May 12, 2010

The Peace Movement is Dead - Long Live War

During our Thanksgiving visit to my sister in Florida, we saw few signs on her giant TV screen of a caring society. Very little was reported on the 900-plus channels about the wars on the other side of the globe and their horrendous toll of human suffering. Afghanistan and Iraq were blips on the screen - and on radio dials as well - compared to the massive coverage of Tiger Woods' marital problems.

No one cares. Not the media. Not the man and woman in the street. And certainly not those Tea Partiers who are livid about Big Government spending - except if the money is poured into endless wars. Tea Partiers know where to draw the lines on penny-pinching; you'll never hear them citing facts like these from writer/activist David Swanson:

"We spend more on the military and wars than we spend on everything else combined, more than all other nations on earth spend on their militaries combined, and many times what all conceivable enemies spend on their militaries combined. And we call this "defense". Are you sure that's what it is? Why do other nations stay safer than ours without building military bases all over the world and without impoverishing themselves?"

Corporations, he writes, "run our economy and manage our systems of communication. They own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. They loot the U.S. Treasury at will. And they have become unassailable. Those who decry the corporate coup are locked out of the national debate. . . "

That kind of talk certainly gets Swanson locked out of the national debate while corporate mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Pat Buchanan, to name a few, are all over TV and radio. At public television, Bill Moyers has retired and his replacement makes it clear there will be no more rocking of conservative boats.

The Peace Movement is dead, declares Chris Hedges, author and former New York Times correspondent, from his tiny corner of the web at TruthDig.

"We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares."

He means, of course, the vast majority doesn't care. Because he cares, and so do I.

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