Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not with a bang but a whimper

The FISA "compromise" received almost no attention in the press. It is as if the concept of alternative realities has finally been realized (that sounds redundant; a realized reality). It appeared on page three of our paper.

More and more I find myself thinking about what civilian populations in a major power did while their country was at war in a distant place. First, let me think about some examples:
The Roman Empire during most of its existence, excluding the civil wars that were quite brutal (civil war is always more brutal; no known explanation;)

Spain during its Empire days;

Certainly the English Empire up until WWII; in spite of the devastation of WWI to its male population and treasury, Britain itself suffered no major attack (I think a few German airships flew over London and dropped some bombs; certainly nothing like the devastation of the battles of Somme or Verdun;)

Germany in WWII until the intensive bombing began.

Japan in the 30's up until the saturation bombing of Japanese cities during WWII. The opening salvo of this being the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

America in all wars, particularly Spanish-American, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq (war being our largest export product.)
I didn't watch the recent series on TV about the home front in America during WWII, and I can hardly remember it myself. But, while there was a lot of rationing and "hardship", it was nothing compared to the horror of living in a country that is a battlefield. Consider what it would be like to have lived in Hamburg, Dresden or Tokyo during a firebombing. It is literally incomprehensible to people who are not physically there, no matter how many movies we see or books we read about the experience.

As a result, and back to the initial point by a long circuitous route, Americans are tragically complacent. It just doesn't matter to them that 40, or 70 or 100 people die in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Darfur, etc. It is not a reality like the automobile accident out on the highway.

So, they don't give a damn about what George Bush does or the fact that Congress just took a big chunk out of the Constitution and literally absolved the telecom companies from breaking the Law. It just doesn't matter.

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