In the 2002 run-up to the Iraq War, President Bush stopped for a photo-op at the East Literature Magnet School in Nashville, Tennessee. Using the opportunity to justify his impending invasion of Iraq to middle and high school students, he shared with them his mangled version of a Texas truism, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
It seems a majority of us can get fooled again . . . and again . . . and yet again. In fact, a critical mass of the American electorate is taken in as easily as a photon of light is sucked down a black hole.
Who would have thought that while the United States is embroiled in a war and occupation predicated on impeachable lies—that all but the comatose or Fox News devotees are aware of—a slight majority of Americans could be duped into supporting a pre-emptive attack on Iran based on “intelligence” provided by the Bush-Cheney administration.
But sadly, that’s exactly what we seem prepared to do. According to a recent Zogby Poll, 52 percent of those interviewed supported a military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon—which experts believe will take at least another five years. Time enough for a diplomatic resolution.
Granted, gullibility is inherent in our species and one can imagine its survival value in our evolutionary past. But we no longer live in caves or fight with clubs. Believing everything we hear or read does not enhance survival when smoking guns can turn into mushroom clouds.
So how is it that we’ve let ourselves become such a Foolish Generation?
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Is the root of our foolishness nourished by the fact that 70 percent of Americans actually believe there is a devil in hell? Given the mega-church mentality, with its crusader zeal and apocalyptic vision that has hijacked our generation’s collective conscience and political discourse, it’s not a large leap of faith to believe that Lucifer can turn his minions loose in Iraq or Iran or wherever.
And if that faith is cynically exploited by corporate-owned Neocons bent on the conquest of the oil rich “Land of Evil” in the name of God and freedom, is our goose-stepping off to war really such a conundrum?
President Bush raises the specter of World War III should Iran develop a single nuclear weapon (the U.S. and its allies have thousands), just as then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice conjured up imagines of mushroom clouds in the march to war with Iraq.
Our attack on Iran could very possibly unleash WW III, but not for the reason Bush imagines. Nuclear-armed countries such as China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel, and all non-nuclear Muslim nations are inextricably bound in a web of strategic, economic and religious interests in the “Land of Evil” that cannot withstand our foolishness indefinitely.
And the mushroom clouds we’ll see over Iran will not be from jihadist suicide bombers, but from our tactical bunker-busting nuclear missiles, which are an integral part of the military’s attack plan.
Lest we get fooled again:
People will die in this new war in Iran as they are in Iraq, as they did in Vietnam—as people do in war—by the tens of thousands or millions . . . one irreversible death at a time.
Families will be vaporized as they huddle together and cry and fowl themselves in fear and pray to whichever god they believe is listening. A child will die from a single bullet to the brain or in pieces. The dead will become carrion and the dogs and the rats and the crows will grow fat.
And when the bombing stops and the blood and pieces of flesh and viscera are washed away and down the sewer, history will have been made and the Foolish Generation will be indicted.
We will not be able to camouflage our culpability within the mottled grey of words such as “terrorism” and “genocide.” We will have committed the murder of innocent daughters and sons and mothers and fathers on a massive scale. There can be no mincing of words. It is mass murder. And our foolishness is no defense.
During his warmongering at the East Literature Magnet School, President Bush stressed the importance of youngsters understanding history because it gives them “a better sense of what it means to be an American.” Imagine youngsters in Berlin in 1939 listening to a similar speech by their warmongering Furher. Now imagine their sense of what it meant to be a German in 1945, tainted as they were by the blood on their parents’ hands. History has not been kind to those youngsters.
If our Foolish Generation cannot find a way to extricate itself from the black hole of history into which it is plunging, our children’s blood-spattered generation will face the court of world opinion with a weak defense:
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me . . . and my issue in perpetuity.”
Biography: Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience (www.mwcnews.net). His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI.