Mar 312003
Authors: Shannon Baldwin

Question Authority!

You’ve all seen that bumper sticker, espousing a feisty sentiment of youthful rebellion. Ironically enough, it is more likely that the people who would actually express true resistance to the powers of culture and government are the least likely to purchase the sticker and perpetuate the system of production and consumption.

It seems that for many, the idea of questioning authority is just another trend, which quickly dissipates when something real actually comes to the surface. Before we actually officially began this campaign into Iraq, polls (mind you, they are highly subjective reflections of actual sentiments anyway), seemed to indicate that the country was neatly divided on the ethics and legitimacy of going to war.

Yet, when the gauntlet was actually thrown down and we officially invaded (did anybody actually believe that the present administration was seriously considering any other alternatives?), it would seem that the majority swung around and rallied round the flag under a solution of “supporting our troops”, “freedom for the Iraqi people” (and if we have to break a few innocent civilians’ heads to do it, well then, by God, that’s what we have to do!) and “defense against terrorism.”

No one wants war, naturally. But to hear how that tired idiom is bantered around, and usually right before an address into why we are at war, it turns into just another meaningless phrase. If no one truly wanted war, then we wouldn’t be at war.

Without getting into a debate about whether America (by virtue of itself) actually deserves anything, I am amazed that people actually buy the propaganda that unseating Saddam’s regime in Iraq will somehow make America terrorist-free. It is an interesting thing to go outside the American media circle to find what other countries – not just other Arabic countries – are printing about this war and saying about the so-called “strength of character and heroism” of America. Terrorism is bred by hatred and a deep-seated desire to lash out against a perceived repression.

Search the Internet to find what seeds we are sowing with our “need to defend freedom around the world.” You may also be interested to note the stories coming out of the war that the American media doesn’t like to mention. Remember the extremely brief mentioning of the bombing of the Baghdad marketplace resulting in more than 50 civilian deaths? Iraq accuses the United States and Britain; we are “still investigating.” Don’t really remember hearing about that? Of course not, but let’s hear it for the running American death toll that we are keeping for ourselves. Because only our blood spilt really means anything.

What really makes my blood curdle is the gung-ho call to support our leaders without question. So many images of sheep come to mind that I can almost taste the mint jelly. But maybe it’s no one’s fault of all those bandwagon doves who grew talons the second our boys in uniform officially touched Iraqi sand. Maybe they are just pawns in a bigger political game.

Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader at the Nuremberg trials in 1946, put it best when he said, “Naturally, the common people don’t want war… But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship… Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

D/j/ vu, anyone?

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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