07 November 2002
Many opinions have been stated about the current situation that the United States of America has placed itself in regarding Iraq. Before I get into my opinions, let me first say I am an avid supporter of war. Though I find war itself a brutal and barbaric act of lunacy, I also understand that some people can only be dealt with this way. What I do not understand is how an entire nation can harbor such great hatred just because CNN and The New York Times tell them they should.
Let me begin by questioning all those who believe the U.S. has a reason to go to war with Iraq. The only reason our country is considering going to war with Iraq is to clean up a mess they left a decade ago. However, the conditions of a war remain the same. The only reason the United States can come up with to go to war with Iraq is that they may be gathering weapons of mass destruction, which we supposedly oppose. The U.S., however, regrets to mention that the way they plan to dispose of these weapons is to use the same basic weapons of our own on them. An entire community will rise up against cops who beat citizens that the cops merely suspected of having a weapon, but a nation seems to believe that doing such a thing on a world scale is perfectly acceptable.
Most of the aggression towards Iraq would not exist if it were not for the media over-dramatization of world events. The average American has no idea what is happening in the world; when they do hear something they only get a few sound bites and get the rest of the information filled in by some airhead anchor that knows the situation only slightly more accurately than the audience they speak to. Katie Couric and Dan Rather are not experts on U.S. foreign policy or any real foreign policy, for that matter, but people hold their (and their colleagues’) opinions in the sort of high regard held for a high-ranking military official that actually knows what he/she is talking about. All media industry is involved – they cater to what the public wants. After the news is done brain-washing the culture they send Hollywood to make games that allow a person to assassinate (excuse me, perform a political regime change upon) Saddam Hussein. Or how about having countless actors give support of a war, but when Richard Gere explains his Buddhist philosophy on non-violence he gets booed by crowds of people. Everything adds up to media showing a small portion of a story to insight a riot amongst the politically uninformed.
Getting back to propaganda amongst both government and media, which more and more I see as one entity, I would like to concentrate on tactics of controlling public through media outlets. Such examples are video games, commercials, television, and movies. There is no simply coincidence between Black Hawn Down and Sum of All Fears appearing just after the September 11 attacks, nor is it happenstance that Conflict: Desert Storm was released just as talk of going back to war with Iraq began to buzz around Washington. The truly twisted part about Conflict: Desert Storm is that video games have a very specific audience – teens. Conflict: Desert Storm is rated “T” for Teen, by the way. And, as it happens, the government likes to draft teenagers first to fight in a war. I once asked a Colonel in the Marine Corps why that was and he told me, “Honestly, you’re ignorance is surpassed only by your feeling of invulnerability.” In other words, kids are desensitized to a variety of violence and then fed the real stuff later in life. It is as if our citizenry is willingly breeding soldiers without their knowledge.
The final point I feel is necessary to make is about an actual war against Iraq; more specifically, what exactly is going on. The situation today differs from that in 1991 – we rationalized our actions then by saying we were out to save a poor little country in the Middle East that just so happened gave us amazing oil prices (but CNN decided to not mention that part). Now, we claim “a madman” has control of a sovereign nation and may be building his army, which is totally within his right as the ruler of an autonomous state. Last time I checked, one country overthrowing another country is the exact reason we attacked Iraq in the first place. Now, we want to do the same thing to them, but that is fine because the United Nations, also known as “the guys in New York that make all the rules regarding what countries of the world can and can not do to each other,” recently granted the United States the power to forgo some rules in the interest of world security. That is correct, children: the organization that is supposed to protect the world and equalize and stabilize all countries, regardless of size or merit, into one great conglomerate of government has given that power to the United States of America. One might think, “That’s alright, there are other countries that can have us in check.” Oh, they mean Europe. Like that NATO thing they have. Oh, wait, no, the United States is at the top of that chain; Russia was allowed in within the last few years as the guys just below us in the chain of control. The only country that might have the power to do something seriously damaging to the United States is China, and they need us as much as we need them. I hear people constantly talk about how China has such a great Army and how they can trample us in population alone. These people forget that in this century the best kind of warfare is economic. The attacks against the World Trade Center cost $300,000 to pull off and managed to cost the U.S. economy over $3 trillion. Unfortunately for the U.S., there is little economic attacking that we can do to Iraq; maybe we can put an even bigger embargo against the country, if that is possible.
People talk about how the U.S. is arrogant right now, and that we think nothing can touch us. When I hear that I say, “Yeah, and?” We are arrogant for a reason – we are MTV-fed video game junkies waiting for the next Eminem single to come out and all of a sudden two buildings collapse in New York and a few thousand people die. So we found the autonomous country that may have been harboring Osama bin Laden, the man charged by the U.S. for the attacks, and turned every structure that could have possiblly been construed for a military building into rubble. And now we see a country that has done nothing illegal but is about to get turned into a litter box because the United States wants to save a dime on every gallon of gasoline. I’m all for better gas prices, but maybe our costs would not be so high if we would stop selling the oil we produce in Alaska to Japan (it costs less to ship it there than back to the Continental U.S., from what I am told, though that does very little for explaining why gas prices there are even higher than here).
My final comment is about the current U.S. War of Terrorism. I want everyone to understand what U.N. policy states and what the war on terrorism potentially entails. The U.N. claims that countries have rights to run themselves as they choose – they even let places like Sierra Leone chop off their citizens’ hands so they can not vote. Point being, one government invading another government or state is frowned upon by the U.N. Luckily, the United States makes up a large part of the military force behind the U.N., so they are basically in our pocket. Does anyone really believe that the situation in the Balkans in the mid-90s would have been better off if the U.N. Secretary General had said, “Oh no, there’s an invasion! We need the best military in the world – let’s call France.” What would the U.N. do if the U.S. stepped out of line – order us to attack ourselves? So, the U.N., being the clever devils they are, made a policy that said for the next few years the U.S. can smudge some of the lines of foreign policy for the good of the world against terrorism. And, as it happens, terrorism has a wonderful definition, which goes something like, “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” Sounds sort of like what we are doing with Iraq, only we are doing it for the good of the world, so we are allowed. What the war against terrorism really means is that the U.S. has declared World War III. People tell me I am crazy when I say that, but how can it be defined any differently? The U.S. has always spied on other countries, and now we have the power to invade wherever we want and take out “the bad guys.” That means that one can consider the PLO, Al Queda, Saddam Hussein, Columbian and Turkish drug lords, Chechen rebels, and the IRA potential targets. Just within those few names mentioned, almost fifteen countries could be invaded for the sake of “world security.” One constant of world history is that powers change, and the guy at the top is the firs to get hit. The U.S. has been at the top for a while, and the way we throw our weight around, it is a real wonder we do not have more buildings blowing up. Long ago, I was watching one of my favorite TV shows (though I loathe television), The West Wing, and the President of the United States, played by Martin Sheen, made a profound statement. He said how a citizen of the Roman Empire could walk freely in the world with the mere defense of the words, “I am a Roman citizen,” for all other nations knew the repercussions of doing harm to just one citizen would be devastating. Foreign countries may hate the U.S., but there are few who would dare attack it or its citizens. Welcome to the new world order.
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