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"Answers for That Little Girl"

Peter Jennings, of ABC, gathered a group of children on 9/13/01, to assess their handling of the destruction of the World Trade Center. One little girl, aged about eight, asked, so innocently and plaintively, "Why do they hate us so?" No one gave her any sort of answer, which frustrated those of us who had at least partial answers ready.

The acting president later stated that they hate us for our freedom. It was another of his many lies, although he did follow up with the most serious federal attack on our freedoms that the republic has ever had to endure. First the fundamentalist busybody Ashcroft, and now Torquemado the Quaint Gonzales.

The PBS news program, "Now," can be very helpful in answering the little girl's question. A couple of weeks ago the host interviewed actor and playwright Wallace Shawn -- remember MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, decades ago? Shawn is aware, and uncomfortable with the awareness, that his life of comfort and ease and plenty is based on a system which keeps literally billions of other people in abject misery. He's aware of it and wants to change it. He writes plays which try to make more people aware of it.

I feel kin to him, although my writing has touched, so far, very few people that I am aware of. I keep at it, because of that same uneasiness which Wally Shawn feels. Our daily lives and life-style here in Albuquerque's South Valley damage the earth as little as is possible, living as we do in this country. But we are fed and warm and dry, and most people in the world are not. We use the automobile to get around -- not the biggest thirstiest gas-guzzler they make -- but we use the same mostly imported oil that all Americans depend on. So we are part of the problem. Our writing and our talking gropes for a solution, but is ineffective, so far.

And now comes a book, CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN, by John Perkins. The author was interviewed on "Now," some weeks before Wallace Shawn's appearance. Economic hit men are the first wave of the corporate attack on the Third World. Their task is to persuade third world governments to agree to "development." U.S. corporations build the road and dams and hydroelectric plants and oil pipelines, and they make huge profits. The countries go into heavy debt, and finally default. The World Bank takes over, shutting down any attempt at social betterment programs -- social security, health care, even water supplies. UN votes are dictated by the U.S. Privatization sets in, which impoverishes the common people much more than they originally were.

When the EHM persons fail, then the jackals move in -- assassinations result. When that doesn't work, the U.S. military move in. Poor kids from this country kill and get killed, to make sure that people in the other country, e.g. Panama or Afghanistan or Iraq, stay poor, very poor.

Some of us have been aware of most of the information in CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN, through our reading of underground sources, like I. F. Stone, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, MOTHER JONES, et al. Here it is told in a personal way by someone who was involved. The narrative takes us to Ecuador, Indonesia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Colombia, Iraq and Venezuela. The story becomes very depressing for a sensitive citizen of the world, especially the last part.

CIA assassinations of Jaime Roldos of Ecuador and Omar Torrijos of Panama in 1981 were shameless, and mostly ignored by our press. There were no investigations, no outcry, no shame. It was part of what made some of us hate Ronald Reagan and his gang of thugs and everything they stood for.

The invasions of Panama and Iraq are equally disgusting -- nothing but U.S. bullying, taking what they want, slaughtering everything that moves, including many who are simply trying to get out of the way.

The U.S. dislike of opposition would be downright comical, if one could become detached enough. It's like getting angry in a boxing match in which the opponent strikes back. Our military, and our macho people generally, can't handle the return fire that comes when you invade people's countries.

We can have 40,000 atomic bombs, and break treaties in the preparation of a new batch, but other people can't have any. But they need some, to deter the Americans. Deterrence works. Panama had none, so we were not deterred. Iraq had none, and our leaders knew that and lied about it, and were not deterred. North Korea has a couple, and we are deterred. Iran may have a couple, so our leaders hesitate. The sooner Iran gets one, the sooner our warmongers will calm down. The real task of real disarmament is a long way down the road, as long as these idiots are in charge.

Maybe there is a glimmer of hope in the picture. Maybe U.S. domestic affairs will save the world from Armageddon. The attempt to destroy Social Security seems doomed to fail -- too many people understand what privatization means and refuse to quit using the word. The attempt to dismantle the third branch of government, that is, the Judiciary, in the name of unscientific fundamentalist myths, is also failing. Lying as a technique for fooling people and getting them to do things contrary to their own best self-interest is not working as well as it seemed to at first. The yellow-bellied, chicken-livered cowardly main-stream media can hardly be thanked for the change. It is the awful weight of the lies themselves that are bringing the juggernaut to a halt. People who can still think clearly need to cry, "Liar! Liar!" more and more insistently.

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Copyright © 2005 Harry Willson

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