February 2, 2003

Bathroom Reading

On Friday I found a copy of the New York Post on the floor of a bathroom stall and picked it up and leafed through it while I sat there. And what a hostile, venal rag it is. If that screaming thing represents the consciousness of Americans we are a sorry lot indeed. Ruppert Murdoch really has that one turned up full blast. Rarely has so much hatred seethed from wood pulp.

A few things stuck in my mind before I dropped the paper back on the floor from whence it came, lying in wait for the next lonely sitter. There's a lot of anti-French and anti-German propaganda now that those countries have come out against the US attack on Iraq. There was a single panel cartoon showing the French army as a bunch of flaming sissies dancing forward eager to surrender. In the foreground were two American military men. One was saying to the other maybe it's better if they aren't on our side.

Presumably the war pushers can't make that same argument against the Germans, who were themselves the originators of Blitzkrieg that the Pentagon now lovingly emulates. They the ones the French did surrender to in 1940, and the ones from whom the US got its fascist infrastructure in 1945, including the transferring of the Nazi spy network into the CIA; the cruise missiles that will soon be raining on the ancient city of Baghdad; much of our weapons technology; and much of the propaganda technique now employed so adeptly by the Bush regime. I await the cartoon that discredits the Germans as this one discredited the French. The fact that the argument would have to be more or less reversed to apply it to the other hated European obstructionist shows what an empty argument it is.

Practically every page up to the sports section had some war propaganda on it. Another thing that caught my eye was a column by Dick Morris, the Washington consultant who worked for Clinton for a while, but was mostly associated with rightwingers. Morris is one of the slickest and slimiest around. He came up with a creative angle to promote the war, one I hadn't heard before. He said that once the United States has creamed Iraq and is happily occupying the country, the long-sought evidence to justify the war will surface. And at that point, those who had opposed the war will have some serious splainin' to do.

So that's how they'll do it. Once they are in control of the country they can say anything they want. They can "find" anything they want to justify their actions, just as they are justifying the appropriation of the oil fields as a way to pay them back for the cost of having to attack the country.

Oh they are endlessly clever.

Walking past the magazine rack I see the Times and Newsweeks and on one of them I see a cover line about Bush's efforts to "sell the war." Oh God, how revolting that thought is. America will soon be terrorizing and destroying the unfortunate people of Iraq, and Americans are so trivial minded they talk about it as if it were a sales proposition. Is this culture really so shallow and petty that the mass destruction of another country and its people can only be seen as an exercise in merchandising?

This is a horrifying proposition for the Iraqi people who are about to become the victims of this colossal madness. But it is even more horrifying for the United States. A culture with no more spiritual depth than that has no future. This hypnotized country is marching toward its own destruction.

As I type, I hear a bluegrass song on the radio. It's Hazel Dickens singing, "Will Jesus wash the bloodstains from your hands?"

Back to Home Page