People of the US might still be capable of self-reflection, if they'll turn off the corporate media 24/7 propaganda/noise machine. It's my experience that the majority of Americans, even many who are politically befuddled, still possess basic common decency, and anyone capable of empathy is also capable of insight. They also know from personal experience that wrongdoing entails paybacks.
Lincoln made clear at Gettysburg that he saw the hundreds of thousands of violent Civil War deaths as a blood sacrifice -- a necessary penance for permitting the crime of slavery to ever come to these shores. Every day that slavery continued in the US was another red mark in the providential account book, according to that way of thinking.
Today we find ourselves in a similar situation, because the US has been exporting death to the rest of the world, mostly Asia, for over 60 years now, in acts of unjustifiable aggression for which we the American people have yet to pay any price, save 9/11.
The government is incapable of reflection or insight, because it's become a machine fueled by money. Like any other machine, it has no soul, and nothing like a moral sense. Because it runs on money, its only values are those pertaining to the bottom line. Fifty years ago the machine belched, farted. and coughed, then shat out the Vietnam War, and the million or so who died in that act of casual brutality were added to our ledger. Ten years ago saw the beginning of C+ Augustus's Excellent Adventure in Iraq, about which my mentor Atrios had this to say a couple days ago:
I wonder if Little Tommy Friedman is glad that Iraqis are still sucking on it. I wonder if he even thinks about Iraq much.
I still get enraged at all of the people who were on board for that lovely little war. It really was just sport. Nationalism, hippie punching, revenge against people who had done nothing other than be born brownish. Basically, insanity. But they're all still very serious people.
...and many are stll in leadership positions, or, as in Tom Friedman's case, are rich pricks writing dumb columns for the New York Times. But Tom is an honorable man, as are they all, honorable men. Atrios is right of course, but I disagree about violence being a solution. Violence is necessary to effect the transition, which is to say, destroy the machine. Only after that can we talk about solutions -- reconstituting a government made up of human beings, elected by educated, informed, and active citizens in a democracy.
The quickest way to get there from here is to turn off Orwell's telescreen, which has poisoned the national mind and toxifies the national conversation.