Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Do as we say, not as we nuke. Yo Joe!

HBO Films is showing a new documentary on the U.S.'s nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thank goodness -- it's a chapter of recent history that is being rapidly forgotten. In a CNN piece, the head of HBO's documentary division stresses that such a film faces hurdles in circulation. No kidding! I'm glad this made it onto the air.

It's disgusting how many Americans ignore the fact that ours is the only country to have used nuclear weapons on human beings. Twice. And it didn't have to happen. Furthermore, the bombings were not just "a bad thing" this government did in its past, but a foundation for American supremacy in the post-WWII world. Yet we dare to lecture "rogue" nations on trying to have, wanting to have, thinking about having, and talking about wanting to have weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. has them and has used them! So long as a good part of the American public is convinced by arguments like "That's OK, we're the good guys!", we are in desperate need of films like this one.


Anonymous said...

Hi Saladin,
I found a link to your blog off of your comments posted on the 'Police Issue Report on Homegrown Terror Threat' and have read through all your main posts.

By the way, I loved your comment about developing the "four step process to becoming an SUV-driving, crap TV-watching..." I grew up in the best example of that town, so maybe I can help if that research is ever done.

There is no way I can fully understand your frustration because I do not share your religion. But I can see how the rhetoric coming from our current administration and the ignorant comments by some of the general public can be infuriating. It makes me wonder if people are ever going to change.

I'm frustrated too.

After our country invaded Iraq under the pretense that Saddam had WMD's, and no WMD's were ever found, I was extremely disenchanted with the current administration... even more so after I saw some of the intelligence our President picked and chose from. I grew up believing that the United States was a force for good in the world and that there was no need to question the motivations of those in our government because our country would always try to better the lives of people living under oppressive governments. (I know, I know, I have now learned there are too many examples in history to disprove that naive notion). It's amazing what's left out in school history books.

I see the occasional news clip with an Iraqi citizen saying "thank you America for protecting us", and "if you leave we will surely die" and it gives me hope that our country still makes something of a positive impact.... or at least *some* of our soldiers do.

I want to think that, but I just can't be sure of anything anymore.

I also like to think most Americans learned that not all issues the world faces today are as transparent as our President would have had us believe after the September 11th attacks occurred. That little hope fades when I hear candidates like Barack Obama threatening unilateral assault on terrorists inside Pakistan w/out permission from the government of Pakistan.

Every day I read several different articles printed about the latest event in the ongoing Palestinian/Israeli conflict. One article will portray Israeli and American policy as the aggressors, while another article portrays Hamas or Hizbullah as the aggressors. The major differences between these articles reporting on the exact same story is a testament to how complex some of the issues the world faces are. I can understand the frustrations of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. I hope everyday that a resolution to those situations are found, and all of the people living in the region can go to work or school without having to worry about their loved ones.

I am sorry I'm being so wordy.

I understand the irony of the US government trying to keep nuclear technology from any other country (for use as an energy source or otherwise) while we are the only country to have used nuclear weapons. At the same time, I read about the government of Iran detaining Iranian Americans just to spite the United States, scheduling the execution of journalists, stoning to death of adulterers, the severe beatings and stonings of youths who attend "western style rock concerts" and all sorts of other oppressive acts.

I read about these terrible things happening to people in this country and I can't help but wonder what they would do with a nuclear weapon. I don't need propaganda to formulate that thought. I hear of these terrible things happening to people living under oppressive governments and I wonder who else will help them if the United States doesn't. I don't think this because I think it would financially benefit our country. I think it because I truly care for people.

What, if anything, do you think should be done?

If an administration came into power within our United States that somehow proved itself to be genuine in it's intentions of liberating oppressed people for the sole purpose of giving them a better life, would you still have a problem with that administration labeling the revolutionary guards (and like entities) as terrorists?

Also, and I am not saying this to infuriate you, I am honestly curious.... Do you really believe this country stinks? If you do, and I'm sure you've heard this before too, why not move to another, better country that doesn't stink as bad?

The way I view our country is that although the people in power in America can be just as corrupt and heartless as those in other countries, our justice system at least provides an opportunity (not always) for retribution. **Even Putin said you would not see a high ranking official within the KGB being publicly questioned on Larry King.... ever** Regrettably, that's not always the case... LIBBY!!! But I can say with confidence that our country has the best track record in the world for exposing and handling the corrupted.

Please, give me something that I can really think about.

Saladin said...

Hi "anonymous" --

Thanks for your thoughtful post. I wish I had more answers for you. I'm a fairly cynical and nihlistic thinker (as if you couldn't tell!), so I'm probably the wrong person to go to for "how do we fix it" ideas.

I will say, in response to a couple of your specific points:

a) I'm not exactly happy about Iran's (supposed) nuclear ambition. It's just that I don't find the vague but probably unrealistic military ambition of a minor world power (Iran) as scary as the clear and demonstrated military actuality of a major world power (the US). No one should have nuclear weapons, but if I'm making a choice I'll sooner condemn those who actually have them and have used them than those who deny even wanting them.

b) I won't leave the US b/c I was born here, everyone I love is here, and other places in the world are just as subject to US power (in other words, if I moved to Lebanon or Egypt I'd still be living in an American controlled world). And I love New York City, which is as much an international city as it is an American one.

c) Yes, I believe this country stinks...but by this I don't mean all of the people of this country (which would include me, my wife, my Dad, my friends, that nice old guy I say hi to on the elevator, etc.). I mean the STATE. Not just Bush, but the STATE. The history of the US as a Nation-State is one of slavery, genocide against the natives, environmental destruction, exploitative labor practices here and abroad, etc, etc. But the history of the people(s) that have lived on this big spit o' land is much more complex. Nobility, creativity, self-sacrifice, standing up for the weak, love of neighbors, etc. have all been on display among American citizens, just like these qualities are on display among the citizenry of ANY country. The idea that a government or a flag is worth loving or dying for, though, is one of the great snow jobs of history. Only other people are worth loving or dying for.

d) About the only candidate that I would trust in power right now is Kucinich -- and even him not by much. Power corrupts and absolute....well, you get the idea.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful post.