Crying In Our American Beer
A Critical Essay on the Relationship of American Leadership, Beer Drinking and the Depressing State of Internal and World Affairs
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2003 by RDFollendoreIII
March 4, 2003
We Americans are crying in our beer but not because the 911 terrorist attacks hurt America in critical ways that can never be fully repaired. The actual physical attacks themselves were insignificant with respect to the size of the infrastructure and the number of people within our country. Yes, innocent people were killed. Yes, four airline aircraft, the Headquarters of our military, two landmarks and a few thousand people's lives were destroyed, but it isn't like America has not overcome such a crisis before through fire, weather and earthquakes. We have weathered far worse "natural" storms in the past and we shall do so in the future. Does this mean that we should not hunt down those who were directly responsible for these actions? No. Does it mean that we will survive these attacks and thrive once more. Yes, but only if we get to the business of our national recovery. This is simply not happening because our leaders are focused on retribution.
The fact is that the most lasting damage from terrorism has come about through this country's "political" grieving process. Over the past year we Americans have been spending enormous sums of money creating many of the problems we now must begin to stand and face. We have reorganized our Government in ways that we do not fully understand. We have allowed the our economy to fall apart. We are full of war and animosity to those who do not choose to proscribe war. In the face of this impending "glorious" war that is supposed to pick up our economy we have written a blank check to our enormous military industrial complex who promise victory over anything and everything, "even if we have to go it alone."
Our Government has been pumping out the propaganda but most Americans are not buying it. But the majority is also not opposing the propaganda either. This war is essentially based on the same old worn out lines that some of us heard in the Vietnam war. "Our enemy kills and eats babies," but of course " we love babies." We are God fearing and our enemy does not believe like we do. Our enemy is therefore evil and we are good. The ends justifies the means. Time is imperative because we must not let evil remain in power to stack their dominoes against the free world. "Six months max, and we are in and out of there." Bull!
There are people out there making the valid point that America seems to be occupying the middle east. The fact is that we have been occupying countries all over the world at the "request" of other countries. But as military masters of all around us, cultural problems of others become our problems. Of course America will see a mass influx of "our friends" who want to migrate to the United States, just as we have seen it happen in every other war. But if you were to talk to people over here about any of this, their eyes would go blank and you soon find that they are simply not listening. Most of the people who work in America do not remember Vietnam. To them, Vietnam is a memorial wall located somewhere in Washington D.C. To them Vietnam is a historical artifact from high school.
We need to get this story we are living straight from the view of the world. Prior to 911, America elected a religious fundamentalist, an recovering alcoholic, Vietnam era fighter pilot from Texas who never actually saw action in Vietnam because his family was rich and powerful because of making so much money in oil. This individual came be President by little less than the majority of the popular vote because of a glitch in our electoral system and a judgment by the Federal court. While Governor of Texas, this is a man who put more human beings to death than any other and then had the moral tenacity to run on a Republican "compassionate conservative" ticket. He was to be our "most moral" choice. The truth is that the immorality of our previous President allowed this fellow to get into power and the immorality of 911 terrorism allowed him to grab more power.
The point that is being made is that this is an American personal and political situation that has been brewing for more than a decade. Both before and after his daddy was President his family had a murderous and ongoing feud with the third world Iraqi dictator, whom he refused to disarm twelve years ago. His father and his military leaders have felt that was a mistake, so that the moment the son became President and almost a year prior to 911, plans were drawn up in the Pentagon to proceed to invade Iraq. Now surrounded by the same Generals as his father, but now appointed to diplomatic and political positions, we see 250,000 American troops staged to invade on the pretense that they are fighting 911 terrorism?
Now on the brink of war we Americans are finally waking up to ask the questions. Will America win this "war?" Of course not, because there is no "winning." War is not some simplified sports game broadcast on television with rules and points on a scoreboard that allow us "victory." War is simply a means of dominance through violence. Will we be able to take over? Of course. We certainly have enough weapons. But the "rules" of war are always Murphy's rules, not Pentagon rules. Will it cost America dearly? Yes. It already has and we will continue to do so after the "war." The problems we face will just that which occurs during the military conflict. It is what happens after the "war" that will be America's legacy. Will Syria or Iran be next? Take your pick. While we are at it, if anyone really wants to know why Turkish parliament did not vote to take the billions we offered them for supporting our attack on Iraq, all they have to do is think about this.
This war simply does not make sense unless you begin to consider that maybe this President is demanding personal, religious vengeance and to grab power though blood and oil. Want to know why Germany, France, Russia and China are against this war? Think about it from their perspective. Our President has been insulting them. Each of these countries have experienced invasion and extended periods of foreign dominance. They have seen millions of their citizens killed in their lands. They understand too well that invasion is a two edged sword. Our American President is constantly saying one thing while acting as if he is leading a religious crusade. To be perfectly frank, many people overseas think our President has gone mad.
"The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others." This statement by President George W. Bush represents the view of those who would believe that Americans have no obligations to respect the decisions of others. It reflects the idea that what others do within their part of the world environment does not affect us. It also defines the nature of this President's foreign policies if the decisions of other countries are found in someway to affect America. This attitude is reflected in Presidents position with respect to the Kyoto treaty and the World Court. It is an attitude that is reflected within issues of policy related to the issues of human rights and personal liberty. But when one begins to uncover the true meaning of this incredible Presidential policy and map it with our actions, it reflects the kind of unilateral decision making and orientation to take direct action through political power in ways that have not been seen by a powerful world leader for many generations. Our policies have crossed a threshold of acceptability and tolerance.
Others might look at the military members that have supported this "independent" military campaign. Our incompetent and ineffective Congress have been allowing a handful of leftover Vietnam and Desert Storm era Generals to work in collusion with religious fundamentalist politicians to dismantle the essential foundations of citizen freedoms and rights that America was built upon. These generals are saying that their guarantee is duty, honor and country. If this is so then one might want to ask where is their loyalty with respect to maintaining the intent of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution? What many disenfranchised people feel these people have been actually creating is America's most dangerous and egregious deep seated wound by trading responsibility for their sense of duty, honesty for their sense of honor and the right of our country for the power of their regime. When we look at the fine print of the guarantees of the military leaders in command, about the only thing we find is a form of American imperialism. What the people are creating is an American military influenced empire that is bent on occupying the world and overextending our capabilities.
There is truth in the fact that Americans like the idea of the use of concepts of war, but only if it meets our own political ends. But more than that it also seems that we Americans are both infatuated and infuriated with fashions of the competitive concepts of war. We were once in a "war" on poverty. Then we abandoned that and declared a "war" on crime. We once were fighting a "war" on cancer. Then there was our "war" on racism. Not so long ago, America was in a "war" with drugs. But now by taking control of Afghanistan, we have become responsible for the very country that is still the greatest single supplier of the worlds poppy field to heroin production. This story is so crazy that it would not make a very convincing conspiracy novel if it did not ring so true. Once truth is delivered, it is for you to research.
The reason why we Americans are crying is because there is a painful crack in our red, white and blue shield. The heart of terrorist strategy has been all too simple: "That which is politically unacceptable is not necessarily socially, economically or militarily defendable." This strategy affects everything because it is a crack in everyone's philosophical shield. It means that our security is vulnerable no matter what we choose to do. Some of realize that our leaders compounding the problem of national security through our actions. After more than a year since 911, this is the the real loss that we are grieving. Our grief as well as our actions are coming from our uncertainty about the future. We need to get over it but for some reason we are not doing that. We would rather go on hurting ourselves out of self pity.
Frankly, it is a difficult for many if not most intelligent Americans to understand exactly what it is we are grieving over that would allow us to lose our sanity. Can we bring back our dead through grief? If we could, every Mother and girlfriend who has ever lived on earth would still be alive today. Does 911 represent our physical loss or the loss of our naivety and freedom that we Americans grieve for? In any case, grief is a politically correct pastime that country music seem to be able to cash in on. It is the old, "shut up, and cry in your beer" kind of music.
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