Friday, June 02, 2006

A Pop Quiz!

It’s pop quiz time!

Here are two statements made by two different American journalists – statements made almost forty years apart. The one statement was made in 1966, by David Lawrence of the US News and World Report and the other in 2004, by Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard.

Fill in the blanks with the names of two countries David and Fred were referring to:

1. I’d like to see one other thing in _________, an outbreak of gratitude for the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another.

2. What the United States is doing in _________ is the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times.

Looking at the parts I have emphasized, I am astonished by the fact that, although they were made two different people almost two generations apart – they are strikingly similar. Both statements contain implied assumptions that the United States has done something wonderful in these two countries. When you guess the names of the two countries, you will surely understand my astonishment!

In my mind, “benevolence” and “philanthropy” are positive and good. We have a nice warm feeling for people who do such things. The fact that, in this case, the people are us -- well it just makes me feel all kind of fuzzy inside, just like when they played the Star Spangled Banner when I was a kid…

My problem is that I know the names of the two countries and find in most difficult to apply the words “benevolence” and “philanthropy” to what the United States is doing in the one country and did in the other almost forty years ago.

Bombing the shit out of countries, destroying their infrastructure, indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians, spreading tons of poison, torture, murder and outright death squads – this is benevolence and philanthropy?

True, the US did not invent hypocrisy and duplicity. But when the truth about a couple of massacres finally/inevitably surfaces and, with the mainstream media as our surrogate, “we” raise our hands in horror and cry “O no!”, as if it were some sort of rare zero event – well, pardon me, but this seems to heave the practice of hypocrisy and duplicity to new heights – not to mention that it gives me the heaves just thinking about it.

If you haven’t guessed the names of the two countries by now, I want you to go hit yourself in the head with a hammer. Hit yourself real hard! It can’t hurt you, because your skull must be thicker than a Swiss bank vault door…

By the way, it doesn’t matter which blank in which statement you fill in with “Vietnam” and which with “Iraq” – the expressions of imperial hubris and arrogance are interchangeable.

I’ve lost the link, but the quotes for the pop quiz were from “This Modern World”.

There are enough references in the blog world to convince anybody with a conscience bigger than a booger that Haditha is not an isolated aberration, that such has happened before and after November, 2005 – but for free, check a link I haven’t lost (yet):

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My guess for the first.. hmmm.. sounds like something Bush would say, and the last one, I dunno, so I confess to being stumped too.. :-)