Saturday, September 06, 2003

Punishing the children for the sins of the fathers (to the third and fourth generation...)

As reported in the Globe and Mail today, 70% of americans believe there is a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 WTC attacks. According to the poll, conducted by the Washington Post, that means nearly 7 out of 10 americans actually believe that Saddam was personally responsible for the WTC attacks.

They actually do believe this… even though there has never been any evidence to support this claim (a claim that was thrown out there by Mr. Bush in order to garner american public support for an invasion of Iraq), to the contrary there has even been evidence to suggest the complete opposite – so why does this belief persist? If the american public is so easily convinced, which country (and which excuse) will be so easily swallowed next?

The Washington Post story suggests the reason for this groundless belief lay in the ease of which a shocked american public could demonize and blame Saddam for 9-11, a presumption which Mr. Bush happily exploited while manipulating public opinion with his pro war rhetoric. As an immediate respsonse, this can be understandable - yet this poll was taken two years after the fact... Is this connection, made, embraced and maintained by the american public indicative of a nation scared enough to place blame on any “evil doers” presented to them by their “president” – borne of a culture of adults spooked by random boogey men – or have they merely allowed themselves to suspend all intelligent skepticism and/or belief in order to have the satisfaction of revenge for the worst terrorist attack in their history?

Is it my imagination, or are the phrases “Land of the Free” and “You are either with us or against us” diametrically opposite?

Fear can be a good thing, if utilized properly it can mobilize a necessary response for survival, but it is a bad thing when it is open ended and undefined. The american public is afraid – but where does their fear transpire from? Do they know what they should be afraid of? Should they not fear the loss of their independent freedom? Should they not fear the loss of open and critical inquiry, imperative to the democratic process? Should they not fear a “president” that seems more intent on misleading and scaring the public he leads into perpetual war then actually empowering them?

Fear has long been used by undesirable governments to solicit control over their peoples. It is often used as a way of removing choices from a "free" people so that the only choice they logically see is the choice the government wishes them to support (think Germany, World War II). BUT, the american people still do have a choice. Their government is still “elected” (regardless of what happened in the last election). Lets hope they are both free and brave enough to make a choice. Let's hope that when Mr. Bush is long gone from the geo-political scene, that the american people were brave and strong enough to withstand what ever his antics have brought down upon them, and the generations to come.

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