When Did We Become the Bad Guy?

By Edgar J. Steele

 “You mean...I’m the bad guy?”
            --   William Foster (played by Michael Douglas),
                  in “Falling Down,”  Warner Bros., 1993

April 6, 2002

    In view of the heightening atrocity level in the Middle East the past several days, it seems trifling to talk of anything else.  But, how to get through the mind-numbing propaganda blitz being laid down by the American media?  How to say anything without sounding like another off-screen anti-government wacko?  Worse, by far, is the risk of being labeled anti-Semitic.

    I’ll just say it:  What is being done – in the name of “democracy” and bought with my tax dollars – makes me sick to my stomach.

    Headlines over the past few days have trumpeted about Israel “Broadening the Battle Front,”  “Increasing Fighting Levels” and the like. 

     Look, let’s get really clear about what is going on:  The world’s third-largest military power is wiping out a poor, indigenous population unfortunate enough to be living next door.  As George Bailey might say, “Look, they do most of the working, living and dying around here.  Is it asking too much that they be allowed to do all that working, living and dying in a couple of decent rooms with a bath?”

     The best picture I saw in the local papers was that of several Palestinian youths facing down a US-made Israeli tank with nothing but their bodies.  Why was that very thing such bravery when done by a Chinese student in Tianenman Square a few years ago, but an unacceptable act of insurrection when done by Arabs?

     Why is the bulldozing of homes and the indiscriminate shooting and strafing of Arab civilians characterized as war, while a young girl blowing herself up just to take a few Israelis with her is a terrorist act? 

     Why doesn’t watching Israeli bulldozers (bought with American dollars) flatten your home or seeing your mother shot through the front door by IDF soldiers (with American weapons) qualify as terrorism? 

     Why is door-to-door raping, murdering and beating being reported as “increased fighting levels?” 

    Since when does the systematic butchering of Palestinians who have lived in the West Bank for generations qualify as “broadening the battle front?”

    Bush is sending Powell over there next week and Israel has stepped up the level of destruction to a fever pitch, anticipating having then to broker a “cease fire.”

    What’s going on is nothing less than genocide…ethnic cleansing.  Let’s use a favorite term of the Chosen:  Holocaust.  All that’s left is for Sharon (not known as the “Butcher of Sabra” for nothing) to fire up the ovens and start feeding the mangled bodies of all those women, children and old men down the conveyor chutes, in  order for him to take his place in history alongside other great villains:  Attila, Stalin, Hitler, Sharon…

    Look at the following two pictures and see for yourself in graphic detail just what is meant by “fighting” in the Israeli lexicon:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a Palestinian youth in the custody of Israeli Defense Force soldiers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how they simply took him around the corner and shot him. 

    Notice, also, the American M16s used to kill this kid.  Your tax dollars paid for them.  They bought the IDF uniforms you see, as well.  Your tax dollars pay their salaries and bought the vehicles in which they rode to this Palestinian town.

    You helped kill this kid and, likely, the rest of his family.  So did I.  We did it by allowing the criminal organization that America has become to prop up and aid madmen like Ariel Sharon.  Without America, Israel would have been overrun long ago and consigned to the ignominious postscript reserved for it in the annals of history.

    Robert Penn Warren wrote one of the best American novels ever written, All the King’s Men, in 1946.  I first read it in about 1960, a time when I was still intensely proud of America.  I was a high-school freshman.  Viet Nam was just starting up.  John F. Kennedy had just been sworn in as President.  It seemed our best days lay before us. 

     All the King’s Men relates the rise and fall of Willie Stark, populist politician modeled loosely on the life of Huey Long.  Aside from being immensely absorbing and entertaining, the book does the best job of any I have ever seen of painting a man’s fall from grace.  At the end, I still had a great deal of sympathy for Willie; I genuinely liked him even though he had become the very sort of monster he first set out to vanquish.  It was remarkable to realize that there was no single place in the novel where Willie Stark crossed over from being good to bad.  

    When did we become the bad guy?

-ed

"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus

Copyright © Edgar J. Steele, 2002

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