribed or cowed "leaders" of other countries, also includes more direct and horrifying things like labor exploitation for cheap goods to feed our consumerist fantasies, the stripping of ecosystems, and the creation of vast toxic waste dumps in other peoples' back yards.

Would we have recognized this, and then moved on to at least contemplating our ridiculously inauthentic lifestyles... or would we have quietly looked away and hoped that our masters would come up with a digestible narrative to "justify" our aggressions?

Is this what we have done, actually, after all?

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