Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Grain of Salt

After watching War Made Easy it makes you wonder about people in general. President after president using the same rhetoric almost literally word for word to lead our nation into one useless and unneeded war after war and you and have to ask how can we keep falling for it time and time again. Some say we have a short memory though I am more inclined to believe that we are just self-absorbed, thoughtless and subject to lazy thinking.

The role played by the press is surely part of the problem. They were quite instrumental in the lead up to the Iraq War but part of the blame must lay with us. Though the press bombarded us with the rhetoric handed out by the Bush administration and failed most miserably to ask even the most logical questions that should have been asked why anyone would believe that bringing freedom to a country on the other side of the planet requires our military to murder these people by the hundreds of thousands is a bit much. How difficult is it to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Why would anyone believe that it is our duty to take on such arrogant actions? I mean c’mon people I can recall my sixth grade teacher telling my class that when you read the newspaper you need to take what they say with a major grain of salt. Is the maturity and awareness of the average American less than that of a child in sixth grade? Apparently so. Our sixth grade teacher even pointed out that you should beware of statements like “they said” or “sources have said” or “officials say” meaning that just who are these unnamed people, what are their qualifications and why should we believe them when we know none of these things. I’m talking sixth grade here folks, sixth grade.

Despite the fact that no WMD were ever found and no connection between 9/11 and Iraq was ever made with even the most minimal shred of hard evidence people still trust what the news reports not because people are stupid but because they are lazy in their thought processes.

Now the same thing is occurring with Iran. We hear the same claims by an administration that has been thoroughly shown to be morally and factually bankrupt though the difference now is that our leadership has garnered so much power that it no longer matters what we believe or do not. Worse still congress is even more hawkish on attacking Iran than President Bush is if that is possible.

One scene from War Made Easy still plays over and over again in my mind. It is a haunting scene where American soldiers force an Iraqi family out of their home at gunpoint and the camera pans in on the face of a young girl who must have been only eight or nine her face convulsed with fear. I cannot get it out of my mind, and indeed I don’t want to. Is this what America stands for? Our big brave troops terrorizing small children -- does this look like something you can support -- believe in, or even condone? The truly sad and tragic fact is that this is nothing new. We have been doing this in one form or another in one country or another for over 100 years yet all too few are aware of this.

Yes Bush is awful as has every other American president been for the last century, no, the press are not the searchers of truth, guardians of the flame or anything remotely resembling such things but how hard is it to think, to wonder, to ponder why we should trust any of these people?