All governments lie, kill and misuse public funds, but these calculated habits are amplified manifold during wars. We’re in two now, aiming for a third. Japan, whose land we’re still occupying 65 years after Hiroshima, has just announced sanctions against Iran beyond what the U.N. mandated. South Korea swiftly followed suit. It’s surprising to see these two countries so in sync, until one remembers that they have become American cheerleaders for decades. Rah, rah, bomb Tehran! A murderous chorus is rising, yet again. Countries that aren’t our client states can be counted with two hands, even those missing fingers from an exploding grenade.
Universal outrage has been drummed up over the case of an Iranian woman about to be stoned to death for adultery. She’s also implicated in the murder of her husband, for which she may be hanged. This second, more serious crime has been left out of many news stories. America also executes, but it doesn’t stone, especially for a bit of ticklish fun on the side. We inject, electrocute, gas, hang and shoot our condemned. We’re more humane that way. Forever bureaucratic, we pay attention to procedural niceties.
Our objection, then, is not to capital punishment, but to certain methods. Stoning is barbaric. We don’t stone, period, except during one of our serial wars, where we will stone entire communities back to the Stone Age. But that’s war, buddy. We also use phosphorous and cluster bombs, plant landmines that will last generations. To rectify and avenge the stoning of one woman, someone we don’t really care about, whose name we can’t even pronounce, we’ll flatten Iran, maybe by Thanksgiving.
The United States is concerned about women worldwide. It is touched and outraged by one Afghan woman, Aisha, whose nose was sliced off by her Taliban husband. To defend her honor, it has killed hundreds of thousands of her brothers and sisters. To protect her, it has destroyed her country. It’s the principle that matters. We care about the individual, at least those who are useful to our agendas. It’s the masses we don’t give a flying whoopee about. How can we not raise our voices, for example, when an imprisoned prostitute – hardly a criminal, really, even less so than adulterer – is left in a cage, to be baked to death for at least four hours in 107-degree heat? Her captors ignored her pleas for water. They wouldn’t even allow her to use the bathroom, so she soiled herself before passing out. She was still alive, however, when finally taken to the hospital, where doctors allowed her to die. Incredibly, no charges have been filed. Such barbarity and judicial callousness deserve our fullest condemnations, except that hardly anyone has heard of Marcia Powell, 48, who died in an Arizona prison in May of 2009. The mainstream media ignore her, because her abject death cannot be exploited for political purposes. We’re not trying to bomb Arizona.
Needing to kill, a government will lie before, during and after splattering blood. Eschewing subtlety, it prefers to speak in slogans and clipped, cartoonish sentences. They hate us for who we are. We must fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here. We’re trying to root out the bad guys. Adopting this lingo, many Americans are dubbing the community center and mosque near Ground Zero a “jihad mosque” or a “victory mosque.” In Lower Manhattan last week, I saw a man carrying a sign, “EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT ISLAM I LEARNED ON 9/11.” Another displayed a caricature of “IMAM OBAMA.” There was an effigy of a tied up Palestinian, complete with keffiyeh, with this placard, “OBAMA: With a name like HUSSAIN we understand. Bloomberg: what the f@&k is your excuse?”
Totalitarianism always breeds idiocy. Lies that go unchallenged lead to more preposterous lies. Idiocy is also the manure from which totalitarianism rises. On September 11, 2001, the entire world saw America symbolically imploded, but our actual collapse is ongoing. It is relatively gradual, unlike the three, yes, three, World Trade Center buildings that tumbled onto their own foot prints. For the last nine years, we have endured an unending stream of lies and idiocy, none more grotesque than the official explanation to what happened that tragic day.
Despite being lied to repeatedly, almost daily, Americans are strangely gullible to incoherent, even ridiculous narratives dished up by their government. Brainwashed by the bromide that their nation is always a force for good, anywhere, worldwide, Americans can’t imagine that Washington could be complicit in the murder of its own citizens. Ignored is the fact that it has done so many times before, and since, 9/11. Using false pretexts to invade Iraq, our government has caused the death of over four thousand Americans, more than the number who perished on 9/11.
I don’t know what happened that day, but it makes no sense to me that World Trade Center #7 fell down without being hit by anything. It makes no sense to me that it collapsed exactly the same way as the twin towers, as if imploding. It makes no sense that the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the alleged hijackers, could be found on the ground, when entire skyscrapers were being pulverized. I also don’t understand how no military jets could intercept any of the three planes that hit their targets that day. The first tower was struck at 8:46AM, the Pentagon at 9:40AM, nearly an hour later, with no effective response from our vaunted military. I used to take buses to and from the Pentagon Transit Center. I knew the building wasn’t very tall, so it struck me as weird how an airliner could hit it from the side. Why fly parallel to the ground, nearly shaving it, to strike such a low target? Why not just dive into it? There are red flags all over this incident, yet many sane, reasonable people will become completely unhinged at the slightest suggestion that the official version doesn’t add up. Our government lies all the time, but when it comes to this one incident, we shouldn’t question anything? Even National Review, of all places, pointed out visa irregularities among the alleged hijackers, how they could enter the U.S. without the proper paperwork.
After Martin Luther King was killed in 1968, his family refused to believe the official explanation. They fought and fought until an assassination conspiracy trial was scheduled in 1999. Presented with extensive evidences, a jury concluded that, yes, the federal, state and local governments all had a hand in Dr. King’s murder, and that James Earl Ray was not the shooter. The King family did what any sane, loving family would do. Coretta Scott King explained, “We had to get involved because the system did not work. Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their involvement [...] It has been a difficult and painful experience to revisit this tragedy, but we felt we had an obligation to do everything in our power to seek the truth.”
On September 11, 2001, someone stabbed America. She’s being murdered right now. As Americans, we need to get to the heart of this, because this madness and deceit are perpetuating themselves. If we don’t have the courage and clarity to confront this evil, we won’t regain our sanity or move forward. We might as well be dead. We’re dying. As with the King murder and so much else, you cannot expect the system to convict itself. It will lie and lie until the truth hardly matters.
* Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories and five of poems, with a novel, ‘Love Like Hate’, scheduled for July. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.