Distract, Obfuscate, Propagate Fear

I’m embarrassed to admit I’m watching CNN. It’s just that Laura and Erma have this huge-ass TV that consumes a wall in their living room. They’ve left with the cats for a couple of weeks and despite my affinity for a good portion of aloneness, I miss their yacking, miss hearing Laura say, “Is that not pathetic?” She asks this repeatedly when she and Erma watch ballgames as I sit nearby, trying not to talk too much. Yes, I do talk too much.

Get this: Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Tom Cotton if the U.S. should use torture to gather information from terrorists. Cotton answered, “We don’t torture. Blitzer pushed and Cotton said, “Wolf, again, the United States does not torture.”

“I need an antiemetic,” I say to Wolf and Tom. No, I’ll open a bottle of Prosecco and fill a flute gauchely to the brim. Be right back.

Now Wolf’s seeking answers from Sen. John McCain, every psycho’s favorite sadist in Congress. McCain blames the Brussels attack on Obama. Said Obama shouldn’t have withdrawn U.S. troops from Iraq. Please don’t think I’m defending Obama. I wouldn’t, couldn’t. But it was George Bush who signed the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement in 2008 to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2010. McCain knows this. Blitzer does as well, but he protects his position—no challenging in the interest of factual information. The toady’s required to meet his establishment media masters’ demands: distract, obfuscate, propagate fear.

Suddenly, I’m reflecting on the events of 9/11, when my father said we needed to examine why we’re hated. Washington “leadership” thought otherwise and almost 15 years later, the U.S. is still at war, war that’s expanded—a clusterfuck of exploding lives and countries. Inspiring hatred, inspiring violence.

Back to that denial by Sen. Cotton: It’s bullshit. See this site for chilling revelations. Both Republicans and Democrats knew and agreed to the illegal and immoral techniques that yielded no useful information but instead inspired hatred, inspired terror. Here’s Bush admitting his approval of waterboarding.

But it’s not just enhanced interrogation techniques; it’s the catastrophe of war, the carnage, maiming, any act that terrifies civilians, men, women, and children, who live the horror. Imagine the almost inaudible buzz of drones. How could you sleep, let your children out of your sight? And even if you held your loved ones close, snug in your arms at home, the entire family could be vaporized. How could this be anything but torture? How could this not inspire hatred, not inspire violence?

Look at Belgium. Look at what the War of Terror has delivered. And listen to the candidates for president who are exploiting this latest tragedy in their race to the top. Their strategy to keep us safe is the same strategy that makes us vulnerable, inspiring hatred, inspiring violence. Cruz, obviously is attempting to out-Trump Trump: the patrol of Muslim neighborhoods. (Christofascists must love this.) Trump says closing U.S. borders, waterboarding, torture beyond waterboarding, and even the use of nuclear weapons. (Christofascists must love this.)

Sanders would use the military in an appropriate and effective way. (?) Clinton says Cruz and Trump are wrong, that she’s proud to be part of an administration that banned torture. Meanwhile, I’m seeing Haiti, Honduras, Libya and an image of Clinton, her glee, the laugh, the “we came, we saw, he died,” when Muammar Gaddafi was killed and sodomized with a bayonet. What is her strategy, if not to embrace with even greater enthusiasm the wars she’s long supported?

Was hoping a guest would go rogue and present an analysis of what the West has done for years to dehumanize entire populations. But no.

After keyboarding while listening to the noise, I glance at the screen, notice Blitzer’s slipped away. Some other anchor’s interviewing some other “expert” who’s trying to scare the bejesus out of me with travel warnings and fear mongering. This translates to increased surveillance and the further demolition of civil liberties—police state entrenchment.

Time for a second glass of Prosecco.

Wait, don’t leave yet. Watch this ad while I go Prosecco up. Check out Ron Reagan, “life-long atheist, not afraid of burning in Hell.” Saw it for the first time late afternoon. ABC, CBS, and NBC have banned it. I’m gasping that CNN didn’t.

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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January 18, 2019
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