by George A. Yesthal
I want you to imagine a scenario where a Muslim terrorist carefully gathers a team of experienced intelligence operative mercenaries with the goal being to hijack several attack drones. This terrorist has, as his targets, several members of the opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has planned the theft carefully and possesses the codes to activate the drones’ armaments. Having secured the drones, he and his team launch them against three chosen targets. The first target is a dignitary attending his daughter’s graduation. The second is an opposing warlord at home with his extended family of a dozen or so individuals, and the third is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has negotiated with the enemy and been deemed a traitor. This third target is at the wedding of his brother.
The launch goes as planned, the strikes are successful and the targets are eliminated. So are one hundred and thirty seven civilians in close proximity to the targets with many more injured. Collateral damage. Seventy three of the dead and injured are children and infants.
The terrorist and his team report back to his cell and there is great celebration. The terrorist is lauded and carried through the streets on the shoulders of adoring comrades.
Can you see them dancing and cheering? Can you see them burning effigies? Can you feel the callousness of this blood-hungry crowd reveling in the deaths of their perceived enemies regardless of the innocent dead and injured victims?
Now imagine that the terrorist’s name is Barack Hussein Obama.
Regardless of what side you are on, this scenario and its implications are reality. When we use the term collateral damage, we do not allow it to express the harsh truth of the situation. We absolutely forbid it to call up the copper tang of blood pooling in the streets or the putrid smell of exploded bowels and intestines. We hide our eyes from the ripped and torn things that moments ago were laughing children and we close our ears to the screams and cries that the laughter has become.
Why do we simply look the other way when our government acts badly? Why do we wave the flag and sing of patriotic causes when our president and his cohorts spill innocent blood? Why is it a horrific evil when a “terrorist” takes the lives of children, but a “necessary evil” when our government does it? Why do we allow ourselves to be taken in and suckered by the spin that we are fed?
A common Hollywood method especially common to all the action shoot-‘em-up offerings that flood the cinematic media, is to weave a storyline in which we see the hero and his loved ones (probably wife and kids) in some familial setting going about their mundane but harmonious existence blissfully unaware that evil danger lurks undetected. We see the love and laughter shared between husband and wife as they watch their children play on the park swings as they silently give thanks for the gifts the good lord has blessed them with.
Suddenly the idyllic setting is shattered by the doings of some horrific faction; hubby’s enemies, black ops, terrorists, bank robbers, enemy soldiers, gang members…whatever. When the smoke clears the wife and children lie dead or dying and suddenly the hero is handed a license to do whatever it takes to get the bad guys and exact his revenge. He can blow up public buildings, busses, fleets of vehicles, airplanes and we, the rapt audience, cheer him on. If the army or sheriff or local or state police try to intervene, he can kill them too, or blow up and crash their vehicles because they now qualify as the ‘bad guys’ for getting in the way of the hero’s justified wrath. He can do this because the producers of the film were successful in their art. They have drawn us in and personalized the hero’s plight by feeding us a pedestrian mix of familiarities before snatching them away in a whirlwind of High def and Dolby sound. We can all relate to the love of family and feel the loss of these loved ones. The producers have preyed and depended upon our humanity to persuade us to allow the hero his own humanities and the failings thereof, and actually applaud his killing spree. And after he has vanquished the enemy through any number of imaginative methods of murder and mayhem and cost the public untold millions in property damage, he lights his cigar and saunters off into the sunset completely vindicated and free from prosecution.
We have just witnessed an imaginative and well-told story that culled and recruited our sympathies and convinced us to condone death and destruction. The producers did all of this themselves with the expert talents of actors and effects and we are thrilled to pay the price of admission and we talk about it for weeks afterward.
But what if we went home with the warm blood of the bad guys on our hands and faces? What if we arrived home to find our houses in ashes and our loved ones ripped from us?
We go about our daily lives and fret the little things and overemphasize our trials and tribulations. We complain about everything from the price of gas to the lack of luster on our minivan’s paintjob. But we never complain about the horrific things our government is doing in OUR names. Make no mistake my friends, we have blood on our hands, and it will only get worse if we continue to keep our mouths shut.
Remember the producers that so artistically convinced us to condone murder and violence? Would it surprise you if I told you that our government employs the exact same tactics and artifice to gain the public’s acquiescence?
The government needs a war in this or that area of the world to, 1. Get money moving through the military/industrial complex. 2. Gain political influence and gain powerful allies. 3. Requisition a given country’s natural resources. And the list goes on and on until the common man can’t even fathom the covert agendas.
So, suddenly there is an attack on a battle cruiser, a military base, ambassador or the international seat of banking and commerce. Now we have to go to war because we just know that it is the “enemy” and “evil doers” doing these things. We are outraged that some little foreign country peopled by camel-riding brown-skinned folk would exhibit the effrontery to topple our buildings, sink our ships and kill our citizens.
We would have to be hermits in the remotest stretches of the world to be unaware that the president and his staff have been courting NATO and the U.N. in an effort to solidify an international gun ban (they call it a treaty) and to waltz America right under its umbrella, and suddenly there is an unprecedented rash of random multiple shootings. We laugh at the little child that tries to get away with the excuse that the dog ate their homework, and yet we let ourselves be bamboozled into believing these threadbare and thinly veiled lies and refuse to see it for the illusory subterfuge it is.
Our government is the most well funded and well equipped, theatric company in the world. They have the best effects, stunt people, writers and actors on the planet. Oliver Stone would give his eye teeth for such resources. The fact is, Oliver Stone is one of the government’s staunchest critics and is VERY vocal about pointing out the methods the government uses.
So, what do we do? Do we continue to pay for the ticket, get our popcorn and walk into the darkness of the theater with our 3D glasses on and let the fantasy continue, or do we risk turning on the lights to see the awful condition of the stained seats and sticky floor and theater in general?
I think we must opt for the latter if there is to be any real hope of cleaning up.