- Since we are all Americans, we are all
equally blessed (or damned) by those things the world deems to be quintessentially
"American." I heard a fellow on the radio this morning brand
as "un-American" those persons who doubt the story of heroic
passengers rising up on 9/11 to overpower hijackers to prevent their airplane
being used as a flying bomb." This apparently suggests that one should
at all times be "American," since being "un-American"
is a terrible label to bear. But who is the arbiter of what is or isn't
"American?" We all have our own opinions of what is and isn't
"American," of course, including that radio DJ. But my guess
is that the White House is the ultimate arbiter of what is "American"
in the eyes of the world, since the administration makes and enforces American
policies around the globe. So hang on to your hats. Here is what our administration
has avowed to be "American.
- (1) Torture. This administration even
had its now-attorney general draw up a memo justifying the use of torture
against prisoners, male and female, no holds barred. So when you go abroad,
don't be surprised if the citizens of whatever country you enter look at
you askance, since you are a torturer.
- (2) Assassination. Assassinating the
leaders of other nations at will, if we don't like their policies. The
administration calls it "regime change," but it is outright murder,
in violation of all international law. Remember the "deck of cards"
showing all the Iraqi leaders the President wanted murdered? Remember all
the Taliban we shot on sight? So when you go abroad, don't be surprised
if the citizens of whatever country you enter look at you askance, since
you are a murderer.
- (3) Terrorism. We have used massive weapons
of destruction to kill about 200,000 - 300,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly
women and little children, in the course of effecting "regime change."
What could be more terrifying than living in fear, knowing that at any
moment bombs may drop out of the sky to blow your beautiful babies into
little red pieces? This is ten times more than Hussein ever murdered, even
by our own administration's inflated estimates. Early in the war we sent
laser-guided weapons to blow up a restaurant with hundreds of families
eating dinner, because we thought that one or more of the people we marked
for assassination might be there. The man who pushed the button launching
the bomb is a terrorist and a murderer. The man who planned that strike
is a terrorist and a murderer. It is now coming out that our own military
operates its own death / murder gangs, lining up and massacring Iraqi women
and children to create terror. This is all endorsed by the Neocons and
the Bush administration. It is now the quintessence of being "American"
in the eyes of the world.
- "WAIT A MINUTE," you say. "I
never endorsed torture or assassination or terrorism! You can't blame me!"
- Wrong. The people of a nation are always
held responsible for their leader's actions. We held the German people
responsible for Hitler's actions and those of the German military machine,
allowing millions of German civilians to starve to death after the end
of WWII, without a twinge of guilt. We punished the Japanese civilian population
in months of fire bombing of Japan's major cities, barbecuing women and
children in their houses, because they allowed their leaders to wage war
against the US and other nations. Without a twinge of guilt. We carpet-bombed
schools, hospitals, temples and regular old neighborhoods in Hanoi for
months because the North Vietnamese wouldn't stop their leaders' war being
conducted in South Vietnam. Without a twinge of guilt. So. You are a torturer,
an assassin, a murderer and a terrorist in the eyes of the world. Yes,
you. The housewife in Pacoima. The retiree in Redondo Beach. The garment
worker in downtown LA. The cattle rancher in Utah. The rap singer in Detroit.
Your administration has made it so. To deny it is, simply put, un-American.
Will each of us have to pay for these crimes against humanity? When you
look into the eyes of a Pakistani, or a Greek, or a Namibian or a Peruvian,
ask yourself, what are they thinking about you? Only time will tell. When
you look into a mirror, what are you thinking about yourself? In the meantime,
enjoy being an American. If your conscience will allow it.