Twenty years ago, Amnesty International was criticizing Saddam Hussein’s human rights abuses at the same time Donald Rumsfeld was courting him. In 2003 Rumsfeld apparently trusted our credibility on violations by Iraq, but now that we are criticizing the United States he has lost his faith again.
Their four-year Taco Bell boycott succeeded, and now the Florida tomato pickers are ready for more action. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is taking on the rest of the fast food industry.
In the truncated media universe of Memorial Day, the act of remembering bypasses any history that indicates an American war was not inevitable and unavoidable. The populace is made to understand that God and nature must be death dealers. We are encouraged to extol those who bravely gave their lives and took the lives of others—but not confront those, high in the U.S. government’s executive and legislative branches, who cravenly gave their fervent blessings to gratuitous carnage.
It has become popular to describe the U.S. invasion of Iraq as some kind of anomaly, a departure from Washington’s previous record of seeking peaceful alternatives to war and refusing to engage in aggression. Such depictions amount to a kind of pseudo-historical baby food, chopped up and strained so it can be stomached.