Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail