Steven A. Hass: Roasting Some Real Weinies
Roasting Some Real Weinies
By Steven A. Hass
Sometimes it takes a good hard crack across the face before some people will snap out of whatever fog they're in. I intend to do that with this article. It will be unpleasant to some, but it's good medicine, and the soon-to-be offended readers are the readers who need this.
I'm going to cut right through all the Grade A crap that permeates American culture today, specifically as it relates to current political events. I am motivated to do this by my profound confusion when I see a bumper sticker or a magnetic ribbon on a car which is apparently supposed to signal to me that the driver is a great American patriot. I don't get that idea when I see these items on the back of a car. In fact, I get quite the opposite idea: when I see these things on the back of a car, the message I get is that the driver is just another American sucker, tossing his money to whomever was resourceful enough to capitalize on the 21st century American standard of gullibility.
The messages seen on these bumper stickers and magnetic ribbons can be counted on one hand, with fingers left over. Usually it is "Support the troops", or "Freedom isn't free", or slight variations of either. The problem I have is that I know without a doubt I could stop any driver who sports one of these nifty "patriotic" slogans on their car, and he wouldn't have a clue how to explain what the message means. How exactly does he personally "support the troops"? What effort, beyond applying the bumper sticker or magnetic ribbon, does he give to "support the troops"? And what exactly is he supporting the troops in doing? Why are they even in Iraq in 2005? Does he know? Is there some part of their mission that he is actively helping them with? In a nutshell, I am certain that in spite of his plea for others to join him in supporting the troops, he hasn't done anything himself, other than applying the sticker or magnet to his car. Excuse my ignorance if I can't seem to understand how this supports any troops, anywhere, in any way.
My favorite slogan (and a surefire indicator of someone who has really missed the boat) is "Freedom isn't free", as if that somehow applies to the United States today. Freedom isn't free, and never has been, but what does that have to do with anything today? The United States isn't fighting for its freedom anywhere in the world. Those freedoms were secured over two hundred years ago. Since then, nobody has crossed an ocean to try to wrestle those freedoms from Americans. I know there are 9-11 bells ringing for some readers who are jumping up and down and thinking that the events of 9-11 were all about the freedoms in the United States. I'll pause here to allow a minute for the more insightful readers to enjoy a chuckle over that one. The events of 9-11 had nothing to do with the freedoms in America, and it's unbelievable to have to point that out in 2005. Freedom isn't free? Maybe not, but an informed opinion is.
Perhaps my biggest gripe is the overuse of the word "hero". The true definition, if it is to retain any credibility, does not realistically allow for it to be applied to anyone in recent history. However, the new American definition allows the word to be used very liberally, which it is, and usually by someone who is safely distant and uninvolved with the conditions faced by the "hero". Do American soldiers refer to themselves as heroes? Never. Do the armchair warriors who watch it all on television refer to the soldiers as heroes? Always. The soldiers don't consider themselves heroes for a very simple reason: they're not heroes. They are soldiers, period. They are trained for combat, paid for combat, and on rare occasions they go to combat when ordered to do so. Does that make them a hero? No, it makes them soldiers who do their jobs. Is it dangerous? Absolutely. Is it enticing? Only to someone who hasn't done it. Is a combat mission heroic? No, it's actually extremely boring for ninety-nine percent of the time. Do the soldiers even want to be called heroes? Some younger soldiers may enjoy the notoriety of it for a time, but most soldiers know they can't reconcile their definition of "hero" with the way it is liberally applied to them today.
Do I support the troops in Iraq? I support them as far as their safety is concerned, absolutely. My oldest son will be deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in October. What I do not support is their presence in Iraq, and the president who sent them there on a platform of lies and distortions, calling it a "war on terrorism". War on terrorism? Terrorism is a symptom, not a disease. Since when did it become possible to win a war against a symptom? The American troops cannot win this "war" because it has no possible ending as long as they are in Iraq. I would hope that no more of them have to be slaughtered for this fallacy, but it's impossible to support a "war" that doesn't exist.
Has anyone in Bush's administration (or fan club) even tried to contemplate what fuels today's "terrorism"? War on terrorism? It's actually the Recruiting Drive for Terrorism, and it continues to swell the ranks of insurgents more and more every day. Osama bin Laden himself couldn't have dreamed of a better recruiting drive for his missions than to have American troops destroy and occupy Iraq. But what motivates the insurgents? Why are they fighting in Iraq? If it has nothing to do with America's freedoms (and it doesn't), then why do they fight? Yes, the answers matter. I laugh when I hear someone say, "Because they hate America". Go have yourself another beer and sit down and watch a NASCAR race or something, while the rest of us exercise our brains.
There is no "war on terrorism", because there can't be. There can be a "disagreement with the ideals of terrorism", but not a war. I guess "war on terrorism" sounds a lot more exciting to those who are safely away from the action. What better way to hoodwink the gullible American masses into blind and silent obedience than to tell them they're at war? It's worked throughout history, and has become easier in direct relation to the growing level of technology. American television has spent years softening the American mind to the point of being the premium tool for propoganda. Ask the legions of Bush fans where they get their news, and they'll happily admit to watching Fox News. I'll pause here for another robust chuckle. Give the masses a few action-hero video clips each night, and they're hooked. Throw in a few catchy phrases like "alert level", "homeland security", and "terrorism", and you've got yourself a population that will follow you anywhere. Well, I should categorize that population as an American population. I don't know if it would work as easily in another country. It probably wouldn't work in the Georgian Republic, because that is where the population became disgusted enough with their deceitful government to actually do something about it.
If Russia and China joined forces and destroyed the United States on false premises, and then occupied it with their respective militaries, would anyone expect American citizens to sit idly by while these foreign troops patrolled their country? Absolutely not. That doesn't mean that every American citizen would take up arms against these occupying forces, but there would certainly be a sizeable militia force determined to save their country. Why? Because it's their country, to manage as they see fit, and these American militia forces wouldn't want any foreign group deciding how to run the United States. According to George W. Bush's definition, that makes the American militia a group of insurgents who just don't want the wonderful plan that Russia and China have for the United States. But that's George W. Bush.
Imagine a scenario: the United States arms Israel to the teeth with all the military weaponry it can possibly use, including nuclear weapons, and hands Israel billions of dollars in aid every single year, and turns a blind eye to Israel's defiance of dozens of U.N. sanctions, and at the same time the United States tells every other nation in the region that it cannot possess the same weapons, and expressly forbids nuclear anything in all these other nations, even though it gladly supports the opposite exclusively for Israel. Do you think maybe that might perhaps sound a little unfair to these other nations? Wait a minute - that's not hypothetical after all. Imagine that.
Thomas Jefferson himself said that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. He would be disgusted at the blind obedience and gullibility in America today. The events of 9-11 had nothing to do with America's freedoms, supporting the troops doesn't happen with a bumper sticker, the world hasn't seen a real hero in many years, there is no war on terrorism, and Israel is a welfare state that wouldn't survive for a day if the United States shut off the gratuity. I haven't even started to talk about the very lucrative charade known as organized religion, but I wouldn't want to upset anyone. Too late?