"America Strikes Back"

     I put "America Strikes Back" in quotes because that's the title of CNN's nightly newscast these days. They should be calling it "The United States Strikes Back", but if it were me I'd call it "Of Course The United States Lashes Out".
     Please let nothing I say here imply that I at all think that the acts of terrorism that happened on September 11, 2001 were anything but despicably ugly acts of ignorance and hatred perpetrated by evil individuals.
     Today, three months after the tragedy, I heard on the radio that it is estimated that the number of innocent civilians killed by our bombs falling on Afghanistan has now surpassed the number killed at the World Trade Center on September 11th. Thanks to the wonders of modern marketing, which is really what politics has become, all of us know exactly why the "collateral damage" of 3,000 or so dead innocent civilians in Afghanistan is not really "evil" and just a sad, necessary byproduct of our noble effort to punish and stop terrorism.
     Well I don't buy it. I don't buy it at all.
     The following is a quote from the Dhammapada (which I believe is primarily Buddhist teachings) that was included in a "seasonal greeting card" I received last year:

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

     I said "seasonal greeting card" above because obviously the card wasn't a traditional Christmas card. Had I received a Christmas card that carried such quotes from the Bible as the stuff about loving your enemy or turning the other cheek, I probably would have considered that card a "keeper" as well.
     Many with far more eloquent speaking and writing skills have voiced the opinion that meeting the tragedy with compassion and love is the only real way to stop the cycle of violence. When people asked me what the hell I would do if I were president and so forth, the best I could come up with is that I would come clean and admit that the United States is not the fair and just country we self-righteously pretend that it is.
     In 1992 I wrote in a little pamphlet "Arthur G. Padlock For President" that we as a country need to stand up like an alcoholic at an AA meeting and take responsibility for the horrible things our government has done throughout the world. Such would no doubt mostly be an education to the vast majority of US Citizens who have their collective heads stuck in the sands of our not very free press and either don't understand or choose to ignore that the business of our country is all business and while those in power are kind of stuck with having to let us enjoy some freedoms and rights, the freedoms and rights of the average people in developing countries are something they just can't afford from a business perspective, and hence our government does all it can do - sometimes even beyond the realm of its own laws - to keep those people oppressed, enslaved, and forced to give up the wealth of their countries to their own crooked governments so that their governments can offer our businesses some very lucrative deals.
     But this has gotten very off topic! My point is that the real positive thing that could have happened after 9/11 would have been for the United States to finally try to do something to change the fact that so many people in the rest of the world hate us. What we've done instead is to give the people who already hated us more reason to hate us, and it's very likely we've pushed those who had been on the fence all the way over to the hating side.
     From what I hear, terrorist organizations are strewn all over the place. Overthrowing the awful government of Afghanistan isn't going to change that. It might even be that for any actual terrorists killed in Afghanistan, three more in the Arab world will be moved to join the cause and become terrorists.
     So while many would deem my opinions here to be "unpatriotic", I think they are very patriotic in that I want my country to be better. Those who are at least a little aware of what the hidden, secret team of behind the scenes operatives functioning on behalf of our government has done to manipulate the governments of other countries will know what I'm talking about. Others will just write me off as a conspiracy nut.
     Either way, please do respect my right to have my opinion that war is wrong and that there has to be a better way.

     Okay, it's a week later and I'm embarrassed at what a glaring non sequitur I've tried to pass off in the above.
     I'm going off about the things our country does that could cause poor people in underdeveloped countries to hate us, but obviously that has little to do with what happened on September 11th. Heaven help us if poor people who have been oppressed in South America should get hold of weapons of mass destruction!
     Those who profess to be of the Muslim faith and so hate the United States that they'd do anything to kill even the simplest, most innocent 'rubes' of us, aren't exactly irked about anything in our foreign policy outside of how it relates to the Arab world.
     More than anything, of course, it's our extreme commitment to and support for Israel that makes us the bad guys in the eyes of many Arabs.
     I want to be brief here, but I do want to make two points before I give up and admit that I can't really put all that I think needs saying into words.
     First, let me say that there are lots of religions in the world, and Islam is one of the big ones. There's no way in hell that Islam could say that it's even okay, let alone a good thing, to cause harm to any other persons whether or not those other persons share the Islamic faith or even know it exists. The two sad things here are that Osama Bin Asshole can and does twist a religion to fit his own political will, and that there are people so stupid to believe that they're going to be rewarded after they die for doing evil to others.
     Second, if one just stops and reviews the bidding, so to speak, on how the current state of Israel came to be and how the situation has evolved since Israel was given someone else's land because someone entirely different did horrible things to people of their ethnicity in a whole different place a long time ago, one can see that what the world has sitting there in the Middle East is one big fat problem made up of understandable hate coming from both sides.
     And then there's the United States, right in the middle of it, clearly on one side and supporting the fight against the other side. Hence the other side becomes our enemy and hates us.
     The reason why we're so squarely on the side of Israel is because of money and the fact that our government isn't just "for sale", but pretty much only "for sale" via lobbying (legal bribery) and so forth. Israel is a huge lobbying force in Washington and continues to win the game of giving money to some people and then getting those people to vote for HUGE sums of money being given in return. It seems like an equation that doesn't pay for the United States, but it's simply that individuals and political parties receive the relatively little bit of money from Israel and its supporters, and the HUGE sums those bribed politicians hand out isn't even theirs. It's ours, the taxpayers'...
     Well, it's not going to come as any surprise that I'm not going to solve the problems in the Middle East here, but it does seem that if the United States government was not "for sale" we would have been able to say "no money for you" to Israel years ago, unless they truly did try to achieve a compromise type of peace agreement. Without the support of the United States, Israel would be pleased as punch to pull back to their mid-sixties borders and perhaps build big ugly walls to separate both sides from the big ugly hatreds that both sides harbor. They'd be pleased to do this because it would no doubt be the only way they could survive. I guess it's a bit late to suggest they be given a chunk of Germany for their country...
     Like I've said already, this is just too big of a topic. I had thought to broach it by telling why I do not have an American flag in my car window.
     During the Gulf War I displayed peace signs in my car windows, even though I was well aware of the irony that it was, of course, a car, and that cars use oil, etc.
     I'm not displaying peace signs right now because of the reason I'm not displaying the American flag. I'm not displaying the American flag because of one way it can be taken, and that is when people see it as meaning that the person who's displaying it is supportive of whatever his/her country is doing in response to September 11th. I'm not displaying my peace signs because I'm afraid someone displaying the American flag in support of our country 'kicking ass' would likely 'kick ass' on my car's windows.

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