John Kaminski: Trapped In A Poison Fog
Trapped In A Poison Fog
By John Kaminski
I had the good fortune to attend TWO Easter dinners with sets of family members this year. Like so many of my e-friends who often complain to me that their families think they're crazy because they believe the U.S. government knows a lot more about the 9/11 butchery than it lets on, and that the recent shoot-'em-up in Iraq was a totally illegal and immoral operation that left the blood of innocent babies all over the American flag, I'm stuck in the same boat.
I'm sympathetic to those messages, because I have a family exactly like that, one that regards me as some odd radical and wonders when I'm going to get picked up and locked away by Ashcroft's storm troopers for many statements that they regard as subversive and blasphemous. But as I have often advocated that all of us who KNOW must do the best we can informing those of us who don't, I felt obliged to do some educating when the opportunity appeared. Call it a feeble attempt to walk some talk, or possibly talk some walk.
The first dinner was mild and cordial, full of presents and small talk, with not a whimper of war, treason, or how Americans are hiding their heads in the sand and ignoring the blooming tidal wave that signals the coming worldwide police state. Just a little moaning about the suspicious unpredictability of the stock market amid jocular enthusiasm about the latest specifications concerning new cars.
The second dinner, however, with a black sheep nephew who has been ostracized from the righteous and respectable side of the family over his penchant for serial girlfriends and loud blues music, was much more laid back and unpretentious, and the conversation soon drifted to war. Actually, the new girlfriend (and in fact, the new fiancée; he's reforming and settling down as he rocks into middle age) brought it up.
"Why do they have to keep killing all those innocent people?"
My ears perked up. What was this? A whiff of consciousness from my very own family?
But I held back, not wanting to too soon lurch into a full-blown oration about the criminal tendencies of America's Nazi government. But then the opportunity presented itself when my nephew noted that it was tragic and regrettable that many American soldiers (he's an ex-Marine) had been stricken by illness at a result of their exposure to chemical weapons.
He looked at me for a response and I was there. "It isn't really chemical weapons that have been the real danger," I said. "Most Americans in the first Gulf War were sickened by the ammunition they were using, which is made from leftover uranium from nuclear plants. And the second leading cause of all these diseases was from the shots they were given, which contained ingredients that to this day no one has ever adequately identified."
His eyes widened. I continued. "Did you know that 255,000 soldiers have filed for VA disability pensions as a result of being in the first Gulf War? Did you know that 10,000 of those people have already died? And they say that the potency of the ordnance they're using now is much greater, so that we can expect the incidence of illness and cancer in these troops who are serving now is going to be much greater that what happened in the first Gulf War?
"You don't want me to talk about the actual diseases these people get, not at the dinner table ... "
With that he rocked forward and took a big slug of beer. I was an avuncular prizefighter looking for a gentle but irrevocable knockout.
"Do you know why we went to war in Iraq?" I asked quietly. His answer was mumbled, garbled, uncertain. "Well, yeah, that guy (Saddam) was dangerous; he was a menace."
I pushed on. "Is it OK to invade another country if the reason you're using is a lie?" I asked.
"Well, er, no."
"There were two reasons we invaded Iraq," I said. "First was we said he had weapons of mass destruction. We didn't find any. That reason was a lie. Second, we said Saddam was connected with al-Qaeda and 9/11. There IS no connection. Al-Qaeda was invented by the CIA when we recruited Muslims to fight the Russians in Afghanistan 15 years ago. The U.S. has fought side-by-side with al-Qaeda in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. The connection is not between al-Qaeda and Iraq; it's between al-Qaeda and the U.S. Both reasons we went to war in Iraq are lies, told by our country. We killed all those people for no real reasons at all, or at least, for reasons that are not the ones they're telling us."
I sensed I could push just a little further. "The invasion of Iraq by the U.S. was much worse even than when Hitler invaded Poland back in the second World War. The rest of the world now has us in the same category as Nazi Germany when it tried to take over all of Europe. In fact, what we did to Iraq was much worse than anything Germany ever did to Poland.
"What it's like in this country now is exactly like it was in Germany just before World War II started. New laws are being passed to supposedly protect us from foreign enemies. Back then it was the Communists; now it's the Muslims.
"Think about that when you see people waving those flags next time," I said, sensing he would have no comeback for any of this even if he wanted one. "They are waving those flags and cheering for wars that will take over any country they want for any reason at all. They don't even have to tell the truth about why they're doing it anymore. So when you hear someone say 'support the troops,' what they're really saying is that we can kill anybody we want to for no reason at all. This is what America has become."
After a long, thoughtful silence, my nephew's fiancée spoke up again: "I just don't see why they have to kill all those innocent people."
This time, I couldn't resist an answer. "It's because the people who arrange the wars make so much money off them. They want war, all the time. It's too good a scam for them to worry about innocent people. War is the engine that drives the economy. The same people who make the weapons own the newspapers and TV networks, which is why they all keep saying war is a good thing. When wars happen, some people ... some very rich people ... get very, very rich. That's why they keep doing it. That's why they won't stop ... unless we stop them.
"That's why it's very important that each one of us pays attention and must say what we feel. Otherwise, they're going to keep doing it, and it's going to get worse each time ... "
I could sense the moment had passed, that I had achieved my objective and it was time to let up. Beer, wine, and gwumpkies had taken their toll, and naps all around were looming in the near future for all of us. I hadn't even lurched into my 9/11 rap, or that the Congress was all bought off and incapable of doing anything positive for humanity, or that the U.S. Constitution was long buried by new police-state legislation. But I had pushed them further than I ever had, and gave thanks for that.
After leaving for home, I further reflected about the flags I saw flying on people's houses, the patriotic bunting on the fences, and the marquee at the local church that read: Jesus is the Supreme Commander.
We are trapped in a poison fog of patriotism, and don't dare to question the motives and actions of our so-called leaders. America as a country has held us together and gives us a good life in which to prosper and relax. The majority of us do not take the time to carefully examine the reasons our military does what it does when it does them.
We have invented enemy targets out of statements that the rest of the world rejects as clumsy lies. But we ignore the rest of the world because we are Americans, point at our high-tech gadgets, and say with horrifying hubris: "Look at what we've got. We must be right! Because you want what we've got!"
As the venerable TV legend Walter Cronkite recently said, the future seems very, very dark. It will continue to be so unless all Americans, each time they see their flag waving in the breeze, realize that this emblem now symbolizes in this year of our Lord 2003 that Americans can kill anybody they want to for any reason we choose, even if that reason is a lie.
Don't bother praying. God would never help people like that, people like us.