Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why Ten Year Olds Think "America Is In Other Countries Fighting For Their Freedom"

"Winged Genius Anointing the Keeper of the King's Bow" Assyrian relief removed from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II by looters in the 19th century and now on display at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Empires throughout history have spent a ton of money on internal propaganda. And it works. School children will scurry across a room to stand with a classmate wearing a U.S. Marine Corp. t-shirt who states -- falsely, but with great conviction -- that "America is in other countries fighting for their freedom." How would a ten year old even get that idea when it's doubtful he could find Afghanistan, Iraq or Ukraine on a map?

You can count on the fact that he has not seen any news like this:

At least 54 Colombian girls sexually abused by immune US military: Report

U.S. soldiers and military contractors sexually abused at least 54 children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007, according to a recently released historic document on the country’s conflict. The suspects have allegedly not been prosecuted due to immunity clauses in bilateral agreements [emphasis mine].
Colombia -- that's where the White House is, right?

You can also count on kids today having seen plenty of movies and t.v. shows with the message: Nazis bad, "American" soldiers good. The fact that the U.S. scooped up the German rocket scientists after WW II, or that IBM and Ford made plenty of money doing business in Nazi Germany? They'll never hear about it. And it would be impossible to count how many movies and shows kids today have seen depicting Islamic extremists blowing things up and harming innocent bystanders.

I turned off corporate television so many decades ago that it's quite a shock when I travel and see the disinformation streaming out from big screens in airports and hotel bars. No shortage of enemies, ever. Russia, Iran, ISIS, fill in the blank -- someone is always menacing the mighty and exceptional U.S.

But, history would also suggest that empires who overspend on wars and propaganda while allowing their citizens to starve crumble into dust.

Congress is about to impose austerity cuts that will make those of the past look mild by comparison. Even with our high rate of children growing up in poverty, the U.S. appears to be about to throw millions more families off food stamps and Social Security. Here in Maine we have 70,000 low-income people who are unable to receive Medicaid because of our Tea Party governor.

Libertarian Rick Santorum made news this week by saying. "We will never have the elite, smart people on our side." Maybe he has read some history and even knows what to expect from the lumpen proletariat. Meanwhile, many so-called smart people are kept busy crowing over how one corporate party seems dumber than the other corporate party. As if that made a bit of difference in both parties working together to push through (in secret) the Trans Pacific Partnership, or starting another few wars with our best buddies Saudi Arabia and the neo-Nazis of Ukraine.

The great danger of propaganda is that empires start believing their own bullshit -- right up until vandals break into the palace and start slashing the wrists of the king's keeper of the bow, that is.

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