Of American Exceptionalism, Apple Pie, and Moral Rot
BY JASON MILLER| Dateline: 5/13/07
Biography of Kathleen Parker excerpted from The Washington Post Writers Group page:
Now one of America’s most popular opinion columnists, appearing in more than 350 newspapers, Parker is at home both inside and outside the Washington Beltway. But she came to column-writing the old-fashioned way, working her way up journalism’s ladder from smaller papers to larger ones. “I never set out to become a commentator – and do continue to resist the label ‘pundit’ – but I found that keeping my opinion out of my writing was impossible,” says Parker. “One can only stand watching from the sidelines for so long without finally having to say, ‘Um, excuse me, but you people are nuts.’”
Despite myriad signs of the waning power and impending collapse of the abomination known as the American Empire or Pax Americana, there are those among us who insist on perpetuating history’s greatest and deadliest charade. While our nation inflicts tremendous misery and suffering upon the Earth and its sentient inhabitants, our opulent class and their sycophantic apologists dress the United States in a cloak of moral rectitude so pious that one who sees the truth finds it difficult to refrain from vomiting. History will afford us generous praise for our military prowess, economic might, but most of all, for our capacity to project a false image, both to ourselves and others.
Greedy, hubristic, gluttonous, bellicose, and reactionary almost beyond belief, those who wield the bulk of wealth and power in the United States maintain a phenomenal illusion of America’s decency. Hollow pillars of noble ideals merely serve as storage silos for the manure the cynical de facto aristocracy perpetually feeds the masses to ensure that there are enough true believers to man the bulwarks of a system riddled with contradictions and corruption.
Machiavellian moneyed elites infest and dominate nearly every node of power in our maleficent socioeconomic and political infrastructure, including Wall Street, the Pentagon, Congress, the White House, and the Fourth Estate. America’s persistent efforts to dominate the rest of the world serve their interests while significantly diminishing the quality of life for the rest of us. Spending close to a trillion dollars a year on “defense” and committing war crimes with the casual ease of a man brushing his teeth enrich the military industrial complex, financially starve initiatives that would benefit humanity, and fuel a vicious cycle US military aggression, hatred, blowback, and US retaliation.
While the crony capitalist criminals have a multitude of means at their disposal with which to beguile the masses into complicity in their egregious crimes against humanity, their principal weapon is their army of propagandists. Possessing “all-American” looks, exhibiting unwavering patriotism, and fulfilling her self-designated role as spokesperson for “sane adults,” Kathleen Parker is one of the establishment’s chief proponents in the corporate media. As such, she provides relentless cover for a class of criminals who put Al Capone and his associates to shame.
Consider a dissection of some of her work as it appeared on Jewish World Review.com:
In her 4/11/07, “Don Imus’s Via Dolorosa”, Ms. Parker opined:
“What Imus said was not hateful, but it was thoughtlessly unkind to young women who are not, in fact, ‘hos’…. Black hip-hop artists have been denigrating the women of their families and neighborhoods for years with terminology that reduces all women to receptacles for men’s pleasure.”
As she often does, Kathleen slyly buttresses the white patriarchal power structure which continues to dominate the United States, despite having suffered some significant erosion. Note how she assures us that Imus’s remark was not “hateful” and quickly identifies hip hop artists as the true villains.
While misogynistic song lyrics are morally repugnant, they do not alleviate Imus of culpability for his remark. When a dominant media figure, who happens to be a white male in a society which is only several generations removed from chattel slavery and Jim Crow, calls gifted black female athletes and scholars “hos” from a platform which enables him to reach an audience of millions, it is time for him to go.
Kathleen’s piece diverts our attention from another important issue. Why did his corporate chieftains fire Imus? Were they acting on the “moral duty” with which Ms. Parker professes to be so enamored? No. Imus got the axe because major advertising sponsors did not want to risk losing customers and withdrew their monetary support of Imus’s show.
Which leads to another significant point. Parker’s revulsion with hip-hop lyrics which denigrate women is fully justified. Yet she fails to acknowledge the fact that the bourgeoisie masters of the recording universe could end such abject immorality tomorrow if they wished. But even hip-hop with degrading lyrics sells. And profits rule, don’t they Kathleen? Did you forget to whom you sold your soul?
Writing in “The Mother of All Blunders” on 4/6/07, Parker gave us this gem:
“On any given day, one isn’t likely to find common cause with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He’s a dangerous, lying, Holocaust-denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug — not to put too fine a point on it.”
This presents an excellent example of the rabid belligerence and paranoia our corporate-controlled media works so hard to engender in the hoi polloi. While his government certainly has exhibited a tendency towards internal repression, to whom is Ahmadinejad a danger outside of Iraq? To the world’s lone superpower, which is equipped with the most lethal killing machine in the history of humanity? To Israel, a nation with a potent military, a nuclear arsenal and the unconditional support of the US? Whom has Iran invaded lately? What is it that Ahmadinejad has lied about? Is Holocaust denial now a violation of international law? What of the world’s denial of the genocide Israel is perpetrating against the Palestinians?
Thankfully, in March of this year, Ms. Parker was there to remind us of “America’s Clear and Present Danger”:
“Simply put, the present danger is a worldwide threat from radical Islamist terrorism that has a strong state sponsorship component, an overt and covert military component, and an ‘insidious peaceful component’ that is now present in the United States.
That is to say, peacefully and without much notice, Islamists are trying to use our laws of tolerance against us to carve out exceptions for themselves. The radical Islamist faction that has infiltrated and intimidated Europe has found a home in our polite denial.”
To justify its outrageous military spending and perpetual wars, the United States needs enemies. When the Soviet Union disbanded and the US became the world’s only hegemon, policy makers needed a replacement for Communism to justify their “Realpolitik” interventions around the globe. Capitalism’s imperative is to expand or die.
How convenient for them that the “Islamofascists” have emerged. Former US allies like Saddam Hussein, CIA-trained guerilla fighters in Afghanistan, and millions of justifiably enraged victims of direct or indirect US oppression represent the ideal foe. Violently resistant to our exploitation, numbering over a billion, nearly ubiquitous, often dark-skinned (meaning they are easily dehumanized by our exquisite propagandists like Ms. Parker), and (by virtue of geographic good fortune) in possession of much of “our oil,” Islamic people are readily portrayed to US Americans as “a worldwide threat” which has now reached our shores as an ‘insidious peaceful component.’
If so many of our fellow citizens were not so easily persuaded to believe Kathleen’s absurd perversion of reality, it would be comical. We are the threat. Islamic violence is a reaction to years of invasion, genocide, theft of resources, toppling of governments, support of despots, and destruction of infrastructure. Imagine what we would do if we were in their place. But then again, empathizing with the “other” is akin to providing comfort to the enemy, isn’t it, Ms. Parker?
Musing about the state-sponsored murder of Saddam with “We Are All Executioners Now,” in January of this year Ms. Parker penned:
“Where we’ve seen it before was in the horror movies Islamist terrorists staged when they butchered hostages such as Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, knowing that the world would watch.
The differences are obvious, of course. Berg and Pearl were innocents, and Saddam was a lawless monster indicted, tried and convicted under a civilized code of jurisprudence. If anyone deserved ultimate justice for crimes against humanity, Saddam did. In death, he joins that foul fraternity of other torturers and murderers for whom death was tardy.”
Again Kathleen presents us with an emotionally charged intellectual hand-job intended to create sympathy for “our people”, demonize the “other”, and legitimize the United States’ utter disregard for the law, let alone justice.
While the gruesome deaths of Berg and Pearl were tragic, where is her concern for the millions upon millions of victims of our imperial wars and occupations since the end of World War II?
Kathleen also conveniently “memory-holed” the fact that the ‘lawless monster,’ Saddam, was our ally when he was at war with Iran during the Reagan era.
Amnesty International characterized Hussein’s trial and conviction as ‘deeply flawed and unfair,’ despite Parker’s assurance that it was conducted ‘under a civilized code of jurisprudence.’
And if ‘in death’ Saddam joined ‘that foul fraternity of other torturers and murderers for whom death was tardy,’ when do we schedule the executions of Kissinger, Bush 41 and Bush 43, Clinton, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a host of other US leaders? Their crimes are as well-documented as Saddam’s and are of equal or greater magnitude.
Shortly after Hugo Chavez spoke at the UN in September of 2006, Parker fired off, “The Axis of Oil and Nuts”:
“Chavez would be a hoot if he weren’t so dangerous. As the leader of America’s fourth-largest foreign oil supplier, he has undeserved power, both in the world and over the U.S. When he’s feeling grumpy, he threatens to cut us off. Wouldn’t we love not to have to entertain his mood shifts?”
Ms. Parker has a knack for defying reason while appearing to inundate us with irrefutable folksy wisdom. Admittedly, Chavez is over the top with his rhetoric and tends to make a caricature of himself. However, as with Ahmadinejad, to whom is Chavez a danger? Venezuela has not initiated a war or invasion under his leadership. There is no documented evidence that Chavez has killed (or ordered the killing) of a soul.
Chavez’s power to damage the US economically is far more limited than Kathleen implies. Venezuela accounts for about 15% of US oil imports. While it would certainly render a blow to the United States if Chavez stopped selling us his petroleum, we would manage.
In reality, the danger that Chavez poses is to US hegemony. As a shameless apologist for the US ruling elite, Ms. Parker is duty-bound to attack leaders like Chavez, who assert what “undeserved power” they have to protect their nation’s sovereignty and to challenge US global dominance.
Displaying rare form in April of 2006, Kathleen scribbled, “The Christianists are Coming, the Christianists are Coming”:
“For those who do not spend their days pulling imaginary bugs out of their eye sockets, ‘Christianist’ is a relatively new term that roughly refers to a virulent strain of right-wing political Christianity that, supposedly, parallels Islamist lunacy.
Although both groups may be ‘true believers,’ those who try to connect the dots of Christian belief, specifically evangelical Christianity, to Islamism seem willing to overlook the fact that Islamists praise Allah and fly airplanes into buildings while Christianists praise Jesus and pass the mustard.”
Thank you, Kathleen, for again reminding those who pull “imaginary bugs out of their eye sockets” that you are their Virgil in this mad, Hellish world.
Ms. Parker commits several sins of omission in her sweeping portrayal of Western religious fanatics as innocuous picnickers relative to the “monsters” who have the audacity to worship Allah.
Aside from passing the mustard, “Christianists” provide undying political, social, financial, and moral support for the genocidal acts of both the US and Israeli governments in the Holy Land. They don’t need to commit acts of terrorism abroad; they have the US military, the CIA, the IDF, and Mossad to do that for them. Therefore, they can focus their efforts on domestic terrorism as they bomb abortion clinics, gay night clubs, and Olympic events.
In “Hezbollah’s Twilight Zone” (2/06), Ms. Parker wove a tale that would have left Rod Serling green with envy:
“Why some residents of Qana didn’t leave given fair warning is a point of speculation, but Hezbollah reportedly has blocked residents from evacuating other areas. Proportionality is a trickier question, but let’s be clear on the issue of moral equivalence. There is none. Hezbollah aims to kill civilians; Israel aims not to. But by firing rockets from civilian areas, Hezbollah forces Israel to return fire, thus inciting the condemnation of civilized nations and fueling the reliable outrage of the Arab street.
The fog of war may prevent absolute clarity, but this much seems certain: Those dead women and children are casualties of Hezbollah, not Israel. As in the case of Susan Smith, we mourn the deaths of the children, but have no sympathy for the responsible party.”
Let’s pause for a moment to applaud Kathleen for a nearly superhuman feat of mental gymnastics. If we are to accept her cleverly constructed argument, we must blame the defenders of the victims of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon while embracing the idiotic conclusion that Western shells, cluster bombs, and missiles are manufactured in such a way that they only kill the “bad guys”, and when civilians die, it is an aberration for which we are immediately forgiven.
Incidentally, Israel killed 1200 Lebanese civilians while Hezbollah claimed 43 Israeli civilian victims. If, as Ms. Parker claims, “Hezbollah aims to kill civilians; Israel aims not to,” both sides need to engage in some serious re-training of their forces.
Rewinding to 2004, let’s consider some of Kathleen’s “wisdom” from “You Say Fallujah, I Say Rambo!”:
“I suppose it would be considered lacking in nuance to nuke the Sunni Triangle….
…But so goes the unanimous vote around my household – and I’m betting millions of others – in the aftermath of what forevermore will be remembered simply as ‘Fallujah.’
Wouldn’t it be lovely were justice so available and so simple? If we were but creatures like those zoo animals we witnessed gleefully jumping up and down after stomping, dragging, dismembering and hanging the charred remains of American civilians whose only crime was to try to help them.
These are the times that try Americans’ souls….
…It is hard at such times to keep one’s head, to remain calm, to rise above the impulse to exact immediate revenge. Or to cut and run, as we did under similar circumstances in Somalia not so long ago. But keep our heads we must. Calmly we must transcend the primitive lust that compels ignorant others to mug idiotically for cameras.
Our revenge will be in facing down enemies who, though unworthy adversaries, impede the worthy goal of stabilizing a country whose future may predict our own….
….Americans have the appealing if self-defeating habit of projecting their values onto others who haven’t enjoyed centuries of self-enlightenment. But we learn and mean well.
What we know, and what we tell the rest of the world by our steadfastness, is that we will help even the unworthy; we will not back down from a just cause even when appalled and afraid; we mean what we say. “
What an artful display of war-pimping! In response to the death of four Blackwater mercenaries, at the hands of people whose nation WE invaded, she writes of nuking the Sunni Triangle and laments that “justice” against “zoo animals” is not so “available and so simple.”
Invoking the spirit of the American Revolution with her reference to Thomas Paine and the times trying our souls, she reminds us of our “moral superiority” and the need to “rise above the impulse to exact immediate revenge.” (Ultimately, we did indeed demonstrate our “civility and restraint” by allowing some time to pass before avenging the deaths of four guns-for-hire by leveling the city of Fallujah—we were so fortunate to have Kathleen as a moral compass).
Proudly waving the banner of American Exceptionalism, she reminds us that those attempting to end our occupation of their country are “unworthy”, yet tempered as we are by “centuries of self-enlightenment”, we will continue to “help” them.
Let’s hope that our “unworthy adversaries” who are maimed, dying, or who have lost family members realize that we US Americans “learn and mean well.”
Some place their faith in a deity, but as evidenced by Ms. Parker’s June 2006 column, “In Marines We Trust,” that trend may be changing:
“Not only do we not know what happened in Haditha, but we’ve failed to communicate effectively to the rest of the world what we do know: that our Marines always deserve the benefit of the doubt. And that if something did go terribly wrong in Haditha, it was a rare exception to the rule.
Instead of launching an aggressive PR campaign to debunk the growing impression that such incidents, if true, are par for American forces, we get a presumption of guilt and an ethics course to fix a problem that isn’t a problem. The failure to communicate responsibly and strategically in this case, coupled with the rush to judgment in the international court of public opinion, has hurt not only the Marines under investigation, but also all our military men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Here Ms. Parker implies that the vanguard forces of a morally reprehensible imperialistic superpower that slaughtered three million in Vietnam and has annihilated hundreds of thousands in Iraq since the Gulf War do their killing “innocently” and “ethically.” While there is certainly a distinction between individual soldiers killing unarmed civilians and a group of service personnel taking lives in the course of carrying out a military objective, one can also successfully argue that each death the US military causes in Iraq is a war crime because the United States launched a war of aggression, an offense for which several principals of the Third Reich were hanged. Besides, the evidence against the Marines in Haditha is quite damning and the Haditha’s and My Lai’s are not as isolated as the corporate media would have us believe.
Recruiting young people who are economically susceptible to their bribes and psychologically vulnerable to their brain-washing while mobilizing public support for unprovoked invasions and “interventions,” the tangled web of corporate entities, war profiteers, “elected officials”, plutocrats, upper echelon military careerists, and their handsomely rewarded propagandists, like Ms. Parker, ultimately bears the responsibility for a deepening sea of blood and a growing mound of dismembered corpses.
Kathleen Parker may project an “apple pie” image, but her ardent moral and intellectual defense of the wholesale liquidation of human beings, her dehumanization of Islamic people to fuel the fraudulent “War on Terror”, and her pathological nationalism reveal that she is morally rotten to the core.
Jason Miller is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. He welcomes constructive correspondence at JMiller@bestcyrano.org