By William Blum
10/02/07 "ICH" -- -- I used to give thought to what historical time and place I would like to have lived in. Europe in the 1930s was usually my first choice. As the war clouds darkened, I'd be surrounded by intrigue, spies omnipresent, matters of life and death pressing down, the opportunity to be courageous and principled. I pictured myself helping desperate people escape to America. It was real Hollywood stuff; think "Casablanca". And when the Spanish Republic fell to Franco and his fascist forces, aided by the German and Italian fascists (while the United States and Britain stood aside, when not actually aiding the fascists), everything in my imaginary scenario would have heightened -- the fate of Europe hung in the balance. Then the Nazis marched into Austria, then Czechoslovakia, then Poland ... one could have devoted one's life to working against all this, trying to hold back the fascist tide; what could be more thrilling, more noble?
Miracle of miracles, miracle of time machines, I'm actually living in this imagined period, watching as the Bush fascists march into Afghanistan, bombing it into a "failed state"; then Iraq: death, destruction, and utterly ruined lives for 24 million human beings; threatening more of the same endless night of hell for the people of Iran; overthrowing Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti; bombing helpless refugees in Somalia; relentless attempts to destabilize and punish Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Gaza, and other non-believers in the empire's god-given mission. Sadly, my most common reaction to this real-life scenario, daily in fact, is less heroic and more feeling scared or depressed; not for myself personally but for our one and only world. The news every day, which I consume in large portions, slashes away at my joie de vivre; it's not just the horror stories of American military power run amok abroad and the injustices of the ever-expanding police state at home, but all the lies and stupidity which drive me up the wall. I'm constantly changing stations, turning the TV or radio off, turning the newspaper page, to escape the words of the King of Lies and the King of Stupidity -- those two twisted creatures who happen to occupy the same humanoid body -- and a hundred minions.