First of all, I simply cannot fully express my astonishment regarding coverage of the presidential elections. Commenter “Dead Civilian” is right, the elections are all rigged, and no matter what you want, you’re going to get a pro-corporate American imperialist for president. But the tidal wave of conversation, predictions and irrelevant analysis of hyperexaggerated non-events is blowing my mind. Even on its own terms, this news reporting is a travesty of a circus of a farce. Matt Taibbi has a few choice words on the subject.
But I was actually glad of the braying racket this week, because it helped muffle a story that had the potential to set us back on course for Cheney’s Glorious War Against Iran. You know the story, the one where some Iranian national guard speedboats got kinda close to some American warship boats, and somebody with a radio somewhere said some menacing things that, when combined together and doused with American paranoia, could have looked like a near-suicide attack by evil fanatics. And sadly, as though several decades of lies from the Pentagon was not a reason to show skepticism, the media aired the story with full military spin intact: those dangerous Iranians almost killed good, innocent, noble, sexy Americans, with no provocation whatsoever. And as all good Americans know, if someone tries to pick a fight with you, you have no choice but to drop several thousand tons of explosives on civilians from that same country. Cuz if you don’t, you’ll look like a pussy.
The most insane part of this barely newsworthy story, is that the Iranian behavior was repeatedly tagged as “provocative,” the Iranians were trying to provoke a fight. Which may or may not be true, I’m not sure. But you know what’s more provocative? Parking two aircraft carriers, dozens of fighter jets, and a series of battleships armed with cruise missiles off the coast of a nation you routinely and publicly discuss invading.
And if you say “that’s a good point”, you’re wrong. That’s a really, really obvious point. A point that should have occurred to every journalist and every news-watching American who heard this tale. If Iran had a few aircraft carriers off the cost of Florida, it’d be like Cuban Missile Crisis II. But we put some aircraft carriers 30 miles from the Iranian coast, and that’s no big deal. Cuz we’re America, we’re allowed to put our guns and planes and tanks anywhere, and all the other people of the world should be fine with that, cuz America Is Good.
Somehow we Americans have been blinded to our bizarre, global military omnipresence. We have military bases in dozens of countries around the world. That’s really weird, if you think about it. We’d boil with anger if some other country tried to set up a military base on our soil, but we expect everyone else to be totally fine when we build our GI Joe Rocket Command Center(tm) down the street from their kid’s elementary school. It’s all a part of the ubiquitous. unconscious American supremacist mindset that afflicts so many of this country’s citizens. It’s a theme I’ll be coming back to regularly.
Ironically, these manufactured scenarios of conflict and fear not only help bolster the war supporters in the US, but the hardliners and repressive elements of Iran as well. Every saber rattled by George W. makes the Iranian public edge a little closer to fellow powermonger Ahmadinejad (who, I’m always having to remind people, is not the leader of Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad is just the president, a subordinate position to Khamenei’s). So all the back and forth snarling and snapping helps keep the hawks and mullahs in power, and the military industrial complex keeps on rolling.
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