Stupid? Or democratically ignorant?
The curse of American ignorance of the world
By Paul J. Balles* 8 September 2006
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Paul J. Balles says Americans are slow learners rather than stupid, even though they are treated as stupid by their leaders. He notes the role of brainwashing by Zionist organizations in the US in promoting American ignorance about the Middle East.
Americans are not stupid. Ignorant, yes, but not stupid. Our brains have been washed, but most of us aren't brainless. The trouble with people in power? They believe we're stupid. If we were, we'd never learn; but we do, and when we do there's usually hell to pay for those who thought us stupid.
It took years before the message sunk in that we were fighting a losing war in Vietnam - a war we had no business getting into in the first place. During that war, we had enough of our young coming home in body bags that we shouldn't even have been as ignorant as we were for as long as we were; but then, as I said, we're slow learners.
Americans are just beginning to waken to the reality of the "pre-emptive war" in Iraq. (Don't you just love that idiotic justifying expression: "pre-emptive war")?
Ignorant, yes. A July Harris Poll reported that 50 per cent of Americans still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when Bush invaded that country, and that 64 per cent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda.
The command in charge (translate: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al) lied and lied and lied. Congress believed their lies, and they voted to pre-empt even though they didn't quite know what they were pre-empting - some unclear and un-present danger.
Now comes the strange part: the rest of the world (except for the other imperial clown in London) sat quieter than a mouse in the presence of cats. After all, the "shock and awe" cadre weren't asking anyone else to contribute to the fireworks show.
The pre-emption mongers were quite capable of managing their own bloodbaths without any noise coming from Foggy Bottom blowhards or their counterparts in the UN. There's not much excuse for that lot's duplicity. They couldn't even claim ignorance!
On the other hand, the great majority of the American public remains in the Land of Oz, having been deceived by years of propaganda. Only unbridled ignorance can explain what happened in Lebanon.
According to one commentator, "Israel has to date recklessly cultivated a reputation for being immune to international law or humanitarian norms, and its outrages continue to be condoned as 'self-defence' under an umbrella of impunity afforded by the protective embrace of the US government."
A new Harris Poll measures the attitudes of US adults toward 13 countries and eight leaders and organizations in the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, these countries and leaders are perceived very differently. Most people (75 per cent) see Israel as either a close ally or a friend. With friends like that, we're slowly learning how a democratic society acquires enemies.
Two more of the Harris poll results reveal how slowly and laboriously we Americans learn:
Fully 88 per cent of the public regard the government of Libya as unfriendly (including 39 per cent who see it as unfriendly and an enemy, and 49 per cent who recognize it as not friendly but not an enemy), although American relations with Libya are now - after many years of hostility - far more amicable.
Fully 82 per cent of the public see the Iraqi government as not friendly, including 52 per cent who see it as an enemy. Seventy-seven per cent regard the Afghan government as unfriendly. In both countries, of course, American troops are fighting to keep these governments in power.
How can a "democracy" like America's function so ineffectively? More than two-thirds of the population wallows in ignorance. How can America do any more than wear the meaningless label "democracy" when the regime in power in America believes that the public is stupid and resolves to keep us that way?
We live in the illusion of democracy. People living in a real democracy are informed. They know what their leaders and representatives are up to; and when the leaders get out of line, they get voted out of office.
Following an earlier article, I received an email from an informed reader from democratic Sweden that said: "An electronic handshake right across the world-wide web for your excellent article 'The Pot and the Kettle'. Keep up the good work"! For the article, click here.
How could the "informed" American public possibly allow the US administration and Congress to get away with the travesty of their support for the carnage that ravaged Lebanon?
The answer? They've been subjected to the brainwashing of Zionist organizations in America that tell them the most ridiculous things. Note this, from another letter I received following the same article:
"You wrote: 'Hezbollah whipped one of the strongest militaries in the world.' I doubt this because Hezbollah backed off very quickly.'" What fairy tales has this fellow been reading? Some propaganda machine has been creating illusions about what what's been happening in Lebanon.
"Besides," he adds, "the ground campaign by Israel was delayed. In a protracted campaign, Israel would crush Hezbollah if it wanted to, especially in view of Israel's increasingly effective arms blockade of shipments from Syria." Never mind the fact that it didn't work, and wouldn't.
"And in the long run," he concludes, "no Arab militant group will achieve it's (sic) maniacal obsession to defeat Israel - because they, and their nation-hosts, would be obliterated by nuclear bombs. (Do these fanatics have a death wish??)" Almost unbelievable! If nothing else works, nuke 'em! He signs it H.S. Kramer. The Kramers come from a long-standing "unbiased" tribe.
During 34 days of relentless aerial bombardment and a ground invasion, Israel's brutal assault on Lebanon's civilian population was fully supported by our democratically unelected leaders and congressional representatives. They must have figured we were stupid.
By the end of the Israeli assaults, 800 to 1000 Lebanese had been slaughtered, at least 45 per cent of whom were children. Hundreds of thousands had been forced to leave their homes. How could we let something like this happen in an informed democracy?
With the aid of US-supplied weapons, Israel rained destruction upon civilians unable to defend themselves or even flee. Israeli bombs (or were they American?) destroyed 97 roads, 75 bridges, four airports, seven seaports, 8000 residential dwellings, five hospitals, 14 factories, 27 petrol stations, nine army barracks.
How much of this did we know about in our ignorant bliss? Or were we really happy to read and hear about this carnage as if it was just another action film seen at a safe distance from the land of the free and brave?
What makes matters worse is that we're exporting American democracy! Only we don't know how to teach the importer's natives to behave and act stupid like we do. It may have something to do with the fact that they haven't yet been kept in near-total ignorance.
I can't help wondering what it would be like to have a resistance like the Iraqis or Palestinians in America. But then, we're not under occupation. Or are we?
|*Paul Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for 38 years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com and http://www.writerfreelance.com.|