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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
John Laforge
Federal Regulator Halts Move to Toughen Radiation Exposure Limits
Norman Pollack
Farewell Address: Nazification of Hope
David Swanson
Imagine the Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Peace
CJ Hopkins
Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works
Ron Jacobs
Striking in Reagan Time
Missy Comley Beattie
The Streep
Graham Peebles
Climate Change: The Potential Impacts of Collective Inaction
Uri Avnery
Confessions of a Megalomaniac
Kenneth Worles
Black Without a Home: King’s Dream Still Deferred
Geoff Dutton
The Russian Patsy
Jill Richardson
The Coming War on Regulations
Jeremy Brecher
Resisting the Trump Agenda is Social Self-Defense
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail