Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whoops! I Forgot

A friend of mine sent me this quote from a piece called "Wild West Justice" in the most excellent CounterPunch blog. It's part of a larger lament about the sickening reaction of many Americans to bin Laden's death. I remember all of the things this writer, Ramzi Kysia, writes about. This national amnesia about the awful things the USA has done in the name of freedom and democracy is yet another reflection of how little people really know about their country's history. Read the whole piece. Worth it.  I think a large part of our sickness comes from how we view our own history. We remember the Alamo, but forget Polk's War. We remember Pearl Harbor, but forget Hiroshima. We remember September 11th, 2001, but forget September 11th, 1973 [CIA-instigated overthrow of Allende government in Chile.]

I remember September 1st, 1983, when in the dead of night the Soviets shot down KAL 007, an off-course, Korean jetliner with American citizens on board that had strayed into Soviet airspace. Americans were practically frothing at the mouth in their anger at the Soviets and their desire for blood-vengeance. But I also remember July 3rd, 1988, when in broad daylight Captain William Rogers, of the U.S.S. Vincennes, shot down Iran Air 655, killing 290 innocent Iranians. Captain Rogers got promoted. Americans were actually angry with Iran, for getting upset, and genuinely seemed unable to understand why Iranians were upset.
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