Lebanon, Israel, and Mass American Infantilization
By Paul Street at Aug 04, 2006
I've had three small sets of numbers, one photograph, and one television show running through my head all day.
The first set of numbers is 540/55. The first number in that pair is the quantity of Lebanese people, “mostly civilians,” killed by the Israel Destruction Forces (IDF) between July 13th and August 2, 2006, according to the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) last night.
The second number is the quantity of Israelis, “mostly soldiers” (PBS acknowledges), killed by Islamic militants during the same period.
That's some disparity.
The picture comes from Qana, where 60 Lebanese, mostly children, died in a criminal IDF bombing on July 30th. It shows a man screaming for help as he carries the body of a girl killed by the state-terrorist Israeli strike on Qana. It's a terrifying image - one of many coming out of Lebanon and readily available in numerous U.S. "mainstream" media outlets.
The second set of numbers is 410/8. The first number in that pair is the quantity of elected members of the U.S. House of Representative who voted for a July 20th House resolution to “unconditionally endorse Israel's ongoing attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The [U.S.] Senate,” Stephen Zunes notes, “passed a similar resolution defending the Israeli attack earlier in the week by a voice vote, but included a clause that ‘urges all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure.' By contrast, the House version omits this section and even praises Israel for ‘minimizing civilian loss,' despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The resolution also praises President George W. Bush for ‘fully supporting Israel,' even though Bush has blocked diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire and has isolated the United States in the international community by supporting the Israeli attacks.”
The second number in that pair is the number of Representatives who voted against that bloody resolution.
Four Hundred and Ten to Eight --- how unimaginably despicable.
The third set of numbers I can't shake today is 14/35/31/20. The first number (14) in this sequence is the percentage of 633 Americans polled on Wednesday, July 19th (yes, 11 days before the carnage of Qana) who believed that Israel was being “too restrained” in its assault on Lebanon. The second number (35) is the percentage who thought that Israel's attack was “about right.” The third number (31) is the percentage who thought that Israel was going “too far.” The last number is the percentage who felt “unsure” about the appropriateness of Israel's murderous behavior.
Combining the first two numbers, we see that the percentage who felt that Israel's response was either too slight or “about right” was 49, compared to less than a third (31 percent) who thought it was too much.
The television show I can't forget in a sickening way is last Tuesday morning's “Today Show” on NBC. It had a brief news item showing a group of smiling Israeli troops returning from actions in Lebanon and quickly reported that Israel wasn't really halting bombing for 48 hours as it initially said it would in the aftermath of the Qana massacre.
This story lasted less than a minute. It was followed by a ten-minute segment on the supposedly significant extent to which the American republic is beginning to embrace the beauty of large female rear ends. The segment was titled (if I recall correctly) “True Booty” and reported that a rising number of women are having "butt augmentation" surgery and going to specialists for something called a “butt facial."
This long, detailed, and cutting-edge story was presented by “news” journalist Campbell Brown, who occasionally handles the lead anchor position on the NBC Evening News. Katie Couric used to specialize in these sorts of stories, building a resume that qualified her for her forthcoming position as the news anchor at CBS.
With all due respect for the undeniably pivotal role of corporate-imperial media mendacity and bias, I think Americans are running out of excuses for narcissistic and infantile indifference to the mass murder being carried out with their tax dollars and by their policy makers and allies. It strikes me that photographs, clips, and stories about the criminal carnage inflicted on Arab people and communities by the blood-soaked-butchers who rule the United States and its client state Israel are readily available to any moderately interested American who knows how to search the Internet, read a newspaper, or watch television.
Yes, the American media coverage and imagery is terribly biased towards the U.S. and its imperial allies but….. sorry, particularly in this case...it's just not that hard to find abundant graphic evidence of massive Western war criminality. And nobody holds a gun to our head and makes me or anyone else watch "professional newscasters" debase themselves with childish white-yuppie butt-journalism while innocent Lebanese children are embalmed in the wreckage created by IDF bombs. But then for some time now, it seems that I have been witnessing the spiritual death of a nation - my own.