Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Kidnapper's Lunacy Of American Foreign Policy

Once when I was a very young child -- still in my single-digit years -- I walked into the living room and caught a glimpse of some crime drama or cable movie my mom was watching on TV: someone had been kidnapped, and tried to escape, and the kidnapper was utterly furious.

To my childish mind, THAT was the most bothersome of all -- not even the thought "kidnappers exist" but the thought "this guy is crazy enough to actually be offended that his victim would want to escape his nasty basement." (That was my thought, though I'm sure my actual vocabulary was much simpler.)

Of course, such solipsism is to be expected from any character playing "Kidnapping sociopath in a crime drama." Finding that attitude among real-live people -- people running the government, no less -- is a hell of a lot scarier.

Yet that's the attitude of American war boosters these past ten years and more. Consider this facepalm-inducing story from the Seattle Times: people in Iraq have been buying inexpensive rice from India in lieu of pricier rice imported from the USA, which has American rice farmers utterly infuriated:

Stoesser and other farmers know Iraqis struggled during the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation. They know most countries - and people - buy based on price.

But at the moment, with production costs rising, export markets shrinking and rice prices dropping, it's difficult to be rational and suppress emotions so intimately intertwined with their land and livelihood.

"That's just not right," the 63-year-old Stoesser fumed. "If we've got some rice to sell, they ought to pay a premium for it just because this is the country that freed them."

Just like kidnappers "free" their victims from the miseries of a loving family or the ability to sleep in their own beds. Though other rice farmers displayed even greater levels of solipsistic cluelessness:

John Alter, 64, also is considering alternatives. Usually, about one-third of his 1,500-acre farm in DeWitt, Ark., is devoted to rice. This year, it would be risky to dedicate too much land to the crop, he said. The loss of imports is disappointing, Alter said, noting the price difference between U.S. rice and Uruguayan grain was small.

"We spent billions and billions, if not trillions over there, and lots of people died," Alter said. "There should be some reciprocation ... Last time I checked, there wasn't any Uruguayan soldiers that lost their lives in Iraq."

Yeah, well, last time I checked there weren't hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead at the hands of Uruguayan soldiers, either.

We might be going to war with Iran soon, too. As an atheist and a woman I have no love for Iran's theocratic, misogynistic regime, but still I know better than to believe the official US narrative: "We the people of the United States have been minding our own business these past hundred years when the Iranians decided to start hating us for no reason at all."

No -- in the 1950s we overthrew Iran's democratically elected leader and replaced him with an absolute monarch. Under him and his son, things got so bad that the Iranians rose up in revolt, leaving a power vacuum which the Ayatollah Khomeini rapidly filled. The entire modern idea "Muslim fundamentalists = dire threat to the Western world" might never had existed, if we'd left Iran alone in the 1950s rather than installed a puppet dictator.

But we did that, and we built a ring of military bases surrounding Iran on all sides, and we insist Iran has no legitimate reason to feel threatened by this. (I'm sure if the tables were turned -- if, for instance, the Chinese had overthrown President Eisenhower and replaced him with the kingly head of a hereditary monarchy, and today the Chinese openly occupied Mexico and had major military bases all throughout Canada -- we here in the US would love China even more than we do already, no?)

And we didn't go after Saddam Hussein because he was a son of a bitch; we went after him because he quit being our son of a bitch. He should have studied all the right-wing dictatorships we propped up in Latin America: Before he engaged in ethnic cleansing and the mass murder of civilians, he was supposed to point his finger at them and yell "COMMIES!" Had he the foresight to stick Che Guevara T-shirts onto a few Kurdish corpses before the world learned of their existence, he'd likely be alive and still ruling Iraq today.

But none of this makes any difference to patriotic American war boosters. How dare poor Iraqis not pay a hefty premium to import rice from the country that bombed them? How dare Iran feel threatened by the past 60 years of US history and the knowledge that US military bases are making a ring around their country? How dare the Afghans not show gratitude to soldiers of the foreign army that's been occupying their country all these years? How dare Bradley Manning let the world know how we've pimped out little boys as sex toys to horny Pashtun warlords and used unarmed Reuters journalists for target practice? How dare anyone look at such videos and doubt the whole "America: international beacon of justice and human rights" propaganda?

Why can't the rest of the world understand they have no legitimate interests that ever run counter to our own? Why aren't they content to just remain chained in our basement?


Blogger Charles Pergiel said...

Say it sister!

8:03 PM  

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