publisher's note
December 8, 2006



It hurts to be an American
by Bruce Rodgers

It hurts to be an American these days. There’s not much to be proud of or excited about…except maybe that NASA scientists think they’ve discovered evidence of a fairly recent water flow on the surface of Mars. At least with that there’s little controversy (so far) and the media didn't trot out opposing viewpoints concerning the “water-on-Mars” issue. I half expected some FOX network reporter to corner a Christian fundamentalist who believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old and ask him his reaction to the Mars’ “discovery,” or something equally inane like “Do you think God exists on Mars?”

Usually, the establishment media thinks any counter viewpoint to any issue is worthy of a microphone-in-the-face encounter. The big exception is the view that we should pull our troops out of Iraq immediately.

That didn’t get much play after the release of the Iraqi Study Group report. Brian Williams from NBC didn’t seek out Noam Chomsky’s take on the report. Locally, Mike Mahoney from KMBC Channel 9 didn’t rush over to contact a member of the Iraqi Task Force or American Friends Service Committee to get their response.

To the mainstream press, the Left doesn’t exist and socialism died with Eugene V. Debs. Yet advocates of intelligence design get media treatment akin to a university professorship. Questioning the unfairness and warlike nature of capitalism is off limits to the corporate press but giving airtime to anti-intellectuals attacking a fundamental scientific truth such as evolution is something the public “deserves to hear.”

If you’re experiencing a hung-over effect after the release of the Iraqi Study Group on Dec. 6, blame it on the media. For weeks the corporate media play the James Baker/Lee Hamilton pairing as some sort of answer to the cesspool of death and destruction we’ve created in Iraq. All the talk about bipartisanship and bringing together a “divided country” was nothing but devious prevarications to give these defenders of the status quo cover when the President Bush told them to stick it. Members of the study group knew that Bush wouldn’t embrace their recommendations and that emulous politicians like John McCain and a vainglorious Joseph Lieberman would quickly criticize the group’s recommendations to phase out U.S. troops and talk with Iran.

The group’s members are supposed to be smart men and women. Did they really think Bush’s foreign policy would do an about face? Did the media really think that? No. But the media sure played it like the Iraqi Study Group meant something. But it doesn’t, and it’s not surrender and it’s not victory. The conclusions are mainly patriotic window dressing — like covering a mold-infested bathroom wall with water-base paint.

As investigative reporter Greg Palast, AlterNet columnist Antonia Juhasz and other independent journalists note, it about the oil, it’s about appeasing Saudi Arabia, it’s about keeping the military/industrial complex viable to keep the money flowing to the nation’s wealthy and powerful elite.

That’s why it hurts to be an American.

Brave American men and women are dying, Iraqis are being slaughtered and we have a corrupt, inept, criminal administration countered by a self-serving, docile Congress. Why would something like the Iraqi Study Group — made up of members tied to a bankrupt executive branch or a sycophantic legislature — make a difference? All it did was make for great speculation in the media and fostering, as Norman Solomon writes in Dec. 6 column for AlterNet, “The anti-pullout spin…in sync with official sources and other establishment-sanctified experts, named or unnamed.”

Where pulling our troops out of Iraq and admitting we “fucked up” by believing this lying president is an option with a majority of Americans, it really isn’t to the people who control this country.

That’s why it hurts to be an American.

Bush isn’t going to change. He isn’t going to agree to pull troops out or talk with Iran or Syria. He doesn’t really have alternative study groups going other than ones conducted by obsequious aides and appointees looking to see how to “spin” his objections to the Study Group recommendations and still appear to adhere to the expectations of the public for a different direction in Iraq. Sure Bush may cherry-pick a few of the Study Group’s recommendations but there will not be a deliberate or urgent follow-through. No. The Iraqi War is going to get even more nasty, and with it Lebanon and the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

That’s why it hurts to be an American.

The only ray of hope ahead in this disastrous situation for this once-great country is that the disgust with Bush will rise to such a level that Congress will have to seriously considerate impeaching this bastard. But as long as we have no coherent energy policy, as long as we believe we can impose our will on other countries, as long as we have a press conjoined to corporate power, as long as we have representatives more concerned with their own well-being than taking the morally right and difficult road of national self-cleansing, it will continue to hurt to be an American.

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at


2006 Discovery Publications, Inc. 1501 Burlington, Ste. 207, North Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 474-1516; toll free (800) 899-9730; fax (816) 474-1427

The contents of eKC are the property of Discovery Publications, Inc., and protected under Copyright.
No portion may be reproduced in whole or part by any means without the permission of the publisher.
Read our Privacy Policy.