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The Toeg Effect

Welcome to the Toeg Effect. Today, we discuss the hostility that permeates throughout America today. We will look at how we got this way, and where we're headed in the short term as well as long term.

While the US military screamed, "Foul," when the Iraqis aired a few American prisoners on national TV in the early months of the Gulf War, it didn't feel any qualm about authorizing the torture at Abu Ghraib. One day we hear the US fervently quoting the "official" rules of engagement (as in, "can't use babies as a human shield, can't toture US soldiers before you kill them, etc.") and the next we see an American soldier singing and dancing to a tune that promotes the killing of Iraqi children, and the next we hear about an incident where American soldiers kill 24 Iraqi civilians Mafioso style. The dichotomy of these events is evident everywhere in the world ........... except the United States...

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Where did this violence originate? How did we get to be this nation that loves to watch a fire-fight in a war zone, especially one produced by Hollywood with all its special effects, yet can become emotionally ill at the sight of one of its own slightly wounded. We shrug our shoulders at the daily stories of car bombs or suicide bombers in Iraq that claim the lives of dozens of people daily. We don't even stop for a second to reflect on the fact that car bombs and suicide bombers are relative newcomers and occurred no more than four times a year before the Iraqi War. They are a daily staple nowadays, and one simply listens for the final count to see if it was a "good" or "bad" day in Baghdad. "Oh, only ten killed by suicide bombers today," one might hear on the radio, "then I guess it was a slow day in Baghdad." We never stop to think that this means that at least ten families lost a loved one that day unnecessarily. We never stop to think that ten people could have been alive even now if it weren't for America's intervention into Iraq.

But let one American soldier show his wounds, and the US press has a field day. Again, the world sees clearly through this dichotomy while Americans tend to be ambivilous. They will say, "Yeah, I know that there are Iraqis dead. But the Iraqis can mourn their own, and we can mourn ours." There are few among us who understand the hypocrisy of such a statement. While Americans can recite chapter and verse as to why its British ancestors took up arms against King George and declared a revolution that eventually became the United States of America, few can see the similarities between those days and Iraq of today.

In order to understand where we are, we need to know how we got here. Humans throughout the centuries have been both brutal and territorial. While all animals are territorial, whether violently so or not, few are as brutal as humans. After all, we took out an entire lookalike species, the Neanderthals. The most powerful grew in rank and importance and eventually became kings and heads of state. They constantly sought to increase their sphere of influence, the Church being no exception. From the great dynasties of China and Japan to the great Empires of Greece and Rome, man sought to exert his influence on those around him in an ever increasing way.

Fast forward to the Revolutionary War. The British who live in the New World grow completely dissatisfied with King George. They eventually rise up in defiance. Fast forward to the Iraq War. The Iraqis who live in the Middle East grow completely dissatisfied with President George. They eventually rise up in defiance. It's déjà vu all over again. How did we get this way?

A brief review of the events before the Revolutionary War will give us clues. Those living in the New World felt an ever increasing burden of taxation from the mother country in order to feed its need for funds (to fight other wars). They saw no direct benefit, and decided to mutiny, so to speak. Up to this point, the British in the New World lived in relative harmony with its native neighbor. Each tended to its ways separately. Ah, but upon achieving its independence, the new republic decided to change that.

First, It sought to expand. Thirteen colonies weren't enough. It needed more. Then came the Louisiana Purchase. This was so important to the American psyche, that we nearly went to war over it. The Louisiana Territory was owned by France and instead of going to war over it, the US government decided to purchase it from France. The French responded with, "Nous demandons 17 millions de dollars." An American journalist who thought he knew French, freely translated this as, "The French government DEMANDS $17 millions." Americans were outraged and vowed to go to war against France if the government declared war. ................. The actual and true translation is, "The French government asks for $17 millions."

Over the next few centuries, the US has pursued a policy of aggression against, first the indigenous people of North America, and then the neighboring states of the Americas. The founding fathers patterned our country after Rome for a reason. Rome was the first country with a full Senate and other political separations. But Rome also represented domination and suppression. While our forefathers probably saw Rome as it could have been, we have been seeing it for what it became. Americans became obsessed with the empire aspect and have supported its evil intent ever since the end of WWII. When the US saw itself emerge on the world stage as the supreme world power, it went punch drunk. All of a sudden, everything was possible.

The Gulf of Tonkin ruse that President Johnson ordered was never questioned until ten years after it happened. Even though it has been proven that the US Navy provoked the North Vietnamese, and not the other way around, the US went to war and eventually lost over 50,000 soldiers. And more importantly, over 2 million Vietnamese. The American government has been lying to the American people ever since. But the subliminal message continues.

During WWII, the government approached Hollywood and the cinema industry with requests of propaganda. Disney was more than willing. Others joined the military in ridiculous roles with cameras all at the ready. These were always shows of patriotism and gunfire. These shows became commonplace. It became so distraughtful, that then president Eisenhower warned Americans about the military industrial complex. He said, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

But Americans never heeded his words. Instead, we started making more and more bellicose movies. First, we portrayed the Germans and Japanese in noble but defeating battles recreated from WWII. Then we sought to glorify the Vietnam War. Television kept pace with ever increasingly violent cartoons for the upcoming generation. When the computer industry finally caught up with the consumer society, it was all about violence and killing. Where arcade games of the past were more concentrated on the sports and competitiveness of human endeavors, the modern games concentrated on killing and aggression. Since our emergence on the global stage as the head honcho, we have never ceased to throw our weight around in all circles. And if some country doesn't want to comply, we simply get rid of the democratically elected leader of the country and install a puppet of our own. Allende was assassinated in Chile on September 11, 1973, Operation PBSUCCESS overthrew the democratically elected leader of Guatemala, Arbenz. And the list goes on.

Today, the computer and arcade industries have ensured that 90% of all new games involve killing and violence. Hollywood has followed suit, and ensures that nearly all of its major blockbusters have violence at its core. We have become a nation obsessed with violence and killing. There are more inmates in American prisons than in any other country on Earth. And this is despite the fact that China has four times the number of people than we do, and is widely cited as a "totalitarian regime." There are more killings in the US than in any other country other than South Africa. There is more crime in the US than any other country on Earth.

Americans have become obsessed with aggression and violence. They seem to care not if this results in the torture and slaughter of thousands of innocent people. They have little concern about giving away all of their rights in the phantasmical struggle against terrorism. This is akin to fighting off the boogeyman. Since the boogeyman doesn't even exist, it can never be defeated. Likewise, since terrorism exists only in the minds who create it, it can never be defeated. Like the boogeyman, it is there if you believe it, and it can be as menacing as you care to make it. But just as in the case of the Bird Flu, it affects few people around the world, and only manifests itself under the pretenses and lies that make up the Bush agenda.

Americans have become violent animals who seek to dominate the rest of the world through bellicose means. Their demonstration of force in Iraq is truly regrettable, and certainly not worthy of the high moral standards of our forefathers. Abu Ghraib was never possible during the Revolutionary War, and merely manifests itself now due to the corrupt nature of this current administration. We need to stop glorifying blind hatred and violence as if these were part and parcel with "liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness." We were once a noble country, and we need to return there. And this needs to be done as soon as possible.

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