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imperialism & war | media criticism

Paying Attention

In these times of war it appears that the pervasive "news" sources stand strong as purveyors of established misinformation and a sustained naive careerism. What we get day in and day out from these national newspapers and conglomerate productions, almost all of them cartel rags and infotainment shows, is the appearance that our nation is not being usurped.
The continual onslaught of half-relevancies, conspicuous silences regarding important topics, and officially mandated spins appear to mask the fact that politicians, compromised by the special interests of those who pay for their careers, and ensure their future successes, are plundering our nation of its tax-base and constitutional integrity. All of this is apparent to anyone brave enough to pay attention.

As the mysteries of 9-11 recede into collective amnesia, the American people do not know how it took two decades of plane-jacking to produce the 9-11 tragedy, how NORAD failed to scramble intercepting jets, or who made the conspicuous stock exchange transactions the night before the attacks, nor do they appear to care. And new mysteries are already receding into the collective abyss. What lies were told regarding the war of Iraq? What economic gains (for these are the only real gains intended) were sustained by the invasion of Afghanistan? We receive, instead of contested points, a continued flow of arbitrary angles, and along with their complimentary expert remonstrations, the latest official spins. This continual wash succeeds in producing a meaningful and general resignation. The spectators that the mass of this society have been reduced to seem to have accepted that all that appears to be happening in regards to the "war on terrorism" is in fact meant to be happening.

According to Donald Rumsfeld, our new administration's defense minister, Iraq kicked UN inspectors out of it's borders in 1998, while one of the chief UN inspectors (Scott Ritter) has publicly declared it was the U.S. who pulled them out. One can see the language of the administering elite illustrate a concerted effort to nullify debate on these contested facts. In response to a gutsy soldier's comment that this war was just about oil, Rumsfeld, in excellent political fashion, responded with a most eloquent circular argument: Even if the Iraqi regime is overthrown, someone else will continue to control the oil there, we will still have to buy it, and therefore this war is not about oil. If anyone can recognize or remember this (these days memories of just days ago seem to be erasable), a most glaring example of something called doubletalk, they have also most likely come to recognize it coming from the mouths of all of their heads of state and "media," both locally and nationally. It appears that what we are receiving are not just reports of the latest official directives and the corresponding news regarding them, but we are in fact receiving orders. It's as if all at once we remember our contempt for politicians at large, and the world of alienation they seek to guard. We realize these falsifiers have worked tirelessly while we slept, to exploit us and people like us the world over. And it appears they control, through a most ingenious design of pressure, the only expansive means of receiving information on, or having any discourse about, their intentions.

Directly before the first monstrous unleashing of this "war on terror", a spectacle of what once was more rightfully called a "town hall" meeting was assembled for the sake of the pretense of spectator participation. Stage Left were various leaders and personalities who were gathered because they dared question and/or oppose this push to war, and precisely because they did not question or oppose the presumptions of this pseudo-dialogue. Stage Right were the apologists for a war that had already been planned, for a decision that had already been made. Ultimately the argument was null, the apologists smiled smugly, because they knew; the concerns of the people did not matter.

As long as the conscience remains the thought of the human heart, and society retains a respect for it's own reason, lies will continue to nauseate. And we have never been more nauseated. But to rely on our contempt as motivation is to fail before we have begun. We must recognize that what we seek in the truth is our own presence in our lives. So to imagine the absence of the corrupt military-industrial complex, and its corealary spectator society, is not enough. We must imagine the social practice of participating in community, media, and government. Resignation comes to those who have resigned themselves. Like children we must resign ourselves to the only truth that we need seek; all of them. Just as the sun rises, these fundamental truths reward our care.