Sunday, August 10, 2014

American Dementia

 noun \di-ˈmen(t)-shə, -shē-ə\
medical : a mental illness that causes someone to be unable to think clearly or to understand what is real and what is not real.

I think it is entirely possible that Americans suffer from a form of collective dementia. Certainly we have a problem understanding what is real and what is not real. First we seem to cling to the belief that we are a democracy (false), second, we seem to want to believe we are so exceptional we are indispensable to the rest of the world (we are now regarded, along with Israel, as the greatest threat to world peace), third, we believe that we have morality and right on our side no matter what), fourth, we believe we are the only superpower left in the world (having never won a war after WWII except, perhaps, over Granada), and fifth, we believe we lead the world in education, science, and economy (demonstrably demented as this is no longer true).
It is not entirely clear to me that dementia is necessarily a condition that affects all Americans, it could well be that it mostly affects those in politics, from the President, Congress, and down to the Supreme Court. There are, for example, hundreds of thousands of citizens all over the world, including many in the U.S., marching to protest what is happening in Gaza. The same thing happened prior to the Iraq “war.” The powers that be pay no attention to these demonstrations. A majority of U.S. citizens want stricter gun controls, they are ignored, just as those who are anti-war are ignored. Our “leaders” cling to the insane belief that what we do is right and what others do is wrong. The situations in Israel and the Ukraine are excellent cases in point, even though in both cases what we think is right is absurd (insofar as much of what happens has to do with oil, right and wrong are basically irrelevant, oil always wins).
We do almost certainly lead the world in sheer hypocrisy. For example, we are the first to demand that leaders in other nations be arrested and tried for war crimes, but at the same time we allow our own acknowledged war criminals to walk around freely boasting of their crimes. Our President had now reduced our war crimes to the simple homily that “we tortured some folks.”
Perhaps a more interesting case in point has to do with genocide. Isis, that growing bunch of murderous religious extremists, has chased thousands of Yazidi religious believers into the mountains and threatens to kill them if they do not agree to convert to an extreme form of Muslimism. So, to prevent this possible genocide the U.S. has intervened and is now bombing Isis in conjunction with Kurdish forces trying to defeat them. This is all well and good and no doubt necessary (obviously we cannot tolerate religious extremists who want to (and do) kill everyone who doesn’t agree with them. Genocide, however, is apparently acceptable when it comes to Palestinians. Israel has herded a million and a half of them into a narrow strip of land where they can be humiliated, starved, and killed at will, all with the blessings of our President and almost all members of Congress. Oh, I know, you will say the two situations are not comparable as Hamas is firing rockets into Israel, whereas the Yazidi are helpless. Basically the Palestinians in Gaza are helpless, and also deprived of food and water, power, and basic necessities, and have been for years as the Israelis control everything having to do with their daily lives. Hamas, and the Palestinians, want the siege to be lifted so they can live normal human lives, Israel refuses and the siege will apparently continue forever. Not only does the U.S. accept this terrible situation it actively encourages and participates in it. Our policy is clear enough, protect the Yazidis from genocide but not the Palestinians.
You may argue that Israel is not engaged in genocide. I do not believe it. More and more Israelis are arguing that it is permissible to kill them, some arguing that killing Palestinian women is justified because they will just produce more “snakes,” (where have we heard this before, “nits make lice.”) Israel argues that is has the right to protect itself from “terrorists,” even though they themselves were former terrorists, but the only way you can see their killing of innocent Palestinian women and children as protecting them from  terrorism is by believing the children will eventually become terrorists. It is no different than other feuds, if you don’t kill the children they will seek revenge for the killing of their fathers and mothers, and on and on. President Obama says he feels no sympathy for Hamas, fine, I feel no sympathy for Israel. Israel is the only entity that can end this horror. They can do it tomorrow by acknowledging that Palestinians are humans just like the rest of us, that they have legitimate interests that need to be met, and that they will do their utmost to be fair and reasonable. Don’t bet on it, and don’t invest much in the future of Israel.

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. 
When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out "stop!"

When  crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”

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