Sunday, November 28, 2004

Smoking While Iraq Burns

" Genuine impunity breeds a kind of delusional decadence, and this is its face: a nation bickering about smoking while Iraq burns." Thus Naomi Klein interprets the deeper message of a recent icon -- the heroic soldier as Marlboro Man, taking a smoke after the long assault on the city of Falluja. The American "debate" over this icon is only about whether smoking is heroic or not, and remains self-centered about Americans only. The other image of a US soldier killing unarmed and wounded people in the city is simply not part of public discussion. This is another symptom of our new "orgy of impunity". We're not answerable for violating any of the norms of civilization, since we've become Lone Cowboys on the wild frontier. Bubba says put this in your pipe and smoke it! Link is above.

Meanwhile the only good news, in a world where no news is good news, is the dramatic drop of the US dollar in global currency exchange. The US trade debt has reached trillions of dollars, and other countries are no longer willing to risk playing this house of cards game. Impunity does not extend to the real world of relationships of cause and effect. It's sort of Old Testament time for reaping what you sow, no more forgiveness. The resulting drop in the US economy will probably start to make us realize that the political crisis we're in is not going to go away by admiring images of soldiers smoking. The crisis is here to stay, for at least the next few decades, and it is going to get worse before it gets better. So those of you who voted for so-called "values" and against your own economic interests will get exactly what you asked for: more poverty and more "values".

The moral of the story is the oldest one from myths and fairytales of all lands: Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. Give thanks for that, hallelujah.


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