Steven A. Hass: Fortitude, British-Style
By Steven A. Hass
So London was bombed. If you missed any of it, and I mean any of it, come to America and turn on a television. In the America of 2005, you can sit in front of a television after an event like this and have your gag reflex tested as the event is continuously crammed down your throat for as long as you can stand to watch it. Did you miss something when you ran to the fridge for a cold one? You didn't really miss anything - the coverage will repeat itself at the top of the hour. On the hour. Every hour. For days.
Do you know of a better way to keep the population obedient to the "fear and terror" program? In America, that program sells flags, it sells bumper stickers, it sells magnetic ribbons, and it sells a lot of military supplies and equipment. Keep the population in fear, and you stand to make a lot of money if you know what you're doing. Can't really pinpoint "the enemy"? Make one up! Generalize, be vague, and use scary words and phrases, ie: the terrorists, al-Qaeda, the Jews (no, wait, the Nazis already used that one) or just plain "the enemy". Don't forget to use new grandiose terms for your own country, too, such as "The Homeland" (damn it, the Nazis already used that one, too - I'm sure glad they're gone). Come to think of it, the Nazi political leaders fed their population with all the bullshit they could swallow, too, and swallow it they did, and look where the Germany of the 1930's and 1940's ended up for believing that crap. I'm so glad we've progressed, and political leaders of today don't lie to their people and twist facts and use fear and terror tactics to control the population.
London was bombed, and that sort of thing is always tragic, but London is no stranger to being attacked. Many different groups have bombed London over the years, for many different reasons. A recurring scenario in the 1970's was the IRA bombing the UK. Were a gazillion troops sent to Ireland to blow it to bits, litter it with depleted uranium, use banned chemical weapons against its people, destroy its infrastructure, kill hundreds of thousands of Irish civilians, and occupy the country? Not that I can remember, and I'm pretty sure that it would be in the history books today. Apparently, different countries have different ways of responding to being attacked, and not all countries have a burning need for sympathy. Hell, some countries actually look for the root cause of the attack, and address that, rather than rushing to war without a clue!
Just since 9-11, attacks like this have happened all over the world, in places such as Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, Kenya, Bali, and Tunisia. If you were in the United States and had access to a television, you saw them all, and you were subject to every opinion under the sun from every Talking Head on television news programs. If you had access to a television, and had it tuned to Fox News because you like Fox News, you got your opinion spoon-fed to you without having to burn a single calorie on independent thought. If you disagreed with anything you saw or heard on Fox News, you're a dirty, liberal, whining, unpatriotic, sympathizer-of-the-enemy commie bastard who should just move to Iraq.
The world could learn a lot from the British and how they respond to being attacked. The American media would have you believe that Londoners were a beaten lot, shocked and dazed by the bombings, needing aid, crying in the streets, asking, "Why us?". But that's the American media, controlled by the same people who brokered this unstoppable war in Iraq, and an important tool in maintaining an air of fear and terror among the American public. The truth is that Londoners dusted themselves off and went to work, ate their lunch, rode the buses and trains, and shopped at their favorite stores. They didn't ask for (or want) the world's sympathy, they didn't need a television newsperson to tell them what happened and why, and they sure aren't going to sit back and blindly accept a line of garbage from Tony Blair. Londoners know why they were bombed, and they won't let Tony Blair get away with having his staff come up with some neat soundbites and catch-phrases to use for twisting the facts.
London was bombed, this is our world now, and it's never going to change. You can thank George W. Bush personally for that. His followers would respond by saying that Bush isn't the one who bombed the World Trade Center on 9-11, so the world of 2005 isn't his fault. Don't laugh - that's really how his followers think. Iraq didn't bomb the World Trade Center on 9-11, either, so that argument is in the toilet. Never mind U.S. foreign policy questions, such as the U.S. policy of arming Israel to the teeth while demanding that its neighbors disarm. In Bush's mind, that's a policy conducive to world peace, and Israel's neighbors should lay down all their weapons and trust that a super-nuclear Israel would leave them alone. The truth is that Israel couldn't withstand a collective sneeze from the rest of the Middle East without the billions in U.S. aid that it receives annually. That makes it a welfare state, doesn't it? Watch out for the canned response: I'm anti-semitic for pointing out the truth.
There's a root cause for these bombings, imbedded in foreign policy, and the bombings won't stop until the root causes are addressed. London will survive, despite television news teams crawling all over themselves, trying desperately to paint the British as stunned, dazed, and beaten. Sorry, guys - that kind of sensationalistic "news" only works in America.