Saturday May 25, 2013
You can't handle the truth!Joe Clifford Salem-News.com
The real problem however is the stark and depressing truth that America by nature is an incredibly vicious and violent society, but to admit that would require action.
(JAMESTOWN, RI) - Now that some of the emotionalism has faded from the Sandy Hook school disaster we should reflect on its cause. Is it surprising that someone would walk into a school and kill innocent children? Not really. It should be expected. A quick look at the history of this country, along with the present state of affairs, demonstrates a culture of unparalleled violence. The nation began by exterminating the Indian race and treating them with a racist attitude. We are the only nation on the planet to have used atomic bombs, and not just once, but twice. We rationalized this horrific act by claiming the dropping of the two atomic bombs on civilian cities saved countless American lives, but this has all been debunked by historians studying statements and documents from military leaders at the time. Using atomic bombs on civilian cities was totally unnecessary; it was designed to frighten the Russians. Not only did we use atomic weapons twice, but we have threatened to use them any number of times since the two bombs were delivered; most recently against Iran, a nation who has done absolutely nothing wrong.
We attacked nations such as Panama, Grenada, Bosnia, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, and endless war has become nation's foreign policy. Rather than try to live and settle differences amicably, we have decided to kill our way to success, a task history has already proven impossible. We committed war crimes in Vietnam by carpet bombing innocent towns and villages throughout Southeast Asia resulting in almost three million human casualties. We imposed brutal sanctions on Iraq, killing a million innocent, including over 600,000 children. Can you name all of the countries we are currently bombing?
Not only are we violent with other nations, we show shocking violence towards our own people. We have the highest murder rate in the civilized world; we have more people in prison than anyone else in the rest of the world. We viciously turned on our own citizens in World War II by putting innocent American citizens in concentration camps. Recently, horrific torture pictures circulated from places like Abu Ghraib once again proving we do what we had denied doing. The most horrific of those pictures were withheld from the public as they were too horrible. Why was there no clamor from the public to reveal them? Why was there no prosecution of George Bush and Dick Cheeny who publicly admitted to torture which is illegal and a war crime? Was it because we as a nation were afraid to see ourselves in a mirror?
Our children are taught violence with endless hours of screen time with violent TV, movies, or games. In the aftermath of Newtown, President Obama shed crocodile tears for the useless deaths, but not one tear was shed for the 178 documented deaths of children killed by drones the President himself ordered. Most of those little victims were instantly vaporized. Drones kill innocent kids just as guns killed innocent school kids in Sandy Hook, but we only mourn for the children of Connecticut. Why is that? A Pew Research Poll of 20 nations showed the only citizens to support drone strikes was the American public, while the public of other nations oppose their use.
Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that we routinely kill our own children. A BBC study of US violence found that in the past 20 years there have been more than 20,000 American children less than 5 years old killed in their own homes by their own family. These children were killed not with guns, but were beaten to death in their own homes. The number of murdered defenseless children is four times greater than the total number of military killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me repeat the findings of the study. More than 20,000 children have been beaten to death in their own homes by a family member.
To make matters worse a US Justice Department study found more than 80,000 children are sexually abused every year. No country on earth kills and rapes their children at rates anywhere near ours.
One must ask, why isn't this shocking study common knowledge in this country? Most readers of this article have never heard of either study, or their horrible findings. Why is that? I suggest it is because we do not wish to be confronted with our own violent nature so the study is buried and we do not have to deal with our own violence. In light of a vicious history of violence, culminating in the mass murder of our own children, the reflex reaction is to look for a scapegoat which the public and media found in "guns".
The real problem however is the stark and depressing truth that America by nature is an incredibly vicious and violent society, but to admit that would require action. The answer to violence such as Newtown can be found by the nation looking in the mirror. The nation should take a long hard look at the violence that prevails and surrounds. Blaming the problem on guns is an escape mechanism. As long as we can blame "guns" we do not have to look in the mirror and blame ourselves. As Jack Nicholson said: "You want the truth; you can't handle the truth!!"
Salem-News.com Writer Joe Clifford, lives in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has contributed a number of articles relating to foreign policy to newspapers in the Rhode Island area for years.
He graduated from Providence College where he earned an undergraduate and graduate degree. After a lengthy career as a high school teacher he turned to the study of US foreign policy, and then to writing, as a means of expressing an alternative perspective. His reading and research on foreign policy is broad and extensive, especially as the policy relates to the Middle East. His interest in foreign policy was inspired by the American misadventure in Vietnam. You can write to Joe at this address: email@example.com
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