Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Who is innocent?

Susan at Res Publica is obviously upset by Ward Churchill's comments about the innocence of the victims of 9/11: "True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break." Evidently, the day after the attacks Churchill wrote an article entitled Some People Push Back. I have not read that article but apparently he suggested that those working in the buildings were not innocent. I'll take that a step further: not a single one of us is innocent.

Susan has this to say about Churchill:
People who think like that are terrorists of another sort. They create waves of hate wherever they go. The fact that they are allowed to teach others while being paid public money for the privilege of insulting the everyday people of America, confusing our children and indoctrinating the next generation with hate is a crime calling out to heaven.


I've thought about this a good bit over the past 3 years and my response is the same as it was on 9/12/01 and it is perfectly reflected by the title of Churchill's article: Some people push back. Look, the U.S. is a fucking bully and has been for many years. Iraq is the most recent example of our aggression and our willingness to interfere in the affairs of other nations. I'm sure Americans are more comfortable believing that they are a force of good in the world just as they want to believe that they are the defender of freedom and democracy but that does not make it so. It seems to me that the vast majority of Americans do not have a clue as to what "their" government is doing in their name and I think this is generally true for most U.S. foreign policy of the past 50 years. Unfortunately ignorance is not excusable.

Even when the American people do have an inkling as to what is being done they choose to re-elect the man responsible and that sends a message to the world: approval. Of course Clinton also did his part to uphold the America as bully image and I have little doubt Kerry would have done the same so it's not just Bush though he is perhaps the most arrogant of the bunch and it's more obvious. So many Americans, like their current president, seem unwilling or unable to acknowledge wrong doing. Not only is this sad but it is, to be blunt, stupid. When another attack comes we cannot pretend we are innocent though I expect that is exactly what will happen. Americans will cry about how cruel and undeserved such violence is, conveniently forgetting or denying their own role in the cycle of violence.

As the saying goes, if you can dish it out...

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