Friday, February 09, 2007

Memories of freedom fries

via The Vanity Press, this interview with Chris Hedges is excellent reading. But I'd like to focus on this bit, about the run-up to the war in Iraq:
The media was completely in complicity with very few exceptions. The population at large got off on it; the cable news channels pumped out this garbage over 24-hour news cycles with graphics and drum rolls. And this was part of the whole sickness that happened to the country after 9/11, where unbridled nationalism—which I think is a disease—was unleashed. It brings with it—it really is just a form of crude, self-exaltation, but it brings with it a very dark undercurrent of racism—racism towards Muslims, towards anyone, including the French, who disagreed with us. And our society was really enveloped with this sickness. It really was a sickness that I had seen on the streets of Belgrade. It wasn’t a new sickness to me, but of course it was disturbing because this time around it was my own nation. And that euphoria lasted basically until the war went bad, or until people realized that it was going badly. And then we forgot about it. There’s a kind of willful amnesia that is also a pattern of wartime society—certainly something I saw in Argentine society after their defeat in the Falkland war.
I've had a few people call me crazy for worrying about a war with Iran. Well, fine, then I'm crazy. But I remember 2002-2003, and it scared the ever-loving hell out of me. To see a nation as powerful as the United States go totally batshit insane -- beyond reason, beyond fear, filled with hate and loathing for France of all things? -- was terrifying, deep in my bones. I have American family -- staunch Democrats* almost without exception -- and still some of them were gulled in to supporting this war.

I mean, the Dixie Chicks for the love of Christ.

Now, maybe Bush can't pull that rabbit out of the same hat twice. Things are different now, sure enough. But I can't shake that fear. Rather than deal seriously with the fact that they were taken for suckers, the Press, the Democrats, and the American people themselves seem to want to forget it ever happened. It's obviously impossible to learn anything if you refuse to even remember anything.

About half the people who now claim they don't support the war are -- to be blunt -- lying. If the statistics from March 2003 mean anything, it's that they supported this war until it started going badly. I may be petty, but I'm not inclined to be charitable to these people.

*I'm told my grandmother refused to vote for FDR for a third time, on the principle that a President had no business seeking a third term. Fortunately, it was 1940 and FDR won with 55% of the vote and carried 80% of the states. Go New Deal!

1 comment:

Eric the Political Hack said...

I think the jiongoism that swept the states after 9/11 is something important to look at and something I'm glad you brought up. However, I can't help but feel it was over hyped by certain parties especially with regard to the French. Although most of my friends are liberal, I certainly have conservative friends and family and even among those most nationalized after September 11, I can't really remember anyone being that upset about France. The whole "freedom fries" situation was largely media driven. I certainly don't recall a single "real-life" person who didn't laugh at the idea of changing the name of French fries. Not to say those people weren't out there, but I have to believe they were only a small number of O'Reilly's most delusional viewers.