"Why are we over there in Iraq? "
"To protect our freedoms. "
"How are the Iraqis threatening our freedoms? "
"They attacked us on 9/11. "
"If that is true, why are so many Americans against the war? "
"I don 't know, but I think Cindy Sheehan and all the other war protestors should be rounded up and shot. "
I was involved in this exchange with a co-worker about two months ago. I was utterly perplexed at how this individual managed the obvious cognitive dissonance created by thinking that we are fighting to protect our "freedoms " while simultaneously holding the notion that non-violent dissidents "should be rounded up and shot ".
In retrospect, why was I so surprised? As a vehement critic of the United States government 's foreign and domestic policies, I have received numerous death threats from "patriotic " loyalists to the American Empire over the last year. Recently, a severely brain-washed US resident who maintains a site called American Jihad issued a "Farwa " (his spelling) against the editors of Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and Uruknet and against dissident writers Mike Whitney and Kurt Nimmo. Many of my essays have appeared on Dissident Voice and Uruknet, so I suppose I am a target of the "Farwa " too.
Violent Extremists Abound
While many death threats issued by American hate-mongers may be hollow, the nations of the Middle East do not have the market cornered on fanatical ideologues who commit acts of terror. Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Michael Griffin, Paul Hill, Ted Kaczynski, Baruch Goldstein, David Lane, Donald DeFreeze, Clayton Waagner and Earl Krugel are but a few of America 's home-grown violent extremists. America, and often components of its government, have a history of assassinating dissidents who become too powerful as they pursue equality and human rights. Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, RFK, MLK, and Paul Wellstone each met a premature demise which ended their efforts to introduce real social justice into the Empire.
Your Mind is our Vessel
Actually, I suspect many of the ardent supporters of the American Empire truly believe that they are preserving and spreading noble principles like freedom, democracy, equality, and human rights. There is no shortage of propaganda to convince them of this "fact ". Delusions and illusions "generously " provided by the corporate-controlled mainstream media afford Empire loyalists with the opportunity to avoid the burden of independent thinking. Sound-bites, canards, propaganda, stereo-types, and white-washed versions of the truth supply their programmed minds with a virtually endless loop of rationalizations to justify their approbation of a morally reprehensible entity.
People who continue to nurse at the bosom of Lady Liberty, the noble symbol of an imaginary land which has never existed, rail against those who seek peace, social and economic justice, and human rights. In their perverse worldview, health care, safety, ample nourishment, and adequate shelter are reserved for a select segment of the population in the Empire 's homeland. Those of us who believe in a more just and equitable world are indeed a threat to the oppressive capitalist imperialism of the United States. To perpetuate the Empire 's military dominance and parasitic exploitation of humanity, our attempts to awaken and rally the masses must be stopped by any means necessary.
Often accusing proponents of a more just and humane world of seeking "entitlements " for the poor and oppressed, the foot soldiers of the Empire are actually struggling with virtually every fiber of their being to preserve what they believe to be their own entitlements. Since the concept of "might making right " reinforces their belief that their "special rights " supersede the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is time to identify and enumerate these exclusive privileges: