A Downside Day

The news from liberated Iraq is godawful. Bombs hitting oil and water pipelines and the compound where the UN was trying to resume its relief work. Nobody has claimed responsibility, so the question arose — qui bono — who benefits from this? An immediate answer was Big Oil – since with Iraq down the price of oil had to go up. Furthermore, Halliburton and the Texas gang in general don’t want the UN meddling in their pea-patch. So conspiracy buffs have another bone to chew on, but who needs it?

Stupidity is about as likely an explanation as any. Note the link between religious fundamentalism and irrational violence — throughout the Third World, and also in the United States. We have the largest number of alleged true believers in the industrial world. We’re also the last executioners in the industrial world. The Chinese are said to have used executions to supply organs for export. The Times reports that in this country, the shortage of body parts is growing. The headline calls it a downside to a decline in deaths by accident or violence. A downside. How witty. It might have said that every silver lining has a cloud.

Younger readers may not believe this, but when the religion of privatization was taking over big time, one go-getter launched a market in body parts. Fortune magazine made a pitch for it, but the country was not quite ready. We have moved along, though. Madeline Albright asked, what’s the use of all this weaponry if we don’t use it? So what’s the use of creating all those fresh body parts, if we don’t use them?

JOHN L. HESS is a commentator on WBAI in New York City.

 

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

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