Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mr. Wright

As anybody who reads the papers or watches the news on TV now knows, Obama is in trouble for something the pastor of his church said, and the corporate-controlled media is forcing him to crawl, cringe, and apologize profusely, not for anything he said or did, but for someone else's words. You know the drill -- "Responsible people are shocked and appalled..." etc.

Five days after 9/11, Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright delivered a sermon in which he said, "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye....We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost..."

That last line, of course, refers to Malcolm X's identical verdict on the assassination of President Kennedy. And the general trend of Wright's remarks is dead-on. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out innumerable times, if they do to us what we've done to them, we call it "terrorism."

But unfortunately, Reverend Wright's words in this case and others have overwhelmed the delicate petit bourgeois nervous systems of corporate-fed media pundits everywhere. Gerald Posner, holding forth here at HuffPo, typefies all of them with his characterization of Wright's remarks as "radical" and "vitriol."

Radical truth is more like it. The 9/11 attacks were a classic example of "blowback." Bin Laden himself has described how the idea for attacking the Twin Towers came to him. In a 2004 interview with al-Jazeera, he said, "God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed -- when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women."

This is the insoluble quandry our political system faces: the only way to deal with real problems is to start by assessing them accurately. Unfortunately, the one thing you absolutely cannot do in American politics today is tell the truth.

"I want to know the truth," Tom Cruise's Lt. Daniel Kaffee earnestly declares. "You can't handle the truth," Jack Nicholson's Col. Jessup explodes back at him.

Jonathan Schwartz issues a few pointed words on this media kerfluffle which has the corporate-fed flock of pundits milling about, puffing out their feathers and gobbling frantically.

So does Grace Nearing at her excellent and newly-discovered blog, "Scriptoids."

1 comment:

Joe said...

Obama is my first choice.