Apologies to Al Franken, but Tucker Carlson is a thin idiot.
If you have any doubt about it, read his whiney essay, “Can’t buy me love,” decrying the world for its alleged ingratitude toward the U.S for our alleged big-heartedness (www.pbs.org/tuckercarlson/unfiltered/).
The too cute pundit, recently axed along with his show “Crossfire” on CNN, admits that the U.S. is sending “huge amounts” of money (sic-it’s only “huge” compared to what it was going to send, not compared to what much smaller countries like Spain are sending, or to what it usually sends, and not compared to the amount the U.S. spends on weaponry-two new F-22 fighters cost much more than the entire U.S. tsunami aid pledge) for tsunami relief only because of criticism of the miniscule amount of aid originally offered by the Bush administration. But he goes on to say, “Let’s not expect that money to win us any affection.”
Why such negative expectations about the response of Indians, Indonesians, Malaysians and Sri Lankans towards American aid? Because, he pouts, the French allegedly didn’t love us for the Marshall Plan aid we provided after World War II, and the Iraqis aren’t grateful for the billions of dollars he claims we are “pouring” into Iraq–“much of it for humanitarian purposes.”
The French, of course, had reason to be a bit resentful towards the U.S. First of all, America basically did squat to help them as Hitler’s Wehrmacht overran their country, until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, by which time all France was under German control. Second, our much-ballyhooed Marshall Plan aid after the war was mostly loans that had to be repaid. And finally, the U.S. massively interfered in post-war France to undermine the French left-not something that other nations, particularly alleged democratic allies, take kindly to. (The whole Marshall Plan, for that matter, was really not humanitarianism, but rather was all about trying to head off a Socialist/Communist takeover of Western Europe after the war.)
As for those ungrateful Iraqis! Our unprovoked and illegal invasion of their country has only leveled some of their cities, and only killed 100,000 or so of their people. The least they could do is appreciate that tiny fraction of the $100 billion a year we are spending in their country rebuilding some of the stuff that we’re continuing to blow up!
Carlson’s written version of the essay on the PBS website at least corrects the factual error that he fobbed off on viewers on PBS, when he made the startling claim that the U.S. is providing more in humanitarian aid in Iraq than it is spending on the military effort. This of course is ludicrous. The Pentagon spends nearly $4 billion a week on destruction, while Congress only allocated $18 billion for reconstruction, and not even 25 percent of that amount has been spent a year later (most of it to pay politically well-connected U.S. firms that funnel the money right back to U.S. shareholders).
Carlson is a loudmouth, but the volume of his rants seems mainly designed to keep the listener from focusing on the details, which are fraught with falsehoods to bolster his ludicrous political views.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” to be published this fall by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org