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Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Sometimes when someone teaches you something, gives you new information, it's like you knew it already.

Sometimes when someone teaches you something new it feels like recognition, it feels like the teacher simply dug up something that was already buried in your brain.  But somehow, you didn't know that you already knew.

For example: At 7 or 8 or 9 years of age, I already knew how to add. And when I was 7,8, or 9 somebody who was 12 years old showed me, using apples on our kitchen table, what 2 times 2 looked like. Then he showed me what 2 times 3 looked like.

You could have knocked me over with a feather, as they say.  In that moment realized that I already knew how to multiply and that I'd been doing multiplication and division with quarters and dollars forever.  I could probably count money before I was 5. (Shows you were my priorities were, right?)

Every single day I spent in class the following school year learning how to multiply was a complete waste of my time, by the way.

I felt the same sense of "Yes, of course!" when I read Walter Mosley's words comparing Afghanstan and Iraq TO France and Germany. I don't remember where I read these words, because I've never found them again.  So I can't quote him directly. But I'm 99% certain it was him that said something like this:

'Can you imagine planes being flown into the World Trade Center on purpose, then finding out it was the Germans who did it? Of course, you can imagine us, in the United States, deciding to bomb Germany after such an offense. But can you also imagine, some weeks later, some politician coming along to say we're going to bomb France back into the stone age too, sans much of an explanation? Can you imagine Politician-Number-1 says the words "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "aimed at us" and that is all it takes for him to be followed by most our elected leaders and half the population who say  'Okay. Let's bomb France too.'

~Kinda-Sorta Walter Mosley

Regarding Afghanistan and Iraq, that is basically what happened.

But Walter Mosley couldn't imagine this coming to pass if it here Germany and France instead, as I recall. And I can't imagine this coming to pass with Germany and France either. You know why not? The people in Germany and France are white; They are not interchangeable pieces of fodder. They are actual human beings considered to have value and human dignity.  

The only way you can link two countries together that are not linked, and two leaders --a terrorist and a dictator that hate each other-- that are not linked, then bomb major cities where people actually live in those countries is if the people are not-white.

Welcome to U.S. Foreign Policy 101

George Carlin - American Foreign Policy is Bombing Brown People

I believe that the proof of not-white being a defining factor of who is worth bombing en masse is in the WWII pudding.

As my mother pointed out years and years ago, the United States put Japanese people in concentration camps but not Germans even though we knew Hitler had detailed maps of the United States. Pearl Harbor or no Pearl Harbor, Hitler was the bigger threat. That's probably why Germany is the only white country I can remember the U.S. bombing. Still, the U.S. did not round up the German (white folk) and bus their German @$$es into concentration camps along side the Japanese (not-white).  Furthermore, when the U.S. captured German prisoners they treated the white Germans better than they did the black U.S. Soldiers.  

The racist content of white history and the white culture that history birthed is the reason why the racist content of the movie "American Sniper" didn't surprise me. It comes from the very same white, racist ideation that usually accompanies a U.S. decision to drop bombs on a civilian population. I guess that makes this movie rather accurate in a perverse sort of way.

What did surprise me the blatant out-loud racism of the "hero." I mean, aren't you supposed to cover that sh*t up when you're making a movie about an American Hero? From the 1970s on, I'd say that a white hero could not be racist in a way that's obviously recognizable to white people (<---There's a lot of leeway here) So has the Tea Party turned the clock back so far on this country that there's about to be remake of "Birth Of A Nation," or what? The main character calmly called the people he killed "savages" in the movie.

Based on who made the movie and the people who praised the movie, I guess I was expecting barf-worthy, goody-goody Captain America in fatigues.  

Even if I blank out the racism of the "American Sniper" movie, just erase it from my mind (it's easy, I've been living in America amongst ye old white folk for a long, Long, LONG time) I thought the movie and the hero, both were rather simple-minded.* 

Last year, I was afraid to go see this movie in the theater because I was afraid I would like it. I hate the idea of it, the politics of it. But I was afraid I'd like the story anyway. I was afraid it would be exciting and heroic and full of daring-do. But even with the ethno-racism e-raced, it was just a white man with a gun who was kind of simple-minded, who shot a bunch of people because he had excellent eye-sight.

Ethno-racism back in  - His not being able to see the humanity of others probably steadied his shooting hand. 

I was thinking I can't really fault him for that, for his lack of seeing the humanity of others. I really was. I was thinking that you have to see an enemy as less-than in order to shoot them. This seems obvious to me. I think that this is the way war works.

How else can war work?

How can you go to war planning to shoot people, if you think of these other people as human just like you? If you think of each enemy as a person who just wants to eat, sleep, have sex, and pray in the way he or she feels right, in their own space just like you, how can you kill that person?  Don't you have to put the people you commit to shoot in the face into the bad people box?  How else does war work?

And the only way you can put the person you've pictured and named "enemy" in the bad box is if you deaden yourself quite a bit. And once you've deadened yourself quite a bit, not only can you shoot a person in the face, you can rape the enemies women until they literally die, cut off body parts as trophies, and leave villages burned to the ground in your wake.

This what I've thought about war for a long time. This deadening of the soul is the reason I'd never let a 21 year old child I care about go fight one.  Even if he or she survives, maybe they still don't survive. I'll never be willing to find out. But I guess there are ways to be nuanced about war because the story below is about another American Sniper that has a lot more of "moral courage" than the dude, as portrayed, in the movie.

* * * * * *

"I served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. During that time, we started to realize there were no weapons of mass destruction, the 9/11 commission report determined that Iraq was not involved in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, false sovereignty was given to Iraq by Paul Bremer, the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were exposed, and the Battle of Fallujah was waged.

The destruction I took part in suddenly intersected with news that our reasons for waging war were untrue. The despicable conduct of those at Abu Ghraib was made more unforgivable by the honorable interactions I had with Iraqi civilians, and, together, it fueled the post-traumatic stress I struggle with today.

My war was completely different than Chris Kyle’s war. That doesn’t mean his war is wrong, and mine was right. But it does mean that no one experience is definitive.

The movie depicts compounded action scenes with very little political and regional context. It was a conscious decision by Clint Eastwood, apparently, to leave out the cause of the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. It was [also] a conscious decision, apparently, for multiple characters to describe the Iraqis as “savages” and never show any alternative."

READ MORE: * - Bradley WhatsHisFace always seems simple-minded and bores me to death. So I may be biased. In the TV Show "Alias," however,  it was his function to be the simple-minded buddy. That made him beyond perfect in "Alias." HOW did he get to be a movie star?