What a Year

I got a new comment on my post “America the Stupid (Vulgar, Ugly…)” the other day. I’m aching to reply to willc2 to tell him what I think of his dumbass opinion, but experience has taught me that doing so will only end in me getting more wound up and, besides, the email he gave me will probably bounce right back.

I just listened to Radio 4’s News Review of 2004. How fucking depressing. One bleak year of sickening terrorist attacks, kidnappings and executions, “liberators” torturing the liberated, stupid oppressive unnecessary laws, lying leaders, racial and religious intolerance, and just general out-and-out bad shit. Yes, willc2, just do what you feel is in your best interest and, as long as you keep on watching Fox News, you’ll never know any different.

Couple this with yesterday’s tsunami and the dreadful news that insomnia kept me listening to all night, plus the remorse/guilt/regret I’ve been feeling recently over Wiston, the Haitian kid we sponsored who hasn’t been seen since the storms there, and Guy’s horrific experience, all adds up to make me feel pretty miserable about the state of the world. <sigh>

3 thoughts on “What a Year

  1. You have a blog so why don’t you write what you think right here.

    Then we can discuss it like gentlemen and google will preserve our respective comments for eternity.

  2. I’m sorry, I only glanced at you post the first time.

    FWIW, I feel that being positive, kind, helpful, enthusiastic, creative, curious, fair, tough, rational and funny is in my best interest.

    Your mileage may vary.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t watch FOX news.

  3. Hi willc2, thanks for your comments. Yes, all the things you mentioned are in the best interests of you and humanity, sorry if I came over as being rather harsh towards you.

    There were several things that annoyed me about your original post.

    Firstly “No matter what America, Americans, and any given American adminstration does, there will be someone to critisise.” This is true. Whatever _anyone_ ever does, there is always someone to criticise. However, when the vast majority of the world is criticising, including some very clever people and friends of America, it may be worth sitting up and paying attention rather than taking a “screw you Jacques” attitude.

    Secondly “Best just to do what we feel is in our best interest.” This annoys me on two levels. Firstly, it is a very insular point of view (hence my reference to Fox news). It sounds like you’re saying “as long as it’s OK for America, the rest of the world can go hang”. But more importantly, I believe strongly that what was (and still is) being done goes against America’s best interest. The more America breaks international law, the more others will feel it’s OK to break international law as long as it’s in their own best interest. The more America over-reacts and gets heavy-handed, the more the rest of the world will see America as their enemy and the more propoganda the terrorists will have for their recruiting drive.

    Guantanamo Bay was and is wrong for so many reasons. It’s wrong for the reasons listed above. It’s wrong because torture is a very bad an inefficient way to try to gain intelligence: during World War II, about 60,000 civilians were killed in the UK, more than 20 times as many as during the horrific World Trade Centre attacks. Permission to torture German prisoners of war was applied for, but denied because it would be counter-productive.

    That’s the other thing that riles me about this whole “in our best interest” thing: America’s response has been such a huge over-reaction. I don’t want to in any way belittle the horror of the WTC attacks, they were an unforgivable evil touching the lives of many people, and I can understand that America, never previously subject to terrorist attacks on home soil, is traumatised by them. But 2,800 dead, however tragic on a personal level, is really quite small in global terms. Nearly TWO THOUSAND TIMES AS MANY *CHILDREN* as that die EACH YEAR as a result of hunger. At least 8 times as many civilians have been killed by American action in Iraq, possibly many more. The Asian tsunami killed nearly 100 times as many. Climate change, helped along by George Bush’s pandering to his Texan oil buddies, will ultimately kill many thousand times more. And yet day in day, day out the news is about the war on terror, billions of dollars are spent ensuring that never again will 2,800 American lives be lost in a single event, and yet the same amount of money could save many times more lives if spent more sensibly.

    And, ultimately, I’m angry because like you I try to be positive; I believe in the power of positive action, kindness and helpfulness; I believe that if you treat people with respect, they will treat you with respect, if you look at their best side, they will shine. But from everything I see, America is taking the opposite approach, treating people as potential terrorists, restricting basic liberties in a way again not seen even during World War Two, because America sees people as potentially bad rather than potentially good.

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