War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Sixty-two percent of Republicans believe that Saddam had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed in June believed that Saddam personally masterminded the attacks.
There is only one logical explanation for this: Americans are being exposed to mind control waves that are being broadcast through their television sets. I refuse to believe that my fellow Americans can be so ignorant. I am, thankfully, safe from the waves here in Korea, but I have to watch my exposure to CNN, my only English channel. I think the most harmful subliminals are sent out every half hour when James Earl Jones says, "This is CNN". You have to listen real closely, but it's there:
THIS We're turnin' the corner. Freedom's on the march. IS Spreadin' liberty. Everything is just fine. Juuuust fine. CNN Flip-flop!
Here is an awesome article entitled "Without a Doubt," which examines how Bush can simultaneously be so sure of himself and so wrong. In uncertain times, people tend to favor a strong leader who is wrong than a weak one who is right. Remember, Hitler was elected, too.
Yes, yes, comparing Bush to Hitler, how unoriginal. But when you're living abroad, shielded from the Compassionate Conservative Mind Control Waves, the comparison doesn't seem all that absurd. In fact, after six years abroad, what seems more absurd than anything is the whole us-them mindset that drives international relations. Even the concept of patriotism seems pretty ridiculous to me now, especially with all the flag worshipping I see everywhere in Korea (the school festival at Dong Middle School concluded with a group dance by students wearing Korean flags fashioned into aprons).
Are the cultural and ideological differences that divide us really that significant? I don't think so. Or do I feel this way simply because the foreign countries I've lived in--Japan, Spain and Korea--have societies (very secular societies I might add, even Spain) that are fundamentally similar to my own? Maybe I'd feel less affinity with my fellow man if I'd lived in an ultra-Muslim Middle East nation, in an ultra-fundamentalist Christian Bible-Belt state or with the Ik tribe of Uganda, but deep down, I can't help but feel that folks is folks. There are hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, at this very moment, people like you and me, who are going shopping, watching TV, having sex and squeezing out turds (not necessarily in that order).
Look, 48 Iraqi soldiers were executed by the "insurgents" (Rebels? La Résistance Nationale?) just a few days ago. Don't hear too much about them anymore, do you? That's because it's "them" who died, not "us". 13,900 civilians have been killed in Iraq so far. No big deal, it's just "them". Then a handful of guys get their melons hacked off and everyone makes a big fuss, all because they were "us," folks who eat Corn Flakes for breakfast and wipe their asses with Cottenelle (which, by the way, is not quite as soft as Quilted Northern).
Okay, 深呼吸...1, 2, 3. Blogging is so therapeutic. Didn't young people make a big fuss about this kind of thing not too long ago about another unjust war in Vietnam?
The October issue of The Sun magazine contained an excerpt from the book "At Hell's Gate," by Claude Anshin Thomas, a Vietnam veteran turned Zen monk. Nonviolence is at the core of Buddhism, but, like most Americans, I used to think that war is sometimes justified; that's why people can say that certain wars are "unjust." But one passage from this article, written by a man who has killed many, many people, gave me pause:
At speaking and teaching engagements, when I make the pronouncement that violence is never a solution, I am often asked what I refer to as the "Hitler questions." These include: If by killing one person you could save one hundred lives, wouldn't you kill that one person? If someone broke into your home and was intent on killing everyone in your family, wouldn't you use force to stop him? If we hadn't taken aggressive action against Hitler, what would have been the consequences?One million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide. Two million killed in the Sudan. Combined, that's half the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. And that's just in the past twenty years.
These questions are legitimate. And they are also inherently rhetorical. I don't know what I would do if I were confronted with the sort of situations that they pose. The Second World War appears to have been successful, but is the world a safer place for it? Have those who aspire to gain power through the use of violence and aggression been deterred? Without a doubt, the answer is no. While it is true that Germany's defeat stopped the Holocaust, for me there still exists the nagging question: Did this bring an end to genocide?
Many people believe that, in certain circumstances, we should kill to prevent further killing. My hope is to help people discover what a terribly dangerous argument this is. This argument has been used to justify preemptive strikes, to maintain a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the planet a hundred times over, and to uphold the death penalty. It is being used as a rationale for the current occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan--and it was used by the Fascists and the Nazis to justify their agenda in Europe. As we can clearly see, this argument can be used to justify almost anything.
Is all this fighting making the world a better place? The Americas were formed by Eurpeans killing the native peoples. In Gangs of New York, Scorsese makes the point that the New York City of today arose out of brutal gang wars. Does everything have to be passed through a funnel of violence before achieving stability?
Then again, America might not be stable for too much longer. Maybe the post-election lawsuits will throw the American political system into chaos, regions of the nation will secede, and the US will be fractured into William Gibsonesque corporate states. Cool! Cyberpunk!
There is a big, dilapidated, windowless building in Jecheon that is similar to how I imagine Gibson's Bay Bridge cyberpunk shanty town. It houses lots of individually owned shops, with hundreds of light bulbs hanging from the ceiling on wires, like fluorescent cilia.
By the way, do you know one reason why this war has cost the US, from the beginning, so much more money than the Gulf War? In the Pappa Bush war, Kuwait picked up the gas tab. Not so for the current war. I paid $40 just to send a box from Japan to Korea. It costs a lot more to ship a 70-ton Abrams tank across the ocean and drive it around the desert.
Even if you agree with the basic tenets of the Bush theocracy, here's one good reason why you should vote his ass out of office.