We Bought This War

This is a kind of ticker from the The National Priorities Project and it keeps track of the ongoing cost of Bush’s hobby war. And, of course, it only counts money, not Iraqi or American lives and casualties. At some point we all have to ask ourselves how this happened.

The bombings on September 11, 2001 were a kind of trigger, but a trigger for what? We had already allowed the Bush administration and the Republican Party to steal an election. I think the machinery that led us to this point was set up as long ago as the Reagan administration.

The vast majority of the United States was never in any danger on the day New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington was attacked. I don’t believe we are in much danger now, either. That was true of the bombing of Pearl Harbor too. Only a few people died, compared to the population as a whole.

We face other dangers that are much greater. Poverty, global warming, automobile accidents, the lack of national health care and pension plans, the list goes on. Still, somehow we were sold a fight that will soon exceed the cost of the Second World War. But there simply is no contemporary equivalent to the Nazis or Imperial Japan. I think we have to start thinking again about propaganda.

One counter (pardon the pun) to propaganda is data. The National Priorities Project website is helpful in that way. You can compare the cost of this war to, say, the number of public school teachers in your state that might have been hired instead. The Iraq Coalition Casualties website gives you lists of death and injury.

Another helpful source is the Propaganda Video Gallery, which has a collection of propaganda videos from the 2oth century. They are funny, but they should also remind us of how gullible we can be. One day people will laugh at Fox News too, if they don’t already.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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