It was the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) that the world learned that being right doesn’t necessarily translate into success: The modern hero can at once be justified in fighting against fascism, and still lose. This was a theme that was echoed previously in Kafka’s The Trial; the modernist theme of absurdity or, fighting illogic, contradiction and ridiculousness to no avail.
Perhaps the War on Terror will teach the postmoderns a new theme for a new Century. The dilemma of the ridiculous person wholly swept with the impression that his/her work is the labor of “democracy by any means” and the spread of American Christian values unto the world when actually these values have been perverted so thoroughly by its leadership that the world is now unified in the idea that it is America and its allies that pose the biggest threat to world peace.
This is the dilemma of Americans. It is Americans George W. Bush speaks to at the United Nations how Iraq poses a threat to international peace. For the rest of the world, especially Iraq’s neighbors, knows that it has no real weaponry, strong unified army or outgoing plans.
It is Americans who Donald Rumsfeld is on a mission from God to protect against the wacky Iraqis and the sterile and flaccid Europeans.
It is John Ashcroft who is on a mission from God to curtail the rights of Americans in order to implement racist policing tactics to fight this war against opposition at home.
Sept. 11 fueled these Bush Administration ideologues’ fire into actualization, and so was it the burning of the Reichstag that set history in motion. One was blamed on terrorists, the other on communists and formidable enemies are born in order to unite the victims.
But no one can blame the Americans, the world’s economy depends on their inhuman-like consumption. They have no time to look into and through news reports to find the truth. In fact, Americans are not known for their ability to critique, but for their willingness to be entertained and there is absolutely no better way to be entertained by news than to watch the American media.
It is unsure what it will take for Americans to see their dilemma. It may possibly be the pure arrogance of the Administration in its handling of the Middle East. Invading Iraq, taking over the oilfields, and threatening Saudi Arabia and Iran will put the American neo-conservatives into a position of deep regret. Continuing on against world opinion for years on end will undoubtedly cause the Americans a little self-reflection.
This is what the Administration opposes first and foremost at home; self-reflection. In From Beirut to Jerusalem Thomas Friedman outlined almost the same thing, one of the biggest problems in Israeli society is a lack of self-reflection.
Israelis are constantly bombarded with the idea that they are victims beyond all reasoning. No matter that three times as many Palestinians die as do Israelis. That the Israeli defense force has completely overpowered the Palestinians for years on end. That Israel has a government, while the Palestinians have a man holed up in a bullet-riddled complex. No matter how improbable and absurd, the same idea still persistently wins votes in Israel: the idea that Palestinians would like nothing more than to recreate the holocaust or throw Israelis into the sea.
And so Americans see Saddam Hussein, the quack from Iraq, as a menace to its “homeland,” no matter that America spends 26 times more on their military than the next closest competitor.
Illusions will persist until the people are forced to recognize their own ignorance.
ALEX LYNCH is Founder & Editor of THE SHANACHIE and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org