and stopped shutting the door on my boss who sometimes played Renata Tebaldi while designing.
Hey Osso. Can you explain why Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev is threatened with the death penalty yet the guys who did the My Lai massacre and the hundreds or thousands of other My Lai massacres, or the big wigs in the Pentagon right on up to the president who covered these massacres all up are instead getting US pensions?
Something seems awfully amiss.
No, I can't.
America, Long on Indifference, Short on Indignation
The Boston Marathon terror incident made me revisit that extended coffee break with my friend, and what has happened in the twelve years hence. We now have Homeland Security “defending” us – from little, other than fear – at a total budget authority which approaches $60 billion annually. Two wars and more than a trillion dollars later, we have raised our chances for fear possibly ten, maybe even a hundred-fold… something which will eventually mature in terror to be perpetrated by those who’ll try to avenge the long line of victims the US has left behind in its imperial quest.
And added to the grievous vice of our indifference is our lack of indignation in watching ourselves being marched to the slaughter house and not showing an ounce of courage, a legitimate cry of indignation. It became evident, if only in the economic arena, when the Occupy Movement made an attempt to pinpoint blame for the nation’s economic ills. Indignation never materialized… indifference quickly suffocating the cries of a few.
As for any questioning by Americans of the seeds which grow terror; that will never happen while the empire continues waving its flags from hundreds of enclaves all over the world. Unfortunately, most Americans find pride in that, not indignation.
Anton Chekhov in his Gooseberries could just as easily have been writing about life a century later in this America of ours: “I look at this life and see the arrogance and the idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, the horrible poverty everywhere, overcrowding, drunkenness, hypocrisy, falsehood. . . . Meanwhile in all the houses, all the streets, there is peace; out of fifty thousand people who live in our town there is not one to kick against it all.
Think of the people who go to the market for food: during the day they eat; at night they sleep, talk nonsense, marry, grow old, piously follow their dead to the cemetery; one never sees or hears those who suffer, and all the horror of life goes on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and against it all there is only the silent protest of statistics…” So much for indignation, the silent protest of statistics! Whether Chekhov’s town of 50,000 or today’s US of 315+ million people, we are all immersed in our selfish little lives proudly displaying what could be society’s worst vice: indifference… indifference to “all the horror of life [that] goes on somewhere behind the scenes.”
Indifference has historically been accepted by multiple cultures and religions as a vice. Isn’t it about time, in an era where democracy appears to be slowly gaining ground, that we successfully battle such vice with its corresponding virtue: indignation? After all, indignation is not just anger, but righteous anger at people or situations that are truly offensive or unjust to the better nature of humankind.
As we look at the arrogance of the strong, and the ignorance of the weak, we can’t help but recognize that at least for now… vice rules over virtue and our country will continue to remain long on indifference and short on indignation. And that’s not a prescription to cure us from terrorism… or, what’s even worse, the fear of terrorism.
What If the Tsarnaev's Motive Was Revenge for U.S. Foreign Policy?
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:12
By Sheldon Richman
On the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama stood in the White House briefing room and said, “We will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this.”
What motivated the murderous acts allegedly committed by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarvaev is the question on everyone’s mind. We would be surprised if it were not.
But will people remain interested in the motive if they don’t like what they hear?
Judging by the recent past, the answer might well be no. After 9/11, people wondered why anyone would kill indiscriminately by flying airplanes into buildings. The Bush administration and others leapt to an unlikely conclusion: the hijackers “hated our freedom.” That seemed to satisfy most people. But it made little sense, and based on previous incidents, we already had ample reason to believe the answer lay elsewhere. Earlier perpetrators of violence from the Middle East had made clear that what fueled their hatred of America was U.S. foreign policy in the region and the larger Muslim world. Osama bin Laden’s own fatwa against the United States named three offenses: support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the presence of American military forces near Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia, and the devastation of Iraq through 10 years of bombing and economic sanctions.
But most American officials did not want to hear — and did not want the American people to hear — that Muslim violence was in retaliation for U.S. foreign policy. When Ron Paul, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, criticized U.S. interventionist foreign policy during a primary debate, he was admonished by another candidate, Rudy Giuliani, among others, who claimed he had never heard such an outrageous thing. Giuliani was either lying or unaware that the official 9/11 commission and the Pentagon had previously acknowledged that U.S. foreign policy creates resentment among Muslims.
What about the Tsarnaevs? We await the facts, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly told authorities his acts were motivated by “religious fervor.” But it’s a good bet this resentment was part of their motivation. The Tsarnaev family is Chechen, but Chechnya’s beef is with Russia, not the United States, so that seems an unlikely source of a desire to kill and injure runners and spectators in Boston.
It is more likely the young men were angered by U.S. drone warfare that has killed thousands of Muslims in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia; brutal occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan; backing for dictators and corrupt monarchs throughout the Muslim world; and unwavering material and moral support for Israel’s oppression and humiliation of the Palestinians, with no end in sight. The Washington Post reports that a neighbor of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older, deceased brother, told him, “In Afghanistan, most casualties are innocent bystanders killed by American soldiers.”
If revenge for U.S. foreign policy was the motive, what will happen next? Will such evidence prompt a national reconsideration of America’s decades-old imperial foreign policy? Or will it be quickly dismissed, while the bombings are exploited in an effort to double down on that foreign policy. U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican, has already begun that effort. (Interestingly, Alberto Gonzalez, who was attorney general under President George W. Bush, acknowledged on CNN over the weekend that U.S. foreign policy is indeed resented by Muslims abroad and prompts a desire for revenge.)
There is much we still don’t know about the Tsarnaev brothers and why they chose their deadly path. (What, if anything, did it have to do with Chechen organized crime?) Maybe it will turn out that they simply developed a hatred for what they saw as American licentiousness and felt they needed to strike out at it. (That Dzhokhar Tsarnaev partied at his college after the bombings, casts doubt on that prospect.)
It seems far more likely that the murder-by-drone of Muslim children, the no-knock night raids of Afghan homes, the daily humiliation of and violence against Palestinians, and the support for violent and corrupt rulers are what made these men want to exact vengeance against Americans.
Of course, none of this would justify killing innocents. But if we wish to prevent such wanton crimes in the future, we’d better understand what motivates the criminals who commit them.
Wassau, how about some chamomile tea before bedtime?