While on the internet this morning (it’s currently 5:24 am, 23 November, 2020), I was on the Nextdoor News Feed and ran into a person asking why the small neighborhood non-chain restaurants are disappearing and I realized that this is a symptom of a much bigger problem in a much bigger picture. I struck out most of my (as you might imagine) controversial comments, but did leave the following:
Thanks for the tips … Risconi’s @ 10637 N. Tatum; American
Tutti Santi @ 7575 N. 16th St.: Italian
I have a few theories why.
We listen to our children far more now (I live with my grandchildren). And children seem to prefer what seems familiar or offers a premium gift — easily and strongly influenced by advertising and often (tho not always) not yet aware of the bigger picture.
And, as we see here, not the cohesive and bonded neighborhood like I grew up in. I’ve been in the neighborhood for 11 years and know one neighbor next door and say “Hi” to 2 or 3 more on the block. Most of my “neighbors” are in the senior center five blocks away.
And, my best friend and I cannot agree on who our next President is going to be or the wisdom or foolishness of our foreign policy of using fear to rule over other countries … topics we cannot discuss here either.”
Maybe not my finest hour, but it’s the thought that counts. Anyway, I decided to try and do a daily blog. It’s a spur-of-the moment thing and we’ll see where it leads or how many times I can put my foot in my mouth.
RULING BY FEAR, INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE
Sorry, folks, but that IS our (meaning the United States of America’s) M. O. and has been since Plymouth Rock … and a little before.
Is there some truth and legality to the “transaction” of “buying” Manhattan from two teenage Native Americans who happened to be there by offering them some trinkets? How about the many treaties we made and broke along the way to an American Empire? How about “buying” the middle of the continent from the leaders of France who had never been there and had, as their claim on the land, a colonial outpost in a small part of Louisiana? Or buying Alaska from Russians who occupied another tiny colonial outpost? We teach our children this stuff, but who are we kidding??
And the Monroe Doctrine?? Who gave us the right? By what international code of conduct or honor do we claim dominance over what’s left of the Americas after our distant relatives took their rather healthy bites out of the two continents?
But let’s talk about more recent history. NATO created French Indochina by force of arms and then divided it back up to suit themselves and ensure conflict. Vietnam was a bit like the United States in that it had an industrial north and an agricultural south; but it was first united as a country back in 2879 BC and stayed united as a Chinese Vassal state during a long period of its history until France got involved. The country was still resistant to foreign rule and the same people we fought there also fought French dominance before we got there and Cambodian and Chinese dominance after we left. Nobody we fought were fighting for the spread of Chinese (or Russian) Communism, as we assumed.
They were fighting for an end to the subjugation of the rural subsistence farmers through taxation and selling tax liens to wealthy city folk. And we called that “communism” because, of course, our laws are assumed to always be just and equitable.
Are you following me so far? Yeah, I know, you’ve heard all this before and you’re not interested.
Well, neighbor, it’s a BIG problem.
We killed something like 2 or 3 million Vietnamese because we were selfish, ignorant, and pig-headed. We assumed the ruling, wealthy, cooperative Saigon Catholics that France installed as their leadership were the legitimate representatives of an agricultural. Buddhist southern half of a nation with centuries of being united with the North and treated fairly. And, when we failed to make our fantasies a reality, we withdrew and maintained our old, invalid assumptions. We didn’t learn anything.
So we invaded a heavily-militarized, modern, progressive (by Arab standards), and united (albeit with a minority Kurdish faction that wanted independence) that had no involvement with al Quida, no atomic weapons and no capability of or interest in invading or molesting the United States. To “protect” Kuwait??
So now, we need to learn just what Kuwait was (besides the wealthiest per-capita nation on the planet). Kuwait was a deep water port on the Persian Gulf which had been a part of Iraq for centuries but was colonized by the British at the end of World War I along with Bahrain Island and Palestine. Kuwait had been used by gigantic American oil companies to get crude oil from the Middle East cheaply and make lots of money, a small portion of which was kicked back to Kuwaiti dilettantes and Saudi Arabian princes. At the time of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, they had hundreds of oil wells drilling through their border with Iraq, stealing her oil, and selling it at a discount to the US, Britain, and Canada. So Saddam Hussein, a dictator we helped put in power, had legitimate concerns because he was trying to pay back international loans he took out when fighting a war with Iran.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, April Glaspie (at the instructions of the Secretary of State and the President of the United States, Bush 41) told him we were neutral in the conflict. Why he believed us is beyond me, but he did and “Desert Storm” pushed him back behind his original borders.
When Clinton took office, he continued to punish Iraq with an embargo and “no fly zones” which were a further attempt to strangle the country financially and weaken her politically and militarily.
And, of course, when Bush 43 took over and 9/11 happened, he and his ex-Haliburton CEO VP, Cheney just had to make up a story that was supposed to make a completely illegal and unwarranted invasion somehow justified.
So we bombed and took over cities like Baghdad and Fallujah against intense and sustained resistance so we could steal oil and get better prices at the pump. That is the basic, honest truth. Bush 43 and Dick Cheney, of course, did it for far more reasonable personal reasons — to fulfill a wannabe Texas oilman’s dream of striking it rich and to complete a career which included being CEO of Haliburton Corporation, maybe the largest war profiteering company in the world.
Behind the veneer of legally enforced secrecy and the dirty deeds of the CIA and the Pentagon, we think we are justified in bullying weaker countries, that we are justified to wield nuclear bombs and send 200,000 of our well-armed combatants into countries all over the world to violate their sovereignty and deprive them of equal economic opportunity or an equality of laws and self-rule.
Neighbors, we’re hypocrites! And we’re bullies. We spend more than the next 10 countries combined on a “defense” department that has occupied Germany, Japan, and South Korea for my lifetime and charges us taxpayers for it while pretending they can’t fund adequate health care for all our citizens.
We kick sand in the faces of Iran and North Korea for thinking of doing what we’ve done since 1945 — make, perfect, and use nuclear weapons!! What crazy sense of right and wrong justifies our behavior?
There’s a link between the way we treat other countries and the way we feel about ourselves and each other. We cannot separate the violence we export from the violence we import.
Is it really a surprise that the terror we use to bully and control other nations has found its way back to us and into our communities, our children, and our own hearts?