Are You Blind, Deaf and Dumb?
Granada, Spain, Jan. 17, 2022–I ran across this headline the other day in the Washington Post: “In America, a child is shot every hour, and hundreds die.” It was followed by an article about 13 young people–one by one–who had been killed by firearms in America in 2021. I thought I was inured to lurid headlines from the US, but this one jolted me profoundly. It opened the floodgates to outrage that had been building for decades. There were photographs of all the children before they were killed. If you click on their pictures you can read their stories. I read the first one. I couldn’t face the rest.
The Post reports in the same article:
All of them were killed in an epidemic unique to the United States, where, on average, at least one child is shot every hour of every day. Many survive, but many others do not. In the nation’s capital, nine children were killed in gun homicides last year. In Los Angeles, 11 were fatally shot. In Philadelphia: 36. In Chicago: 59. Those figures don’t include the hundreds of other kids who died in accidental shootings and by suicide.The Washington Post
Wait, There’s More
It’s not just American firearms policy that cries out to heaven–and to the world community. It’s everything else: the prepotency, the inequality, the racism, the prison population, the incessant meddling in other people’s countries, the utter disrespect for everyone everywhere except their own crop of venal magnates and politicians, the cynical arms trafficking, the imposition of American-style faux democracy and “free” markets, their pretensions that their land of ignorance and arrogance is a model for the whole world to follow… What is the world supposed to think about American diplomats at the highest level whose discourse is limited to threats and insults–Blinkenisms? What about all the cynical regime-change operations and other black ops, which Hollywood converts into profit? What demon issued the Americans their license to kill?
They try to cloak all of these 57 flavors of dystopia in a rancid fog of anti-communism and rabid militarism, lies and hypocrisy. They have become masters of the art of converting adversaries into enemies. They would rather bomb your house than talk to your leaders. What about the dead, the maimed, and the refugee families they leave in their wake, millions of them?
The Case of Cuba
Then there’s Cuba, one of the most grotesque examples of inveterate American evil in our time. The story begins in 1959 when Fidel Castro leads a guerilla army to overthrow the seven-year dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista and proclaim a revolutionary socialist state in Cuba. Batista had enjoyed the support of the American government, thanks to his feral anti-socialist policies. In 1960, after Castro nationalizes all foreign assets in Cuba, American President Dwight Eisenhower freezes Cuban assets in the US and imposes a trade embargo which is still in effect in 2022, having been “reinforced” several times over the past six decades. The repercussions on the lives of the Cuban people were predictably grave and have lingered on until today, despite repeated international appeals. The American recalcitrance seems more due to a monumental fit of pique complicated by the usual hysterical anti-communism than to substantive issues.
Besides umpteen CIA-organized attempts on Castro’s life and biological- warfare attacks on Cuban crops, the US backed a full-fledged invasion by some 1,200 CIA-trained-and-financed Cuban-exile troops on April 17, 1961. The invasion was an immediate disaster due both to the Cuban military’s fast and effective response–the pathetic little Cuban air force sank all the invaders’ escort ships in a day–and the lack of local support for the armed exiles. The principal results of the exercise were the strengthening of Fidel Castro’s government at home and its prestige abroad, including closer ties with the Soviet Union, which reinforced Cuba’s defenses. That reinforcement culminated in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a deadly-serious Keystone Cops confrontation between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier, Nikita Khruschev. President Kennedy was assassinated the following year on the street in Dallas, Texas. Comandante Fidel Castro died in his bed of natural causes 53 years later at the age of 90. Still Cuba resists. Today the United States exports weapons of mass destruction. Cuba exports doctors.
Unlikely Country Steals a March
Meanwhile, while the Americans were busy huffing and puffing and blowing houses down, an unlikely far-off country stole a march on them. When they finally began to wake up from their neo-con dream, they found themselves confronted by the greatest-ever threat to their presumed hegemony: a heretofore backward, irrelevant, communist, atheist country called China. By the time this shocking new reality registered, with the Asian giant’s economic growth rate having approached 10% between 1978 and 1992, China was out of reach.
What now? Having ceded their industrial preeminence to China decades ago, the only recourse left to the American plutocracy is its massive military establishment. Even in that department, however, the Chinese are hard to intimidate, short of resorting to the Americans’ preponderance in nuclear weapons. A nuclear response, of course, is insane. But does anyone with two fingers of forehead consider the American establishment to be even remotely sane? They, themselves, have unabashedly, if tacitly, affirmed the contrary. Look no further than once and possibly-future President Donald Trump, the semi-literate guttersnipe, pockets stuffed with cash, who makes Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini look like Aristotle and Plato.
American military strategy is increasingly dependent on its fleet of giant, nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. These monsters are 333 meters in length, longer than three football fields. There are currently 11 of them and three more are projected. That’s enough, in any case, to virtually corral the entire Chinese east coast in a semi-circle of deadly naval aviation. But that bucket, too, has a hole in it. According to industry experts, China’s DF-ZF hypersonic anti-ship missiles, online since 2019 and which fly unpredictable trajectories at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10 (3,800-7,600 miles per hour), look pretty formidable. Are the American super carriers capable of defending themselves against this Chinese defensive threat? It remains to be seen, but it is in no way assured. According to navalnews.com, China is not the only country to have hypersonic anti-ship missiles. Russia, Iran, and India are also in the race.
American History is a Rap Sheet
When, in the United States, is enough, enough? The recent history of that great country reads like a rap sheet, reflecting every imaginable flavor of criminality. In fact, in the past couple of decades it looks as if the American powers that be have been re-importing their own policies elaborated for castigating the people of enemy countries and applying them to their own citizens. I refer to economic sanctions in the form of skewed tax laws, unreasonable incarceration policies, massive surveillance programs, horrendous wealth inequality, white-supremacist racial injustice, abandonment of basic welfare responsibilities, blockades of health and education opportunities, rigged courts of justice, unsafe and mortally unfair public safety procedures… Americans can no longer trust their police and their courts.
Let’s wind up with another Washington Post headline that will make your day. It’s from Hamtramck, Michigan: “Judge shames 72-year-old cancer patient too weak to tend to his lawn.” The article quotes the woman judge as saying, “If I could jail you for this, I would.” Admittedly, the old gentleman had a feeble excuse: “I’m sick.”