America has a pathological need to have enemies - to play the hero. And when it doesn't have real ones, it creates them.
It's a paranoid way to exist in a world where it has been proven, time and time again, that differences and over-exaggerated threats serve only one purpose: to inflate the importance of America's power. And it's the love of that power that allows so many Americans to buy into the propaganda foisted upon them by successive governments that the idea of "America" must be protected at all costs. It breeds an insecurity so rabid in its citizens that they willingly surrender their own rights in the furtherance of that goal because they are not "the enemy", after all. Or so they think as they fail to acknowledge that their government sees them as exactly that.
Since the country's inception, when native peoples were considered a wholesale threat who had to slaughtered or Americanized in order to be brought into line, when slaves were held as chattel because their un-Americanism made them less than people, when power that women sought by being allowed to vote was seen as a threat to the very fabric of democracy to the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2 followed by the communist witch hunt led by McCarthy, to the need of the powers that be to infiltrate the anti-Vietnam war movement and feel threatened by the civil rights movement to the renewed fear of communists and now the new "terrorists" lurking behind every dark-skinned person who looks at someone differently - Americans have been conditioned to live in fear of the other when, in fact, their friends and family members actually constitute more of an actual threat to them on any given day. Crime perpetrated by strangers ought to be the least of their worries. But that doesn't jibe with the myth that outside forces or from other countries or people who are "different" hold the key to whether or not they will actually live or die.
The Bush administration's successful use of psyops to keep the population living in perpetual fear is still effective - despite the fact that their claims of things like those of Saddam Hussein having WMD or a connection to 9/11 have been proven to be false. And now, the demonization of someone like Iran's president Ahmadenijad and the hysterical reaction it has created in yet another example of how manipulated people will choose to be fooled by a government that has absolutely no track record of credibility.
But, America needs its enemies. Because, when America has enemies, there's power to be grasped and money to be made by those whose business it is to "defend" against those "threats". What ordinary people who refuse to look at why they're being manipulated fail to grasp is that there's a system being fed by their fear and it's not a system that benefits them in any way. It benefits the powermongers, the military-industrial complex, the political operatives, the lobbyists, the arms dealers, the countries the US claims it needs to protect in order to be the keeper of its "interests".
Those interests are power and money that come via the pillaging of the world's resources and the cost of those exploits is the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in foreign lands along with those who willingly sacrifice their lives in the name of the myth. Those sacrifices are the trade off that those in power are willing to make to secure their treasure. Those sacrifices are nothing but names and numbers to people like Bush, Cheney and the neocons. They're expendable people who only serve to keep the oppressive system functioning. The Iraq war is nothing but a modern act of piracy with more sophisticated weaponry.
And Ahmadenijad? The Iranian president who actually has very little power beyond his words and whose government is cooperating with the IAEA's inspections while asserting it his country's right to have nuclear energy and weaponry? He's the new Saddam, according to the Bush administration and leaders of other countries like France and Canada who are acting like nothing more than puppets in order to whip up the same hysteria about him that Bush and his cadre did about Hussein and Iraq. We've been here before. Once again, we have the same warnings from Mohammed elBarardei to let the process work. Once again, we have a compliant world press more than eager to sell an attack on Iran as being justifiable.
This time, however, having been there, we know that the Bush administration can and will do whatever it wants to about Iran because it has proven that it has absolutely no regard for the consequences it foists upon the world as a result of implementing its neocon policies or world dominance and influence.
So we wait.
There's no point in discussing whether or when an attack might happen. What needs to be discussed is the pathology, the history ie. how America has reached this point - because that's the only way it can begin to be changed. That change won't come with a new president in the White House in 2009. The pathological need for an American belief in its own power is ingrained in every single candidate running for office (except perhaps for Dennis Kucinich - but he won't win anyway.)
America is sorely in need of a paradigm shift. Will that come from within or will a country like China finally call in the debt America owes it to actually force a change? Just how much more does American democracy need to self-destruct before the people actually stand up strongly and take notice? More importantly, are they willing to really defend America by insisting that the power games are over - that America is about them - not some stuffed egos in suits in DC who are only in it for themselves?
Perhaps the bottom line is this: do they even care? Or have they been so beaten into submission that the idea of "America" no longer matters any more when all they can muster is enough energy to survive as they flip on the tv everyday to see if this is the day that America has, once again, attacked another country in their name that is no threat to their security? And if it has, what then?
"Petty and Cruel Dictator" by Cindy Sheehan (h/t Madman in the Marketplace)
A Feeling I'm Being Had by Scott Adams at The Dilbert Blog
Turning Ahmadinejad into public enemy No. 1 by Juan Cole