FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How ‘Don’t’ You Lose a 777 Over a Vast Oceanic Terrain?

by BEN ROSENFELD

How do you lose a 777?” we ask, incredulously.

A more revealing question is, how don’t you lose a tiny speck of a plane over hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean – at least after it falls off radar? And why do we need so badly to believe we’re all-seeing and all-knowing?

We are so proud of our technology we are almost insulted that a thing might not ping back at us from some distant corner or depth. We might just as soon be humbled, if not a bit consoled, that our global net has holes – though amid revelations of Orwellian government eavesdropping, we could probably agree a passenger jet should be under constant surveillance.

Our certainty that any responsible aviation authority (read, our own aviation authorities) would know exactly where that plane lies, is both symptomatic and causal of some very antisocial ways of relating to the rest of the world.

Fox News has been wondering aloud lately (through Judith Miller, Judge Jeanine, John Bolton, and others) why we shouldn’t seize control of the investigation. It can’t be long before Fox pundits dust off the doctrine of preemption to justify doing so, including seizing information from the Malaysians and others by force if need be.

And because we are accustomed to believing that gaps in our technology are where malevolent spirits coil and wait to strike at us, the mystery of what happened to Flight 370 rushes in on us though our televisions as an incipient attack. Never mind that the tragedy mostly belongs to other nations.

It is a tautology to our gated-community, neighborhood watch-minded eyes and ears that if the vanishing of Flight 370 were a mere accident, our infallible antennae would have told us so. That they haven’t makes it not just mysterious, but sinister – a floodlight-sweeping, alarm-wailing breach of the perimeter, until that mystery is apprehended.

It may turn out to be sinister. But that begs the question: Are we not in some sense cocking and aiming these missiles at ourselves because we are so certain it is our God-given right, ability, and messianic duty to see and control all?

Our infantile/paternalizing faith in our technology and technical know-how, and in those who administer it, is itself a major factor in our imperialistic misdeeds around the world.

The difference between Bush I’s and Bush II’s invasions of Iraq, for example, illuminates the priapistic path we’re on. Bush I, a perfectly confident Emperor, nevertheless held his tanks short of Baghdad, knowing it would be foolhardy to occupy and run another country. But Bush II, clothed in the invisible threads of the Project for a New American Century, sped on in his little tank, shocking, aweing, and annexing Baghdad. At the core of his and the Neocons’ crusade (in addition to one-upping his father) was the truly diseased notion that they could simply raid a country as if they were waging a hostile corporate takeover, install a transitional management team, run it like a wholly owned subsidiary until it was profitable to the parent company, then hold new Board elections to make it self-governing after a fashion again.

But PNAC, Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Bolton, and Bremer, et al, didn’t hatch these ideas in a cultural vacuum. They did so backed by a country’s quasi-religious belief in the supremacy and inviolability of its technology and corporate management structure.

So instead of asking, disdainfully, how Malaysia can be so inept as to lose a jumbo jet, perhaps we should ask ourselves how we became so arrogant as to believe we can never lose anything at all, and where such hubris has and will continue to lead us.

In the meantime, we are passengers on Malaysia’s and China’s tragic ship (mainly), and we should continue to offer our respectful assistance.

Ben Rosenfeld is a civil rights attorney in San Francisco, and a Board Member of the Civil Liberties Defense Center based in Eugene, Oregon.

 

 

Ben Rosenfeld is a civil rights attorney in San Francisco, and a Board Member of the Civil Liberties Defense Center based in Eugene, Oregon.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
Roseangela Hartford
The Hidden Homeless Population
Mark Weisbrot
Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats
Rick Sterling
Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria
Yves Engler
The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens
August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail