Monday, January 23, 2006
Will This Get Mentioned In The US Press...
...without the reporters involved doing their damnedest to make the book's author look like an un-American looney tune? I doubt it. From the UK Independent:
... A book by an obscure American historian has shot into US best-seller lists after the elusive leader of al-Qa'ida endorsed it in an audio message aired last week. Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum had languished below 200,000 on Amazon's top-seller list but stormed to 21 yesterday, with the online retailer struggling to meet demand. After issuing new threats to attack the US and calls for President George Bush to withdraw American troops from Iraq, Bin Laden then found time to "plug" Mr Blum's book. "If Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State," he announced in his message relayed to a potential audience of billions via Arab satellite television. Mr Blum is a long-standing and fierce critic of the White House, laying scorn on Mr Bush and his predecessor, Bill Clinton. His 320-page book tears to pieces US foreign policy and its opening line reads: "Washington's war on terror is as doomed to failure as its war on drugs has been." Mr Blum has described the attacks on 11 September as "an understandable retaliation against US foreign policy", stopping short of calling that a justification. Once an employee of the State Department until his career was cut short after he led demonstrations against the Vietnam War, Mr Blum, 72, has been taken aback by his sudden celebrity. News networks in the US are clamouring to interview him. "The Washington Post refuses to publish my letters, but now they are coming to my house," he told reporters. [...]It's at #41 on Amazon.com today. You can also get it from Blum himself.
All great powers do terrible things. Despite the very real horrors of Native American genocide and slavery (and on and on), the United States has perhaps done more good and less evil than any nation that has achieved so much power. This is the perspective that the Chomskys and the Blums lose track of.
On the other hand, when most Americans become aware of just how many wars we have fought and how many governments we have toppled in the last half century, they start getting very queasy.
As well they should.
We want to think of ourselves as the gentle giant, offering abundance to the world and standing against evil tyrants. We hate to think of ourselves as Rome with steel-toed boots and a Have-a-Nice-Day mask. The reality is somewhere in between.
At historical moments like this, the gentle giant picture seems like a fiction, an unutterable hypocrisy. That is dangerous.There are rulers potentially even *worse* than the US under George Bush, people like bin Laden. The problem is that they are *strengthened* when the "gentle giant" myth is weakened.
George Bush has squandered his credibility. The Red Guard Republicans have thrown the pittance of credibility they had into the gutter. The media have squandered theirs. The Democrats are teetering on the edge of being so unreal that they disappear into the MoFo Zone.
How many academics have sold out? How many church leaders? How many businessmen? How many ordinary citizens?
Anarchy beckons. The few who love justice and do mercy, and walk humbly in their search for truth are the are the last ranks standing between Chaos and those she has seduced
More blogs about politics.