L. Neil Smith's
Number 210, February 10, 2003


Columbian Exposition And ... Turkey?
by Lowell Potter

Special to TLE

So anyway, I just went out to burn one -- a cigarette -- and I was thinking as I looked skywards into the dark freezing rain, "Damned good thing those clowns at NASA aren't raining their shiat down over here!" Word is on the internet that burning shiat was raining down on, of all places, ... get this, ... Palestine, Texas! There are so many ironies attendant to this failure, it is pathetic.

I just read online that Iraqis perceive God's vengeance in the details, ... and understandably so. While parades and tickertape were in preparation for the triumphant return of the first ever Israeli astronaut, who just happened to be a former bomber of Iraq, the much ballyhooed NASA shuttle Columbia became a larger blaze of glory than any of the celebrants would have wished.

It is hardly inconceivable that millions of pedestrian Muslim peasants, living with the imminent spectre of Bush's war machine hanging like a sword over their heads, just might see this as a heavenly reminder to puffed-up Western chickenhawks that their powers are far from invincible.

I had initially intended to develop the theme of the shuttle disaster and explore the ramifications of this uniquely high-profile government failure (generally, colossal government blunders are tidily swept under the rug where they remain hidden for decades), however, more brilliant minds than mine have expounded thereupon so eloquently and quickly, that I defer to their obvious excellence. For a wonderful example of this, see Vin Suprynowicz's shuttle essay posted at Lew Rockwell.com.

Incidentally, Vin Suprynowicz was one of my own personal shining beacons of philosophic libertarianism in a darkly authoritarian worldscape until 9-11, when he flipped out and went totally and indiscriminately nuclear aggressive. I was under the impression for a long time that the guy was God's own voice of reason on Earth. Vin still can, however, produce brilliantly lucid work, e.g., the shuttle essay. See this site's editorial index for some of Vin's classic pre 9-11 essays which I unabashedly pirated and posted, as explained in "The Pirate Files."

As I awoke this morning and made coffee, I snapped on the idiot box in hopes a classic film might somewhere fight its way through the latest round of media hero worship and sappy official government ululation and eulogizing over the most recently incinerated near-space jockeys ... these brave heroes have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind, blah, blah, blah."

Have you noticed lately how anyone that dies anymore is instantly a frigging "hero" ... so long as they're in government?

Anyway, what I happened to tune into was one of those ubiquitous and generally annoying Media Inc. morning shows with a remote from Istanbul by longtime talking head/blonde, Diane Sawyer. I am coincidentally reading a rather copious volume of world history, in which Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, figures quite prominently, and the too fleeting images of the storied city provided by the remote tv production were a stimulating and timely illustration of my current reading material. Yes, ...I realise I have in the past berated network television as being largely worthless.

Interestingly enough, when Sawyer and her cohorts moved from the obligatory and deserved oohing and ahhing over the incredibly rich tapestry of the ancient city's culture and it's overwhelmingly resplendent historical constructs and relics (this place ain't called the "Crossroads of the World" for nothing, pal!) into the sphere of current Turkish political opinion, she may have gotten more than she, or Media Inc. bargained for.

Speaking with purported "everyday Turks from the street," Sawyer, in an impressively instantaneous albeit painfully transparent "cover-your-ass" style manoeuvre, feigned absolute astonishment when the common folk revealed that they feared the USA much more than Saddam's treacherous neighboring Iraqi juggernaut. "Wha...?" In fact, the three ordinary Turks interviewed seemed infinitely more concerned with the continuing thorny irritation of the Kurdish peoples living in an expansive region straddling the common borders of Turkey and Iraq.

Seems that after WWI, the pointy heads carving up the spoils of war with their world maps and magic markers neglected to give millions of Kurds their own personal "stan." I can just visualize some portly colonial Brit stuffed into white riding breeches and a pith helmet, indignantly fingering his monocle and harumphing contemptuously, "The ... Kurds??" Not that Joe Sixpak would ever notice, but the shiat has been pounding the fan there ever since. [According to the history books, it always has been.]

Short shrift was given in the piece on the damning historical record of Turkey's own genocidal efforts to eradicate the Kurdish peoples (according to Sawyer, currently 12 million strong in Turkey and 4 million more in Iraq) while Saddam's similar efforts at Kurdish extermination were yet again gratuitously illustrated with the now familiar and inuring stock footage of gruesome turbaned infants and children piled high, dead in the streets.

Curiously, these atrocities credited to Saddam occurred during Bush I's reign, simultaneously as the USA was shipping WMD's to its good ally, Saddam's Iraq. Also according to Sawyer's piece, the Kurds in Iraq currently enjoy political autonomy and have their own organized militia. Huh?? Apparently, the brutal Saddam cannot vanquish the piddling 4 million Kurds in his backyard, but he is an imminent threat to all the nations of the world, particularly, the paranoid American Leviathan on the opposite side of the globe??

In spite of a reportedly overwhelming 83% popular sentiment against another war in their backyard, Turkey's pliant US satellite regime has "granted" the US military access to strategic deployment positions within its borders. As an addendum, Sawyer's piece dedicates a brief clip to Turkey's largest official cheese, in which he smilingly relates the USA's solemn guarantee that the conflict in no way will enable or allow the Kurds to break from the Turkish nation to form their own.

O.K....so let me get this straight. As a condition to allow US "freedom" forces to ouster the world's primary scourge, Saddam Hitler, the USA will guarantee to condone the "free democratic" state of Turkey's continued subjugation of an ancient culture and people, +/-16 million strong, who have for centuries battled for their own freedom and liberty.

Does Media Inc. really want to give us this much information?

Isn't this type of information counterproductive to the war on terrorism?

Perhaps Media Inc. thinks that their viewers are too stultified to appreciate the blatant hypocrisy and naked hubris apparent in the whole damned mess.

Perhaps they are correct.

"We now return you to continuing coverage of the memorial to our fallen heroes ..."


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