On political stuffSeptember 23, 2006 12:48 am General
Philip: To you and the Lebanese Arab whose comment you posted to your blog, I think you’re a little off in your target. It’s easy to just point the finger at US citizens and say, “you guys fucked up by voting for your current government” but I’m not sure if you realize that our alternatives are not vastly better. No matter who we vote for, this is still the US.
American foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere has been consistently immoral for decades. The US has blocked the two-state solution that the rest of the world, and most of the US population, has supported since 1976. This isn’t some new phenomenon that is the result of George W Bush’s foreign policy. This is US foreign
policy, and is not even limited strictly to the domain of the Republican Party. The US continued to support expansion of illegal settlements of West Bank and Gaza during the Clinton administration’s years.
We have serious problems in this country that can’t be fixed overnight, and simply saying “vote the other way” is not a real solution at this point. The people need to become aware of what’s going on and what our government is doing, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Propaganda in this country is immense and powerful and it’s enormously difficult to get people to become aware of it. It’s happening slowly, but the propaganda machines are adapting because they’re better centralized and have the support of enormous corporations.
Obviously the government is not acting by the same ethical standards that the people are, and this is evident by the fact that our President feels that it’s necessary to lie about things like secret prisons and torture (some of us knew it was a lie all along, but now he has admitted it). It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for the government to hide these things from the people, so they’re stepping up the propaganda to try to influence people’s decisions. Kennedy didn’t need to lie about what he was doing, and didn’t need such a massive propaganda system. He just did what he wanted, and most people were behind him. Let’s start a massive terrorist campaign against Cuba. Great! Want to go bomb some little south Asian country on the other side of the planet? Sure! It’s not so easy anymore. Chomsky points out in the beginning of Understanding Power that Reagan’s administration tried to do things in the same direct way at the beginning of his term in 1981 and there was massive disapproval about it, so they resorted to clandestine operations instead. Look at the Iraq invasion: never in the history of the US (or of the world) has there been so much opposition to a war–at home–before the war even began. Sure, you’re going to point out that the war happened anyway, but look at how hard it was for them to start the war. They had to
present so much false information to persuade Congress to approve the war, and now that this stuff is being proven to be false it’s going to be that much harder for them (by “them” I mean this administration or a future one) to start another such war. This is the type of progress that is being made, and I think we should not downplay it. We can always do better, but let’s not discount what positive advances are being made.