Monday, May 09, 2005

The Nation in the Orange Jumpsuit

Check out:

Gitmo detainees speak

Soldier Lifts Lid on Camp Delta

When I was a kid of nine or ten, my father once cautioned me against smoking cigarettes. He said, "If I catch you smoking, I'll kick your ass." He had a lit cigarette between his fingers as he gestured at me. His statement didn't cause me to stop filching his or my mother's cigarettes, which I smoked behind a tiny union hall on McEwan Avenue with my friends, but caused me to ensure I was never caught. And I wasn't.

My friends and I didn't know the word for what our parents engaged in, warning us against smoking while they, themselves, smoked heartily, frequently, lustily, incessantly. However, I have since learned the word for this -- Hypocrisy.

Whenever we witnessed hypocrisy -- in our banal, eventless lives of home and the schoolyard -- it was a cause for scornful laughter amongst ourselves and seamless disdain toward the transgressor. Accidents were usually excused, like when a kid said, "I'll kill anyone who hits my ball onto the school roof," and then proceeded to bat his own baseball onto the school roof. This didn't make him a hypocrite, nor did it keep us from scornful laughter. However, never did we disdain the kid. We just didn't help me get on the roof to retrieve his ball.

We learned early that hypocrites weren't to be trusted. In any given situation they were apt to "move the goal posts" to suit themselves, and no one else. Like the kid in the snowball fight who insisted we only aim for body shots, and then turned around and beaned one or many of us in the head with slushballs. His punishment invariably entailed a thorough snowbath, if not an outright bloodied nose. Never again would he be involved in a snowball fight -- even if we all agreed that aiming for headshots was permitted.

Call me childish, stunted, simple, or unsophisticated, but I retain much of my schoolyard-learned sense of right and wrong, and it works for me just fine in daily life. So, when the United States of America proclaims to be battling tyranny and spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan (I have to continually remind myself that the war in Afghanistan is still onging; you wouldn't know this by monitoring the news; pity the poor, stranded soldiers fighting that forgotten conflict) and yet runs a well-publicized concentration camp in Guanatanmo Bay, Cuba -- wouldn't want to sully U.S. shores with such an abomination to democracy and freedom -- the old schoolyard clenching of my guts occurs at witnessing hypocrisy on such a grand, glittering scale.

Let's be honest, the government of the United States of America doesn't give a shit about spreading democracy or freedom. It is, in fact, spending quite a lot of time and money restricting the freedoms its own citizens once enjoyed. America's current wars are an effort to grab at much-needed natural resources -- OIL -- and possibly turn the region's populations into sweatshop workers for Nike and Wal-Mart.

The purpose of the concentration camp at Guanatanmo Bay, Cuba is not to glean intelligence from the "worst of the worst" of terrorists, it's there to provoke more terrorism.

"What?!" I can hear the Peoria car salesman exclaim. "Provoke more terrorism?! That's insane!"

Yes and no. Yes, it's insane. No, it's not implausible. Without the level of fear being cranked daily to a fever pitch throughout the United States of America, the charade of George W. Bush's government would collapse instantly. Terrorism, to borrow a phrase, is "the wind beneath" BushCo's wings. It keeps that sorry administration aloft. It keeps the population's vision turned to the Middle east, rather than middle America where I am sure a few hundred billion dollars might have been helpful in repairing school, aiding the elderly and the sick, and so forth.

But BushCo is comprised of businessmen. George W. is the failed CEO of a handful of companies before he found himself governor of Texas. Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, among other companies, and Cheney the CEO of Halliburton, which is so coincidentally reaping a pimp's winfall in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Businessmen are not known for their devotion to democratic principles. Truth be told, most companies are their own totalitarian regimes, run by autocratic, egomaniacal crusty old white males suffering from various degress of untreated syphilis and Napoleonic complexes. Apparently, Conde Rice is among the "poorest" of BushCo with a piddling net worth of somewhere around $20 million. Who says that BushCo isn't for the poor?!

I didn't need any leaked memo out of the U.K. to tell me that in the build up toward the invasion of Iraq, the U.S.'s feeble attempts at "diplomacy" ("You have the freedom to agree with us and vote the way we want you to vote on this resolution," George W.'s every misstep proclaimed) were hollow, half-hearted, and entirely acted as pretense. We know that George W. Bush intended to invade Iraq the moment he took office in 2001. The question is, does any one care?

If anyone does, then there are not enough among their number to change anything in the United States of America. Because, unfortunately, when it comes to "right" and "wrong," America adheres to its own standard. I'm sure there's not an American alive who would argue with this -- America's "right" is "What's right for America." And it's definition of "wrong" is "What doesn't serve the needs and purposes of America." This may play well in Peoria, but I'm sure it's not viewed as favorably in Peking, Prague, Palastine, Peru, Paris, or Prince Edward Island.

Zbigniew Brzezinski published a book called The Grand Chessboard in 1997, in which he states that the U.S. will have to embark on a natural resources "hunt and gather" mission (my quotation marks) in Central Asia, but cautions that unless an event on par with Pearl Harbor strikes the United States, the American people would support such an incursion. George W. Bush assumes office in January 2001 (much the same way a pickpocket "assumes" your wallet). Nine months later the 9/11 attacks take place. A month later, the US has invaded Afghanistan. All the while plans for the Iraq invasion were in the works.

People speak all the time of George W. Bush's ignorance, his arrogance. I suggest the conversation be shifted ever so slightly to America's hypocrisy: a president who comes into office under highly disputed circumstances proclaims himself "spreading democracy" through the world? It sounds like the premise for a Monty Python skit.

Such talk, as I'm engaging in right now, has prompted such free-thinkers as Ann Coulter and Paul Cellucci to threaten Canada with sanctions and other more sinister consequences. Go ahead and instill sanctions -- once the supply of Canadian lumber to American makers of crucifixes is cut off, George W. Bush will learn who not to trifle with. As for Ann Coulter's threats of invading and conquering Canada, that would be wholly impossible. Most Americans, including the military, are unable to find Canada on a world map. Such an invasion would have to be conducted and coordinated by However, in fairness, I'll give the American hawks a hint on where to direct their bombs -- west of Hudson Bay (consult, at the territory known as The Canadian Shield. It is thus named because all of the machinery that keeps Canada running is centered there.

So, BushCo's false calls for "freedom!" and "democracy!", and all of their associated outhouse stench, has done nothing but clarify in my mind what America is about -- serving America's needs. Within America, you have BushCo serving BushCo's needs. I think most Americans oppose the United Nations because they fear one day there will be a tutorial that will finally reveal that there are other nations that comprise the world, otherwise known as Earth. Contrary to popular opinion, these other nations' purposes are not simply to provide slave labor for Nike and Wal-Mart. They are comprised of human beings. But BushCo has turned its well-scratched back on the U.N. However, the rest of the world watches the folly and ferocity of American hypocrisy in action, and while the scornful laughter has all but dried up, the disdain deepens and broadens like ink through a white business shirt from a burst pen.

1 comment:

RossK said...

Brilliant Matt, just brilliant.

Send it to Heather Mallick.

She will love it.

(No, I'm not joking)