Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Revisiting an Old Book: Future Tense

While cleaning up today I found Gwynne Dyer's book, Future: Tense, a book I had read 3 years ago. While thumbing through, I focused on the highlighted sections I had marked when I last read the book.

His website can be found here.

Coincidentally, today we Americans were subjected to the latest warning of an al-Qaeda threat by the Bush/Cheney team. Remember: be afraid. Fear-filled people are obedient.

In the front matter of Dyer's book is a quotation from Sydney J. Harris that befits today's warning nicely:

'Terrorism' is what we call the violence of the weak and we condemn it; 'war' is what we call the violence of the strong and we glorify it.

To be sure, we Americans do glorify war, of course, encouraged by the neocon artists in the White House. Today is also the 'debate' going on in the Senate about the War in Iraq. The shill for the White House, Mitch McConnell, is attempting to kill any motions on the floor to terminate the war. Good old boy Lindsay Graham of South Carolina thinks what we are up to in Iraq is of vital interest to our nation. The gaggle of 'loyal' Bush Republicans that hold the Senate hostage may succeed in stalling the anti-war vote, but our troops will pay the ultimate price for the filibuster.

One of the most troubling statements made in Future: Tense is this especially challenging statement that neither the Bush/Cheney cabal nor the Loyalists in the Senate will abide:

The United States needs to lose the war in Iraq as soon as possible. Even more urgently, the whole world needs the United States to lose the war in Iraq."

No doubt, that must make Cheney boil with anger. Dyer, further in the book, says this about the so-called 'terrorist threat' that the Bush-Cheney team calls out so often:

The fact is that neither the Europeans nor Asians nor [above all] Middle Easterners agree with mainstream American political opinion any more. They don't think al-Qaeda is a global menace. They don't live in fear of rogue states. They don't think we are living in the opening stages of a 'clash of civilizations' [though they worry that Washington's efforts might yet make it happen.] They don't agree with pre-emptive and preventive wars, and they don't believe that 9/11 'changed everything.'

Dyer concludes his book with this statement which will be very difficult for Americans to digest:

The hardest thing Americans are going to have to do in this generation is to get used to the idea that the United States is just another country. Still a very big and powerful country, to be sure, but not the “indispensable nation;’ not a beacon of liberty shining into the darkness, and not the only great power that really matters. Most other countries are now democratic too, and they do not look to the United States for example. No other country yet rivals the United States in military power, but that is not as important as Americans think because their enormous military machine can only be used, in practice, against very weak countries: war with a serious opponent would lead to a level of American casualties that the U.S. public would not tolerate for long. And the world does not need America in the same sense that it did when totalitarian Communist powers controlled the heart of Eurasia. But neither does it need America to go into a gigantic sulk about its lost status.

I'm glad that so-called synchronicity occurred today with the book, the DC cabal, and the Senate. Which one tells the truth is, however, a roll of the proverbial dice.

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