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Beyond The Soaring Rhetoric of Obama's Cairo Speech: A Toxic Innocence At Home PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 July 2009 23:47
Beyond The Soaring Rhetoric of Obama's Cairo Speech: A Toxic Innocence At Home

PEJ News - Phil Rockstroh -
Even as President Barrack Obama waxed eloquent in Cairo, Egypt, on the moral imperatives of the community of nations, public opinion polls released in the United States revealed that, by a substantial percentage, its citizens believe torture is an acceptable option for interrogation of suspects deemed terrorists by various U.S. governmental agencies.

In addition, other polls show a majority of the American public hold the opinion that the all-American theme park of state torture, located at Guant
These revelations should not come as a shock. Torture, official secrecy, and other sundry apparatus and accouterments of the national security state are about the only viable enterprises remaining in this declining nation.

Moreover, one of the defining traits of the insecure (both among men and nations) is to stand, bristling in a paranoid posture, with feet planted in stubborn defiance of changing circumstances, snarling at invisible threats and imagined affronts, as life moves on with indifferent grace.

Recently, in the latest in a series of setbacks and self-inflicted wounds, the national identity of the United States sustained another humiliating blow when General Motors was driven into a ditch, declared totaled, and then stripped and sold for spare parts.

This event throws a rod into the smoking engine block of the nation's dream machine: The automobiles manufactured in Detroit were once symbols of American power, freedom of mobility, even sexual allure.

But the world has sped ahead, leaving the US wheezing dust in its wake: The era of high horsepower and American ascendancy, with its glinting chrome conceit and reinforced steel illusions of unassailable power, now sits upon concrete blocks rusting in the automobile graveyard of history.

At present, and for many years now, the American automobile culture has meant little more than feckless commuters stalled in traffic, alternatively sullen and seething in their powerlessness.

Yet, this is not the time to throw a populist pity party: The people of the nation face a future circumscribed by their own lack of self-awareness and their refusal of civic engagement. Year after year, they have displayed avidity for little more than the rigged, roadside attractions of the corporate carnival; hence, traffic is heavy on this lost highway, all lanes are jammed on the superhighway to Clowntown, U.S.A.

Seemingly, the nation's hopes are only being kept flickering by caffeine, antidepressants and the naive belief that they -- accepting, as Americans have, since birth, the narcissistic mythos of the consumer state -- are a special breed whose God-kissed destiny would forever fall outside the failures and contretemps of earthly life.

Therefore, Americans cling to the core conviction that there should not be any consequences for their own oceanic apathy, child-like credulity and small-time cupidity in regard to their relationship to the elitist power brokers whose financial chicanery and political scheming determined their hapless fate.

Both prole and plutocrat set the wheel in motion, and both wait for some kind of deux ex machina, whereby Fortuna will smile once again on the hobbled nation, and restore it and all its special children to their rightful place -- up above the world of regret, reflection, and amends -- back upon their highchairs of infantile entitlement.

And while the populace waits in vain for the Goddess of Luck to rise from the wreckage of their vanity, they still have a glut of junk food, guns and porn (some of the last remaining goods produced by the nation) to act as palliatives ... miserable substitutes -- that they are -- for sustenance, feelings of empowerment, and eros.

At present, the citizens of the U.S. moan "poor us" as they stagger through this "time of crisis." The American people seem as helpless as pitiful puppies whimpering before the multiple and multiplying perils of the present.

Yet, they are not wronged innocents, made blameless victims because of their hapless but well-meaning credulity. Nonsense. U.S. consumers have been the beneficiaries of the mad-dog policies of the American corporate/national security state nexus.

Greedily, they devoured the scraps dropped from the tables of the oligarchs. This PitifulPup/Mad Dog Syndrome defines the era, and is the collective mode of being of citizens of the American Empire (regardless of the public relations makeover the Obama administration is attempting to pull off worldwide).

For meaningful change to occur, Americans must look deeper into themselves and into the collective soul of the nation. Not far beneath the bristling ego structure of the torturer (and his enablers in the general population) is a quaking pup possessed of a monstrous need for absolute control.

Incongruously, the torturer is terrified by his victim. The torturer, like the empire itself, cannot control the vastness of life (he sees the world's uncontrollability as a ticking time bomb somewhere near him he cannot locate) -- but his victim, the human fragment of the world quivering before him, can be (must be!) totally dominated.

Or so it seems within the fear-frothing mind of the Mad Dog torturer. But this does not suffice: The absolute domination of one solitary human being cannot bridle the uncertainty inherent in life. The torturer's dread cannot be assuaged.

In the same manner an alcoholic cannot dominate a bottle of booze by will power, a power-drunk nation cannot subdue its terror by practicing torture.

And what is it that invokes such fear in the people of America?

Deep down, Americans are stricken with abject fear by the fact that it is impossible to continue being the dominate power on the planet and being indulged, like spoiled children, with all the benefits and privileges such a position affords.

The United States tortures to maintain the global status quo. Remember: "Our way of life is non-negotiable." We'll torture or kill anyone (even ecologically, the planet) for a tank of gas and a bag of Cheetos (or any of an assortment of tasty, salt-rich snack foods).

If this preposterous way of life was a classic, Madison Avenue ad campaign, its catchphrase might be: "Bet you can't torture just one." Or: "Go for it!" Or the latest offering of glistening snake oil that has been marketed to the nation: "Yes, we can."

But, as far as investigating U.S. governmental policies of torture and then prosecuting its architects and operatives goes, the Obama administration's mantra has degenerated from,
Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2009 23:47

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